These notes are for those of you who are interested in the technical aspects of web design.
The theme and layout of this site is entirely hand crafted (because there are no WYSIWYG tools that can do what I wanted to do) with CSS and DHTML. There is not an HTML <table> tag anywhere to be found. I set this design constraint to force myself to learn something about CSS and layout and also because I believe that this is a better way to manage layout.
Another design requirement I set is that each page should automatically adjust it's layout to match the size of the browser window. As you resize your browser window you will notice that the page adjust's itself accordingly. The drop down menus and pop up graphics are automatically aligned with their triggers as the page resizes.
Another goal was to create a graphic design that kept it's aesthetic appeal as the window resizes. I'm a tech-head and make no claims to be a graphic designer but I can live with this sites' look-and-feel.
Finally, I wanted to create a pleasing visual experience, including the drop down navigation, with a minimal number of graphics. Currently, the theme uses only three small grahpics on the entire site. Only you can judge if it works for you.
To see an example of a site that I have done (in collaboration with a graphic designer) that is laid out entirely with tables, is rigid (does not adjust to browser window size), makes extensive use of graphics for the look-and-feel and for the navigation, check out www.Bloodhound.co.nz.
A significant downside of building a site this way is that it will only render properly in version 5 or later browsers. Since this is my personal site and I don't have to cater to commercialism here, it is reasonable to live with this limitation. My browser rant is at the end of this page if you're really bored.
Personally, I am usually annoyed by sites that use frames. They cause more problems and inconvienience than they are worth in most cases. One compelling reason often cited for using frames is to more easily manage the development and maintenance of a site navigation system. The navigation system for this site is managed using SSI (Server Side Include) technology. The header, navigation system and footer are all templated. To modify any of these aspects of the site I need to modify only one file which is then used by every page in the site.
As you can see, my sense of aesthetics tends towards uncluttered simple elegance. It often takes more effort to achieve this than a clunky cluttered approach. I would love to hear from you regarding your opinions on the above mentioned topics and regarding how you like this site. Any suggestions for improvement are welcome. To let me know, send an email.
Thanks for visiting.