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  1. #1
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    Launching Gumberoo.org

    http://www.gumberoo.org

    Been putting together this site for the project alongside actually developing it. I find it helps to have several different projects and parts to projects so as you get bored or burn out on one, you can switch to something else and come back refreshed. Websites are one easy aspect to add to any coding project, and it's good to build some momentum before you release anything.

    I know it's a bit gaudy, but it's based on children's alphabet blocks so, well... gaudy. The theme plays to something I've been having a bit of trouble driving home as the idea of the entire project. A learning language for ages 10 and up, so I'm thinking Big Wheels/tricycles, not bicycles. I'm thinking Duplo, not Technix. I'm thinking Lincoln Logs, not a chainsaw. I'm thinking erector set, not arc welder!

    I also haven't added the mobile code yet, but that's something I can add easily enough later (took me maybe 15 minutes to add media queries to EWIUSB so shouldn't be a big deal).

    Uses a lot of CSS3, doesn't provide any of the CSS3 effects to IE8/lower -- OH WELL. I did use sibling selectors instead of nth-child so at least the colors are applied in IE 7 and 8 even if the shadows and rounded corners are not. While I'm willing to provide pages that work to people on old browsers, I'm not going to bend over backwards to make every little bit of appearance the same.

    As with EWIUSB.COM I will be putting together a forums for it. Originally I was going to take the default skin for SMF and use CSS to bend it to my will, but the default markup is driving me insane, so I'm scrapping that and starting over by rewriting the entire forum skin from scratch. Really sad since IMHO SMF's markup is the best I've seen out of forum software, but it's still far, FAR, FAR below my norms.

    I've had a couple comments the fonts are a wee bit large. I did that to go with the 'fun' part of the theme, but if enough people respond in the negative to it I'm willing to drop it from 100% down to the 85% I normally use on websites.

    The conflicting primary colors run against my normal 'design sense', but it seems to work for the site... or am I alone in this? I had the same type of tacky color conflicts on EWIUSB.COM which are now resolved... did I once again go 'too far' with the color choices? I was kind of aiming to try and deliver the same effect as opening up a box of alphabet blocks, duplo or 'Fisher Price' products for the first time.

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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    I'm a person that likes a lot of color so I mostly like the way this looks except that the brightness of the text blocks sort of keeps my eye from traveling from one to the next. I think I'd mute the border colors if I could. I'd try to keep them very similar to the logo colors, but a little less bright. One thing you could do is decrease the border sizes or maybe change the white background to a soft shade of gray or beige?
    Linda Jenkinson
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  3. #3
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    This is a great project, Jason, so big hat tip there. (I might use the site myself to learn programming!)

    One question I'd ask is—what audience is this really for? The text is quite adult-oriented, but the color scheme/design is quite child-oriented. Those bright colors and the logo style are usually reserved to young children (in the 3–6 years range—in other words, infants). I'm sure adults won't mind that too much, but you have to be careful with kids. Realistically, I think that your target child audience would be in the 7+ range, so it can be dangerous to make the site look like it's for younger ones. As a primary school teacher for ten years, I well know that if something looks like it's for younger children, older ones will shy away from it. (There are all kinds of theories about how best to punish naughty kids, but as a teacher, there was no more powerful inducement I could deliver than to threaten to send miscreants to the kindergarten class for an hour. It terrified them, for some reason. They are really sensitive about associating with anything that's for younger children.) So if you give them a book, or a worksheet etc. that looks like it's for younger kids, they literally don't want to touch it. So as Linda says, it would be worth toning down the colors a bit, and maybe making the logo look a bit more grown up.

  4. #4
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    Not much to say, except that I like it. The project itself is stellar, the design is clear, bold, and fresh.

    The only things I don't like are the fat borders and the use of shadows (as well as text-shadow). They're too fat for my liking.

    The only other nitpick I have is the wrong use of "it's" vs. "its". That's something that always bothers me when seeing native speakers doing it wrongly, just like confusing "their" with "they're" and "your" with "you're".

    Other than that, I like it a lot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    I'm a person that likes a lot of color so I mostly like the way this looks except that the brightness of the text blocks sort of keeps my eye from traveling from one to the next.
    I was worried about that too -- I tried darker and I tried lighter, both made it worse; I even tried *shudder* pastels, and that was even worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    One thing you could do is decrease the border sizes or maybe change the white background to a soft shade of gray or beige?
    The border sizes are based on the letter block concept, but I'm going to play with them. At least changing them on everything but the logo is easy -- it's all CSS 3.

    Oddly, darkening the body background actually makes it WORSE. I was a little surprised by that in testing but with the bright colors on the borders (which are actually muted/darker numerically) a dark background just makes them harder to deal with because the iris closes up more. The white makes the iris open all the way, so the colors aren't as pronounced. If I play with the background I have to darken the colors even further.

    Still, it is a concern I had, and am kinda glad to have people coming to the same conclusions I am about my initial concept. Could be worse, the alpha version actually had a wood texture pattern instead of the pinkish tan.

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    One question I'd ask is—what audience is this really for? The text is quite adult-oriented, but the color scheme/design is quite child-oriented. Those bright colors and the logo style are usually reserved to young children (in the 3–6 years range—in other words, infants).
    Right now the audience for the site is kind-of in flux... the target audience for the software is 10 and up, though younger are certainly welcome to try; but I'm also in the very technical development stages of the project, and the site text reflects that.

    Kind of my problem as it sits right now the software's audience is pre-teens, but what the site is being built for is the eventual recruiting of qualified persons to help, suggest changes, and in general develop the application... so the site reflects this.

    Once the software is 'ready' for kids, the main part of the site will likely reflect that, and the technical bits that are there now possibly shuffled off to a subdomain (like dev.gumberoo.org) or the eventual forums.

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    As a primary school teacher for ten years, I well know that if something looks like it's for younger children, older ones will shy away from it. (There are all kinds of theories about how best to punish naughty kids, but as a teacher, there was no more powerful inducement I could deliver than to threaten to send miscreants to the kindergarten class for an hour. It terrified them, for some reason. They are really sensitive about associating with anything that's for younger children.) So if you give them a book, or a worksheet etc. that looks like it's for younger kids, they literally don't want to touch it.
    I hadn't considered that 'punishment' aspect of the younger kid stuff; I was going for the playschool look and that may indeed be a bit too young a target... at the same time I remember the marketing materiels for things like the C=64, VIC-20 and TRS-80 Color Computer, which all had similar bits to them.

    http://www.spacious-mind.com/assets/...80coco2_ad.gif
    or
    http://img3.etsystatic.com/il_fullxfull.298620771.jpg

    for example, were meant for all audiences, despite their somewhat... childish appearance.

    Dialing that in is probably going to be the big struggle for the site; building it is VERY technical and adult. The resulting product shouldn't be.

    In a way your response makes me glad I've not heard back from the artists yet with our cartoon character, Menlo the Friendly Gumberoo... who's going to be in the manual/documentation in a manner akin to "Sticky the TRS-80"

    Quote Originally Posted by kohoutek View Post
    The only things I don't like are the fat borders and the use of shadows (as well as text-shadow). They're too fat for my liking.
    I've gotten a lot of responses of that nature for both this and the new EWIUSB skin -- odd since here they're what I'd consider tiny... Maybe it's because I'm rocking 1920x1200 on 17" laptops and same on desktops at REASONABLE viewing distances (3 to 4 feet) instead of plastering my nose in the display... or that I'm a large font user so I don't have to plaster my nose so close. I looked at it on a friends cheapo 15" laptop (1366x768) and I can see how different it looks on those lower DPI displays. Again I suspect I need to swap those to EM metric instead of PX so they scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by kohoutek View Post
    The only other nitpick I have is the wrong use of "it's" vs. "its". That's something that always bothers me when seeing native speakers doing it wrongly, just like confusing "their" with "they're" and "your" with "you're".
    I usually nitpick the latter myself, but for some reason with "it" I always seem to screw up the possessive. Hate how it uses the plural rule instead of what is used on every other word. Makes me want to go all Carlin or Gallagher on it.

    If Jake owns it or it's about Jake, is it Jakes? no, Jake's.
    if it's something of Moms? No, Mom's....

    So if it owns something or it's about it? Why is that one "its" instead of "it's"?
    ... and that's why people mess it/its/it's so blasted much.

    ...though it could be worse, my archaic sentence structure has its roots in my learning olde english. Fœrlic tˇslÝtan Š ■Úodisc hit bi■!

  6. #6
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    Actually, I thought of Google's color scheme when I saw it, and of certain mind games/puzzles, so I don't perceive the design aesthetics to be too child-like. Child-friendly, yes, but lots of games for young and old are created with similar aesthetics.

    If you go to the Apple app store and look at the icons and general aesthetics of games, you'll find that lots of them have very bold and comic-like, even child-like appearances, so this might actually be a good thing in terms of audience, and children today might react better to playful colors than they would have, say, ten years ago.

    But that's just guesswork without evidence.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    I was going for the playschool look and that may indeed be a bit too young a target... at the same time I remember the marketing materiels for things like the C=64, VIC-20 and TRS-80 Color Computer, which all had similar bits to them.

    ... Menlo the Friendly Gumberoo... who's going to be in the manual/documentation in a manner akin to "Sticky the TRS-80"
    The one thing that initially worried me about teaching young kids was the expectation that everything had to have bright colors and cutesy cartoon characters to get them interested. And most teachers would enter the room and talk to the kids like little babies—with a grating, high-pitched, fawning, pandering tone. I quickly discovered—to my relief—that kids hate this crap as much as I do. I started to talk to them like young, intelligent intellectuals, and they responded in kind. And I took a thoughtful, intellectual approach to each subject, and they loved it. So don't feel obliged to sugar coat everything with rainbows, fairies and cartoon characters. It's junk, and is actually disrespectful to children, I think. Even though kids seem to respond to it, they don't really respect it, and they are better off without it.

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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    The one thing that initially worried me about teaching young kids was the expectation that everything had to have bright colors and cutesy cartoon characters to get them interested. And most teachers would enter the room and talk to the kids like little babies—with a grating, high-pitched, fawning, pandering tone. I quickly discovered—to my relief—that kids hate this crap as much as I do. I started to talk to them like young, intelligent intellectuals, and they responded in kind. And I took a thoughtful, intellectual approach to each subject, and they loved it. So don't feel obliged to sugar coat everything with rainbows, fairies and cartoon characters. It's junk, and is actually disrespectful to children, I think. Even though kids seem to respond to it, they don't really respect it, and they are better off without it.
    This is a bit off-topic, but in a way I think it may help with the design. I saw this video on FaceBook the other day. It's about what Teacher's "Make". and I think it is also a video that Jason will enjoy.
    Linda Jenkinson
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    The one thing that initially worried me about teaching young kids was the expectation that everything had to have bright colors and cutesy cartoon characters to get them interested. And most teachers would enter the room and talk to the kids like little babies—with a grating, high-pitched, fawning, pandering tone. I quickly discovered—to my relief—that kids hate this crap as much as I do.
    I really want to thank you for that, because it brought back memories of my own. My family never did that, so the first DAY of school I ever had when the principle did that (principles office first DAY because I thought the teacher was a drooling idiot and said so), I backhanded him and said "talk normal". I had no tolerance of that myself... Hmm. that REALLY does make me rethink the website a LOT.

    Was even funnier when he called in my parents because of that incident, pulled that same nonsense talking to me and my old man backhanded him like a {expletive omitted} pimp. I don't have a lot of fond memories of my father, but that's definitely one of them.

    The term I think is most appropriate for that is "condescending". It annoyed me endlessly in school -- where many of the teachers did that annoying whiny baby-talk, to the point they might as well have been going "goo goo gah gah" like you were a blasted newborn.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    the first DAY of school I ever had when the principle did that (principles office first DAY because I thought the teacher was a drooling idiot and said so), I backhanded him and said "talk normal".
    Ha ha, that's so You.

    That reminds me of the first day I met my American grandmother. I was 2, and she bent down and started the goo-goo-ga-ga routine. I didn't say anything, but just slapped her in the face. I don't remember the moment, but I'm told she was pretty shocked.

    The term I think is most appropriate for that is "condescending".
    Yes, that's it. I was struggling to find the best word. When teachers used to visit my classroom (when I was a teacher) and talk to the class in that way, some of them would flash me a glance and roll their eyes. I couldn't really pull them up for it, because I agreed with them.

    Admittedly, children do like things to be fun, but they love challenges, so that's where I'd put the focus. For kids under about 10, it's best to make the exercises something they can just "do". Don't make them too conceptual, because they don't really have the equipment for abstract thinking yet. That comes in secondary school (around 11 or 12); and the key to a good education is to equip young kids with all the tools they need (like knowing their number facts etc.) so that at a later stage they can apply their new-found intellects to them.

    So again, with younger kids, the focus should be on showing them what to do, and leave the reasoning (whys and wherefores) to a later stage. Otherwise it's just all "blah blah blah Ginger". Unfortunately these days, education systems are trying to pretend that they are getting young kids to display higher order reasoning skills, but it's all baloney. It's all for show, and fails kids miserably. Many of the poor things just become confused and fall behind.

    [PS: I'm not saying young kids are stupid or anything. They are very bright and intelligent, but don't confuse that with cognitive development. ]

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    Excuse my abrupt and disorganized thoughts:

    I don't really like the thick shadows or the lack of whitespace in between the div's

    Like you said, it's a bit gaudy. Might not be taken as seriously as it should. Though this might be partially due to the large text.

    The pagination style looks too different from the rest of the site, maybe give it the beige color instead of white?

    When zoomed in, the logo image doesn't cover up the replacement text fully. Zoomed in either in or out, the page navigation no longer lines up properly with the logo.

    I'm liking the concept of the navigation...the CSS3 rotation works really well here.

    That's a very clever way to style those different-colored letters/words in the header, with the nested spans.

    The "private alpha" doesn't seem like it needs a gradient

    The way the content is laid out, as well as the markup, is excellent as usual...but again, it could be better from an aesthetic standpoint. Still, you do some nice work. I'm looking forward to seeing some progress on this language.

  12. #12
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    The conflicting primary colors run against my normal 'design sense', but it seems to work for the site...
    Actually I think the colors and use of CSS3 woks with the message splendidly, I might variate the size,weight and shade of the font so as add oscillation and demonstrate hierarchy. Really great job on the nav, even if it degrades in IE<8! Echoing the primary color as the header is not working as strongly. Hmmm.. maybe they had fuzzy text shadows?

    The lack of space between main elements IS NOT hurting the design; emotionally it echoes stacking blocks. if you added white space the context for the thick borders would be lost. You could houver , use a b/g or background color to give an added point of reference. This seems like a job for background-position:fixed / position fixed pseudo element; We might as well take full advantage of the fact we aren't supporting IE.


    Minor copy writing note: 'Coming Soon August 2012' sounds redundant. 'Coming Soon' or 'Coming August 2012' would be better.

    BTW the project sounds quite interesting! I had forgotten we had this elementary/jr High level programming languages ( I had a C64 and an Atari 800XL , and at school and Apple II+, when I was growing up)

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    The main elements being 'stacked blocks' WOULD work, but they're neither stacked nor far apart right now. They're just slightly spaced apart, which doesn't really work.

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    Wow! Psychodelic!
    I don't know where to look first! I couldn't focus on anything. If your audience is mostly for kids then you need to rework on it a bit more. Especially, better work on colour scheme, calibrate the monitor, and check out the website on different monitors. Sorry, I don't mean to offend you, it is just my personal opinion.

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    I'm glad to see you're pushing your idea into a reality - I'll be interested to see how it turns out (seeing as I have two kids who would benefit). It's a very unique design (though still definitely your work) which was nice to see.

    That being said, the design is just a bit off for me.

    • It's a very bright design and there's an awful lot of white there for my taste. I know I wouldn't be able to visit long, and if the parents aren't going to be there long, the kids aren't either.
    • I personally prefer the wider spacing between containers on the IE8 fall back vs the narrower on the css3 version. I'm guessing it's the extra spacing required for the rounding, but more space allocated in the css version would be better.
    • I agree with everyone that thinks the borders are a bit wide. It's most noticeable in the logo, but they are a bit wide overall.
    • Personally, if I were going to use the building block as inspiration, I'd probably want to take it the whole way and go more towards the "standard" blocks. Just slightly rounded corners (maybe 8px or even 4px vs 16px), and I'd use the darker, more traditional four color scheme (red, blue, green and yellow/orange). See this for what I'm talking about. You've got seven (actually nine if you count the container background and the black lettering) which is a bit much for one site. Just my opinion, though. --> Or use the muted color scheme from the "GOING AHEAD WITH EXTENDED COLOR BASIC" screenshot (wow - that images brought back memories)
    • The subSection class could use a little padding (maybe .5em?) It'll give some negative space between the content and the borders and will aid in readability.
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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMaxwell View Post
    I'm glad to see you're pushing your idea into a reality - I'll be interested to see how it turns out (seeing as I have two kids who would benefit). It's a very unique design (though still definitely your work) which was nice to see.

    That being said, the design is just a bit off for me.

    • It's a very bright design and there's an awful lot of white there for my taste. I know I wouldn't be able to visit long, and if the parents aren't going to be there long, the kids aren't either.
    • Personally, if I were going to use the building block as inspiration, I'd probably want to take it the whole way and go more towards the "standard" blocks. Just slightly rounded corners (maybe 8px or even 4px vs 16px), and I'd use the darker, more traditional four color scheme (red, blue, green and yellow/orange). See this for what I'm talking about. You've got seven (actually nine if you count the container background and the black lettering) which is a bit much for one site. Just my opinion, though. --> Or use the muted color scheme from the "GOING AHEAD WITH EXTENDED COLOR BASIC" screenshot (wow - that images brought back memories)
    I really like that idea and I think that additionally, if the page had that white, stripey background that you see in those blocks, there would be a major improvement.
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    The "too bright" comment is odd to me, given the page is many times DARKER than say... Google, Yahoo or eBay... in fact it's outright muted by comparison. I think a lot of that is the purple is still a bit too magenta, and as the first color it's the most prominent. Need to blue it up and down the red a bit. The green could also probably stand to lose 20% or so. Probably the color used on the headings/text inside it. Even better I should drag out the additive luminance formula and make all the colors the same luminance, though the blue could drag that down into dark-and-dreary land.

    @dave - I've never seen alphabet blocks that dark... or painted white (though I suspect that's post-processing or element overloading). The inner texturing I dropped because it was looking like rubbish rotated.

    I'm more used to seeing them like this.
    http://www.yoyo.com/p/maxim-alphabet...-50-pcs-100662

    Which is what I loosely based on, subbing a light green-blue for the yellow, since, well... you'd never be able to read the yellow.

    For the most part the comments so far do match up with my suspicions. Right now with the project in the development stage it's tough to make a site that has anything but technical data on it -- the language syntax and function names haven't even been set in stone yet, making it hard to have any of the content FOR the target audience on the page; I think I mentioned this previously, but most of the current content will actually end up shuffled off to a 'dev' subdomain since it's developer info once there's enough of the language complete

    Right now I'm pushing hard to even come close to getting the public alpha out the door on time. I'm rewriting the boolean logic engine from scratch AGAIN because I keep coming up with logic flow issues no matter how I write it. I kept breaking my own rule and trying to copy 'off the shelf' methods from other compilers and interpreters, and as always that turned into a giant mess. An even bigger mess was trying to use code management tools, which pretty much shtupped my entire codebase. Again, one of my rules is to NOT use off the shelf code libraries or 'code management' tools like CVS or even simple ones like GitHub because they most always cost you in the long run and bend the entire project over the table... turns out this time it wasn't that long a run before the snake spun around and bit me. I'd go into my usual expletive filled diatribe about the uselessness of off the shelf libraries and goofy code maintenance tools, but given the scope of the project I'll hold off on that.

    Which is in a nutshell how I basically lost an entire WEEK of development time. I may have to push that release date ahead a week, and I REALLY don't want to start having dates slip.

    Of course, the next iteration of the site addressing a lot of the things you folks have noted is hung up since I'd like it's release to coincide with the release of the Alpha; I was hoping to put up a skinned forums to match at that time, but I'm axing the custom skin (will just launch a vanilla SMF install) to try and keep the program release on time.

    Since getting the software out so there's something to actually show for progress takes precedence over the site or having the perfect skin on the forums.

    As it is tonight i'm probably going to make a new news item explaining why the site is currently so technical given the audience; I've had several comments on that... though I really have to restrict my urge to steal Jay and Silent Bob's shtick, buy a thousand plane tickets and go kick the keister of every person who freaks out "AAAH, Wall of text". To paraphrase Duckie: It's called literacy, try it, it's nice!

    I'd like to launch a kickstarter page for this, but I'm not sure it's appropriate. Any opinions on that? The lack of an actual physical product as a 'reward' for donations is what's holding me up. Ideally I'd like an accompanying printed manual to go with the software -- though I plan on that also being a free PDF download. Not sure if the printed copy is a suitable reward or what to set as the minimum donation for it. Any opinions or ideas on how/what to do for a kickstarter page is more than welcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMaxwell View Post
    I personally prefer the wider spacing between containers on the IE8 fall back vs the narrower on the css3 version. I'm guessing it's the extra spacing required for the rounding, but more space allocated in the css version would be better.
    Actually it's because the outer part of the 'borders' are drawn with box-shadow.

    Code:
    	box-shadow:
    		0 0 1px #F00,
    		inset 2px 2px 6px #A84,
    		0 0 0 2px #AAA,
    		0 0 0 5px #FED,
    		2px 2px 7px 7px #888;
    Box-shadow stretches into the margin.

    Hmm. I need a break from working on the code -- come back at it fresh... Maybe I'll play with the design a bit now.

  19. #19
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    Uploaded a new copy with some content updates. Redid the CSS adding a blue background (on a suggestion, I'm not wild about it -- opinions?) darkened up the border colors, cut the border widths in half, switched the logo from a image to the CSS3 generated version (which is what I used to make the original image anyways), etc, etc...

    The blue darkens it up, but I'm really not sure I like it that way... and people don't complain about eBay or Google being 'too bright' when they're whiter than my site ever was.

    Per Dave's suggestion I also bumped the margin between subsections another half a EM. Makes it even more massive CSS off, but that's really not who I'm catering to anyways; they still get a working page, good enough. The fonts also got dropped down to my 'normal' 85% (14px 96dpi / 17px 120dpi) instead of the somewhat too large default size (16px 96dpi / 20px 120dpi) -- feels better now.

    Killed the red in the project status for a dark brown, reduced the inset box-shadow accordingly just so it adds a bit of hint and matches the inset box-shadow on the parent element. Made the div below saying the due date match as well, which I think feels more consistent in appearance.

    I'm thinking since I'm in a 'web dev' mood I might work on getting the forums up ahead of time tonight; Since I'm skipping over a proper reskin I could deploy a copy of SMF in minutes, though I'm half tempted to try something else.

    I might just go with YaBB -- it's not as 'capable' or feature rich, but it's simple. Sometimes simple is better.

    Opinions on the changes?

  20. #20
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    Subtle aesthetic suggestions:

    1) H2-4, seriffed font, Uppercase , bold. ( will mimic the text style of the blocks)
    2) Slightly decrease body copy contrast ( I think this is what is leading people to say 'It's bright' ; that and the colors ( but the color conveys the target aaudience)
    3) I like the idea of the lighter outline on the blocks( is that all one border.. you know I am itching to check out the source css), but the illusion of blocks might be better served if this outer border was 1/2 to 1/3 the thickness it is now.

    Kudos on the white blurred shadow (raised effect) on the main text. Very subtle and very nice.

    One more cool addition which may have very strong impact , tho it may need a tiny graphic ( or maybe CSS3 gradient to construct...), did you notice, on the last link you posted, that the wood block have a SUBTLE "pin stripey" texture. Utilizing the same subtle texture would add a softer more organic and inviting feel. ( I know you said it looked like rubbish.. but I think if you sampled and actual wooden block you may obtain the right feel ) . Art is nothing but imitation of nature anyway.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dresden_phoenix View Post
    Utilizing the same subtle texture would add a softer more organic and inviting feel. ( I know you said it looked like rubbish.. but I think if you sampled and actual wooden block you may obtain the right feel ) . Art is nothing but imitation of nature anyway.
    The problem wasn't the texture, but what browsers were doing to it when rotated. Rotating the text with CSS3 is ice-skating uphill (take a look at what FF 3.5.x does to that) to begin with... I'm using border-shadow to deal with a lot of the jaggies, and there are still jaggies. Rotating the background it doesn't even seem to TRY to anti-alias in any browser, resulting in a clunky, blocky effect.

    I am playing with making a low-low-low contrast bg image for the buttons and h1 to see if that helps with the rotated version, but I'm not hopeful. Looks great when they're flat -- figure in the rotation, not so much.

    On the headings, I may be undoing the serif fonts on everything except the h1. I dislike serif fonts on screen unless the size is massive (32px or larger); I tried a variety of them on the H2/lower and they all looked like royal ****.

    on the lighter outer border, I was thinking that making them larger would help the effect; but it's tricky to play with the widths on those since I built them with box-shadow instead of border.

    The dark/colored border is set as:
    Code:
    border:6px solid #F00;
    but the outer border is built entirely with layered box-shadow.
    Code:
    	box-shadow:
    		0 0 1px #F00,
    		inset 2px 2px 6px #A84,
    		0 0 0 2px #AAA,
    		0 0 0 5px #FED,
    		2px 2px 8px 6px #8AD;
    box-shadow nests backwards (really stupid IMHO from a parsing point of view) -- the first one is the last drawn.... so starting at the bottom is the outermost actual colored shaodw. Next in from that is the 3px wide wood-tan -- I declare it 5px wide since there's 2px of grey used to help reduce the jaggies and define the edge a bit sharper. We can ignore the inset for now, but that 1px of red blur also helps kill some of the jaggies.

    With the darkening of the colors though that #AAA may in fact be too bright now -- looks like it's making jaggies instead of hiding them. Time to darken those I guess.

    In any case, there was an article here on sitepoint about using layered box-shadows not that long ago:
    http://www.sitepoint.com/mastering-box-shadows

    check under 'multiple shadows'...

    The only drawback is that they take a long time to render; fine if you're on a 2.4ghz quad core with a monster video card; not all that great on a 1.6 atom netbook.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Zealot RyanKing1809's Avatar
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    Well at first sight I thought it looked terrible but than I remembered anti-aliasing sucked on windows so I tried it on iOS and turns out it doesn't look that bad. And the anti-aliasing is bearable I suppose on all windows browsers except for chrome. Which begs to ask why am I using chrome?



    Just few suggestions:

    -I would increase the white space between the header and navigation as they read as one block atm - if you separate them a bit a user is going to be able immediately jump straight to the navigation without searching within that blocky mass for it.

    -I would also replace those giant 'back to index' tic-tac buttons with something more like the children's block navigation - for the sake of consistency

    - I'm not sure if the drop shadow on the coloured border achieves the children's block effect you're after. It currently looks like a rather thick layer of paint - try using significantly smaller shadow (1 or 2px) or none at all.

    - As mentioned above somewhere your language is well targeted for someone with deep understanding of programming, but is that who you're trying to sell this to? I personally would be trying to gain more interest from children, parents and educators.

    - Also if you want people to take this seriously I would be careful of accusing the GPL of communist propaganda. Firstly its not the 70's anymore, and you're making unnecessary enemies. Maybe it's a joke I didn't get, but that could say something about other readers.

    -And lastly it's all written in your classic rant style - which is partly good because that's 'you' I suppose, but just something to acknowledge: I don't (and I imagine others) read rants very well, not as well as well constructed argument. I tend to take bits less seriously, even skip over bits - it lowers my overall attitude towards the text.


    Oh and I know css3 is great and all but I'd personally rather use images than have jaggies on webpages.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Zealot behati's Avatar
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    I like both the idea and the design, though it is very childish as some of the others have said.

    One thing that I can't help but comment on though is that I sat and read through your text and after a few minutes of navigating through your site my eyes were longing for a break. Maybe this is just because my eyes have been destroyed by sitting in my dark cave and staring at a monitor for several years, but the bright colour explosion was really getting to them so it felt good to look away after a while

    One a side note, this part on the FAQ page made my day:

    Why so much text?

    I have a zero tolerance policy for people who go "Aaah!!! Wall of text!" or TLDR. It's called literacy, try it, it's nice!

    Again, the language is in the developmental stages with the syntax and function list still being hammered out, so right now there is little to show apart from the development info -- which is TEXT. Oh noes, not text!!!

    If you are a Dee, please don't marry a dee, it's genetics don't you see, they'll be Dee Dee Dee.

    -- Carlos Mencia

    You have a problem with that, you are no longer in my target audience! The door is over there, don't let it hit you in the backside on the way out. That type of ignorant half-wit thinking is a far poorer example to the young than an entire truck-stop full of foul language! It only perpetuates the idea that you can grow up knowing nothing. If you are the type of person who freaks out on forums or skips past any post that's more than two sentences long, do us all a favor and go back to vegetating in front of YouTube or wasting your time on Twitter; you do not belong here as you are already too far gone; the conclusion foregone.

    - Gumberoo.org/faq

  24. #24
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Much improved. I'm not a big fan of the blue either; I would have used a gray-blue but the blue does tone it down. I also like that you have used the purple at the page top rather than the magenta. I did find a small mistake in your content. I think you left out a word or misplaced and "or":

    Nonsense like Codeignitor, Smarty or just turn my PHP into a mess
    I'm thinking that your use of "responsenses" is a mixture of responses and nonsense. I get it, but I wonder if all visitors will or if some will believe it is a spelling error?
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  25. #25
    SitePoint Enthusiast OMGCarlos's Avatar
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    Bookmarked! It's a lot to read through on short time, but from just scanning I can see a lot of potential in the project! I've developed a C-like language earlier this year...I had to shave my head so I would stop pulling my hair! I guess once you get passed the parser the rest is easy...

    Anyways, I haven't looked through all the comments yet so I'm probably reiterating some stuff. The site looks great; from the details in the lettering making them look "raised" above the blocks to the shadows and subtleties, it all really make me want to grab a glass of warm milk!

    But that's the problem. It's definitely suited for a much, MUCH younger audience. 10 year olds are into super heros, dirt and mud, and squiggly things. A variety of colors would still work great, but maybe with a different palette. The second I saw that you wrote luminance I knew you had a grasp of color (as if the theme didn't give it away), but I would suggest looking at http://kuler.adobe.com/#themes/mostpopular?time=30 and maybe experimenting with different colors. I think you should shift the palette with more more green/brown and less blue/magenta.

    I think some of the points in your FAQ are too harsh, and as I'm sitting here reading through it in a nursery-like theme I can't feel anything but awkward haha. I wouldn't worry too much about the pointless criticisms at this point. In fact, I wouldn't put any effort into trying to justify yourself at all.

    All in all, it's a beautiful site but not for your audience. I'm following this project by the way...hope it works out

    [edit]
    Oh by the way, I looked at it through my iPhone too and it looks great. Only thing I would suggest is moving the sidebar into it's own page (in the mobile version), the page would then stretch to fit the width. As it is now, I barely have to zoom in to read - one of the few non-mobile sites I can do that on.


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