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UK freelance journalist and author Sean McManus

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New look website launches

29 April 2009

I've just relaunched this website, with a new look and feel. I recently got a larger monitor and the old design wasn't easy to use on that, so I've made this design fluid within certain parameters. I've taken the opportunity to update the layout, fonts and colour scheme, and to add a few fun/random interactive features. I've tried to integrate the different types of content better, so that it's possible to more easily move between the different experiences the site offers.

I've still got some stuff to tidy up and check (but do let me know if you spot anything that's broken), and I've got a few pieces of new content in progress at the moment.

The site should work acceptably on most screen sizes and I've tested it on the PC using IE7, IE6 (shudder!), Chrome, Firefox and Safari. It doesn't look the same in them all (it's best in IE, because I've used font embedding extensively), but it works fine. Let me know what your experience is like (particularly if you're using a Mac).

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I gave the site a quick once-over with Safari 3.2.1 on a Mac and it looks fine to me. Initially I was scratching my head, trying to work out what had changed - Safari was using a cached version! At least that gave me a side-by-side comparison, and I think the new version looks much better - especially in widescreen. Took me a while to find the 'links' link at the bottom of the page - I still try to support you using the Amazon link when I think of it.
Thanks for the quick feedback. I moved the links to the bottom because I thought they were mostly accessed from the relevant menu pages (eg CPC links from the Amstrad homepage) but perhaps I'll reconsider that. I've got some ideas for how I can make them more valuable for all visitors, which I'll follow up when I get time.

Thanks for supporting the site through the Amazon links - the quickest way to find them is to click on 'Shop' on the navbar - that includes a search box and logo link on the sidebar so you can go straight through to the products you're looking for.
Nice site Sean!
I'm currently visiting via an office internet connection (IE7). I'll check how it looks on the Mac when I get home.
Most of it looks good. However, initially I didn't have the browser window maximised fully as I prefer to have smaller windows open in public, and when you resize the window the items in the top menu don't remain within the purple box - if that makes sense. Also the headline fonts look a little pixellated on this PC, and the structure of the bottom boxes isn't as fluid when the window is resized. Hope that helps!
Thanks for your feedback, Kim. I'll take a look at those issues.

The navbar issue is one I've been able to replicate in Chrome at smaller window sizes but not in IE so far. IE has problems with resizing pages on the fly, so it should usually look useable (even down to 800pixels wide) when loading into a window first time. There might be issues with resizing on the fly in IE, but refreshing should help that (not that I'm telling you how you should browse - the idea is for me to get it working with how people want to use the web, as far as possible).

The boxes at the bottom do break up a bit when the window gets narrow. I will spend more time looking at that - the solution I found before involved fixing the size of that purple box, which broke the text scaling, so I haven't done that for accessibility reasons. But I'll try to find an alternative way to fix that.
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