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The fact that tablespace was woefully primitive in terms of design was really by choice. Choice, in that I lazily chose not to deal with all the misery cross-browser issues and design anything more than the most reliable html that would display consistently everywhere.
After coming to terms with the pure embarrassment of quality design from my peers in this area I decided to give a more daring design a try. The changes are two-fold. First I wanted to actually make the main page more ascetically pleasing, but more importantly I wanted to make some changes in the navigation. The new design allows one to get to things of interest without completely cluttering the main page. The result was a dual-pane kind of navigation that displays just the content that people tend to look for without making the main page a grand index for the entire site.
This bolt-on of a frame based view for the main page with a page-by-page view of most content is a bit confusing, but it seems to offer sufficient navigability that most users look for. While it tends to wreak havoc on indexing by Google, it does give me some insight into what people are looking for by what "primary" content they look for. (Most visitors come from direct links from other sites or search hits.)
The images I used for the main page are from several Mallet fortification prints in his "Ou L'Art De La Guerre". Copies are available in Mallet page