My apology to web designers (Caro blog)

(Administrator note: The Poker1 theme was updated in late 2011 to incorporate a Mike Caro blue-tone design, by vote of users. The new design remains at odds with conventional web graphic standards. Comments invited below this blog entry.) default content graphicEntry #6 (2010-04-09)

If you’re a graphics artist dropping in for the first time, you probably just muttered, “Holy shit!” I feel your pain. You’re looking at my response to modern web design theory. The new Poker1 look and feel is now complete. And it’s precisely how I want it to be.

In a minute, we’ll compare the old Poker1 header, which made its exit late yesterday, to the new one. This long-planned change represents the final pre-launch update to the basic Poker1 appearance. As I explained in my first blog entry on March 18, I’m stubborn. I’m rebuilding the new Poker1 the way I want it to look, and the gray-scale graphics are here to stay.

…a quiet rest stop along an Internet highway of glitzy billboards and colliding colors”

A comparison

Below, the old header is on top, followed by the new one. Obviously you can also see the new header full-size by just glancing (or scrolling) up.

Picture of previous Poker1 header
Old Poker1 header
New Poker1 header

Last night, the look-and-feel transformation was completed with this final changeover to the new header. I designed it to live in harmony with the default content graphic (the upside down spade you see near the top of almost every entry, including this one).

You might have wondered why the logo, previously at the top left of every page, and the content graphic were so different. If you’ve been following the “to-do list” and “log of changes,” two internal development resources that I made public so you can follow our progress and setbacks, you were expecting this to happen any day. You knew the old header logo, borrowed from the previous, was on its way out. (If you don’t have the slightest clue what I’m talking about, you can access the to-do list and the changelog from the home page.)

A quiet rest stop

Oddly, I know exactly what the majority of graphics artists preach as gospel; I just don’t share their passion. I hope the new Poker1 will appear as a quiet rest stop along an Internet highway of glitzy billboards and colliding colors. Sure, there will be plenty of color here, from photos to video. But that will take center stage. The surroundings, what you see right now, are designed to be friendly and functional. Simplified organization and easy-to-read-and-view content were key design considerations.

To any offended design professionals: It’s not that I don’t understand where the well-schooled graphics herd is heading; it’s that I’m heading somewhere else.

This is my home, and my visitors are my guests, my extended family. I don’t want to use graphic devices to shout at them. But I realize you’re upset, and I’m signing up for sensitivity training later today. — MC

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


16 thoughts on “My apology to web designers (Caro blog)”

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  1. Honestly, if you want this site to be a “quiet rest stop” – consider removing the right side bar and changing to a sans serif font – that alone will make this site at least 275% more readable, I promise.

    1. Hi, Toedder —

      Thanks for making your first comment and joining our Poker1 family.

      I’ll consider what you’re saying about the right sidebar, although that would leave the lines of text in the center wider than I’d like for easy reading.

      Serifs are supposed to be more readable than non-serifs, actually, but that seems to differ among cultures. If you grew up in England, you might be more accustomed to non-serif fonts.

      The purpose of serifs is to make reading faster, because they lead to the next letters. I don’t really have a personal opinion, but that seems to be the common consensus. And reading tests have shown it to be true. We’re currently using Times Roman.

      Still, non-serif might be better online. So, good thought.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

      1. Hi Mike,

        you are probably right about the width being close to ideal – it’s only that the text seems a little harder to read with those two pretty dark columns on both sides (especially since the background of the text is so bright – maybe toning it down to a light grey would help, too).

        On serifs vs non-serifs – to my knowledge the consensus in today’s design is that serifs are superior for print media while non-serifs are better for on-screen reading. And in my experience that is true. Books with serifs are way better to read than books with non-serifs, while I find web sites that use serif fonts hard on my eyes and tiring very soon.


        1. Hi, Toedder —

          I think that all of your comments are well reasoned and valuable.

          Readability is ultra-important at Poker1, and I considered many factors. I decided on a serif font, because I believe that — even on the web — it is more readable at large sizes. So, you’ll notice that we use a larger-than-standard font size.

          There is also a bit of extra line spacing to make the text seem less crowded. Also, I acknowledge that extreme contrast between black and white can be distracting. That’s why many of the parts that seem to be black, really aren’t — not quite.

          All the shades were chosen carefully, even including the five-pixel outer boarder with the round corners. Oddly, if you reduce the darkness of that by more than a few percent, it washes away into the surrounding textured gray page (this is easier to see on a widescreen display), and if it’s even a few percent darker, it begins to shout about it’s presence in a distracting manner.

          In short, I had fun trying to bring the gray shades in harmony. But I’m not sure this worked in every case. Your observations, and those of others, give me more to think about. Much appreciated.

          Straight Flushes,
          Mike Caro

  2. I love your site design. When I first came upon your site and it was all new to me, it had an unique image that stuck out in my mind. Now, after coming here so many times I can honestly say that it’s the best format of any poker articles I’ve found online. Your writing is pretty much my favorite of any online articles. But they’re also more readable than any other, being without the gaudy ads. I would enjoy others’ articles, like Ashley Adams articles on Stud, a lot more if they were more like this format.

    Anyway thank you both for sharing your enlightening articles and for the easy-to-read presentation!


    1. Hi, Austin —

      Thanks the positive opinion and for making your first comment. Welcome to Poker1.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

  3. I salute you for being bold and not conforming to the so-called rules in web design. It is your website after all and no designer can tell you otherwise what to do with it. In fact if I had it designed and my web designer things otherwise, I’d get rid of him/her immediately. I’m paying to do what I want my website to look like so please do it. Come to think of it, it’s not always you see a greyscale website. It’s always the blues or greens, or a mix of colors to make a rainbow look pale beside it.

    1. Hi, Michael —

      Thanks for sharing your opinion and for joining our Poker1 family by publishing your first comment.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

  4. Mike, you are an original! I love the greyscale! Very refreshing! Definitely, a nice, queit rest stop amongst the glitzy billboards that clutter the Internet highway. It’s a bit of a step back, while at the same time, I believe, a giant step forward! Sweet!

    BTW: My African Greys says “Well, Hey!” to your African Grey. Now if they would just play a better game of Heads-Up instead of wanting to shred the cards, they’d be perfect! Cheers!

    1. Hi, TigerBird —

      Now that you’ve joined our Poker1 family by making your first comment, your next posts will appear immediately, without waiting to be approved. Welcome aboard.

      African Grey parrots are a phenomenon not yet fully explored by science. “Silver” was the MCU mascot, but unfortunately died of a rare disease about eight years ago. As you know, these birds are extremely intelligent and use language in whole sentences they compose, as opposed to just “parroting” words.

      Hope you continue to enjoy your adventures at Poker1, and I’m glad to hear you approve of the design.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

  5. I love the new site, Mike. The fact that the audio and video content is available for the most part makes it better than the previous incarnation.

    (There were several times I stopped through and wasn’t able to connect to something I was looking for that I just got frustrated and went somewhere else.)

    Thanks for fixing it.

    1. Hi, Brian —

      Welcome to the new P1. This should be much more responsive than the old site, as you’re discovering.

      I’m glad you’re adapting to the color scheme, or non-color scheme, assuming that you actually are.

      Remember, we’re less that 50 percent complete, so while you’re visiting this site early, a lot of functionality isn’t here yet. Thanks for your positive feedback.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

  6. I advise you to pay attention to Justin who reported a glitch on your page where you ask for them “Everything appears to be in black and white – no color.”

    A lot of us have never seen a black and white movie and we detest the people who made them. To us when there aint no color, to use slang, something must be wrong. Never in a million years would we think someone did something that stupid on purpose.

    I see a lot of favorable messages on this site. You people must be living in the nineties! In case you’ve been asleep we’re in the age of Obama and that kind of backwards thinking has no place. Just my opinion. Thanks anyway for the good writing and letting us speak our minds.

  7. I’m glad you stuck to your convictions. The site is more than just relaxing, it’s educational. You could be wrong about graphic designers. You’re painting with too broad a brush. They’re not all following the herd.

  8. Mike – I have tried to read articles for understanding on other sites where I was so distracted I ended up printing the pages and cutting off the glaring side crap. Your new design is a welcome change. I have started a campaign of study on your site mostly due to your ease of use design. Thank you – Rich

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