ThomThom's Website

list-style-image vs. background-image

30 Jun 07 - 15:43

I was playing around with the layout of my site here the other day. I was adding some small glyphs to some of the lists elements. It was then I realised how limited the control over the bullet images in CSS. In fact, I was very surprised that other than choosing the image, you had no control at all. The image gets located in the top left corner; which in many cases just looks odd and miss-aligned.

The standard bullet browsers renders usually relates to the line-height of the list item and therefore better positioned according to the content.

Immediately I was thinking that it'd be easy to work around that by using background-image which would allow absolute control over the image's position. But then I thought it could provide some accessibility issues. If the image doesn’t load for whatever reason, then there would be no fallback leaving the list items look like indented paragraphs.

But much big an issue is it? How serious of a usability issue is a missing bullet item in a list? Of course it'd be hard to distinguish the items if there's not whitespace separating them, and if each list item's text runs over several lines it's then look like a continuous piece of text. But with other elements such as white space, colouring, borders etc.; is it an acceptable trade-off to obtain better control of your layout?

While I was pondering on this I viewed the site without any images loaded. I found that there were several elements that failed because the foreground colour was too similar to the background colour making the text unreadable without the images. That can of course be avoided, at least in most cases by simply supplying a background image. But what do you do if the image contains transparency and adding an background colour would bleed through the image?

In general I found felt that using background-image instead of list-style-image didn't affect readability much if the image didn't load. But am I missing something? Please let me know your thoughts.

New Career, New Design

20 Jun 07 - 11:37

So I graduated with a BA in modelmaking last year. Something I really enjoyed, but I'm not sure about my place in the modelmaking industry. That's why I've the last few months have tried myself as professional webdesigner.

I've had it as a hobby for several years; doing my own little project. I've constantly been reading articles about webdesign, new web technology, user interfaces, user experiences. And I've always enjoyed creating things.

Webdesign combines two of my interests. The visual creative part where I play with colours, typography, compositions; how to present the content and lead the user through the whole experience of visiting the site. Then you got the more logic side of me where I code. XHTML, XML, CSS, JS and PHP all of them which is different languages of code. I like to code. I like it when it all comes together with each other and the visual. It's like playing with LEGO.

So far it's been good. I think I feel more comfortable with webdesign than I do with modelmaking. However, I wish webdesign didn't chain you to the desk. And I do miss more hands on creativity. Time to find a new hobby to replace webdesign which is now my profession I suppose.

I'm still working on the site. It's too large that I want to wait until everything is done before I put it online. So I put smaller sections up as I go along. Most of the blogging system is working now. Next on the list is the gallery which I urgently need to get online; need it to present my portfolio. The work have been delayed as I lately have had freelance jobs coming in taking priority.

And finally; I'm moving back to Norway next month! Yup! After four years I'm now going back. It'll be Trondheim first, but I'm not sure where I'll end up eventually. I'm feeling somewhat like a stranger already. Four years is a long-ish time, and things change. I'm curious to what awaits me.

P.S. If you need a website designed, or know someone else which need one; let me know!