I know I should be doing coursework, but while doing some research on the BBC's Access 2.0 accessibility blog for my final year embarrassment project, I realised that the alternative high-contrast stylesheets I put together to provide a text-only version of the UPSU.net homepage could be very easily rolled out to all the other pages on UPSU.net with a couple of simple code changes.
I'm busy working out how the new UPSU.net homepage is going to look at the moment. We've been collectively throwing ideas around for a long time now - in fact almost since the first homepage went up last year. The new design is going to address the two main areas of criticism received so far - the prioritisation of content isn't felt to be as good a reflection of the content of UPSU.net as it could be, and there is a little too much reliance on text instead of images.
You would have thought web design would be a simple job - you tell a web browser what colour your text and background is going to be, and what size, and you're pretty much sorted, right?
Uhhm, no such luck.
It was pointed out a couple of days ago that we might be somewhat over-doing it with the amount of comments in our code, especially in our CSS files. I didn't realise just how much until I ran a little test using our new-fangled dynamic CSS thingy; comments make up around 16Kb in the 65Kb of css sent down for the homepage alone.
For a broadband user, that's a whole... one-third of a second to download. Ahh well, at least we're heading in the right direction ;o)
More as a way of helping me remember wot I dun last week than trying to write anything interesting, this week I've mainly been...
More boring non-news from the coal-face at the heart of the UPSU website. Or something...
First up, our SEF URL system - which lets us use URLs like "www.upsu.net/sociallife" instead of "www.upsu.net/index.php?option= com_content &task=view&Itemid= 123&id=blahblahblah... - has been fairly extensively hacked about, so we can now create pages with whatever URL we like, on the fly, and we can also go back and change the URL of existing pages.
(I must learn to write more interesting less terminally dull post titles...)
Today I've been mainly pushing php around the forums: one thing about open source projects is that, when you dig around in the code a bit, you find lots of hidden "extras" that, for one reason or another (lack of time to document, security concerns, lazy developers ... ok the last one is plainly wrong since noone would bother writing open source code if they were *that* lazy) never made it into the released product, or at least weren't fully exploited.