Website design refresh

It has been nearly 3 years since I first launched the freestyle developments website and it was long overdue for a design and code refresh. Today I finally relaunched the site.

For me, the biggest change has been to move to a HTML5 doctype. The site now utilises many of the new HTML5 tags, such as header, footer, nav, section, article, aside and time as well as some of the new HTML5 forms attributes. Many thanks goes to @rem and @brucel for their fantastic HTML5 book, which I gleaned a lot of useful information from.

I’ve also given it a bit of a visual refresh, to use some CSS3 properties that I’m now regularly using on sites I build: drop shadows, rounded corners – that sort of eye candy. It means that my CSS no longer validates with no errors, but I’m hoping people in the know will be able to see past the vendor specific CSS property prefix errors e.g. “-moz-”, “-webkit-”.

I’ve gone for a Jello Mold layout to give me the flexibility of a fluid layout within parameters I control. I love fluid layouts, but their biggest enemy is widescreen displays, which makes reading text difficult due to the long line lengths, which is minus points for accessibility.

Assuming your default font size is 16px, my site is fluid between 700px and 1280px. Outside of these browser widths the site is rigid. It means that the site never gets so small that the content is unreadable, and never become so wide that the line width is a hindrance to legibility. Another nice thing about the Jello Mold is that between the max and min, the site re-sizes itself in an organic way, which really has to be experienced to be appreciated (give it a go now, go on).

I’ve also updated my CSS to use the YUI reset sylesheet. I don’t agree with absolutely everything that YUI are doing with their CSS stylesheets, but they have some really interesting ideas and valid points. Either way, it is nice to have part of my styles coming off a CDN and is a bit more up to date than the reset I used to use.

In accordance with my post on the EM unit and browser zoom, I’ve updated my stylesheets and removed all references to pixels in favor of EM’s like I have been doing with all my new website builds for a while now. I don’t set a font size for any of my pages html or body elements, allowing the user to choose the size of my website by setting their default font size for their browser, which is 16px for most browsers.

Anyway, I think that is all I have to say for now. Enjoy the new site and all the interesting tech that comes with it. If this all sounds good to you, and you’re looking for a freelancer like me. Get in touch.