Site Design Concepts

The web site theme was developed over a number of trips through arid regions of the western United States. These regions convey a sense of an open and sweeping beauty while being challenging to the survival of the unprepared. The design is thus a metaphor for the opportunities and dangers of small business and entrepreneurship.

The stone wall background is the wall at the entrance to the Fossil Buttes visitor center in Kemmerer, WY. The picture on the home page with the sagebrush and thunder storm was taken behind the same visitor center. Two of the three masthead photos were taken at on I–70 west of Green River, UT. The third masthead photo is of Wheeler Ridge, on the eastern Sierra escarpment north of Bishop. The home page picture with me sitting on a rock was taken in the White Mountains, CA.

I wanted the sense of the continuity of the stone wall background, but also wanted the text to be easier to read than it was immediately on the background. I gained this by using a translucent background screen that ties back to the light blue-greens of sagebrush. The stone background itself provides a metaphor of diverse pieces that fit together to form the larger whole of the wall. The reds are darker blue-greens occurred in a number of areas. The reds occur on I–70 west of Green River, UT. They also occur along I–70 west of Glenwood Springs CO. The blue-green is somewhere between the green of a pine and the bluish tinge of a blue spruce, perhaps that of a fir or Douglas-fir.

The drop-down navigation menu is implemented in CSS by restyling unordered lists. An auxiliary navigation page has been provided from the top-level links to provide navigation to older browsers or audio readers for which the drop-downs don't work. If you're browsing with IE 5.5+ and see a warning about active content (depends on your security settings), it's about the Javascript required to get the transparent graphics and drop-down menus to work. Mozilla and Firefox can do this straight from the CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). The navigation bar, footer, and certain divider elements are put into place by server-side includes, allowing them to be changed without having to update multiple files.

I've done a couple of simpler template designs using similar techniques but without some of the customization. These include Redrock & Sage and Twilight Dawn. These basically came about from a design discussion I was having about what could be done quickly but simply to create something attractive.

The basic design elements described above have also been used as part of a custom Wordpress theme for the Ramblemuse Touch Points blog.