Reply To: New theme planned for the blog and possible use of CDN

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Was going to second Good In Parts’ request to “Please, please, unstick the page header”

Then saw Darth’s comment “Page header now unstuck.” Thank heavens for that!

Sticky page headers are a total nightmare on widescreen monitors, especially small laptop ones – so much screen ‘real estate’ is lost. The ‘bouncing up and down’ thing that happens while scrolling is also extremely irritating; it might be more accurate to refer to them as ‘semi-sticky’ headers, because they DON’T stay completely still!

I appreciate it must be a bit of a nightmare these days to design web pages that look good and function well on all the various devices people use now. I would venture to say that that is actually an impossible task – there are too many compromises involved, whichever way you approach it.

My personal viewpoint is that, wherever serious exchange of information and ideas is involved, the emphasis should be on readability – in other words, please do not make things hard for people who are READERS.

I suspect most web designers are somewhat younger than many of the end-users for whom they are designing. Young eyes can read anything, even something as atrocious and challenging as 6pt Arial. Older eyes can’t (at least, without a good magnifying glass)!

One other fact I would like to point out is that the old typographic rule of using sans-serif fonts for computer screens (as distinct from using serif fonts for printed text) no longer really applies.

Apart from the (in my view, very unfortunate) fashion/trend for ‘minimalist’ sans-serif fonts even, very inappropriately, for printed documents, the fact is that sans-serif fonts made text more readable on old low-definition CRT and LCD monitors – there simply wasn’t good enough screen definition to reproduce the actual serifs.

(Serifs add important visual cues for the eye/brain system to much more easily (and hence, quickly and accurately) read text, but on low-definition monitors they can actually have a ‘muddling’ or ‘blurring’ effect).

Modern monitors (even mobile devices, but especially ‘proper’ PC/laptop monitors) now have very good definition – plenty good enough to accurately reproduce those wonderfully helpful serifs.

One final point concerning modern monitors (on all devices) … most of us now (soon to be all of us) are NOT looking at LCD screens, but LED-backlit screens. These are MUCH brighter than before, which is why large expanses of white space are so tiring on the eyes – it’s like having a bright light shone directly in your eyes. Actually it’s not LIKE having a bright light shone directly in your eyes, it is LITERALLY having a bright light shone directly in your eyes!

Add to that the fact that factory-default monitor settings are ALWAYS wrong, and nobody except photographers and others concerned (professionally or otherwise) with accurate colour reproduction ‘colour-profile’ their monitors (using a hardware colorimeter such as the X-Rite i1Display Pro together with accompanying profiling software) and you have yet another battle that the poor old human eye has to fight – the ineveitable overly-bright, bluish-tinged colour cast produced by unprofiled monitors (blue being the most physically aggressive ‘tinge’ out there, as opposed to a ‘warmer’ tinge like yellow).

Hope some of the above helps, or is of interest.