If you’re reading this from an RSS reader, come check out the new design live on the site! I’ve spent the past two days working on ways to improve the overall usability of the blog and bring back focus to where it belongs: the content. You’ll find bigger text, a wider reading area and much less clutter. Stay tuned for a more in-depth blog post on the design changes but for now, check out the new poll for December.

The design is still a work in progress and the discussion forum is still on the old theme, so bear with me while I fix that and patch things up. Among the various new changes, the site now uses Google Font Directory’s Droid Serif font and it’s the first time I’ve used any such service for font rendering. I do like this font though and think it’s excellent for overall readability.

Edit: To show you guys that I do eat my own dog food, I’m making available the PSD I created before constructing this new WordPress theme. You can download the file and see for yourself why making a mockup in Photoshop can be useful (and how close I try to stick to the PSD when developing).

Last Month’s Results

In November, I wanted to get an idea of what version of Internet Explorer people were still developing for. As it turns out, the majority of you said that the lowest version of IE your websites currently support is IE7 (33%). A significant amount also said they may support IE but don’t really care, which is much more interesting in my opinion. Are many web developers completely forgoing IE compatibility checks these days? My sample size is still very small so it’s hard to tell but it would be very interesting to see a more thorough survey done on a bigger website.

Honestly, I was surprised that IE7 was the top voted result and that IE6 was still getting decent attention, as it’s so outdated now. I understand IE7, as I believe it is installed by default on Windows XP but I think as a community, we should be moving away from IE6. I guess it all depends on your visitors though, since for most big sites you can’t just ignore a big chunk of your audience. I was also expecting more votes for IE8 support, which is now the standard browser included with Windows 7.

Are most of you using tools like the IETester to do your Internet Explorer compatibility checks?

New Poll for December

As I continue to get a few more freelance projects, I’m curious as to what my fellow web developers are charging for a simple WordPress-powered website (essentially a custom theme, with a few extras). For example, my latest project involves designing and developing a website for a family dentist - I plan on using WordPress as the backend and will utilize a few plugins and custom hacks to get the end result my client wants. How much do you guys charge for something like this? I’ll post details on how much I’m getting paid for my work next month, when we analyze the results.

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