Levinas website

I can't remember if I posted about this before, but I finished the new NALS (North American Levinas Society) website a few weeks back. This morning I coded the conference schedule for 2007--an amazingly boring job that claimed 2 hours of my life. And I still have to do standards validation--right now the page has a record 122 errors (I am almost positive that most of them have to do with special characters--a French e with accente-grave being the leading culprit).

As my del.icio.us scroll indicates, I have been reading up on microformats--coding for machines to understand, co-ordinate, and process code/data rather than just render/deliver it. Neat concept. I think this will have to be integrated into 419 next semester (my multimedia writing class), I am going to vamp up the resume project to include more consideration of rhetoric, audience analysis, and framing. If "keywords" were the key concept for the last ten years w/ resumes, I think you'll see micorformats become the next job-search craze. I worked my first microformat into the levinas conference page--using the address property for the conference location. One small step for Marc, one giant leap... oh, whatever.

Few thoughts on the Levinas site (since I still have to" write it up" for my portfolio). The goal for the site was to create an open, inviting space that simultaneously and paradoxically created a solemn and pensive tone. That is, I attempted to invoke Levinas in the site design: his theoretical approach to difference, violence, and o(O)therness. The original site design eschewed idology, and, of course, I wanted to stick with that approach. The society also wanted to maintain the solemn entrance page, although I reformatted it and combined the image of the dove with the image of the deathcamp. I used a few filters on the dove--transforming it into a transparency and washing it with the red used on the site.

I also wanted to create a flexible design--since I think this is the key contribution Levinas can make to coding. Rather than imposing a design / hierarchy upon the user, we (standards motivated designers) can create websites that invite the user. Being a new "mac" user, I am particularly cognizant of screen browsing habits (see this great poll of saavy users over at Berea St.); as a PC user, I almost exclusively maximize windows; as a mac user (Safari), I almost never maximize windows. With the Levinas site, as with my own site, I make a conscious effort to design a layout that works for a number of different heights and widths: anything from 600px to 1200px. No easy task. Height is important, too. Looking at my student websites for 419 (and a post on how awesome these are is coming soon), my one blanket criticism is that they "waste" a lot of header space. I am consistently trying to code sites that have economical headers, thus saving screen space (and no doubt this is connected to the materiality of my browsing: my macBook screen is tinie winnie compared to my old desktop. Don't waste space on me! Don't make me scroll!)

Gotta get better at keeping posts on topic...this post:

  • Complains about coding Levinas schedule
  • Begins to discuss Levinas design inspiration
  • Interjects a thought on microformats
  • Discusses browsing habits

What is this, like a hypertext or something...sorry, couldn't help myself.

Anyway, some final thoughts about the Levinas site: I wish CSS 2.x had a "border-image" property. If you look at the page in Firefox, Safari, or Opera (screw IE), you'll notice that the header and footer lines have a very light texture technique, employing a lighter shade of red in a dirty splatter pattern (the same pattern runs over Levinas' name--I wanted to interject a bit of chaos to keep the page from BEING too Modern clean. I would have liked to put the same texture into the sidebar, but the side bar is created through a "border" technique to ensure that it stretches as long as the main content. I've seen a few other work arounds for this, but there is no way to ensure that I know of to ensure that a background-image will "fill" such a space. Perhaps I need to look harder.

Oh, God, how many validation errors was that again? Find and replace, the standards-compliant designer's best friend...

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