Creating a website
Febuary 7, 2014
Designing and creating a website is an interesting art. In principle it is fairly easy to do, however once one gets into the details of design and user experiance along with the .. interesting.. as the properties and behaviours of CSS can become much more complicated as they interact.
This site has gone through many iterations in its development, despite the fact that it is a placeholder for a much more ambitious project. It began with the use of frames, something that I had learned to use years ago in my first explorations of HTML. Upon doing some research, I discovered the various fallbacks of this technique to creating header bars and navigational elements.
The propper way to design a website is to use CSS for all stylistic elements, and HTML for all content. This threw me off at first, becuase doing it this way means that the entire page must be reloaded from scratch every time a use navigates to a new location despite the fact that the top and left parts of the page remain constant.
Some research revealed that there were ways to simply swap content using JavaScipt, but that this too had its draw backs, and many browsers now cache data that is frequently requested (making my site slightly faster anyways). From this research I decided to give it a shot, and try developing this page as per accepted standards.
Now I realize that this site isn't fully compliant. For example I do not even attempt to support anything that doesn't use the latest standards. So if this site looks a little weird I recommend you update/switch to a modern browser like Chrome or Firefox. I could have supported older browsers, but it is my personal opinion that we shouldn't encourage people to use outdated browsing technology (it's unsafe and a pain).
Going by this philosophy, my site has still gone through quite a few design iterations. To name a few: the Contact box used to be an entire bar, with content flush against it; the colour scheme changed, and may change again in the future; and various parts of the header and footer have gone through drastic changes in font, color, and word choice.
This final iteration is something that I am pleased with. It feels clean and readable, but still fairly technical. The spacing of elements is attractive to the eye, with content being the main focus.
From this, I think that the design of this site will end here for now. Content will be updated as appropriate (the Involvements, About, and Blog pages still need some work). Once all the content is up to date, I will begin developing a Python script to modify the Blog html and pages to make adding posts easier. Once that script is finished, I will begin devoting the majority of my free time to creating the second iteration of this site (a 3D interactive site using Js and canvuses, and no WebGL to maintain maximum compatability).