I've fallen ridiculously far behind in my journal. There are dozens of things I've been wanting to write about, including recent household acquisitions, improved sleep, politics, the usual assortment of links and pointers, and this past extremely social weekend (featuring Dan's wedding party, Susan's birthday party, and Mary Anne's birthday party). But I don't have time to talk about any of those things, 'cause I need to go read a bunch of submissions.
But I can spare a minute to mention that we've now launched the long-awaited Strange Horizons redesign!
The basic design was created by Elaine Chen (who also designed the Speculative Literature Foundation site), with input from Susan and Brian and Will and me and various others. (But mostly Susan.) I reworked some of the CSS and cleaned up some of the HTML structure; Will began the implementation of the design, and Brian—in a marathon week or two of hard work—finished it.
We tested it as thoroughly as we could in Windows and Mac browsers, but we're bound to have missed things. If something looks really bad in your browser, let us know.
- The most obvious change is that we've gotten rid of the frameset. I hasten to note that I still think frames are useful and valuable in some contexts. But they do cause problems (especially for bookmarking individual content pages), and an awful lot of people hate them. At any rate, we'll eventually change the relevant script so that old links directly to framed content get redirected to the new unframed version, but that'll have to wait 'til we convert all the old content, which may take a while.
- Relatedly, we've removed almost all the navigational graphics from the design; almost all the navigation is now done using plain text and CSS. So people with slow connections should, I hope, see a noticeable improvement in speed of page loading, though that may be slightly offset by the slightly longer time the browser needs to lay out the page now.
- Speaking of CSS, almost all of the look of the site is now done using CSS, which means that the site is more standards-compliant and should be significantly more usable in a wider variety of contexts; in particular, it should be more accessible for people using screen-readers and other methods other than the usual graphical browsers. (Though there are still a few small accessibility improvements to be added.) Also, it means we can make changes to the look sitewide by changing a single file.
- Unfortunately, the site looks terrible in Netscape 4 and current versions of iCab, due to lack of proper CSS support. I think the text should mostly be more or less readable in those browsers, but it'll never look very good. I'm sorry about that. NS4 tends to crash when it encounters CSS it doesn't like, and iCab is apparently planning to support CSS in some future version but doesn't yet. We hid most of the CSS code from NS4, so at least it won't crash; I'm hoping, over time, to reveal a little more of the CSS to NS4 so it'll look slightly better.
- Font sizes may not be what you're used to. That's because we chose the most accessible approach to font sizing rather than the most consistent look. The approach we're using looks somewhat different across browsers and platforms, unfortunately. If you feel that the font size for the body text is too large or too small, let us know what your browser, browser version number, and operating system is, but I can't promise we can do anything about it. However, you can do something about it, because the approach we're using means that we pay attention to your browser's default font size. Almost all browsers allow you to change font size; some (like Safari) make it very convenient by allowing you to put a font-size control in your browser control bar (View > Text Size).
- Here's one of the coolest things about CSS: we have separate style sheets for screen and print. That means that you can print a story without having to go to some separate "print-friendly" page; in theory, it'll come out looking much more like typeset material than it used to. The print style sheet still needs a lot of tweaking; give it a try (you might want to try printing one or two pages first to make sure it looks okay) and let me know if you run into problems. I don't know whether print style sheets are supported in all browsers that support CSS.
- Most of you probably don't care, but the sample pages we did in the new design validated as valid XHTML. I haven't yet tried validating the actual pages; I'm sure we'll need to make a few tweaks to make them validate. But shouldn't take much.
- Some of the site's non-content pages may not be really polished yet; I imagine there are still some changes to be made there. Relatedly, some of the links in the left-hand navbar may not work quite right yet.
- The forum and the archive remain as they were for now.
I think that's about it. Feel free to post comments in my journal (LJ users should follow the link to my journal page first, as always), or to post them in the relevant forum topic.
Thanks much to everyone who worked on this—most especially Brian, who really did a phenomenal amount of work on the site this past week.