Well, here it is — the first new design for meyerweb since February 2005 (yes, almost 13 years). It isn’t 100% complete, since I still want to tweak the navigation and pieces of the footer, but it’s well past the minimum-viable threshold.
My core goal was to make the site, particularly blog posts, more readable and inviting. I think I achieved that, and I hope you agree. The design should be more responsive-friendly than before, and I think all my flex and grid uses are progressively enhanced. I do still need to better optimize my use of images, something I hope to start working on this week.
Things I particularly like about the design, in no particular order:
- The viewport-height-scaled masthead, using a minimum height of
20vh. Makes it beautifully responsive, always allowing at least 80% of the viewport’s height to be given over to content, without requiring media queries.
- The “CSS” and “HTML” side labels I added to properly classed
preelements. (For an example, see this recent post.)
- The fading horizontal separators I created with sized linear gradients, to stand in for horizontal rules. See, for example, between post content and metadata, or underneath the navlinks up top of the page. I first did this over at An Event Apart last year, and liked them a lot. I may start decorating them further, which multiple backgrounds make easy, but for now I’m sticking with the simple separators.
- Using string-based
grid-template-areasvalues to rearrange the footer at mobile sizes, and also to make the rare sidebar-bearing pages (such as those relating to S5) more robust.
There are (many) other touches throughout, but those are some high points.
As promised, I did livestream most of the process, and archived copies of those streams are available as a YouTube playlist for those who might be interested. I absolutely acknowledge that for most people, nine hours of screencasting overlaid with rambling monologue would be very much like watching paint dry in a hothouse, but as Abraham Lincoln once said: for those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like.
I was surprised to discover how darned easy it is to livestream. I know we live in an age of digital wonders, but I had somehow gotten it into my head that streaming required dedicated hardware and gigabit upstream connections. Nope: my five megabit upstream was sufficient to stream my desktop in HD (or close to it) and all I needed to broadcast was encoding software (I used OBS) and a private key from YouTube, which was trivial to obtain. The only hardware I needed was the laptop itself. Having a Røde Podcaster for a microphone was certainly helpful, but I could’ve managed without it.
(I did have a bit of weirdness where OBS stopped recognizing my laptop’s camera after my initial tests, but before I went live, so I wasn’t able to put up a window showing me while I typed. Not exactly a big loss there. Otherwise, everything seemed to go just fine.)
My thanks to everyone who hung out in the chat room as I livestreamed. I loved all the questions and suggestions — some of which made their way into the final design. And extra thanks to Jen Simmons, who lit the fire that got me moving on this. I enjoyed the whole process, and it felt like a great way to close the books on 2017.