It's a Makeover!

November 21, 2007

It's way past time this site had a new design, and I finally came up with one I think I can live with for a while. This one feels like it will actually grow and expand and change over time, and that's important to me. I wanted a site that felt, well, roomy and comfortable like a pair of well-worn jeans. A lot of the new elements are things I've wanted to do for a long time—although the most obvious isn't really new at all. I love the cartoons. I think they're brilliant and funny and wonderfully not serious. The artist is my younger sister Sharon, which makes them even more special. She actually drew them many years ago for my author site. I think I look a lot better ten years younger, even in pencil, and so I based the whole design around them. The layout also has completely changed (again). I've been growing increasingly dissatisfied with fluid layouts, so I'm glad to go back to a fixed width. With fluid widths, you have to go through too many hoops to ensure line lengths are legible and floats line up nicely for all resolutions. I'm at an age when I occasionally need to bump up the size on text, so I'm aware of the need to accommodate user preferences. However, though I admit fluid widths accomplish text resizing more gracefully, fixed widths can also be made to handle this. In short, I've chosen sides. While I'll continue to occasionally create a fluid width layout, I'm now rooting for the other guys. Another new feature is the "Fat Footer." I know, I know. Everyone and their mother is doing it, but sometimes that's because something is such a good idea, you just have to get in on it. The fat footer is a wonderful invention. The web designers' equivalent of a garage—it's that space where you put everything you don't really need but can't quite bear to give away. I mean someone, someday, might actually want to view every post I've ever made on the topic of Web Design Tools. You never know. I've also been dying to use sIFR on a site. Not being successful at convincing anyone to let me try it on theirs, I've finally put it here on my own. It was a challenge, but only because I wanted to use a TrueType font. It took me several hours and a few hunks of hair before I found a post on the sIFR forum by the immanently generous Ian Purton, who mentioned that you can't convert TrueType fonts in Flash 8 and who kindly offered Flash-challenged souls like myself an online application that coverts your TT font and emails you the swf file. So I can now say, with first-hand knowledge, that sIFR is awesome! Many, many kudos to Mike Davidson, Mark Wubben, Shaun Inman and others who have helped bring font freedom to the web. Of course, I couldn't redesign the site without also playing with some new Drupal modules. I added a few fun modules like CAPTCHA Pack, Custom Pagers, Service Links and Snap Preview just to jazz things up. And I did a lot of behind-the-scenes work with Content Construction Kit (CCK) and Views, also known in this house as The Dynamic Duo. Some people are addicted to crossword puzzles or Jim Beam. I got hooked on Drupal. Like all addictions, I think mine is the best and can't understand why everyone doesn't want to get in on the fun. There's just no telling with some people, I guess. The site is by no means "finished." I have many, many hours of heavenly tweaking and enhancing to look forward to. Who knows, maybe I'll decide purple isn't really my color. But the biggest change of all is one that will have to come gradually. In changing the look, I also hope to make it easier to change the focus of this blog. Many years ago it was an author site; then it was a site about web design. Both of those were rather narrowly focused, and after a while I began to feel hemmed in and hampered by them. For this incarnation I've decided that anything goes. Anything. Of course, since I eat, sleep, work and breath web design, bets are good it will remain a major topic. But it won't be the only one. I'm ready to talk about whatever interests me, to go off on tangents and even to take a few wrong turns. Welcome to the new old


Looks great, good job.

The propeller cap in the footer is my favorite part of the new look, hands down.

Seriously, though, I think this is a wonderful re-imagining of the old site. I love the high contrast of white on purplish-blue. I really dig the sIFR fonts, and I like the sparseness of the design in general. It's everything you want to know about Kathy Marks and nothing you don't. Well...we'll see about the latter assertion. I'll check back in a few months and reassess. Who knows, there may be a post about Thanksgiving with the Markses detailing the consistency of the mashed potatoes, accompanied by a complete transcription of the Holiday conversation.

Of course, I'm partial to the new for selfish reasons: My ASU blog post is linked prominently. Flattered is what I am. Thanks for that.

Great job, Kathy. Who says you're not a graphic designer? The cartoons may have been drawn by someone else, but you certainly tied everything together around them. I'm envious for sure.

In summation: Brilliant! You're my Web design hero.