The more astute visitors of Alt Text may have noticed a small redesign of the site, both visually and structurally. There are a number of ways in which I think this new version works better for readers – among these ways are:

  • Clearer more clean recent post presentation with more appropriate meta data for each post.
  • Greater focus on categories and the introduction of a new piece of meta data: the tag. Though I still have to build in some of this, it will, allow me to integrate my posts with other systems that use tags like Flickr, 43things, etc.
  • The photo gallery is now more integrated with the design of the rest of the site and there were some other improvements to the interface within the galleries. (still some JavaScript issues to workout however)
  • Increased access to weblog archives directly from front page including the ability to search or browse by category or month.
  • I created a separate place for media I tend to review such as movies, books, TV shows, etc. These employ a new 100 point rating scale that coincides with my favorite movie review site: Metacritic
  • Cleaned up the (x)html and css a lot and now each validates in turn (well the XHTML doesn’t now that I just screwed with some things but it will)
  • Cleaned up the search results page so it actually looks like it should now
  • Larger fonts. I realized that many people were coming to my site (like my Dad) who really don’t enjoy 10pt sans-serif fonts. I hope this redesign helps them keep their eyes a bit longer.

I rushed this out a bit which seems like an odd statement considering I had this underway since well before March but I redesigned it several times until I was happy – then redesigned a couple months later when I no longer was. There is still much left to do, many of the finer points that really go 80% or the way towards making a site like this great. If you want to read about some of the upcoming features to be added you may continue reading…

I am not going to rest now though as I have many things that simply didn’t get implemented on the first pass. Here are some things I am thinking about.

  • I am going to add in more options based upon where you are in the site. Visitors of the photo gallery section may have options pertaining to the photo size they would like to see, where those visiting the weblog section may see text display and rss format options.
  • I am mulling over some ways to change the recent posts area on the main page, perhaps allowing the full text of the post to be displayed without jumping to its permanent archive page.
  • Shaun Inman has an interesting way of hiding and displaying the archives browser at the top and bottom of his main page. I may look into doing something like that.
  • “Live” archive searching is interesting to me but probably more than it interests my readers – I still have some doubts about the usability of that type of Google suggest-like search.
  • Still lots of work on the archives page, lots.
  • I am going improve the comments (both posting and display) dramatically.
  • I would like to do some things with different post templates but I can’t seems to find ways to do this other than having multiple blogs (behind the scenes) for each style and that doesn’t appeal to me much. I would like to be able to post images or text that span the whole top of the content area and turn on and off the meta info box for certain posts.
  • A couple more tricks and treats will be added too.
  • Add (a lot of) content to the About section
  • Redesign and develop content for the Media Consumption main page and the Elsewhere main page

And now to the actual defects – every project has them. Most of mine are due to my very limited testing on Mac, and in fact, anything other than Firefox and IE 6 on PC. I am aware of issues even in these browsers.
A few notable bugs:

  • Archived entry pages with more than a few comments do not display properly
  • All the archive pages need some design love on them
  • There are some missing features and JavaScript bugs in the photo galleries
  • Working on some other display bugs in photo gallery with vertically oriented photos.
  • Weirdness with footer alignment in rare cases
  • Aforementioned validation problems due to some unconventional markup on some <li> tags on the homepage.
  • Alignment issues (mostly) with Safari and Firefox on Mac
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