Is it me or is it you?
Coming from the same camp of people who put whitespaces before their question marks that brought us Xinus comes another Doctype question. Madi D would like to know How to get this effect/behaviour ? and I would like to know why everyone seems to be ignoring this site's comment and contact functionality.
Having someone come to my site, think it's neat, then ignore the "contact me" link at the bottom of every page only to post about my site on Doctype (a site dedicated to website design) is flattering and confusing, to say the least. At least it is the first time it happens. Now it's happened twice, in almost the exact same way, and I'm becoming concerned that maybe something is wrong with the way I'm presenting my contact link.
Madi D's explanation on Doctype is simple enough (ignoring the 'exclamation point space comma' grammatical atrocity (grammatrocity)):
oh, sorry missed that :D , thx for pointing it out! , i was so awed by the effect i didn't even read the text!
I guess I've managed to make a website layout so amazing that Madi is incapable of tearing his eyes away from it to take a gander at the actual content. This explanation doesn't sit well with me, mostly because the novelty of everything wears off eventually; with the Right Glue it shouldn't take more than a moment for that sense of wonder to fall away. None of the CSS magic used here is particularly insane, if you ask me. (The first time I saw it used on a site I immediately understood how to recreate and improve it, afterall.)
Moreover, at a very high level there's nothing particularly surprising or novel about the layout. Posts are on top of each other, in reverse chronological order, with a title at the top and a footer at the bottom. There's a search box under the site's header. At this level, there's no difference between the Right Glue and any other blog (with the possible exception of the fact that the Right Glue doesn't have a sidebar for links). The only real difference is the right-side images. Because there's no macroscopic novelty, I find it hard to believe that someone (or at least a lot of people) would get hung up on a little detail like fixed-position background images.
But I've been wrong about this kind of thing before. I tend to take a high-level view of most situations and have trouble understand the points of view of highly detail-oriented people. At the same time I only have the one data point (Madi's comment) which isn't enough to form a solid hypothesis on at all. At this point, without more evidence, I'm content to believe that Madi's behaviour is an aberration: that perhaps he was overexcited about my layout and has enough knowledge to know that what he's seeing is novel but not enough to know how it's done.
And there's something else. Sven Finke's comment on my answer to Madi's question reads:
I wouldn't expect the person behind the blog to be the person that designed the template of a blog.
My view on this one should be obvious: the entire point of this blog is using the right tools for the job and understanding the fundamentals of the trade of software development. If I were writing posts for a blog whose engine I hadn't written myself, how would anyone know that I know what I'm talking about? Not that having written the engine myself really lends any credibility to anything, but at the very least it should demonstrate that I know at least something about my profession.
But, again, this is my understandably narrow point of view. Could Sven's comment be indicative of the population in general?
I don't think so. First of all, even if Sven were right and, in general, it's safe to assume that custom-looking blog layouts are not written by the people who write for them, you'd still think that the blog's author would know who created it in the first place, right? Either the author found the code somewhere online or he commissioned someone to do it for him. In any case, what do you have to lose in contacting the author to ask about his layout?
The other thing Sven mentions is,
Also i guess that many designers wouldn't explain it to you in a detailed way.
Again, from my point of view designers ought to be proud of their work and should therefore be willing to discuss and explain it to anyone who asks. What's the point of having a good idea if it can't be used to make even better ideas? If I have an idea then I consider it important to share my idea with as many people as possible in the case that they'll tell me it's bad or tell me their own ideas so that my idea can be made that much better. The only benefit of withholding the explanation of ideas that I can think of is being the only one around with some shiny new thing. Having had the idea the shiniest thing to me, so I don't care if everyone has the same shiny thing as me. Plus, maybe the guy next door will find a way to make my idea even shinier, which he wouldn't have been able to do if I were the only one with it. Additionally, if I try to keep prying eyes away from the inner workings of my ideas then someone (equally smart or smarter than me) will come along and figure it out just by looking at it anyway. Then he'll tell everyone how it works and all I'll gain is due animosity.
(Now I guess I've moved this post into the realm of patents. What I'm talking about is the reapplication of existing, obvious ideas to make something shiny. That's all my right-side images are and therefore should not be patentable. Moreover, patents require the patented ideas to be fully explained by their inventors anyway, so they fall well within my views of how designers should express their pride in their innovations. But I digress.)
In the end I don't think I'll take any steps to make the "contact me" link appear any larger, brighter or shinier in its happy little niche in the site's footer. The bottom of the page is where the contact link usually appears and the last thing I want to do is go against established, working conventions for no objective reason. (Established, stupid conventions are another matter entirely.)
I think I've overthought this enough. At this point I think it's them, not me, who are the root cause of these aberrations. If my users continue to display unanticipated behaviour, I'll reconsider my position.
UPDATE: I ended up changing the footer anyway. Now I have a tiny navigation row above the footer rant, and the footer rant itself doesn't have any important navigational links anymore. Also I added a new sentence to the footer rant! How exciting. You can thank random for this one.