[ZWeb] Re: website design discussion

Tom Von Lahndorff tom at modscape.com
Mon Sep 4 10:08:06 EDT 2006


Would be nice if IE supported min-width and max-width in css. It  
doesn't. The only way I've seen anyone get that to work in IE is with  
some nasty javascript hack. We can keep going down this road though,  
fine with me. We'll be here for literally weeks and months going  
through all of the pros and cons of fixed vs. fluid layouts that have  
been debated for years. There is no right answer.

p.s. Lennart, 1600 wide? Are you serious? Regardless of monitor size,  
do you actually leave your browser window open to that size? In all  
the stats I've seen 1600 represents 0% to 1% of users and I'd imagine  
most sites "look like shit" at that size (in the rare case, I'd  
imagine, that the user has the browser set to full screen).

p.p.s. I will be working on the Linux rendering issues which is  
actually a good example of the real challenges with web design.  
Getting a standards based site to look good on IE an Firefox on a PC  
is a (nightmarish at times) challenge alone (mostly thanks to IE's  
lack of standards support). Getting it to work on every browser on  
every OS and look good is a boatload of work. My focus is to do just  
that while keeping the html and css *clean* and free of hacks and  
javascript as much as possible. Also, keeping the html reusable to  
easily implement future design changes and as maintenance free as  

p.p.p.s. Jens hit the nail on the head. Believe it or not, but 800 x  
600 still represents ~20% of users and I'd rather not have them have  
to scroll horizontally to get to content. Thats *way* worse than  
having extra space on the sides.

Really, guys, what all of this boils down to is that with all of the  
various browsers, OSs, screen resolutions, javascript support etc.  
there can be no one size fits them all answer. Designing a good site  
is about getting to work as well as possible for the majority of  
users, but at the end of the day, no matter what, some users are not  
going to like it. It annoys me that digg.com is fixed for 1024  
because when I have my bookmarks sidebar open in Firefox I have to  
scroll horizontally or close my bookmarks. Great site though and I go  
to it every day. It bugs me that cnn.com has inconsistent navigation  
throughout the site. I go to cnn.com for news all the time. Although  
these features annoy me I'm sure they have valid reasons for doing  
them and they don't prevent me from using the site.

Right now the biggest problem that Zope, zope.org as well as other  
zope products/properties suffers from is useability and marketing.  
The least of any problems is what color the sites are, whether the  
pages are fluid or fixed width or whatever. The real problem is that  
no knows what Zope is, how it works or how to use the sites. I've  
been using Zope and zope.org for like 7 or 8 years now and you know  
what, I have no clue how to add content to my page on zope.org and to  
upload any of the interesting products or skins Ive created. Thats a  
problem when people within the community can't figure stuff out,  
forget newcomers. Zope is better than PHP or Ruby on Rails but is  
getting it's a$$ kicked every single day by them because of just this  
kind of stuff. At this point it's a game of catch up for Zope and for  
any of these projects to get stalled because a website "looks like  
shit" on a 1600 pixel wide monitor is just insane.

Lets get past these basic design issues, get a test site up and  
running and start getting our hands dirty. Lets implement the html  
and css and then get down to brass tacks and start the *real* work of  
editorializing the content so that it's understandable to newcomers  
as well as veterans, making content easily accessible and clearly  
labeled, providing easy to use interfaces and functionality. Keep  
this in mind too, that a many times a decision as to whether or not  
to use Zope for a particular project, *cough* *especially for large  
scale projects* *cough* (trust me, I know), will be greatly  
influenced by some non-technical people. If they can't go to a site  
and at least get a basic idea of the strengths of the product and  
feel comfortable with the marketing of that product they'll forget  
about it in 2 seconds. Its the details of this site that are much  
more important at the end of the day than how wide the margins of the  
page are.

On Sep 4, 2006, at 5:08 AM, Martijn Faassen wrote:

> Jens Vagelpohl wrote:
>> Hash: SHA1
>> On 4 Sep 2006, at 10:26, Martijn Faassen wrote:
>>>>           o Trading in having the space on the sides for less  
>>>> control over all page layouts. I'm going for functional control  
>>>> in this case over a prettier layout.
>>>>           o The current page is laid out to work on 800 x 600  
>>>> and above. Most people will view the site at 1024 x 786 or 800 x  
>>>> 600 and not see large gaps on the side.
>>> Is 800x600 that common these days?
>> It is very common to have users who will see scrollbars with fixed  
>> 1024 width designs. Including me on the 12" iBook. One reason I  
>> normally hate fixed width designs with a passion is because I get  
>> scrollbars, most designs seem to be fixed for 1024 pixel screens.
>> Here's an example of a fixed width design that was fixed at a  
>> width too big for my screen:
>> http://www.zope.de/
>> I can't stand it. Tom made a wise choice. And please don't add  
>> columns to make it wider.
> Good point; I get scrollbars on that site as well (on a 1200 wide  
> screen this time, but I almost never maximize my browser). That's a  
> good argument against content boxes on the right side, at least in  
> a fixed design.
> I wonder whether it would be very difficult/unwise to make the  
> content area semi-stretchable as one can see on some sites. That  
> is, doesn't stretch all the way on a wide screen, but stretches/ 
> compresses partially.
> Regards,
> Martijn
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