This site is designed in a way which I hope will make its content accessible to wide range of devices.
No tables (more or less)
Older versions of the site relied on tables for its layout. The current version only uses tables for data which naturally suits a tabular format (such as the moon times) and, at the moment, for pictures with captions (each picture is a separate table with one cell).
This makes the HTML very much simpler. The documents are simply made up of headings, paragraphs, lists and so on. This is the way in which HTML is supposed to be used. The presentation is defined separately in files called Style Sheets which use the CSS language to define where on the page the different sections should go.
There’s a downside to this. When used with desktop browsers which don’t support style sheets the older layout used to work fine (usually anyway). The new site style won’t. What should happen with these browsers is that the site will look as if it were designed to run on very old browsers almost from the dawn of the Web. Well, not quite since really really old browsers don’t support tables and there will still be some of those around.
The site should still work with browsers which don’t support style sheets. Almost certainly. It simply won’t look good. It should though be backwards compatible, for the most part, right back to very early browsers. In fact, it should work for the most part in browsers which just displayed the old version as a jumbled mess. That’s the upside.
How the site used to look
Even earlier incarnations, when it was called www.beard.demon.co.uk, are also available there dating back to the end of December 1996.
Your browser defaults
The site does not define the basic font size it uses. Although it defines the type of font it uses it does not define its size. The main content is always at the same size as you have set in your browser preferences. Other font sizes used are defined in relation to this. So, if you have your browser set to use 24pt text (perhaps because that’s what your eyesight needs) then that’s what the site will use as its basic font size. At really large font sizes slightly odd things may happen in some places but the site should remain usable.
The site also does not define whether links are underlined or not. If you have you browser set to use underlined links then that’s what it will do (except in the case of the main menu).
If your browser has real problems with the site then I’d like to know so please mail me about it.
I’d particularly like to know of cases where the site cannot be used but I’d also like to know if your browser seems to be attempting to use the style sheets but gets it wildly wrong.
I’m still learning how to use this new (to me) way of doing things. I just hope that I’m heading in the right direction.
8 April 2004
If you’re looking at the site on a fairly modern browser you might be curious to know what it looks like on browsers with no style sheet support. After that you might want to see it with styles again. This switch works for this page only. You may also find that your browser allows you to turn style sheets on and off through its preferences command.
On the other hand you might be looking at the site with a browser which doesn’t support styles sheets. In this case, here’s a picture of what one the pages is supposed to look like.
I am testing the site on the following browsers at the time of writing.
- Internet Explorer 5.2.2 on Mac OS X
- Internet Explorer 6 in Windows XP
- Netscape 7 on Mac OS X
- Camino 0.70 on Mac OS X
- Firefox 0.70 on Mac OS X
- Oregano 1.10 on Risc OS
- Fresco 1.84 on Risc OS
The two Risc OS browsers don’t support style sheets (well, Oregano has limited support) and both are able to access the site without problems. It simply looks rather basic.
The design degrades slightly on the Windows version of Internet Explorer (even on version 6) since that browser is somewhat lacking in its support for stylesheets.
I’m also checking the site out on the Lynx text only browser. For the most part it works fine.