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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Reducing index page size

    This may be more of an aesthetic question than anything relating to coding, but I'd appreciate some objective viewpoints.

    My index page is too darn big. It clocks in at a chunky 124kb, and that's just too much. (I've spent some "off" time recently hacking even bigger pages into more digestible chunks, a process that is still ongoing. I've gone from ~108 pages to over 400 and still hacking.)

    Some thoughts that you may agree or disagree with:
    1 - The descriptions below the big nav buttons take up a tremendous amount of space. But, I consider them necessary to guide the visitor. I don't want to lose them, and though making them collapsible in some form or fashion would significantly tighten the page up viewing-wise, it wouldn't shrink the code -- it would actually expand it. I thought about using popup windows to link to the various descriptions individually ("click here for a description of the page's contents" or some such), but I can't find one on the Web that suits me and validates, I don't much like the idea of popups in general, and I don't write JS myself. Hmmm.

    2 - The page contains three separate sets of navigational links to the same content -- the big centralized buttons, the text links in the menu bar (which all the menubar pages have), and the small, "quick nav" buttons at the bottom. Overkill?

    3 - Trimming out some of the unnecessaries -- the various quotes and so forth -- wouldn't shrink the page very much.

    I'm not asking for an overall page critique, just an idea on how to reduce this page's size without losing functionality and visual appeal, such as it is. Thanks.

  2. #2
    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    I don't think the left sidebar offers much of anything.. what I mean is I wouldn't click one thing in there, it's too difficult to read and there's far to much.

    The huge slabs of text are too much.. unreadable.

    In markup land there's a few things you could do..
    trim out most of your meta information - it won't be helping having that many keywords.
    Get rid of all '<span class="bold">', '<p>&nbsp;</p>' and '<br>'

    I also wouldn't even consider maintaining all that content with just static pages..
    If you're content is in a db, then you can query it in different ways and break up your content much much more easily. I would at very max only cover 1 year on one page.
    The left navigation on the left would then display the different years and the current years months - that's all.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    You make some good observations, much like my own.

    The huge slabs of text under each button are indeed too unreadable. They are repeated on the various individual "intro" pages for each year/month/. Think they should just disappear? They seem to serve a purpose in giving the reader some idea what's covered in each page, but if they interfere with initial usability, they should go.

    Good point about the meta tags, they are a holdover from the old pages and I've not given them much thought lately. They're in every d*mn page, which means every page can go through some trimming.

    Hmmm, not sure what to do with the sidebar, but I take your point, there is a lot of yada in there.

    The individual pages are in the process of being broken up into smaller subpages.

    I only wish I had access to something besides static pages. This would be far simpler through db access, but I don't have that.

    Thanks, Mark. Anyone else want to take a crack at it?

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    If anyone's interested: I've split the difference. I've taken some of Mark's suggestions, tidied up the navbar a bit, pruned the meta tags, and most visibly, hidden the big ugly text blocks under the nav buttons via DomCollapse (one of Paul's suggestions from an earlier thread). Still 123kb, but it looks much nicer.

    Edit: with the new script and code in place, the left navbar drops down quite a bit, but only in FF. I use a Javascript snippet to equalize the navbar with the main content. Wonder if the DomCollapse script is conflicting with the EqualColumns script, and if so, why only in FF? The page validates nicely at W3. I am confused.

    This is the test index page with the changes.

    Edit again: The conflict in FF was resolved by simply flipping the two scripts around so that the DomCollapse comes first. Easy enough.
    Last edited by Black Max; Jun 16, 2007 at 23:41.

  5. #5
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    Oh my....this page needs a lot more work in lots of ways more then just cutting down file size...

    Give me a moment while I reformat the code into something more readable for me.

    Edit: A lot of code can be removed and be replaced with some CSS work like <div class="valign"> and the In page navigation to different months now that needs to be reworked completely unusable.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot kimberlybarryd's Avatar
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    Your text colors and bgcolors are blinding. Try http://www.w3schools.com/tags/ref_colornames.asp To get better color matches

  7. #7
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Guys, I don't think the question was about the site style, the main project Max is tackling at the moment is breaking those pages up into smaller files.

    There is a great deal of imformation on this site and managing it is a task in itself, never mind about adding new information.

    Max, you say you're familiar with databases? Why don't you look into getting a content management system for your site, with a backend MySql database?
    There are free hosting companies which supply some of these at the click of a mouse. The free CMS's that I've come accross tend to use PHP, some require a little bit more PHP knowledge to use. In the long run, investing the time into getting to grips with something like this will aid you tremendously (I believe, other sitepointers may dissagree)

    Have a look on google for Joomla, Drupal or ExpressionEngine. (i'm currently looking into installing Expression engine)

    Best,

    Andy

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Oh my....this page needs a lot more work in lots of ways more then just cutting down file size... Give me a moment while I reformat the code into something more readable for me. Edit: A lot of code can be removed and be replaced with some CSS work like <div class="valign"> and the In page navigation to different months now that needs to be reworked completely unusable.
    I'm not following.

    Your text colors and bgcolors are blinding.
    Again, I'm not following. Dark blue navbar with white text and a white papery background with black text is blinding?

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Andy, thanks. Actually, I know very little about databases -- I even shy away from Access, and that's candyland compared to the "real" database programs out there. I also know next to nothing about PHP. But hey, if it's out there, it can be learned. I'll take a look at the three you mentioned and figure out what I can do.

    I'm always up for critiques of site style and anything else. I'm just not seeing the basis of the last two observations. Hopefully, the two earlier posters will return and give me some specifics.

    Edit: Joomla and Drupal are freebies, which is a big plus. Both look very interesting.

  10. #10
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Yeah, Expression Engine has a paid version, but it also has a free core version. I actually don't know much about what the differences are.

    Actually, since this free host (awardspace.com) has a number of pre-installed CMS's I think I will go with one of these, they mention Mambo and Xoops. Not sure how they stand with beginner or advanced knowledge required.

    My understanding is that these programs handle all the database issues, so there's be no need to delve deeper unless you wished to for a project or to learn.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Actually, since this free host (awardspace.com) has a number of pre-installed CMS's I think I will go with one of these, they mention Mambo and Xoops. Not sure how they stand with beginner or advanced knowledge required.
    Hmmm. Right now, my site is being hosted for free by a fellow who grants me unlimited bandwidth and FTP access -- he even bought the domain. So I have to weigh the downside of moving to a free host like Awardspace, with its limitations on bandwidth, domains, and so forth, with the upside of having access to a CMS that a database noob like myself can handle. Thinking, thinking. Maybe split the difference somehow -- put the subsidiary pages with their large amounts of content on Awardspace, using its CMS to handle that content, and keep the smaller entry pages where they are? The brain cells are percolating.

    Edit: This "hobby" site is quickly becoming a full-time job.

  12. #12
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    ...The brain cells are percolating
    I get that sensation often also

    Why not ask your guy if it's possible for you to install a MySQL database and CMS to experiment with? Since he seems like a good guy, he may agree to it, or be able to help you set it up.

    I was thinking about your site, and a question that I asked myself was do you want your visitors to read through the material in sequential order? I was thinking that perhaps a neat introduction/summary of the website is what should greet the viewer first. Also are you looking to redesign the site as a whole once you're finished with re-organising the material?

    Andy

  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot kimberlybarryd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Max View Post
    I'm not following.



    Again, I'm not following. Dark blue navbar with white text and a white papery background with black text is blinding?
    My appoligies
    I optimize you Iracwarbanner from 14.6kb to 1.68.kb. to start. Hope this helps
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Why not ask your guy if it's possible for you to install a MySQL database and CMS to experiment with? Since he seems like a good guy, he may agree to it, or be able to help you set it up.
    I will ask him.

    I was thinking about your site, and a question that I asked myself was do you want your visitors to read through the material in sequential order?
    The idea is for a visitor to use the site in whatever way fits their needs -- read through it sequentially (although I wouldn't) or search it for specific information. Obviously, the static HTML of the site doesn't lend itself to this. I've added the Google search capability, so that helps some, and I'm in the process of "tagging" the separate items -- all kajillion of them -- with uniform "summary" phrases that can help in searching for particular information and topics. That's an all-day sucker in and of itself.

    I was thinking that perhaps a neat introduction/summary of the website is what should greet the viewer first. Also are you looking to redesign the site as a whole once you're finished with re-organising the material?
    I think I need a FAQ page.

    I optimize you Iracwarbanner from 14.6kb to 1.68.kb. to start. Hope this helps
    Kimberly, thank you. I don't have any graphics program except for good old IrfanView -- if you'd care to e-mail me the optimized graphic, I'd love to see it. I'm at purplesage23 at yahoo dot com. But with all due gratitude and respect, that single banner graphic at the top of the page isn't the same as a "blinding" color scheme.

    Edit: Duh, I didn't see that you've attached the optimized graphic.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Zealot kimberlybarryd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kimberlybarryd View Post
    My appoligies
    I optimize you Iracwarbanner from 14.6kb to 1.68.kb. to start. Hope this helps
    I checked the rest of the images. The gif's are large also. They do better as .jpg's

  16. #16
    SitePoint Zealot kimberlybarryd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Max View Post
    I will ask him.



    The idea is for a visitor to use the site in whatever way fits their needs -- read through it sequentially (although I wouldn't) or search it for specific information. Obviously, the static HTML of the site doesn't lend itself to this. I've added the Google search capability, so that helps some, and I'm in the process of "tagging" the separate items -- all kajillion of them -- with uniform "summary" phrases that can help in searching for particular information and topics. That's an all-day sucker in and of itself.



    I think I need a FAQ page.



    Kimberly, thank you. I don't have any graphics program except for good old IrfanView -- if you'd care to e-mail me the optimized graphic, I'd love to see it. I'm at purplesage23 at yahoo dot com. But with all due gratitude and respect, that single banner graphic at the top of the page isn't the same as a "blinding" color scheme.

    Edit: Duh, I didn't see that you've attached the optimized graphic.
    I'll get the rest to you soon.
    I ment the blue on blue text. Again Appoligies.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    I checked the rest of the images. The gif's are large also. They do better as .jpg's
    You may be right, but I thought as a general rule of thumb, gifs are smaller than jpgs. But then again, I'm no graphics expert.

    I ment the blue on blue text.
    I like the aesthetics of the light blue visited link text on the darker blue, but you may be right, it may be hard to see. Maybe a lighter blue or just go straight to white against the blue bg. Edit: You're also referring to the light blue visited links against the white. Those are indeed hard to read.

    Again Appoligies.
    No need, any constructive criticism is always welcome, and you've been nothing but constructive. Thank you.
    Last edited by Black Max; Jun 17, 2007 at 12:09.

  18. #18
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Max, here's a graphics program that was well recommended by Dan Schulz. I've not downloaded it or used it yet, but it could be useful for you. It's free, always a bonus.

    edit: forgot the link, here it is:

    http://www.getpaint.net/index2.html

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Snagged it. Thanks, Andy.

    Edit: Can't use it on this box -- my XP box is down for the count, and I've been surviving on this Win ME thing. Gaaahh.


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