Clean Slate

September 15, 2016

Last I refreshed the underlying code of this site, I was overly verbose with the HTML. I was trying to do something along the lines of CSS Zen Garden, a site from many years ago.

The idea was that if I had a bunch of elements, I could easily grab any elements in subsequent redesigns with excellent granularity, without having to touch the underlying layout or use pseudo-elements.

However, in reality, I was happy with this site’s simple appearance, an appearance true to itself: words on a page. And because of that satisfaction, I felt little desire over time to do anything beyond tweak hexcodes.

That meant anyone visiting this site wasted some miniscule amount of time and bandwidth downloading unnecessary HTML elements.

Another issue with the previous design was its navigation. I liked its simplicity, but it had a few issues:

  1. Since it was a horizontal navigation bar, adding new categories would result in an unpleasant appearance on small-screened devices.
  2. Touch-screen devices can’t hover over menus. But when touch-screen users tapped the parent-menu items, the child-menu items would display as intended.
  3. It had accessibility issues. You couldn’t keyboard navigate it and the menu confused screen readers.

The menu was designed for my computing preferences, but it didn’t work too well on others. I spent some time writing variations to fix those problems, but I wasn’t fully happy with any of them.

And while I liked the address structure of /category/title, especially for addresses like /favorite/quotes, a lot of front-page posts fell into the same category and other categories weren’t used much.

And I never quite knew when to use the Review category. A review can be many things. Going over something can be a review. An analysis can be a review. A reflection can be a review, but I also had a Reflection category. And many reviews these days are opinions of various depth on products, sometimes as shallow as inspections of the box it shipped in. It’s confusing.

I’ve removed categories from front-page post addresses. But I like the idea of having a Review category, and I’ll probably bring it back when I know how to use it better.

The name of this post? It was the name of my working directory for this refresh.