Made by us, for you.
Making the Whole Widget
Setting out to create this third version of our website, we knew that to reach our goals we would have to create it ourselves—we wouldn't let a complete lack of necessary skills get in our way. We write, design and distribute our books and literature ourselves, so we figured it was up to us to make our website live up to its potential.
Since we hacked our first site together in the mid-90s, the internet has increasingly become the primary avenue for disseminating information and connecting people with similar ideas or desires. Alas, CrimethInc. is not a website, but we realize it will take a truly useful website to follow through on this idea—to ensure that we continue to be much more than a website, we needed to hone our site into a streamlined and reliable hub to connect people with our real-world presence, in all its varied forms.
In our real-world publishing efforts we've always treated presentation as a pivotal element, and we've finally taken the time and effort needed to bring that same level of finish to our website. The site has been redesigned from scratch—hand-coded starting from a blank page—featuring a more inviting and less obtrusive aesthetic, an entirely new navigation scheme and tightly integrated search function (see below), more and higher-quality PDFs, a totally revamped texts library, a polished downloads area, extensive and high-quality photos of our various projects, a re-tooled online store that is more efficient in all regards, and a regularly updated and fully integrated blog.
Focusing on usability, our primary ambition with the redesign was to structure the information considering the perspective of a visitor to our site, as opposed to soley from our perspective—it sounds like a simple idea, but implementing it was rather complex and the result of much brainstorming. Of course, it's not a job that can ever be finished and we'll continue to tweak and improve the interface, a task that could be greatly aided by your insightful feedback.
As much as the interface has changed, the biggest improvement is the site's invisible foundation. After mucking around and haphazardly patching code together for years, we finally committed to learning the fundamentals of modern web design—a crash course in XHTML and CSS with a dab of PHP. We've created a solid platform based on web standards and best practices with cross-platform and multi-browser compatibility upon which we can continue to expand our internet hub with ease and grace; this should lead to continual development with less stagnation.
These three books (1, 2, 3) were all very helpful, and if you are considering doing some web design, I'd recommend them—if we can make a decent website from scratch, anyone can. Still, we aren't experts and there are still some parts of our code that need work. If you've spotted some things that we could be doing better, please drop us a line, we'd love to have some help.
Finding your way around.
Search Will Set You Free
Search is for people who know what they are looking for: type your query in the grey box in the top right of every page and hit enter (or click the magnifying glass), and voila! We put a lot of effort into creating a fully functional search tool—false positives are filtered out and the most important results are weighted towards the top. We also index all the text in our PDFs and downloadable PDFs appear in the results. An advanced search can be conducted from any search results page and allows you to control several facets of the results and also to identify a particular category to search if you are looking for specific information [Blog, Downloads, PDFs, or Reading Library].
Search Tips: 1) Put quotation marks around an exact phrase to search only for that exact combination and sequence of words. 2) Put a minus symbol (-) in front of a word to exclude pages with that word from the results; for example searching for 'rolling -thunder' would find every page where 'rolling' occurs and 'thunder' does not. 3) You can use * as a wildcard; for example searching for 'crime*' would find 'crimethinc,' 'crimethink,' 'crimes,' but not 'thoughtcrime.' 4) You can use all or any of these techniques together; for example a search for 'america* “riot police” -europe*' would find all pages where the exact phrase 'riot police' appears with 'america' or 'american' or 'americas' and would not include pages that also contained the word 'europe' or 'european.'
The entire content of the site is divided into seven primary sections: Books, Journal, Texts, Tools, Store, Blog, and About—these appear on every page at the top of the screen in the grey bar. Some of these sections have sub-sections that also appear in the navigation bar in orange and are only displayed on pages that are in that section. A small white triangle appears under the name of the section currently being displayed. Several sections that contain many options have their own separate vertical navigation bars in the page body, such as the Texts, Downloads, and Blog sections. A full site-map is to the right.
Stop using Internet Explorer. Please.
Internet Explorer is a scourge to web designers everywhere, but to an equal degree it degrades your experience of this website and many others. In addition to some elements simply not working at all (such as the hovering footnotes in the Reading Library), every single page on this site is a victim of Explorer's terrible CSS bugs which result in pages being rendered improperly (see gallery below for a few examples). Luckily for you, it is very easy to switch your internet browser from Internet Explorer to something much better:
1) Our recommendation is Safari, available for both Windows and Mac. While not entirely open-source, its HTML and CSS rendering engine is (WebKit), and it has wonderful support of web standards and even passes the Acid2 Test (which Firefox does not). But our main reason for recommending it over Firefox is due to its amazing text-rendering in Windows which is vastly superior to all other options which rely on Windows' own terrible text-rendering engine. If you want to see our site as it is meant to be seen, use Safari.
2) That said, Firefox is still an excellent browser alternative to Internet Explorer, and we highly recommend it. It is an open-source project that has excellent support for web standards. Even though our below examples all show Safari, the Firefox rendering is nearly identical and totally correct. While its text rendering in Windows is still a slave to Microsoft's horrid rendering engine, pages display 100% correctly, which is a marked improvement over Explorer. Click here to download Firefox.
As of August 2007 Internet Explorer made up 40% of our users—we'd love to see that number cut in half a year from now. Firefox currently has 46% and Safari is at 11%. Please switch if you are able. Here are some other sites with more info on why Internet Explorer is terrible: One - Two - Three - Four.
guide table of contents
We use the delightful Lightbox 2 script for displaying the high-resolution versions of our images. We think their solution to image enlargement is quite elegant and it includes some very useful features for image galleries, all of which we utilize. Click here for our demo including instructions and a photo of our dog. In short, you can click on the right half of an image to go to the next image (or press 'n') and click on the left half to go to the previous image (or press 'p'). Click anywhere outside the image box to close the image viewer (or press 'x').
We don't keep a mailing list (who wants to be on that list?), but you can use our RSS feeds to keep up-to-date—we have so many, you won't know what to do with them all. They even have their own page!
Days of War
Recipes for Disaster
CrimethInc. Letters Series
Off the Map
Rusty String Quartet
Literature Distribution Kit
CrimethInc. Into Libraries