moseley at hank
Dec 27, 2001, 12:03 PM
Post #1 of 25
I assume most of you saw that I set up an archive for the doc-dev list.
(Stas, we should move those to perl.apache.org instead of
I only just subscribed to the list when setting up the archive for testing,
so I'm WAY out of the loop. But, I have a friend that's a print-ad
designer by trade, but now his firm does web design, too. And actually,
web design has been his focus or a few years. I'm not sure, but I think
they are reasonably high-end -- I asked him, for example, what it would
cost to design a simple site like mod_perl and his response was that
between $10,000 - $15,000 usd which sounds like a lot of cash to me.
He had some comments that I thought I'd pass on. Most of it you already
know, and is probably not that constructive, especially at this point. But
sometimes it is interesting to hear from another point of view. I don't
agree with everything, but here it is.
This is probably obvious, but they never design in html. He says they
spend weeks with the clients learning what the client is trying to present
(their "brand") to their customers, and that's the toughest part. Then
they carefully rank what needs to be presented, keeping in mind who the are
designing for (new users?) and stay focused on those.
(My view is that the mod_perl site should be designed to attract new users
and to make it look professional enough to be accepted by IT managers as a
real technology. More jobs! I also assume mod_perl users can find what
they are looking for quickly regardless of the site. I don't go to the
modperl home page to get to the Guide).
Then they design in photoshop, and design to a little smaller than 800x600
(better to fit in a window than extend beyond). They don't worry about
html at all. Any text elements that are important visually will be
converted to images, as that's the only way to control the look. Then they
battle it out with their "producer" that converts the design into html.
It's my friends job to make sure the designer and producer keep the
elements of the "message" (as he puts it) in the final page. I guess it's
the designer's job to make people want to stay at the site, and his job to
make sure the message is clear.
Is http://www.bullitt.suite.dk/mod_perl_site/var_c/ the current design?
He thought it's a nice design. Of course it's a battle between visual
design and packing in all the info that you think should be there. And
that's where one tries to stay focused on that "message" thing again, and
exactly who you are designing for.
From a designer point of view he thinks there's a little confusion in the
design -- something most people don't even think about. His comment was
that the mod_perl/camel logo and the "welcome to mod_perl" are in
competition -- "your eye doesn't know where to start" was his comment. He
says there needs to be "air" above the "welcome to mod_perl" box to let
your eye flow (more like the about page where the bread crumb is above
forcing the title lower) -- specifically he said move it down to the line
of the feather or below.
By "air" he said blank space is really ok, even if that seems like a loss
of valuable "real estate". He also said that "air" can also mean some
graphic (something to give that warm mod_perl feeling, I suppose?). Just
something to let your eye flow.
The other main point was that there's two table of contents -- the left nav
bar and the table of contents below. He thought that was somewhat
confusing, and maybe just integrated with the sidebar nav (or some title
bar nav (site vs. content navigation)).
He also said the side bar navigation design in boxes makes you want to
click on the box, yet with the style sheet design you have to click on the
actual text. I agree that's a bit awkward.
Finally, I never saw the argument for not using tables (I suppose I could
search the archive ;). I think it's cool when CSS works, but there's a
large number of clients where it doesn't work. Netscape 4.0x is still very
common, and it doesn't work in that browser. Any idea what percent of
browsers visiting modperl.apache.org are browsers that won't render that
page? I doubt people will upgrade their browsers just because the
modperl.apache.org site doesn't display correctly.
Sorry for the ramblings.
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