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September 4, 2005
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Inkscape Web Site 1 by Anarres Inkscape Web Site 1 by Anarres
Provided that I get to fix some nasty behavior with Internet Exploer (who doesn't follow the standards, and makes us all suffer because of that) and to find out how I am supposed to accomodate it to the current Inkscape website engine, I'm going to submit this design to this contest.

As you can see, the design is clean. It uses no tables nor frames nor any other weird elements. Its HTML and CSS validate. It seems to display reasonably well in resolutions ranging from 800x600 (a rather tight fit, but still functional) to (of course) larger ones.

I can tell that it is not the most ergonomic design, that for sure. For starters, using fixed width is usually not very desirable when you want to display a lot of text content that can vary in size. Now add to it the fact that this uses fixed height too. In small resolutions it is a tight fit, and in larger ones there is quite a lot of space wasted around it (though `horror vacui' is not one of my problems, I kinda like it with all that white space around)...

...but we are talking about a design tool here. Perhaps it is interesting to display design in the site as well, even if it cripples slightly functionality. I like the effect of the mountain top in the background. I like the choosing of Garamond for the menu items. I like the floating inkscape logo, suspended over the box border. I like the `Draw Freely.' line in pushkin's handwriting below. I like its simplicity, almost to a minimalistic extrem. I like the black on white and white on black.

I really like it, so that is that. :nod:

However, I will appreciate very much any comments and help you can provide on any aspect of the website: CSS and HTML optimization, accesibility, design, usability -- anything.
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:iconbluefluke:
Seems pretty ace, I like the simplicity of the design, most people just want the thing to be pretty rather than functional so thumbs up on focusing on substance over style, if it doesn't work there is no point in making look neat but you balanced it out.
I don't like the fact that it's in a wee little box but that's just a personal preference, or it could just be that my res is too high and I'm using IE.
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:iconanarres:
No, you are right. You just pointed out its main flaw.

The height and the width of the box are fixed. That is needed for the design, because it relies on the background image having a certain width (I think I could manage to make the rest of the elements scalable).

But I don't see a way around it as the design is right now, and it annoys me slightly.

Thanks for the rest of the compliments, though.
So it looks reasonably good in IE?
Have you compared it with how it looks in Firefox?
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:iconbluefluke:
Well I just reinstalled mozilla/firefox a little while ago (spyware is satan), and I checked out your site, and it's better on the moz, for example the links change color and the link underlines connect (cool effect BTW).
Did you make (or co-make) inkscape?
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:iconanarres:
My, no! I don't have the necessary programming skills to do anything even remotely as complex...

No, I just use it regularly -- it's my primary tool for graphic design. I find it comfortable, fitting to my needs -- and it is Free Software, a model of economy and culture which I favour because of my ideology.

Hmm... So the dashed link underlines in the main text body don't become solid lines upon hover in IE?
Oh, and how well does it display the footer?
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:iconbluefluke:
Well that's another anomaly with IE, in the moz it appears below the box, however in IE it appears inside the box
to the right of the search bar.
Just for the heck of it I checked it out using "EvoX" and got a bizzare surprise, the site loads,
for a brief second shows the source code, appears and begins to shake violently, it was kinda cool tho. ^_^
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:iconanarres:
Uh...
I have managed to generate animated HTML... :P

Never heard of EvoX. I don't think I have to worry with it, though, since the site is conformant with the HTML and CSS standards and thoese behaviors seem to be a result of poor code interpretation. The contest does demand that the page renders reasonably similar in all mainstream browsers, too, so I think I'll still have to investigate more on IE.
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:iconbluefluke:
Isn't there some tool that works universally?
If not, there should be (I'm no expert in html). I remember there was a free program
called "hotdog" back in the day that worked like "renderware" between IE and Netscape.
That may be be useless to you if you program in a "notepad" fashion, but there has to be
some way to debug with less hassle.
Reply
:iconanarres:
There should be, yes, an "universal renderer", but I have been unable to find it. There is a page which renders websites in Mac's Camino and throws the output as a PNG (I can fetch the URL if you want). But I have been unable to find an equal thing for IE, and it'd be very useful to me -- I have no windows to speak of, so no IE.
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:iconchromakode:
:worship: Anarres, you've done it again! I really really like this. I think you've done a splendid job at depicting the simplicity and beauty in our beloved Inkscape. If I went to this site, and saw it was free, I would definitely download it.

One suggestion, though: when I first visit the site, my eye automatically goes to the top of the right panel, and has to confusedly search downwards to reach the explanation of Inkscape. I think that if you took the first line or so and put it at the top in black (fit to the mountain of course and in line with general), it would read better, although you have to figure out the break afterwards anyway. You could start the inner text with something like "Inkscape supports SVG features including shapes, paths, ..." What do you think about adding a little 50% gray to the image? Maybe the heading border things would look nice in gray. Also, I think you should put the inky trail of the logo at the bottom! I think you could figure out a clever way to fit "More News Options" into there similar to at the top.

I hope this is helpful in improving your design. I love it. Great work!
Reply
:iconanarres:
Chromakode, sire, you make me blush. :blush:
But thanks-a-heap. I value highly your oppinion.

I can see what you mean with the issue on the first lines of text. However, I am not sure that it would work well, because part of the appeal of the page is its unusual disposition. Even further, I think it works quite well the fact that this awkwardness is temporary, and that once you scroll down it arranges to a more practical text-block layout. I'll try what you say, though, just to see what happens.

Regarding the 50% gray... I'll have to give it a try too. Until now, however, I've tried to keep the page almost completely monochrome -- save for the gray hightlights in the left menu, and in the visited links in the footer. Part of the idea is to stress those two colours -- black and white, no more. It's kinda defying the viewer: "this is the website of a design program, but we are so cool that we are not going to place pretty colours and pictures anywhere." :D Or perhaps it's just me -- I tend to get very spartan at times.

What I do reall think is a great idea is the ink-trail one -- I'm gonna give it a try this very night, for I think it has a lot of potential. I knew that somethin was not really right with the bottom of the pate, but I couldn't put my finger on it... Now I know. I think that can give the page a very nice touch and a feeling of completeness. ĄThanks a heap!
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