Ex Die in Diem


Styling Travails

Thanks to an excruciating experience at the bank today, I’ve decided that I’m no longer accepting cheques as payment. In future I shall treat them as what they are: scraps of paper covered in numbers, logos, and not enough writing to unambiguously describe the intentions of the issuer.

In an attempt to rectify this narrowing of the payment options available to my students, I thought it would be a nice idea to put a PayPal button on my website; a small, unobtrusive image of the company’s logo that clicks through to an opportunity to securely settle your debt to me. Well, probably not your debt to me, but you know what I mean.

Having spent a long time hand-coding my website, and more than a year now iteratively improving the design, I was reticent to use the standard yellow “pay now” button provided by paypal.

Less than ideal

To be honest, it’s not just the yellowness of the design. I mean, it is fiercly yellow, but it’s more the exhortation to pay me this instant that put me off. I like to think that I put my students and their parents at their ease, and have made a point of never being overtly demandingof payment: it seems uncouth to me. The standard button, therefore, did not appeal on an emotional as well as aesthetic level.

I found a lovely replacement online at MediaLoot, but then spent literally hours fighting with PayPal’s button generator site. First of all, the very last stage of the process (copying the generated HTML) simply didnt work on my iPad. A bit of searching led to my discovery of the alternative, no Javascript, version of the tool, so I returned with the Javascript turned off in my browser.

What followed was not worth describing in detail: suffice it to say that after an hour and a half of trying different arrangements and hosting the image in different places I had given up and used the standard button instead, when I suddenly realised that this working button had an open reference to the image file in the HTML I had copied. I went in to the file and swapped this reference for one to my preferred image, and presto! The link was just as I wanted it. You can have a look for yourself here, just to see how very not worth it that operation was.

This is from the