Refocusing on Readability

After a decade of working on the web, I am still fond of simplicity. With each redesign, my goal is to simplify the layout and the markups. The new Visualgui is no exception and the focus is on readability.

To accomplish the new goals, I had taken the content-first approach. The layout is reduced to one column and the sidebar is dropped to make the content front and center. Typography is the most crucial part of the redesign, but I actually don’t have too many choices because I want the site to render appropriate Vietnamese characters. Google Web Fonts only has three Vietnamese types and I used two out of three. Headers and logo are using Open Sans by Steve Matteson and body text is using Noticia Text by JM Solé. The two types are quite decent and I am satisfied with the pairing.

In the previous design, the homepage always had to have a banner and the width had to be 940px. With the new design, I want the banner to be optional and flexible. I don’t always have to have one and I can crop the banner any size I want. As for the background color, I am moving off white a bit for less glaring. The color choice is inspired by e-reading devices like Kindle and Nook.

With one column, the markup is now much lighter. HTML is streamlined and modified to not depend on Shiv or Modernizr for IE6-8. CSS is also simplified by hand. I must confess, I have not wrapped my head around LESS or SASS. Of course the new site wouldn’t be completed without responsive design.