Christian Ross

Same place, new face

If you follow this blog through RSS, I’d encourage you to click on through today to see the new digs.

It’s been a little while coming, lots of after-hours time put into it over the last few weeks doing everything from sketching to designing, coding and then re-coding. Working on your own stuff is one of the hardest things to do. You’re never truly satisfied with the result but at some point you just have to go with it. At this point in the game I would normally be tired of the design already, but thanks to the help of some ?ºber-talented guys I still like it on launch day. A tip of the hat to Dave Ruiz (website | twitter) and Jesse Bennett-Chamberlin (website | twitter) for sharing their eyes, ears, minds and talent through the whole process. Stellar guys with amazing talent. Don’t hold it against them that they’re Canadian.

Hopefully we’ll start to see a little more consistent flow of content around here again. I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath. And if you care…


The layout
First off, you will notice that I’ve gone back to a centered layout. I wasn’t so much that I disliked the left-alignment of the last one (or the fixed column) it was more of the fact of the previous implementation. In my attempts to design the gray one I wasn’t ever able to come up with a way to distinguish from one post to the next. Thus the boxes. And man did I dislike the boxes. While offering less space in the content area, I have been able to feel a little more free with the content itself.

Like the previous, there are actually three columns. Which is actually quite odd since I rarely design three column sites for clients. On the post pages the first column holds the metadata for each individual post (date, category, tags, comments) and displays it well thankfully with a hat tip to Jesse. My initial versions of it were a bit blocky and he was nice enough to gently pull me off that ledge. Pages (about, work, contact) are laid out a little different, dropping the left-column in favor of giving slightly more room for things like portfolio images.

The center column is the main content area, and only cause me grief only having to go back over a number of months worth of posts adjusting old image sizes down to fit in this now smaller section. The price we pay. Early on I had designed in larger images that actually hang out to the left (into the metadata column) but Dave wisely talked me out of them and into using a lightbox effect for them. Cleaner look, less mess in the code.

The third column contains two elements at this point. The first section isn’t anything new, just my standard Twitter feed of my most recent tweet. The Links section below is something I have added for this design. All it really is, is a display of a Delicious account I have set up that allows me to bookmark things I like on the web. The most recent five (or three, can’t remember) items I bookmark and tag with NET will now display here in the sidebar. As I mentioned previously, I wasn’t happy with turning this place into a Tumblog. This should help to alleviate some of that, I can still easily include things I think are funny, random, interesting on the web without necessarily cluttering up the normal feed. And I can do it more quickly and easily. My Links feed is an entirely different RSS feed so if you are interested in getting these things in your reader, subscribe to it here.

The footer
Another drawback of the previous version was the simple fact that I wasn’t able to make certain aspects of the site as accessible as possible. There wasn’t enough space and the space that what there was limiting in they ways I could display it.

I decided to make sure I wasn’t dealing with lack of space issues this time around. It’s big and full of content. And hopefully it will be useful for people when they visit the site.

The colors
It’s blue. It used to have some brown. Not anymore. And you might see some highlights from time-to-time.

The code
First off, I coded it twice and still have some cleanup to do. Twice because I was trying to cut corners the first time and Dave wouldn’t let me. Gracias, mi amigo. My stats from different providers are a little in conflict but I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-8% of my readers still using Internet Explorere 6 so I didn’t cut those of you off completely. Though I do pray for your soul. I figure at this point you’re stuck behind a corporate wall that won’t allow you to upgrade so its not entirely your fault. But then again, maybe you should be using your days and your IE6 to find an employer that doesn’t hate you.

You will rarely ever hear me say something negative about FireFox but here goes one complaint… dear FireFox, why do you render fonts so badly in Windows? I love your openness, your extendability, your willingness to hold us all to higher standards but please, please, please do something about that nasty jagged edged type. Love, Christian.

At this point I am loading images through jQuery to possibly increase site load times. We’ll see if it sticks.

The type
Speaking of type, I’ve dropped using a font replacement for the time being. If I keep seeing it on a Windows machine with FF I may have to do something. Headers are in Palatino. Copy is in Helvetica Neue and degrades first through Arial, then Helvetica. Ouch, that hurts but its the way it has to be.

The bugs
I’m sure there are plenty. The portfolio is on its way. The comments sections isn’t exactly how I want it to look yet but I can’t exactly explain to myself yet how it should look. May or may not get updated. Please pass on any others that you come across.

Questions, Comments or Concerns for the good of the cause
Any thoughts on the new look? Want to let me know that I’ve completely wasted my last three weeks evenings in updating? Share below.

2 responses to “Same place, new face”

  1. Alowetta says:

    Very nice! Colors don’t look like you, but the site really does, so great work! Very proud of you and your outstanding stuff!

  2. Pat says:

    Dude, this design looks great! Love the layout, and the colour scheme. Great work!

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