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!
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.
Practising What I Preach
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, WordPress.com 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
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
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.
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!