An inspiration apart

Inspired by Cameron Moll’s Nodes of Design Inspiration, I’ve decided to explain my most recent redesign in a similar manner. In my case many of the design nodes come from various articles at A List Apart.

The site in question is the National Optical Astronomy Observatory’s Office of Public Affairs and Educational Outreach. I’ll briefly highlight the sections indicated in the screenshot below.

Screen Capture of the Outreach web page
  1. The page uses a 2 column, centered, fixed width background, controlled by CSS via a technique very similar to that explained in Dan Cederholm’s excellent article, Faux Columns.
  2. The top menu uses techniques described in my own article, Taming Lists.
  3. These Definition Lists are styled with a modification to Dan’s Mountaintop Corners, and use the Floating Thumbnails technique in my own Practical CSS Layouts.
  4. Parts a and b are accomplished via Dan Benjamin’s A Better Image Rotator. I have modified his PHP to accept a caption, so the image on the left sidebar and its associated caption (4a) are served randomly. The image on the bottom of the page (4b) faithfully follows Dan’s recipe.

Let me know what you think!


Hot! The overall design echoes another site you did recently, no? (too lazy to find it at the moment). I like the addition of the rotating image with extended caption. Any chance we’ll see the code changes you made?

Posted by: CM Harrington on September 27, 2004 04:05 PM

Yeah, you are probably thinking of the Advanced Observing Program pages I posted about awhile back. This is an evolution of that design, certainly. Those pages are here:

Glad you like it!

Posted by: Mark Newhouse on September 27, 2004 04:11 PM

Maybe we should all take cue and create very thorough resource pages such as you have done, that way no one thinks we’re stealing. It’s hard to be a completely creative designer these days.

I shall have to do that on my links page, whenever I get that abomination up & running.


Posted by: Meredith on September 27, 2004 06:03 PM


If I understand what you mean about resource pages, they are not so much a way to document originality, but to provide a way for people to learn from and build on what has been done.

Of course it never hurts to have a timestamp to point to…

Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by: Mark Newhouse on September 28, 2004 10:04 AM

About this post

In which Mark notes the influence of A List Apart magazine on a recent redesign he has done...

September 27, 2004 | design

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