Every now and then I’ll be surfing round the web and see something that catches my eye and makes me start to ponder how I might incorporate a similar idea into my own web space. It is not stealing; it is not plagiarism; it is about inspiration and gradually growing, developing and improving what I publish.
My latest point of inspiration was the way Mark Hadley presents the Technorati links on his site. I have had similar links on my site for some time but the visual nature of his approach appealed – painting them in technorati green and using a mini icon instead of text to introduce the list. It might be a touch more confusing for those who don’t recognise the symbol but probably no less meaningful than writing “Tags:” and, if anyone is interested, enlightenment is only a click away.
I didn’t just lift the idea wholesale from his site. Mark presented his list as a style <div> section. I wanted to maintain a more semantic style of markup, making use of existing HTML structures rather than an arbitrary division. My choice has been to use the definition list (<dl>) format. The title, which I hide from view with the stylesheet, is the definition term (<dt>) and each individual tag is a data definition (<dd>).
That seems to work well, especially when reading my blog postings outside the context of my own website (for example, with a newsreader such as bloglines), where the list doesn’t have such a slick appearance (no access to my stylesheet) but is very readable. It also means that I can claim some of the work for my own rather than just being an ideas-magpie!