Multimap redesign

I’ve been somewhat quiet of late, which as usual means busy, busy, busy. And without further ado, the fruits of my labour can be found at There’s a subtle redesign with big usability improvements for the map controls and associated functionality. We’ve also integrated Google text ads into our local information service, which I personally hope will do well so we can ditch the pop-ups (sorry) and lose some of remaining intrusive banner ads.

But that’s not the exciting stuff. The best bit from my perspective is a complete rebuild of the mapping side of the site using Web standards, semantic HTML and CSS layout. In fairness the old site validated, but we still had two prime drivers for the move to CSS and meaningful mark-up: ease of maintenance and bandwidth reduction. Of course we also got better accessibility and search engine placement for free.

The development process was definitely quicker using Web standards, in fact the idea of rebuilding with its old nested tables fills me with horror! I had the common templates built in two days, with a further day of tweaking to fix some minor display issues here and there. After that it was just a case of rebuilding the remaining bits of the site in the same mold, a job made easy because of the simple, meaningful mark-up used throughout.

Russ Weakley has the scoop on all this with Ten questions for Richard Rutter in which he grills me on liquid layouts, scaling images, access keys, ems and the Multimap rebuild process. Fame at last!

Note: if you have any compliments or criticisms about the Multimap redesign/rebuild, please could you also email them to so that the whole team can see them. That way if it’s a compliment, I get a gold star and if it’s a criticism it goes into a bug system and will be addressed. Many thanks.