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New Year, New Site Design

A change of scenery here at my personal site has been long overdue, I think, so I’m pleased to usher in 2012 with a refresh of the site’s design!

A screenshot of the new site design

Keeping Things Compact

The first thing you’ll likely notice is the new compact, fixed header, with the navigation to the major parts of the site. It stays fixed in place, so you can always get back to any of those pages at any time. (It also swaps out the legacy image gradients for exciting new CSS3 gradients where available!)

Who Shot the Serif?

I have also moved away from Bitstream Charter/Georgia as the main font around the site, in favour of Helvetica Neue/Helvetica/Arial, combined with the existing accents of Gill Sans (where available!) for the headings. I think the site now has a more contemporary feel — and reads particularly well on devices where Helvetica Neue is available, like the iPad.

There is also a new webfont in use for the ‘Peter Upfold’ text in the header — Charis SIL (generously licensed under the SIL Open Font Licence).

Practising What I Preach

Cookie picture, by amagill --

As a strong proponent of users having control over their privacy online, I am pleased that the Do Not Track initiative, for indicating the user’s preferences about tracking technology on the web, has gained traction in many web browsers. Because I support the rights of users to make choices about the code running in their browsers and what information it is collecting about them, I took this opportunity to begin the implementation of Do Not Track support on my site.

If you send a standard ‘Do Not Track’ header with every request to this site, I will not serve to you the code for Google Analytics, StatCounter, Jetpack Stats, or any future third-party analytics provider I later use.

I like these third-party analytics services, because they help me see how popular the site is, how popular individual blog posts and pages are, and it helps me to understand the demand for the different downloads of software I offer on the site. If you don’t consent to them, though, then I won’t force them upon you.

It’s a Start — But There is More Yet to Do

Note that as I explain in the privacy policy, I will still collect basic web server access logs (usually for 4 weeks, plus any backups that may be retained), which may include your IP address, even if you indicate Do Not Track preferences. Also, this Do Not Track support currently does not extend to the advertisements, and the third-party tracking that they do. You’ll still need to either use an ad blocker (which you have every right to do), or take other steps to opt out of them. See the DoubleClick DART privacy FAQ, Google cookie privacy page and the Google Ad privacy page for more information.

When I next get an opportunity, I need to re-read some agreements and so forth to make sure I can take the next step towards eliminating that third-party tracking for those who have opted out with Do Not Track. I acknowledge that there is more work on this issue that is yet to be done!

Being a Little Bit More Responsive

The new site design, on iPhone
I have previously promised to always give exactly the same page to any request to this site, regardless of which browser you’re using.

That promise remains intact for all the site’s pages (no awful mobile redirects!), but I am now doing a little more to try and optimise their presentation and formatting on smaller-screened devices. On phone-sized devices, the header now contracts and doesn’t stay fixed and the sidebar will pop down to the bottom of the page, giving you more room to read blog posts and other pages in portrait orientation without zooming or scrolling sideways. I also am setting the viewport a little differently for a few specific browsers so that everything pops onto the screen with a pleasant and readable scale.

There are a few things that aren’t quite optimal yet with the display — and I certainly need to do some testing with a handful of Android devices — but hopefully it is good progress towards making the experience better when you’re visiting on a diminutive device.

Getting Feedback

I am aware that there are a few things, here and there, that are not quite right with the new design just yet, but I’m definitely interested in any feedback you might have on it. Please do leave a comment on this post.

I still have ambitions to upgrade some other pages of the site — particuarly the portfolio — which need to be made up to date!

Also, if anyone can have a play with the new site under some Android devices, and let me know how it appears, I would be most grateful. I may have to break out the Android SDK and run the site in the simulator to do some further testing and tweaking.

Happy New Year!

Cookie image is ‘C is for Cookie’ by amagill on Flickr. Licensed under CC-BY.

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  1. niall wrote:

    looking good Peter ! keep up the good work 🙂

    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 10:31 | Permalink |
  2. Maarten wrote:

    Hey Peter!!

    Looks awesome!! 😀 Great work!

    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 13:37 | Permalink |
  3. Maarten wrote:

    I have a suggestion though. Instead of mentioning your email adress on your site, I would suggest using a contact forum. Like I did 🙂

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 14:52 | Permalink |
  4. Peter wrote:

    Hi Maarten,

    That’s a good suggestion, but I actually have a few reasons why I prefer not to use a contact form on my site:

    • Email contact forms, as I am sure you know, are often abused – they are hit frequently by spammers trying to send email. Asking users to email me from their own account, rather than anonymously through the form, means that anyone who wants to email me has to use an actual email account!
    • Again, because the contact form is anonymous, it is much easier to spoof an email; an attacker could claim to have any email address they wanted in the ‘From’ field. A real email sent to me will likely have SPF and DomainKeys headers, as well as the path the email took to reach my account, that I can check to give me a greater degree of confidence an email is really from that person!
    • Right now, a human being has to decypher the scheme I use for the email addresses on that page to send anything in the first place. 😉

    For some sites, a contact form is the best option, because the priority is to make contacting as easy as possible. For me, my priority is to ensure that my server is not used to send abusive or unwanted email to my email account! 🙂

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 15:46 | Permalink |
  5. Maarten wrote:

    Yeah I did know forms are anonymous. Never thought about the spoofing part. Might rethink about it to not use a form. But I think it looks pretty nice though. And on the other hand, my site isn’t that popular so I don’t get that many hits. Compared to lots of sites that do have forms that are popular. But learned something new again. What cms you running the new site on? Amalia? Cheers!!

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 18:46 | Permalink |

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  1. Time for a Refresh « Blog « Peter Upfold on Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 10:40

    […] have had a few design overhauls in my time here on this site. I haven’t, however, done anything significant to the […]

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