Wednesday, January 18, 2006

espn's redesign + my first homepage

Espn's front page has gone through another design iteration. This is how it used to look. It was only a matter of time since they've been testing a similar look on their sport specific homepages. I like it a lot..check it out when you get a chance...the days of a left navigation bar are slowly fading away. Since it's been eliminated, more space is available for content. The readability of the top story and headlines, the main content I go to the site for, are much easier to read because of the extra space and size. On the tech side, I know they were early adopters of css and xhtml so I'm guessing that this design change wasn't as difficult as the first time they went xhtml and css.

My approach to css is quite pragmatic. I use it whenever possible but If I have to employ too many hacks to get it to look right in a certain browser, I will ditch it for a universal solution like using tables for layout. In fact, when I coded up the test score and census display for work, I went with tables because I needed total confidence that the achievement pages would render correctly for older browsers and drawing complex ,vertical bar charts whose display is CSS based is impossible without hacks.

on a separate note, I found my old college webpage while looking at the early espn pages. be sure to check out the random quote that appears on the bottom of the page.


jjk said...

First, I want to say that your site looks great, so that you don't think I'm ragging on you.

But, I have to admit I cringe whenever I hear someone say they use tables for page layouts. Does standards-compliant CSS/(X)HTML really cause that many problems in various browsers?

I use standards-compliant XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS, and I have not noticed any weird behavior in Firefox, Safari, Opera, or Internet Explorer.

I am a huge fan of standards compliance, so I try to push it whenever possible. Do you know of a situation where a standards-compliant page has caused you problems?

Dave said...

I'm also a huge fan of standards compliance and were slowly getting there as we recode/implement our site in java but css does have certain gotchas when rendered in all the different browsers we'd like to support..check out this site which details some of them:

I'm definitely not against CSS or point is that sometimes it's ok to go for a tried and true solution like using tables instead of workarounds with CSS just for the sake of not using a table.

One problem that comes to mind is our banner ads...we place an image that says 'ad' directly to the right of the ad. The ad is served through a third party ad server which we call through the use of javascript tags. Originally we had wrapped it in div tags and styled it using css but then we ran into problems because sometimes our 'ad' image would wrap to the next line depending on the content of the ad. our resident css expert at the time spent a long time trying various fixes but eventually we ditched it because they weren't reliable 100% of the time which is a must for a high traffic site.

jjk said...

Thanks for the link. That does, in fact, exactly answer my question. Fortunately, my little blog is simple enough that I haven't needed to use the functionalities that seem to cause such great headaches.

Again, very nice work on the site. And a good blog, too.