So I’ve been a little quiet prior to yesterday. I’ve been busy helping a friend with a new site called The Daily Mumps. This started last fall when I had lunch with him and suggested he might find it enjoyable to publish something his own that played to his particular strengths. I could see the wheels turning. I offered to help him out, given that I had recently left my day job. It took awhile but he came around.

I’m writing this more from the technical/design side of things, but this project was really enjoyable for more than that. We started the site using Textpattern and I’m glad we stuck with it. It’s ability to handle images and how it does so is sweet. Given the site purpose and content, this is a godsend. The other main reason for using it is future publishing with minimal user hackery. Content can be staged for publishing at a future date/time, and it didn’t take an act of deity to get it working. Textpattern is wicked fast and I’m very impressed with the work that has been done on it by the developers and the community. Very sweet bit of kit. The only downsides that I can come close to whining about is categorization and feed generation out of the box. Textpattern limits you to two categories per post and doesn’t have a default feed template. I’m sure there are plugins somewhere, but for The Daily Mumps, it’s not necessary yet. If anybody knows of a good Atom or RSS hack for Textpattern, drop me a line and we’ll add it for those who I’m certain will become Mump addicts.

I believe that one of my stronger abilities as a designer is logo design (although the 3hive non-logo is still a huge black mark) and I’m pleased with how the Daily Mumps logo turned out. The idea was to retain a sense of good-humor in the midst of biting sarcasm. I think it works well against the content.

We originally soft-launched with a completely different design, but strong user feedback helped refine the look and architecture so that most everything fits on the page with very minimal scroll. We had a great group of people look at that first live round and their feedback was invaluable. This is the first site that I’ve done for screens that are 1024 pixels and wider. I suppose we could do some fancy Javascript and CSS for smaller resolutions, but for now, it’s meant to be viewed at 1024. I think the logo and navigation are probably a tad large, but that’s intentional. I’m sure as the site grows, scale of things will be revisited. The idea is to grow it organically and add stuff as visitors make requests.

For the navigation, I used the CSS Sprites method talked about here. The site even validates. Which is pretty lovely. I’ll probably use this method for sites that call for graphic nav all the time going forward.

And now, some of my favorite Mumps:

They Wish…
Miller Time
Everything’s a Competition
Payback Time, Mr. Sun

Note: if you find that The Daily Mumps is not your thing, be sure to avoid sending me an email about it. Thanks.