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Time For A New Look? 14 October 2002 Edition
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Wired.com has just launched its new XML-based website.

It's claiming that this new site offers maximum accessibility to the widest range of browsers and users without the overhead of convoluted code branching or multiple versions of HTML.

It certainly seems to work -- although I'm perhaps a little disappointed that the result seems to be an "all or nothing" effect.

If you're using Netscape 4.x with Javascript turned off (my default configuration) then Wired now looks like this.

Check Out The Aardvark PC-Based Digital
Entertainment Centre Project

Quite functional I guess -- but a little spartan, even for my tastes.

The best thing about the "dumb" version of the page is that the ads are tiny and hardly intrusive at all. Hmm... I'm warming to this :-)

Over the years, I've deliberately kept the layout and format of Aardvark as simple as possible, in the belief that you don't come here each day to be dazzled by my brilliance as a web designer and graphic artist (just as well -- since these are hardly my fortés).

Readers Say
(updated irregularly)
  • Wired XML format... - Bill
  • New Look... - Simon
  • Have Your Say

    This "Keep it Simple" attitude has proven to be quite successful -- but every now and then I get people emailing me to say "boy, your site needs a facelift" -- and I'm starting to think that maybe they're right.

    Now I know that there are a lot of very smart and competent people out there who are just looking for a place to showcase their skills so I figure that maybe we can kill two birds with one stone here.

    Perhaps it's time for the "Redesign Aardvark" challenge.

    Here's what I'm thinking...

    Anyone interested in displaying their talents in the area of web-design and implementation can create an all-new look for Aardvark.

    All of those new-looks will be lined up alongside each other and readers will get a chance to choose which one they like the most.

    There's no prize money I'm afraid -- but those who enter will get a chance to display their abilities to Aardvark's reasonably sized and well-connected audience. What's more, the winner will get a "designed by ...." link on the front page of every daily issue of Aardvark, at least until the next makeover.

    If you're interested, here are the criteria. The new design must be:

    • fast loading (total size ought to be no more than 40K-50K including graphics and the page structure should ensure that the first page elements are visible almost immediately.
    • browser agnostic. This means that it should display *something* sensible regardless of the browser being used -- this includes text-only browsers and browsers as old as NS4.x without Javascript enabled.
    • reliant on no server-side programming other than SSI.
    • daily text, security alerts, virus alerts and the links section should be inserted via SSI.
    • the Aardvark logo (or something just as good) and the sponsor's message must be included.
    I'm sure I'll also think of something else -- but in the meantime this ought to be enough to get you started.

    Once completed, the proposed new look site should be put up on a webserver somewhere (even a free-hosting site will be okay) so that it can be linked to for the voting process.

    Let's see what NZ's best can do!

    If you want to have your say on the contents of today's column then please do so. Only comments marked "For Publication" will (if I have time) be published in the readers' comments section.

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