The webcomics blog about webcomics

On Design And Redesign

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: We learn that most esoteric of all knowledge, the maximum recommended period of time that a bird should be in the back of a dude’s car.

A pair of long-time dudes in webcomics have been at their website code lately, and it’s instructive to see what they’ve done.

  • On the one hand you’ve got Howard Tayler¹, proprietor of Schlock Mercenary’s spiffy new site, which he set out to make intuitive and easily navigable (just try the arrow keys from any strip). The design is responsive, rearranging elements as I switched from laptop to tablet (both orientations) to phone (ditto).

    Particularly nice was the way that the strip becomes scrollable within a frame on the phone, while the site stays still around it. The design reveals a lot of Tayler’s approach to life; it’s immaculately built², and he credits the engineer that did the coding to his specifications. It makes me think how Tayler started life as a music producer, and parallels the relationship between producer and audio engineer as they come up with the perfect hit.

  • Rich Stevens is punk rock, all the way. He’s accomplished much the same thing (the strip is easily readable on every device and orientation), but he’s done all the work himself and while he may not have the most elegant solutions, Diesel Sweeties 3.0³ does everything it needs to do as simply as possible.

    Seriously, take a browse over and open up the HTML source (probably ctrl+u in your browser) and look at the 253 lines of simple HTML that run everything. Count up all the places that the <script> tag doesn’t appear. It took him about three weeks, but as he declared on his podcast, the goal was to be able to update the site anywhere in the world with a text editor and a phone. Im’a say he probably succeeded.

But regardless of which of them is Steely Dan and which is The Clash, they’ve arrived at the same place even if they accomplished their goals by diametrically opposing means. Their websites are adaptable, responsive, reasonably extensible for the foreseeable future, and utterly lacking in comment sections. Getting shit done using the most appropriate tools at their disposal without waiting for an interdepartmental design review working group to focus-test things to within 2.54cm of their lives? That’s the most webcomic thing of all.

Spam of the day:

Great Rates on European Dream Vacations

I thought that said Great Dates on European Dream Vacations and momentarily figured the horny moms in my area were upping their game if they wanted to take me to Europe. This is much less interesting.

¹ My evil twin.

² I almost said taylered, but I have some pride left.

³ DS 1.0 starts here and runs for 4000 strips; at strip #3000 he shook up the status quo and created a USB drive of all 3000 strips. After #4000 he shook up the status quo (there’s about a six month time jump between the #4000 and today) and relaunched as DS3.0. 2.0 is for suckas.

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