Monday, May 30, 2005

Tinkering with style sheets...

I just spent an hour that I will never be able to get back tweaking the style sheet of this blog. If you've been here before and have a long memory, you'll probably notice a difference. I'm curious to hear what people think. Because I'm a tinker, part of the reason I tweaked the style sheet was to see if what I did was an improvement for the end user, so I would really appreciate comments.

The basic goal behind the tweaking was to make it a bit more visually pleasant. I did this by making the text bolder and bringing down the intensity of the background, just a little. I also made the text larger - my theory is that most people reading the blog probably have decent screens, and it's a shame to waste all that width by using a tiny, cramped little font.

There's a meme going around the online publishing world that it's best to restrict the width of any given piece of text to make it more readable - never have a line with more than 10 words on it, or something like that. The idea is to make it easy for the eye to track back to the beginning of the next line. Unfortunately, the way people seem to accomplish this in style sheets is to use a tiny font, and then define the width of the text in pixels. The effect of this is that when those of us who do not like leaving noseprints on our computer display go to read the text, we have to zoom the text to read it. But because the width is specified in pixels, what happens is that we wind up with text that's got maybe four words to the line. Yuck.

Turns out that you don't need to specify pixels in a style sheet - you can specify the width as a percentage of the width of the browser window. W00t. So now the gentle reader is free to resize the text to his or her heart's content, and resize the window to produce the most readable width to the text column.

The downside of this is that the gentle reader may not want to have to tweak the window to get the text to look right. I think I've chosen a reasonable set of defaults, so that the gentle reader need not do so, but I am curious to hear from gentle readers as to their opinions on this innovation. Love? Hate? Needs further tinkering?

The weather's been interesting in Tucson recently. Here's a fairly nice picture from a recent dust storm (the first one I've experienced in Tucson, actually):


Blogger Patricia said...

MUCH easier to read!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 5:34:00 PM  

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