Comments on Python Redesign

Tim Parkin tim.parkin at
Sun Sep 7 15:46:42 CEST 2003

Jeff Hinrichs said:
> [...snip...]
> I agree that the site could use a face-lift, however, my
> concern with the design presented is along the lines of page size
> browser compatibility.  If you design via CSS using too many of the
> features some older browsers will have problems rendering, if you
> use CSS for that layout then you'll be using too many graphics.  You
> should keep in mind the fact that Python is used internationally. 
> So bandwidth, browser compatibility and internationalization are all
> very valid concerns.
> If the redesign limits the number of people who can access it's
> information or hinders their access to the same then I would be (-1)
> on the effort. Remember, that the most popular and highly used sites,
> i.e. google and yahoo, are quite boring in a design sense but are off
> the chart for usability and accessibility.  It's the content and the
> accessibilty to that content that has made them so popular.  I would
> vote to emulate these attributes in any python website redesign. 

Although it is true that a lot of css 'hacks' prohibit the viewing of
websites in older browsers, this is by no means a rule. One of the prime
considerations in the redesign and a very early discussion was about
accessibility. As far as we discussed, the site would be as accessibile
as possible whilst not having to work to the lowest common denominator.
It is perfectly possible to create designs that work quite well in older
browsers but without some of the decorative/style elements whilst
allowing more modern browsers to use the facilities for which the w3c
have worked so hard to create. 

The main culprit in limiting the use of these standards is Netscape 4.
As long as the website renders in such a way as to provide all of the
functionality of the site then it is a general consensus that this would
be adequate. (for instance, the netscape version of the redesign might
lose some of the menu item box surround, the curved line, the boxes

As for bandwidth, the use of css designs (and I hasten to add, not
necessarily table-less designs) can reduce bandwidth incredibly. The
current site is a very respectable 22k and I would look to getting the
whole of the new design in at around 30k (for home page, graphics can
be made 20k without significant loss) and considerably less for
interior pages as the only graphics will have been cached, around
18k or maybe less.

For Google, I agree it's very usable but it also only has one main
purpose (a search box and few links). The Python site has to satisfy
many purposes, some of which act as almost contradictory to what
developers may wish for. I hope I've reached a compromise as the main
page will not be the one most used by developers and will be the one
of most imortance to IT decision makers.

For Yahoo, however, I think it's an absolute mess and is widely used
as an example of a badly designed site as far as usability is
concerned (I refer to more recent yahoo designs). For accessibility,
well, it takes 71 cursor movements to get to the 'Internet' category.

Hope this lays a few of your concerns to rest

Tim Parkin

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