If it’s not fresh, it ain’t worth having…

Wise words from Godbit, who are stressing the importance of being able to update your site.

This is all too often an area that people overlook. Rabid in their desire to get a good looking site live as soon as possible, they forget about the week after it launches. And the week after that? No chance. That’s why I tell my clients from the off that I’m a web developer, not a secretary, and my aim is to give them the power to update thir sites.

It doesn’t always work out like that, some sites don’t need anything more than a few static HTML pages. Yes, I said it; not all sites need to be database driven. But all sites need to be fresh, and the easier it is to update a site, the more chance there is that the client will actually update it.

Two bad examples:

1) A client who insisted – and paid handsomly for – the ability to update their site. Six months later, nothing had changed.
2) A site where the news articles were full page images. If people find it difficult to keep even the text on a site up to date, how are they expected to master a graphics program? And that’s not even thinking about the accessibility issues.

And two good examples:

1) The client who keeps asking for more features to be added to their CMS becase the more they use it, the more they want to do, and the more popular their site gets.
2) The site where a large group of writers are constantly adding new content – there’s always something new to read, the site is never the same two visits running.

One more thing: broadband = happiness :0)

Too busy not to blog…

There’s a lot going on at the moment. Not just with moving house and several other things, but work-wise I’m continuing to juggle many different plates. However I have several ideas for things I’d like to blog about, so here’s a list. This is as much to remind me of what I’ve got to say as it is to advertise forthcoming attractions on this blog!

  • Redesign of stillbreathing.co.uk: Yes, I’m redesigning it. Just a couple of Internet Exploder problems to sort out and I’ll be ready. The new style is called “Chocolate and Coffee”, which should give you a good idea what colour it is…
  • Idiots guide to accessibility: There’s quite a lot of discussion about accessibility, and some great articles on how to make your web pages accessible. However I’m yet to find all a single page full of succinct information. I aim to provide that, by creating a page with tips on accessibilising (if that is a correct word) the following: tables, acronyms, forms, text and more. This is, as you may have guessed, more a ‘revision’ excercise for myself than anything else.
  • An introduction to the Performer Series: The Performer Series is a collection of JavaScript simple functions designed to take the headache out of AJAX, while being completely standards-compliant and degradeable. The functions included allow you to show and hide elements, load data from remote pages, send data to remote pages and if required load the response back into an element, reload an elements content, and a few other things. It will be a free download under the usual GPL licence.

There are a few other things, but they are just ideas in the ether at the moment. When I get time, the above things will be written and posted. But with a new house to deal with, and broadband being switched on today (I’ve missed you), I’m not sure when that will be.

Don’t look under the hood…

The ever-informative TechCrunch brought to my attention a new (free) online e-learning system called Nuvvo. It looks good, and it’s a great idea.

But what’s this? Look under the hood (viewing the source) and it’s a mish-mash of nested tables, inline JavaScript and spacer gifs. All of which makes it difficult – if not impossible – to be compatible with a wide range of browsers, not to mention screen readers and handheld devices. So while the idea is very Web 2.0, the implementation isn’t.