Simon Willison’s Weblog


A List Apart Again

22nd October 2003

A List Apart has unveiled the long awaited redesign, and is celebrating it’s third manifestation with three brand new articles.

The redesign is currently being discussed on Webdesign-L, and the general consensus is that it’s a bit of a disappointment. I agree; while a perfectly servicable and attractive design to me it gives off the air of a well designed weblog rather than a cutting edge web design and development magazine.

Of the three new articles, the best by far is Doug Bowman’s Sliding Doors of CSS, which describes in great detail how multiple background images applied to nested elements can be used to create a set of elegant, size-expandable tabs. Multiple nested backgrounds are not a new idea, but I haven’t seen Doug’s technique of creating a narrow image for the left hand side which overlaps a much larger right hand image before. I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of interesting variations on this in the next few months.

Joe Clark’s Facts and Opinion About Fahrner Image Replacement confirms the now widely accepted fact that display: none; hides content from screen readers, rendering the Fahrner Image Replacement technique obsolete. According to the author, the article was completed some time ago and thus does not cover more recent innovations in the field of image replacement, such as the Leahy / Langridge hack.

The third article, Random Image Rotation, introduces a simple PHP script for randomly serving up an image from a directory. I’ve always found the server side development material on ALA relatively uninspiring, but I guess this is because the target audience of the site is more designers than developers.

It’s worth mentioning that the site’s information architecture has been completely redone, making it far easier to dig through the excellent material in the archives. All in all it’s great to see the site back again, and I look forward to reading new material as it arrives.

This is A List Apart Again by Simon Willison, posted on 22nd October 2003.

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