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.