As you can obviously tell, Phaysis has gotten another facelift. This time, the design is markedly different. Previous designs were simply variations on a theme; different colors, different header logo, same layout. This time, completely different layout, colors, and everything. And I’m completely happy with the design.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading some journals of web designers and those in the information and usability biz and overall they’re starting to say some of the same things. Screen resolution of 800×600 is dead or dying. Netscape4 is dead. Internet Explorer4 is dead. So now it’s OK to design using current web standards. Now it’s OK to design using advanced techniques without fear of incompatible pageview failure. It’s OK to design using larger text. Now it’s OK to use large images in your design. Most of your audience can see it all. And if you design it right then anyone at any resolution can see it all and not suffer.
Gone are the days of 9-point text sizes — that design technique is so 2002. Gone are the days of 8-bit displays — the need for the “web safe” palette is not there anymore. It’s now just a convenience to techie designers with little eye for color. It’s now safe to use any color the designer wants, as it always has, without standing out as designing with no consideration for the lesser of us.
Browser capabilities are statistically catching up, just as actual browser brands are exponentially multiplying with each new mobile device. So you design with all this in mind; you use stylesheets to add style and layout to the html markup, and browsers can then choose to support those styles or ignore them based on their particular implementation. As long as the text gets across, you’ve won. So in the past years I’ve been designing Phaysis with that goal, trying to publish it clearly and concisely for any browser.
As a test, I looked at the site this morning on my friend’s new cellphone. The text was there, the menu was there, the journal entries were there, and everything worked. It was beautiful.
On this design, I’ve decided that placing my personal journal at the top fold of the page was the best option. I saw one designer’s page which, as a design, placed the latest entry smack-dab at the top of the page. No bones about what the page was about; it was a journal page, and here is the journal! I took that to heart and considered that even though this was a personal site with not much inside, some thinking about why people come to my site would prove beneficial to getting repeat readers. So to the top, underneath the full-size header, it went.
I placed the menu at a completely unexpected place: at the bottom right. It’s a small trend among some people, and I kinda like it. Navigation becomes a minimal part of the site, and doing so makes the reader use more attention in finding and using the navigation, slowing them down to actually look at things instead of the thoughtless clicky-clicky-clicky game. I left a vestigial link to the menu at the top for those who may be on text readers or portable devices where scrolling through pages of text might be a daunting task.
So, large header, main personal journal at the top underneath the header, the fortune cookie, redesigned and slimlined, joining the top half to the bottom half, and then the site news journal and the new “about Phaysis” box to the left, menu to the right, and a slimlined copyright footer at the bottom.
About the images in the design: I was browsing my image directories and came across some of the photos I’d taken over the early part of this spring. The set of pictures that stood out to me were a set of three that I took of a decaying wading pool at Pease Park. The fact that it was there, empty, and overgrown completely appealed to some dark corner in me, so I took the pictures. And now here they are, as hot, dusty, and oversaturated as they are, in this summertime design. I’m not sure what they say, but they’re saying it beautifully. Enjoy!