[Catalyst] Re: Catalyst site design drafts feedback thread

J. Shirley jshirley at gmail.com
Tue Jun 17 16:18:04 BST 2008

On Tue, Jun 17, 2008 at 7:00 AM, Tobias Kremer <list at funkreich.de> wrote:
> Quoting Aristotle Pagaltzis <pagaltzis at gmx.de>:
>> * Tobias Kremer <list at funkreich.de> [2008-06-17 11:40]:
>> > I've started to code the site and the ongoing process is
>> > available at http://www.funkreich.de/catalyst
>> Hmm, that *requires* a maximised browser window on a 1024×768
>> screen. I don't know if it really should… how about a jello
>> layout?
> A width of 960 pixels is the current standard for new sites without
> skyscraper/wallpaper ads which must be visible on a 1024x768 15" CRT because ad
> clients and agencies still dictate that as the norm :)
> Compare my version with the already mentioned movabletype.org for instance.
> I hadn't heard of jello layouts before - it seems they're very rarely used ...
> --Tobias

I think this design is by far the best, and would love to see it be "out there".

>From the marketing side of things, I think that your 960px layout is
nicely formatted.  I think it would be more important to make sure it
renders properly in lynx and text browsers than to worry about
rendering properly for everybody regardless of browser width.  Of
course, this is something to be decided by the people implementing and
isn't a nit on the actual layout.  I would prioritize accessibility.

There are a few reasons why I like this layout.

The first, is that I think this layout will accommodate subordinate
pages and layouts better than the rest.  The text in the bar above can
change based on context, but the header can remain fixed (a la
rubyonrails.org) -- this would promote cohesiveness through the site.
The header is short enough it doesn't take up an inordinate amount of

Secondly, it will easily follow various grid based layouts without
requiring any other tweaks.  Looking at the header and the grid of the
site, we can change from 3 column to 2 column (wide, thin; thin, wide;
50/50) for subordinate pages without a feeling of being out of center.

Finally, it's what I find the most attractive in a usability sense.
It may look somewhat "stock" but I don't find that to be a bad thing
at all.  People don't want to admire the layout and graphic design
work of a framework.  They want to have easily presented information
in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  This is, in my opinion, why
standard layouts and design patterns exist.  They cater towards
getting the user the information without insulting their eyes with bad
color combinations, etc.   I could see this design being called bland,
but I think it's a fantastic match for a web development framework.
I'd rather go bland than "over the top" and either miss the design
cues (http://grails.org/ - how many abused design patterns can you
find?), or have clutter (http://www.djangoproject.com/ - I never use
the django site, I just google and it finds it... too cluttered!)

So, in a nutshell, good work Tobias.


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