Tue 07 Sep
Okay, so fifteen months later, I’ve begun a major redesign for Subtraction.com. I’m pretty satisfied with the progress, though I admit it’s going slow enough that I’ll be surprised if it’s all done by Halloween. The new overhaul will maintain essentially the same information architecture that you see here from a site and page perspective, but I’ve made some usability improvements so that it will be easier to read, which has become increasingly important to me as I get older — I’ve started that inevitable old codger’s shift away from a young designer’s fascination with teeny, tiny text.
I’ve also got a mildly controversial color palette in mind that has so far received mixed reviews from the handful of confidants kind enough to give me their thoughts; I’ve considered taming the color palette, but what the heck, Web design is often too polite as it is. If folks really don’t like it, it will be easy enough to submit to the pressures of the group by swapping out style sheets. And, by the way, I’m also cleaning up a lot of the mess that discerning visitors may have noticed upon peeking at the code behind any of these pages in their current state — by the time it’s up and running, 99% of the pages in the redesign will validate XHTML 1.0 Strict.
As always, I started out building the templates in BBEdit, but I read a few good things about skEdit, which is more of a Web developer’s text editor than the kind of serious programmer’s editing tool that BBEdit is. So on Saturday I started a 25-day free demo and so far I’m very enthusiastic about it. I’ve tried switching away from BBEdit in the past for coding pages, but the alternatives — like the well-regarded PageSpinner — all felt strange to me, partly because I ‘grew up’ on BBEdit.
This is what skEdit does exactly right: it combines that same no-nonsense sensibility from the only editor that I ever really knew with super-smart contextual affordances attuned to Web development; in short, it feels like a more focused version of BBEdit. To me, this is as shrewd an interaction strategy as any upstart software publisher could follow in looking to steal a bit of the market away from an industry giant like BBEdit. Plus, they were smart enough to adopt an icon that’s exceedingly attractive and easy on the eyes (courtesy of the prolific Jonathan Hicks) which, as someone who likes to patronize good design, means a lot to me.