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Making Sense of Font-Families & Moving from Static HTML to Blogger

After reading an informative reply to my question about fonts on the screen , I’ve spent an hour or two investigating fonts on the web and realize that my skimpy knowledge needed updating.

Here’s survey information on which fonts people have on their PCs.

Esperfonto, a font-chooser. Designer Will Harris has lots of good material about typography and font selection. Here’s his general advice about choosing fonts (and where you should start). Here’s a collection of his older essays on typography and his thoughts about Georgia and Verdana.

Incidentally, I went back to my fiction site (which I did a css facelift for in Feb 2005) and realized that I had not specified a default fault for my main body text! I changed it to Georgia and now it looks stunning! Also, looking over my stylesheet, I find once again that I made it too complicated. And although I always found my font-selection a little boring (now I know why!), in general my 2005 facelift did a good job–even though it was a result of neither-rhyme-nor-reason tinkering rather than a methodical process. Here are some design decisions that with time seemed smart:

  • sitting min-width for the top rectangle at 600px; that made my site render nicely on mobile devices
  • changing div tags into h1 tags, for search engine optimization. It seemed to work.
  • I did a little trick which made a little hover box over story titles. The hover box gave a little preview of my content, a “teaser” if you will, and I think it definitely kept people at the site, increasing traffic. After lots of testing and flubs, I finally got it to render on IE and Mozilla (although not on my mobile device–where it looks terrible). In retrospect I should have made a bare-bones css file for portable/mobile devices to turn the hover box, but I’ll do that soon.
  • I only have ftp access to my webhost (long story). I flirted with the notion of using blogger ftp to manage it, but the problem was creating a good index/sitemap page at the top. Frankly, I thought doing that would be messy, although on the other hand it would simplify lots of other things: rss feeds and template management for example. Lo and behold, I discover that google (which owns blogger) has implemented a sitemap feature (here’s a walkthrough of it and here’s a google group. for it).

It would really be nice to switch over to blogger. That would make it easier to import things into other CMS systems (not to mention PDFs, etc). Outstanding questions: can the sitemap be the root page? How do you make it as close to a TOC as possible? How do you treat old hyperlinks? Will investigate and report back. Here’s a helpful blogger FAQ: how do I post a book?

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