News worth noting

I should mention here one of the major reasons I’ve become obsessed with Web standards and CSS. My current project (as Design Director of Wired) is a complete redesign of Wired News. See a screenshot of the before state [.gif, 35.7 KB] from Feb. 2002. This WN has been sorely stagnate for over two years, and has been long overdue for a major facelift. Wired News has finally gained a priority status from Lycos, which means they can actually justify assigning me as a resource for the redesign.

Funny how things come full circle. I started with Wired Digital (then called HotWired, Inc.) in 1996, working on our network of home-grown original content sites. After being absorbed into Lycos through a buyout in 1999, and then a buyout of Lycos by the Spanish company Terra, my role was shifted to more Lycos-centric projects. Coming back and working on Wired News is invigorating and energizing. There’s so much pride and passion that instantly returned once I started working locally with the SF team again.

Since I began visual design work in May, I’ve been re-examining the use of CSS and how it can be used in much more advanced ways now that we have 5.0 and 6.0 browsers to work with. Wired News has never used any CSS on the site, except for a simple :hover psuedo-class rule our former developer added a couple months ago to make the links turn red on mouse over. After lots of consideration, research, and discussions with the Executive Producer and Director of Engineering, I’ve convinced myself and the rest of the team that we need to take a major step forward with this redesign, but not just in terms of look and feel. In addition to the significant facelift, this redesign will come tightly bundled with an about-face shift to W3C-compliant XHTML and a total reliance on CSS for all page layout and design details. It’s something I’m really exicted about, and I’m sure will be the topic of many future thoughts here.