[sword-devel] New SWORD website - update

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Tue Dec 30 06:22:49 MST 2008

Peter von Kaehne wrote:
> re 1 line vs 2 line menu bar.
> I have been given some grief regarding my choice of a single menu bar.
> I think I have an acceptable solution - the real problem is to have
> narrow screens and shallow screens (wide screens or even worse netbooks)
> equally well accommodated. Some compromise is probably inevitable
> The previous solution with 2 bars in a table design creates a lot of
> redundant space which is a real nuisance and space hog on a shallow
> screen, while working pretty well on a narrow screen. I am working a lot
> on acer aspire and this annoys badly on there. It is also totally non
> standard.
> My last solution of a single table row works well on shallow and normal
> screens, but causes scrolling on very narrow screens.

I checked the crosswire.org site on a desktop with a nice large screen 
resolution, an iPhone (320x480), the same iPhone in landscape (480x320), 
and an EeePC (640x400).

It looks okay on a desktop, but the 2-line version was significantly 
more attractive.

On the iPhone in portrait mode, it's unreadable in standard (non-zoomed) 
resolution and expands itself to lines because "Volunteers...", "The 
SWORD Project", and "Bible Societies..." all wrap to two lines. In 
landscape mode, the same wrapping occurs, but the text is at least 
legible (unzoomed).

The EeePC is worse yet because "Bible Societies..." wraps to 3 lines.

So I don't think the argument on the basis of screen 
resolution/dimensions is valid. I couldn't find any of the 2-line pages 
still alive to confirm this, but I'm willing to bet they look better.

I still think the 2 line version is better on the basis of aesthetics 
and utility. And it's one of a number of things that were not broken, 
but were nevertheless "fixed".

> ---------------------------------------
> re styling and coloring.
> This remains a contentious issue clearly. I do not expect anyone to like
> my design choices - though some seem to do so.

The color scheme and overall design are another thing that were not 
broken, but got "fixed".

> Basically I am moving as much as possible out of hardcoded "styling" -
> added white space, forced formatting, table designs - etc into CSS
> styles.  In the process I implement CSS styles as I think is
> appropriate, but hopefully someone else can eventually create some
> alternative styling which has more widespread resonance. The point of my
> rewriting is not so much to make it pretty but to make it widely usable
> (see below two examples) and make it easy to make better. A one page A4
> more or less universal style sheet is a lot easier to fix and improve
> than the previous hardcoded way.

CSS is another way of expressing the same information that can be 
hardcoded. I think moving to CSS is perfectly admirable (although there 
are certainly arguments against it, such as incompatibility with older 
browsers). Moving to CSS is, however, not a reason for changing design.

> The current/old design is breaking badly on narrow devices while being
> annoying on shallow devices (see above) - the module library  page
> requires sideway scrolling from 800 px downwards, while mine currently
> will display well on ~400 px or probably  less - particularly once I fix
> the menu all over in the way I suggest above. At the same time my pages
> are largely not more than a single screen on a normal screen.

On the EeePC, the Sword page looks fine on the EeePC. It's legible from 
about 8 inches on the iPhone in portrait, 15 inches in landscape. The 
menu bar on the new Sword page actually wraps currently, which is 
unattractive and extremely confusing.

I agree that the download section should be redesigned, but don't 
believe that it's fair to compare the old page with a new one in which 
the primary differences are removal of the module ID & a download link 
and a shrunken font. That's not due to changed styling or CSS.

> The other aspect I tried to take care of is color blindness - and I do
> not mean the inability to choose nice colours, under which many of us
> men including probably me suffer - but red-green blindness which makes a
> lot of designs hard to follow. A huge proportion of all men have some
> degree of red-green weakness, some minor, some profound.
> One of the list members with significant weakness has advised me
> privately of my color choices until the links etc work for him
> (invariably it is a "him"). Wrong choices make links invisible and text
> unreadable. Interestingly - and I speak as a doctor here - most men are
> simply unaware of their own weakness in this area - you need fairly
> profound levels to actually notice, but even weaker levels cause grief
> on websites. So, you might not like my choices, but they seem to work
> for the brother concerned (and the millions like him) and you need to do
> better on this count before you criticise.

You might find this color-blindness simulator helpful: 

If there are issues with hue in the current site, then we can adjust 
them. I can't see anything after a quick check against the primary types 
of colorblindness--and I would not expect to, given that we don't use 
text and background colors with similar saturation & brightness levels.

I cannot say the same if the new design. The current menu bar has narrow 
green text on a low-brightness gray, which make the text very difficult 
to read. The news headlines all have black on very dark green, which is 
nearly illegible unless you highlight with the mouse.

You raised the issue in an email to me of the CrossWire site, Sword 
site, forums, and wiki all having different designs. My position is that 
the CrossWire and Sword sites should have different designs. The Sword 
site, the forums, the bug tracker, and the customized Google search all 
have different layouts, but they have identical color schemes. (NB: I do 
think the background on the last of these should get a change for 
readability.) This is pretty typical. Different applications (like 
wikis, forums, & bug trackers) typically have different layouts based on 
  what the application provides. But they keep consistent color schemes, 
as we do. I suppose the wiki is the exception for us. But if we want to 
adjust the wiki color scheme, that is certainly an option that is 
available to us.


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