Spotted the difference?

This is the all new Stuff and Nonsense web site. Things have changed a great deal around here since the last time you may have stopped by. This site is a merger of two domains, the Stuff and Nonsense company portfolio plus the archives from And All That Malarkey.

If you have any comments or suggestions, or you find something out of place, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

This is the all new Stuff and Nonsense web site. Things have changed a great deal around here since the last time you may have stopped by, as this site is a merger of the Stuff and Nonsense company portfolio (formerly at www.malarkey.co.uk) plus the archives from my weblog And All That Malarkey (formerly at www.stuffandnonsense.co.uk). It's a brand new site and marks a brand new start for my tiny corner of the internet.

Some regular visitors may have noticed something strange over the last couple of years. That I had a weblog called And All That Malarkey on stuffandnonsense.co.uk and a design company called Stuff and Nonsense on malarkey.co.uk. Confused? I was.

In Underpants over my trousers I explained the reasons behind my domain dichotomy and asked readers what, if anything, I should do to rectify the situation. Some people thought the reversed domains were quirky and even strangely appropriate. So I did nothing and my domain issue stayed unresolved, even while Stuff and Nonsense's reputation grew and And All That Malarkey gained notoriety.

For many different reasons, in Reg and his Rhodesian ridgeback I explained that it was time to call it a day on And All That Malarkey. It was time for a change of direction and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to resolve my long standing domain dilemmas. I also feel that as Stuff and Nonsense is a tiny company that is predominantly focused around my own creative work, that running two web sites under two different domains now seems inappropriate. I am the company, the company is me, ably assisted by my wonderful wife and our freelance colleagues and partners. So why pretend otherwise? And why run two sites? So now there is one site, focused around my creative work and portfolio, my writing about web design and my conference speaking.

From rags to riches

Although it seems like an age ago, even when I designed the previous incarnation of the Stuff and Nonsense portfolio site, I was not entirely happy with the end result. At the time I felt constrained by the demands of business partners and paid advisors who wanted to steer the company down a more corporate route. Even my choice of grumpy looking business types for the home page was a subtle poke in the ribs for my straight laced associates.

Much of my humour and personality fell by the wayside and although the site was critically well received, found its way onto several CSS gallery sites and even wound up in Jeffrey Zeldman's second edition of Designing With Web Standards, I still felt disappointed. Even though the site was not ideal, it did serve its purpose for a time.

Throughout last year while I was writing Transcending CSS and re-establishing Stuff and Nonsense as an independent company, the site stagnated. It became a thorn in my side and a reminder of the miserable times that I was putting behind me. Some people even wondered if I was still making creative work, so lacking was the site in updates.

Now all of that has been put to one side and after several months of planning, designing, writing and coding, you are looking at the result. The new and improved Stuff and Nonsense.

New and improved

So enough about the past. What about now? The new site is a complete ground up rebuild with not a single image, word or line of code carried over from either the portfolio site or And All That Malarkey.

There are Ace Face branding illustrations by the wonderfully talented Kevin Cornell who many of you will know as the staff illustrator on A List Apart magazine. As you might expect, Kevin's work-in-progress pencil sketches are as wonderful as his paintings, so I have added an Easter egg somewhere on the site. Find the egg to see the sketches.

Kevin also brought our S&N logo, inspired by British motoring association badges from the 1950's and 60's, to life. Working with Kevin was a joy and there will be more of his scooter riding characters appearing as the site develops. You can read Kevin's take on the project over at Bearskinrug.

Other people also had a hand in the making of the site. James Edwards, PPK and Simon Willison wrote and debugged JavaScript. Mark Wubben created a custom version of sIFR3 to add sparkle to the typography and my colleague Owen Gregory made magic happen behind the scenes by his work on the shiny new Expression Engine CMS.

What about Internet Explorer 6?

As has become traditional, if you are using an old time browser such as Internet Explorer 6 or earlier, you will be seeing a different design to those using a modern, more CSS savvy browser.

This is a feature that I started with the previous incarnation of And All That Malarkey with my 2Old black and white design and it seemed like a fun idea to again serve a black and white version to Internet Explorer 6. This time I am also serving one of Kevin's original pencil sketches of Ace Face in place of his full colour, painted version.

So why serve two different designs? Well, because I can. Will this hurt my business as so many prospective customers will be using Internet Explorer 6? Only time will tell, but I have a suspicion, based on conversations with my existing customers, that it won't.

So what's next? Over the next few weeks I will be developing my portfolio further and adding in more detailed information about the projects that I have been working on. I will also be smoothing off the rough edges and fixing bugs that I know will be reported once the site is in the wild.

The all new Stuff and Nonsense

I really enjoyed designing and building this site and I found the process liberating. I hope that you like it.

In case you might be wondering about a few things, I thought that I would compile a few short answers to some of the questions that I have been asked by those kind people who helped to beta test the site.

What CMS did you choose?

After much consideration and testing of various systems (plus a ton of badgering from Simon Collison) I chose Expression Engine and oh boy am I glad I did. EE has become my CMS of choice for non-transactional sites (for ecommerce sites there is nothing to beat Trading Eye).

What is the typeface used for the main headings?
Chaparral Pro Bold, available to download at Fonts.com
How did you achieve the text wrapping effect on the home page?
I'm very proud of that. It was accomplished with a combination of CSS floats, relative positioning and negative margins. I intend to write up the technique at some point soon.
What was yout inspiration for the main navigation?
The main navigation was inspired by a central Russian newspaper that I discovered during my research for Transcending CSS.
You used a table element to mark up your main navigation?
Yes. Although using tables for layout will normally result in hair loss, after several hours pondering the semantics of the navigation information I decided that it was infact tabular information.
How did you make the site black-and-white in Internet Explorer 6, and why?
Why? Because it seemed like a fun idea. I could just have easily make the full colour design render in IE6, but chose instead to use an < IE6 only stylesheet and several grey-scale images. To make inline images appear black-and-white I used a non-standard Microsoft CSS property: img { filter : gray; }. Do I mind that the IE stylesheet fails to validate? Not one bit.
Will you be blogging again?
No, and yes. There will be a new type of blog on this site towards the end of this year, but it won't be like And All That Malarkey as it will be focused around creative design topics as well as CSS and other web standards conversations.

Got something to say?

So here it is, the all new Stuff and Nonsense. If you have any comments or suggestions, or you find something out of place, please let me know.


Availability

I’m available for hire to consult on and design products and websites. Based in North Wales, I travel regularly to work with clients world-wide.

Available from January 2019

Talk soon

For work enquiries email

Or call us on +44 (0)1745 851848

Studio

Stuff & Nonsense Ltd.
Eversleigh, Lon Capel
Gwaenysgor
Flintshire, North Wales
LL18 6EJ, UK