The new issue features Doug’s article on CSS tabs, and it’s absolutely terrific. Doug’s got an amazing way of coming up with solutions to problems no one else can crack, and his solutions are really clever. I’d say he’s one of the few people doing web design that can truly think outside of the box, but that phrase is so cliched as to be meaningless so I won’t say it. Anyway, Doug never ceases to amaze me with the things he can come up with.
That all said, there were a few visual aspects of the new ALA site I feel could be improved. The front page feels a bit chaotic to me, with all that blazing red everywhere. Above the fold, I’d guess there are 25 links in four different sizes and different type treatments, but when I first looked at the site all I saw was red links everywhere and it was hard to know where to focus. The layout kind of reminds me of the excellent Nedward blog, which does a great job of visually separating content into “the important stuff on the left and the other stuff on the right” through the use of color in backgrounds and graphics. The other problem I have is the separation between articles on the front page and the archives. Scrolling through this list of CSS stories, it’s hard to tell where one ends and another begins. I would guess whitespace would go a long way here. Adding 30-50px above each title would pad the page out and require more scrolling, but each article would be easily found and retreived from the growing lists. An alternative would be subtle separators of some sort, either CSS-enhanced horizontal rules or graphics. And lastly, the article widths feel about half as wide as they used to be. I don’t know if they are really narrower or it’s a bigger font, but the line-length feels abrupt compared to normal comfortable reading on other sites. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, it’s an amazing developer and designer resource, but the collaborative nature of the articles naturally brings out the design and developer critic in me.
Congrats on all the work Zeldman, et al. had to do to bring it back from the dead!