Brainstorms and Raves

Notes on Web Design, Development, Standards, Typography, Music, and More




2006 Relaunch!

I’ve been buried the last five months quietly working hard on a major redesign and restructuring of I’m now excited to announce that the all new is online!

Out With the Old and In With the New partial screenshot

Gone is the sadly old and tired design that I created too many years ago. In its place is an all new design using CSS positioning, all new colors, and a new logo, too. In addition, I completely overhauled and restructured the site’s information architecture.

Behind the scenes I also learned enough PHP to make the creation and overall site management an easy matter, too, using PHP includes with some conditions to create a good behind-the-scenes template system.

I also dug into Andy King’s Cover - Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization, by Andy King book, Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization, even further to add server-side compression to help reduce those file sizes even more.

It’s Still About the Content, Though

People visit and return to for the content, though, and all that I wrote above was created to support the content. While I eliminated some old content not worth keeping online, other existing content is updated and fresh. In addition, there’s a huge amount of new content throughout every single page and section. While I spent a lot of time on the design and development, I spent a lot more time on overhauling the content.

For all who aren’t familiar with, it sprouted as a one-page resource of annotated links for my clients almost ten years ago now. now has somewhere around 3,000 annotated links via the Web Resources section, a section of Articles, Tutorials, and Tips, and a new Recommended Books section.

You can read more about the design and development via’s Colophon and more about the reasons it exists and its history via the About page and what I have in common with Sherlock Holmes (no, not the hat or the trench coat!).

So, What Do You Think?

Besides just letting you all know about the new and improved site, I’d also greatly appreciate feedback about it - what you think of the new look, the information architecture, if you like the content, and anything else - I want to continue to make improvements, and I need to hear from people who visit the site. You can send me feedback directly through’s Contact section, and you’re welcome to leave comments here at this post if you wish, but I’m not sure how long I’ll leave my comments open due to the darn spammers.


Comments, Trackbacks: 4 so far. Add yours!

  1. Nice work Shirley! I was really under the impression that you had let WebsiteTips slide permanently. Not that it’s any less of a great resource with the old design, but you seemed to be concentrating on blogging the past couple of years. I haven’t had the chance to dig into it too deeply, but thus far the new design and content looks great.

    12:18 pm, pst25 March, 2006Comment by Douglas Clifton

    comment #1 permalink ·

  2. I've been wondering why Shirley Kaiser over at Brainstorms and Raves has been so quiet lately. Turns out, she's been hard at work on a complete redesign for WebsiteTips. I've always felt the site was an excellent compliment to drx, since we have similar

    25 Mar, 2006Trackback from blogZero

    trackback #2 permalink ·

  3. Thanks for the kind comments, Douglas. I did indeed let it slide but that wasn’t intentional. :-)

    Long story short, though, I was finally able to get it redesigned, updated, etc. I started it last November thinking I’d have it ready by January 1st. The design and the main design/development testing was done by December 1st, but I grossly underestimated the amount of time needed for updating, revising, and adding new content. You know how volunteer projects are, though - they have to get done in between the work that I get paid for and after hours and on weekends as time permits. :-)

    I also have a target in mind, as I wanted the redesign finished before my new book comes out, as I refer to it in my book here and there.

    My upcoming book being published by SitePoint is supposed to be out in April, although O'Reilly’s site shows June. I hear that authors are sometimes the last to know. ;-) I have only mentioned it once or twice at my weblog so far, and SitePoint only recently started mentioning it in their book section - - in the right column under the Coming Soon section. I do have some info at my business site about it, though - Building Best Practice Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists.

    I also just read what you wrote about the redesign at your site. Thank you so much! It’s great to hear such nice things from you, as I’ve long admired your work.

    Yes, I can’t believe it’s been nearly 10 years since I started that one-page little section that turned into Unbelievable. My business officially turns 10 in July, too.

    Thanks again for the kind comments. It means a lot to me!

    10:32 pm, pst25 March, 2006Comment by Shirley Kaiser

    comment #3 permalink ·

  4. Wow. A new book, a complete overhaul of WebsiteTips, keeping your SKDesigns clients happy and blogging on Brainstorms & Raves...

    Have you written any piano sonatas lately?

    You do know how to stay busy. Go see a movie or something!

    07:38 am, pst26 March, 2006Comment by Doug Clifton

    comment #4 permalink ·

This discussion has been closed. Thanks to all who participated.


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Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists  Via Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, by Shirley Kaiser. SitePoint Books (July 2006). 

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