Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report

19 December 2003 4 pm est

Redesign in progress

Another day, another redesign.

It’s not finished.

Sidebar content positioning is fractured in Opera 6.

Primary navigation (variation on a theme by Pixy) is smashed insensate in IE5/Mac.

There are minor positioning and latency issues in IE6/Win.

So here it is raw, with its fly open and its hat on backwards.

This is a work in progress. Contents may shift during handling.

Win the Onion

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Spot the Arial

We’ve linked to it before and we’ll link to it again: “How to Spot Arial” shows non-trained designers how to tell Arial from the typefaces it was designed to imitate. Not only will it help you distinguish between Arial and Helvetica, it will also sensitize you to subtleties of graphic design you might otherwise miss.

(And then, when you’re properly aesthetized, you’ll remember that as a web designer you’ve got about five fonts you can play with, and no control over kerning or antialiasing. If you’re really aesthetized, and if you’re one of our many readers who can see Lucida, you will also notice that the italicized word in the preceding sentence was a fake italic. And that alone will drive you nuts.)

The semantic web begins at home

{29 December 2003 — Instant link rot: Soon after we posted “The Semantic Web Begins at Home,” the site discussed below changed completely. Even the sub-page URL listed below disappeared; and the revised site uses text instead of text GIF images of text. Thanks: Giuseppe Marcelli, Jim Barter et al.}

To advertise the First European Semantic Web Symposium, the event’s sponsors commissioned a website. There’s nothing worth noting in that, except that the site they approved is nonsemantic.

Indeed, it’s even less semantic than your average site. Not only are tables used for layout (as on your average site), but every last bit of text is rendered via GIF images. There’s not a real word or a paragraph tag in sight.

The developers even used non-antialiased pixel GIF text and JavaScript to simulate mundane CSS :hover effects in non-antialiasing operating systems. For example, mouse over Submission Details and ESWS Portal Site at the bottom of the Topics page.

Don’t get us wrong: it’s a fine-looking site, built by professionals. From a graphic design point of view, it stands head and shoulders above your typical geek conference site, most of which don’t even dare to dream they could be half so attractive. Tasty, it is; semantic, it ain’t. We wonder how the organizers of a semantic web conference could make such a whopper of an oversight. (Hat tip: Jim Barter.)

Tolkien gesture

Spotted in the Mezzoblue discussion forum:

One DIV to size them all
One DIV to pad them
One DIV to colour them all
And in the browser style them

MSNBC: here we go again

Problems with the MSNBC redesign have been widely reported. It works in IE/Win and fails in most other environments. The site contains proprietary code and hundreds of easily correctable markup errors. Where have all the flowers gone?

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