A sign of trends: the Lucire web redesign
I spent a few extra hours this weekend on the Lucire redesign, which began just before last week. My task: getting the design working with the blog, even though yours truly’s knowledge of PHP is at around the same level as John ‘Two Jags’ Prescott’s on fuel economy. But I muddled through and I am pretty proud of the result.
The overall Lucire redesign online has been quite fun, and a reminder of how the ’net has evolved. People are using wider browsers today, which means that the nominal width—a theoretical width that we design to—has grown from 600 pixels (in the days when 640-pixel wide screens still formed the largest proportion) to 960 (now that 1,024 pixels is a minimum). The scroll wheel on the mouse means that deep pages are not as big a concern as they were in 1997, when Lucire ﬁrst started.
It began with some of the feature articles and index pages changing, before we modiﬁed the all-important cover and the ‘Insider’ template.
Many of the reasons behind the changes were æsthetic. We wanted Lucire to reﬂect web design trends in 2009 and 2010, and the 2006 look was getting a bit old hat. That one was designed with commerce in mind: the 300- by 250-pixel ad unit had become standard, and most of Lucire was geared to run with 160- by 600-pixel ones on the side.
When I found myself, this year, preferring how the site looked in 2003 to how it looked today, I knew something was afoot. We needed to change, in part back to the clean layouts that we had then, while taking into account modern tastes.
Getting the various elements and stylesheets to work in ‘Insider’ was an additional challenge. While I claim to be one of the early web designers, doing work since 1993, it was never the sole focus of my skills, and I do not consider myself a coding expert.
And I imagine it would be fairly easy for real PHP hackers to point out just what I have done wrong!
It’s not the only font embedding technology out there and there are others that are far more likely to become standards as the debate continues. To most people, what I am writing about here is old, old news.
We turned Cufón off when we discovered that ligatures were not supported, at least not in the version we tried, but temporarily, it was an interesting experiment.
I have been playing around with tools such as WEFT since the beginning of the century, keen to ﬁnd a way to send fonts with web pages, but to do so securely so they could not be pirated. I realize no technology is hack-proof, and someone always ﬁnds a way around it, but the reality is that WEFT and other tools were always clunky and not that widely compatible.
Apart from ad servers slowing us down (is this down to Firefox? DNS? Whatever the case, the error seems to have been around since Firefox 0·9) I think we have a good template at Lucire that should last us till we next get bored with the way we appear—which should be in the early part of the next decade. Your feedback is welcome. Posted by Jack Yan, 05:56
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