To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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photo of Dave Middleburgh
Hong Kong

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Naff Challenge 1

I like esthetically pleasing and elegant pages. Unfortuately mine resemble a mechanic's car; hot under the bonnet ( well maybe), but bodywork, trim and interior neglected.

I started with a standard blogger template, then built a functional but unexciting 3 column page. Last week I reviewed other sites and was most impressed by those using graphics imaginatively.

The phrase "its not what you say but how you say it" came to mind. So the challenge is how to implement, with limited skills visually stunning images on this site which would interest my sons, Patrick and Aaron.

I have decided to adopt a kaisen approach, and be opportunistic, shamelessly appropriating, adapting and repurposing everyday pictures from my environment. The site will change frequently as I experiment, so please revisit and give me feedback.

Of course using images raises a problem of copy positioning. During the week copy blocks were positioned all over the background leaving exposed as much of the background as possible. I even tried collapable and draggable blocks. The result was less than satifactory.(mega naff in fact!!)

The epiphany came when reviewing one of the pages that a "blogger drop in" had come from. They effectively used tabs, a design technique I favour at work but which I had never considered for here. The advantage of a tabbed screen is that a lot of copy can be organised and placed within a small foot print. It works for me

Conventional wisdom based on user studies implies that optimal page layouts are "F Shaped" ie the classic 2/3 column layout used by most web pages and whilst in general this page does not conform to that model, content may be so organised.

There is a cause and effect question here:ie are eyeball movements a a) result of conditioning through exposure to so many F shaped pages or b) natural behaviour ie F shape pages are more inherently effective.

I seem to remember that, at university, I read a study on speed reading which described a different default scanning pattern when reading (text) books, and suggested techniques for controlling how a reader scanned in order to read faster. The implication is that eye movements are conditionable.

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