Sunday, 21 November 2004

Site Re-design, Second Step

The second round of re-design was a short one. This is because I went out last night and didn't see much of the morning today. Nevertheless, I did a couple of changes.

Cosmetic changes

I didn't like my new h4 tags so I removed the italics and modified the other headers so that h3 would stand out from h4 better.

Link and access key to front page

I realised that the fact that the link back to the front page only existed on the archive pages meant that this same link was not available from the permanent pages, where the comments are. It also meant that the presence of this link was dependant on Javascript, which can pose problems, as highlighted in the next section. Therefore, I changed the template to have this link, and its associated access key on all pages. So you can now click the link or press ALT-1 to go back to the front pages, from any page on the site. I'll grant you that this feature is of dubious benefit on the front page itself except that it refreshes it and brings you back to the top.

HTML validation

I ran the W3C validator and the Bobby accesibility validator against the home page. This made me realise that my DOCTYPE was incorrect so I changed it. I then tried to correct all the errors highlighted by both services and am now left with errors in the Blogger toolbar on top and in the fact that I use Javascript to build the Blogrolling link lists, both of which I have no control over. The use of Javascript poses another problem in the sense that, in a browser that has Javascript disabled or doesn't support it, the lists of links will not appear.

In order for this page to be Bobby approved, valid XHTML 1.0, I would first need to convince the Blogger team to make their top toolbar accessible. I would then need to convince the Blogger and Blogrolling teams to make both systems interact better, in a way that doesn't require Javascript. One solution would be to have the ability in the Blogger template to use server side includes so that you could include fragments of code from another source, directly at the server, rather than rely on client side Javascript to do it; then Blogrolling would need to be able to deliver HTML without it being enclosed in a document.write Javascript call. I'll see what I can do. At the end of the day, it doesn't harm to ask.

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