Monday 20 January 2003

Is it better now?

Lighthouse (detail), photograph by Alan FinkThe first part of my font redesign is underway. I’ve linked the monthly archive pages to a slightly different stylesheet, which is intended to be easier on the eyes for Macintosh users. I made two changes:

I also changed the code declaration to Monaco, "Andale Mono", "Courier New", Courier, monospace (to get around the awfulness of Courier). And replaced the Box Model Hack with the Simplified Box Model Hack—a more straightforward method of ensuring that both my font sizes and links panel width are consistent across browsers. (Except Opera, which insists on displaying the font a size larger than most other browsers. I’ve never met a Norwegian and I’m aware of no empirical evidence that might explain their reluctance to get with the program).

I’ve emailed a few readers who originally commented that the font was too small on the Macintosh (three of whom have already replied that the new version is an improvement). Hopefully other Macintosh users will respond in the affirmative so I can roll the changes out to the rest of the site. Other suggestions and feedback are, as always, welcome.

(Those of you who have noted a correlation between my concern for the wellbeing of Macintosh users and the release of the 12-inch PowerBook should perhaps recall that human beings, in common with other plant and animal species, are motivated primarily—I didn’t say entirely—by self-interest.)

Part two of the font redesign—implementing a style switcher that will enable visitors to choose an alternative (11 pixel Verdana) font for the main content—will have to wait. Not only is it a bad idea to change too many things simultaneously, but I’m also reluctant to get bogged down in ongoing stylesheet revisions. I want to add Burningbird’s new Threadneedle/Backtrack functionality as quickly as possible so I can return to the real purpose of this weblog: writing about lighthouses.

Lighthouse, photograph by Alan Fink

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It is better now. How about putting "Hoefler Text" ahead of Palatino? It's my personal favourite. Or look through the other default faces for OS X and pick one that you like - lots of good serf faces there, plus some nice sans ones like Gill Sans, Optima, Futura etc.

Posted by: Kevin Marks on 21 January 2003 at 02:38 AM

It looks fine on my 12" iBook. The old design is still quite fine for me, though--I suppose I'm blessed with good eyes.

Posted by: Chris on 21 January 2003 at 02:45 AM

Now that you no longer have a calendar, it's awkward to check whether you commented on Steve Job's recent Macworld performance (I was out of BlogSpace for a whole 2 weeks at that time). But I can feel a 12 inch PowerBook coming to the Delacour household. Just do it!

Posted by: marius on 21 January 2003 at 04:32 AM

Jonathon, fontwise, it looks like crap. My system is Win 2K sp3, and Mozilla 1.2.1 is my browser. I checked IE 5.5 and it's the same. Email me and I will send you a screen capture if you like.

Have I explained to you that really the world should be limited to just 2 fonts. 1 fixed width and 1 variable width. It would be so much better.

Have a good day.

Posted by: Jason on 21 January 2003 at 06:49 AM

I just checked the design on my fiancée's WinXP machine, and the fonts look fine there, too. I respectfully submit that the problem is with the way Win2K is handling them, or maybe the way IE 5.5/Mozilla displays them. Tried IE 6?

As for two fonts, obviously you don't believe in variety being the spice of life and all that. Personally, I'd be pretty bored if everyone used just Times and Arial.

Posted by: Chris on 21 January 2003 at 11:17 AM

Hechk with the font and stylesheet -- I want to know more about that lighthouse. Beautiful pic.

Posted by: Burningbird on 21 January 2003 at 11:28 AM

To these aging Mac eyes, the type still looks pretty darn small...

Posted by: Pascale Soleil on 21 January 2003 at 02:37 PM

Thanks, everyone, for taking the trouble to comment.

I've added "Georgia" and "Verdana" buttons to the monthly archive pages and now I'm wrestling with a "feature" of IE that produces a horizontal scrollbar when you switch to Verdana.

Kevin, I'll take the "Hoefler Text" suggestion on board, though it might have to wait until I've got everything else sorted out.

Marius, the 12-inch PowerBook saga continues. See my latest post. I can feel one coming to the Delacour household too, but reluctantly.

Jason, I think you're being liberal because of how you perceive my audience. If you were really honest you'd admit you think there should only be only one (monospaced) font in the world.

Pascale, I emailed you about whether you're refering to the main page or the monthly archive page.

Unfortunately, Burningbird, I can't tell you anything about the lighthouse photo other than it came from an ancient Kodak PhotoCD sampler.

Posted by: Jonathon on 21 January 2003 at 11:08 PM

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2002-2003 Jonathon Delacour