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So what's (not) happening with the site redesign?
Back in December we announced our intention to redesign the site to make it more mobile friendly and finally set up a Cine Outsider Facebook page. It still hasn't happened, and Slarek explains why | 2 April 2016

Back in December I wrote a blog about how the site was going to undergo a redesign in order to make it a little more mobile device friendly. It's a piece I concluded with the following statement: "If nothing has changed by April 2016, you'll know something bad happened, the workload proved too much or I couldn't get the whole fluid grid layout thing to work." Well as you've probably noticed, April has arrived and the site looks exactly as it did back in December. So what happened, exactly? Which of the above stated conditions arose to mess with my good intentions? All three of them, as it happens, and in the very same order in which I had them listed.

It began at 2am on Christmas morning, when I got a phone call informing me that a close relative had been rushed to hospital. The next three weeks were a blur of hospital visits, premature medical discharge, deteriorating health, re-admission, and an eventual, more stable return home. Since then, my sister and I have been promoted to the position of full-time carers, which has substantially reduced the time I've been able to devote to the site, and I've tended to focus that time on content rather than the promised redesign.

And then we have the fluid grid layout I talked about in my previous blog. In the more recent version of Dreamweaver, the tools for creating such layouts are apparently rather good. But as someone who still has a bug up his arse about Adobe's decision to cease selling their software and to rent it instead, I'm stuck on Dreamweaver CS6, whose fluid grid creation tools are a lot more basic and much less user-friendly, and my first attempt to create pages using them feel flat on its HTML face. I've also taken another look at a number of those build-your-own-website companies like Squarespace, and intend to dry run a couple using their free trail run periods. But I'm not yet sure how they would handle a site with as many pages as we now have, or how they hell I would handle the sizeable transition from one system to another, but I figure it's worth a look.

The other option is to take advantage of my education connection to get Adobe Creative Cloud for a year at a substantially reduced cost, use Dreamweaver CC to set up the new templates and then go back to managing the whole thing with Dreamweaver CS6 when that year expires. This would probably make the job of designing templates and pages a little bit harder, but would not require me to transition the site from one system to another and instead could be done on a page-by-page basis over time.

Why I've left it until now to start reconsidering my options is that I knew that I'd be upgrading my 8-year-old iMac for shiny new one with gobs of memory, a fast SSD drive and a 27" 5K Retina screen, and that this would then become my main base machine instead of my laptop. The speed jump after all these years is like having new legs and being finally allowed to run, especially when working with video and animation, but what really hit me was the pin-sharp clarity of the retina screen. The problem with this is that I suddenly became acutely aware of how soft the images on the site look on this new generation of high res screens, which you'll now find on everything from phones to tablets to laptops and, of course, desktops. Most mainstream sites have adapted to this by using higher res graphics and photos in their layouts (I was still rather heartened to see that Gary Tooze over at DVD Beaver has not bothered with any of this this and stayed totally content and desktop focussed), but this does require considerably more disc space and will increase the size of pages, which could be an issue for those accessing them on devices whose contracts have restrictive download limits.

But it does seem clear that we also need to respond to this and crisp up the graphics accordingly. This will likely be a gradual process, first with screen grabs included in our reviews and images in the news stories, and later with the graphics and images on the front page, though this may be delayed until the redesign. On a normal, 72dpi monitor you won't see a difference, but on a retina screen the images should look sharper. Being completely Mac based, what we can't predict is how these higher res graphics (which are saved at double size and then reduced down by half in the HTML) will behave on all browsers and all systems, so if things get weird for you then feel free to contact us and tell us that something is not working as it should. As fluid grid layouts need to be able to resize images on the fly, however, all modern browsers should theoretically be able to process this without a glitch.

The final missing link is the promised Facebook page, and you can put my failure to set that up yet down almost solely to workload, though my apprehension about having anything to do with Zuckerberg's Life Invader was seriously stoked by a viewing of Cullen Hoback's excellent documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply. If you've not seen it, then I'd seriously suggest you give it a look – you may find yourself questioning just what you put up on your own Facebook page, or even whether you really want one at all.

So despite the delay, my intention is still to go ahead with the site redesign sometime in the not too distant future, and probably, maybe, start that Facebook page that my gut is still telling me is a little like selling your soul to Donald Trump. The health care demands on my time continue and look likely to do so for the immediate future, but I'm gradually adapting to the lifestyle change – I'm just not as wide awake as I used to be when I do get a couple of hours of free time. But as ever, films have proved a tonic to see me through the tough times, a reminder of their value that I may expand on in a separate piece soon.