Today, under the direction of Phil Gyford, I stumbled upon a fascinating interview with the man behind the redesign of Wired.com – a design that I am gradually warming to. There are parts of the design that annoy me profoundly – particularly on the front page (the unnecessary width of the left-hand column and the eye-straining colour combinations are especially irksome), but one thing I can’t fault them on – they’ve used valid XHTML and CSS, pushing the standards for the web ever forward. I tend to forget how scary such a move is for companies, who suddenly may find their site looking ugly in Netscape 4.x. I suspect I forget this because many weblogs – myself included – have been designing without tables for over a year now (although I never can be bothered to finally drag myself that extra foot over the finish-line and properly validate). But then it’s easier for us. Fluffier. More trivial.
Anyway, before I get over-excited again, here’s the interview with Douglas Bowman of Wired news, and a little quote to whet your appetite: “I remember one project for Lycos where we had nested tables 10 levels deep. I counted them myself. It wasn’t that every level was absolutely necessary to reproduce the intended design effects. But each table ensured the flexibility we needed if certain modules and pieces of content appeared or disappeared. When you get to that point, the amount of markup you have to sift through to find anything becomes ridiculous. Until this redesign, Wired News wasn’t even using CSS to style the content inside tables. The sheer amount of redundant <font> tags inside every cell was probably enough to double file size. “