Distant Constructs

published: 2021-01-09, updated: 2021-01-09

Minimal Formatting

This site has minimal formatting and generated pages are static HTML pages compliant (hopefully) with the HTML5 spec. A modicum of css is used for styling. This is a concious design decision as it is meant to be easily accessible through any web browser (including text-based browsers like lynx). It also allows for easier accessibility through tools such as screen readers. Furthermore, users can override options such as font choices and colors without breaking the overall feel of the site.

Additionally, due to this design, I do not have to separately maintain a mobile version of the site.

The lack of attention-grabbing components also allows both users and site maintainers to focus on the content of the site. I find that it is much easier to develop content when not having to worry about maintaining UI components.

Simple Layout

This website is meant to be laid out in a simple manner that aids discoverability of content. Related content is grouped together under broad categories, and appending or updating pages is preferred to adding new ones.

While it is specially suited for some applications like maintaining a running journal, I find the blog format, where dated entries are arranged latest to earliest, hard to browse through. For example, I find navigating primarily through a heirachy of categories preferable to navigating primarily by date.

Without having to consolidate their thoughts, blog authors can cover a topic multiple times over the life of a blog. While tags and searching may make this content easier to find, it puts more burden on the user to discover content. Even on actively maintained blogs, one may have to sift through several similar posts on the same topic to piece together the most up to date information available.

Server Side

In general, my goal is to have as much of the functionality of this site server side as possible. This helps ensure usability on most systems and allows me greater control. Additionally, not depending on client side support frees me from any quirks or lack of functionality browsers may have. A slight exception to this is CSS, which I only use for minor formatting, rather than adding functionality.