Horse VanThis week I finished the website I was designing for an old friend

The project was great for me as I used to dabble in web stuff many years ago but haven’t found the time for it recently.

I have learnt a lot from the experience from both a design perspective as well as get some hands on experience with the latest technologies and languages behind web design.

The biggest challenge for me was the actual design. I don’t claim to be a designer so much as a developer. If I plan to get into web design—even if it is only for part of my income—then I am going to have to brush up a bit on the artistic side of things.

Anyway this is another item to cross off the Bucket List.

Points of Interest

There are a few little bits of the site that I am quite proud of. The images scale to match the resolution you are viewing the page at. I have allowed for a resolution as low as 1024×768, which I think is the lowest you are likely to get on any monitor nowadays, and allow for resizing up to about 1600px. Anything larger and the borders increase to pad out the window.

I know you can get much lower resolutions on internet phones but it was decided not to bother with them for now.

The fluid layout is something that I am a big fan of. I have a nice big 24? monitor at home and I always view the web in fullscreen to get as much information on the screen as I can, that’s the reason I bought it. Unfortunately most websites restrict their width, allowing for the lowest common denominator. This means there are always huge empty spaces on either side of the information when I view them.

The whole premise of the web was to make the layout fluid to allow for the content to be easily read at different resolutions. This seems to have been forgotten about as Typography seems to be the new keyword for the web.

I am not saying this is a bad thing but I want to try and find some middle ground, allowing for easily readable content but taking advantage of all the screen real estate that may be available.

The Boring Stuff

Just in case you are interested here are a few of the more technical details of the site, and my process.

I did the whole project using a simple text editor and wrote it all using HTML5 and CSS3 which are both completely new to me.

These are both brand new technologies that are only just being implemented by the internet browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 is still a bit behind the times though and so there is a hack required to allow it to try and keep up with the others. Microsoft is promising HTML5 compliance in version 9 though.

I always have to have an eye on the future though. That is the reason I coded this site from scratch, rather than trying to fit the project into some pre-designed template.

Learning the underlying languages is going to be important to me for when I am ready to start designing web applications as this will require all of it’s pages to be produced on the fly from a scripting language like PHP.

I have used PHP before but again I am a bit out of touch so I will need to reacquaint myself with the basics of the language before I can start pumping stuff out.

Image: © Henley Horse Travel


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