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my personal website: request for critiques

Okay, folks, I'm looking for some advice in updating my personal website. You can check it out here.

(By the way, note how I've added a page where I embedded my LiveJournal. You, too, can do this by reading the FAQ here. PS: Anyone know how to adjust the javascript for the Amazon link so it opens in a new window? I tried....)

I want to create a unified CSS for the entire site, as right now it's coded into each page... and inconsistently. I'd like to use my site more as a real tool for promoting my fiction and the Center, which is partly why I added my LJ as a link. So I welcome any and all recommendations for page and CSS design!

Thanks, Chris


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 16th, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
Hi Chris,

Speaking as someone with some vision problems (used to be much worse, thankfully) I find the text somewhat difficult to read on the black and starry background. I might suggest either making the text brighter (white, even) or making the background less busy (or even not everywhere). I realize you're shooting for a "look" to the web site and I don't want to deny you that...just to point out the contrast difficulty for some of us.

Apr. 16th, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Gary. I've just added the starry background on those two pages; elsewhere it's just a plain black background. Which do you prefer?
Apr. 17th, 2007 08:15 pm (UTC)
Most of your pages (on my screen) have a yellow background behind text with black around the borders and are easy to read. The link to LJ, which has white type on shades of grays and black (at least on my screen) was fine, except for the blue links (on black background). The "Robots" page with white type on a black background is fine.

So...I guess the black with startfield page is the only one I really have trouble with. Make the text lighter, or just plain white, and that should fix it without destroying the black and starfield. (Not sure if the links can be lightened or not -- that blue on black is difficult.)

Speaking of *difficult*, I'll bet you think I'm being difficult! :)
Apr. 17th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
Very useful comments, thanks. I like the black frame as a design feature, and the off-white background in the reading boxes to avoid eye-strain, but want to freshen the look and test usability. So thank you!
Apr. 16th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
It is hard to read, too much dark letters, I think.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2007 02:45 am (UTC)
I may be wrong, but my recollection is that most of those studies were done for things like billboards and printed documents that were short and had to be read from a great distance.

White text on black computer screens tends to cause eye fatigue when you read for any length of time. I tend to go by the "WWAD" idea on a lot of this. What Would Amazon Do? You can substitute Google or Yahoo! or bunches of other high traffic sites that make wads of cash from people visting them. WWYD? Hee.

Nearly all of those sites use dark text on light backgrounds. I don't know of any top ten Internet site that uses white on black.
Apr. 17th, 2007 03:37 am (UTC)
That's interesting...
However, I know that ... However a Black background with dark colored letters are very hard for me to discern.
Apr. 17th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC)
I think it would help tremendously if the font were larger and a bold or "thicker" font for the color-on-black pages, preferably sans serif to avoid the color muddiness.

I have to admit I tend to quit reading when it's too hard to read the fonts against dark backgrounds, and I was one of the worst offenders for doing black pages when I first learned html 4. They're so cool visually otherwise!
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2007 01:27 pm (UTC)
I like that a lot.
Like the way Chris did the other pages with black background?
Apr. 17th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC)
I also agree with the dark text / busy background being difficult to read, especially on my laptop where colors don't always come out as bold as they're supposed to be. The easiest way for me to read everything was to highlight it all with my mouse.. ^^;

Maybe if you made the colors 10-20% brighter and made the contrast on the stars less it would help. If you were really ambitious, you could do different colored stars (making it less bright than white-on-black) using whatever graphic editing software you have - it doesn't look like it's a large graphic so it wouldn't be too hard. But lighter text would definitely be helpful.

Also, I'm a fan of the unified look to everything, so if I were you I would use exactly the same color scheme on every page, maybe with a slightly modded view for the home page. That creamy color is nice, and with the black backround still gives off the feel you're going for while making it a lot easier to read!

Also also, to be nitpicky, you have a broken link to the robot picture on your Poetry page. You forgot to add the /photos/ bit. :)
Apr. 17th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm planning to fix a bunch of stuff (it's mostly been just sitting there for two years), so wanted to do it all in one fell swoop.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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