At some point this week, it occurred to me that I could redesign the site header as part of the wider site redesign which will soon include, I hope, a home page redesign as well. Here’s one idea I was working on that I like quite a bit, if just for the top (i.e. “above the toolbar”) part of the site. This would appear on the top of all modern (i.e. 2008 and beyond) articles and pages on the site:

The only thing is, we serve ads up there now as well. There are big ads and small ads, and the size of the big ad dictates the size of the header now. But when there’s a big ad, most of the imagery gets blocked out, like this:

With a small ad, more shows through:

So this is nice and all. I briefly considered having it randomly display one of five Windows 7 background images, but then it occurred to me that Microsoft still has a legal department, so I might just use my own image (or images). Or maybe I could get rid of the section badges (those image strips that appear below the toolbar on activity center pages and ID the site section) and use a custom top image for each topic. Maybe.

Anyway, I’ll keep working on it. But I kind of like this style, even with the ads, which I can’t do anything about, sorry.

You can see a live version of this page here. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the served ads are the big version.