Don't let Your House Get out of Order
An analyst who works for a technical analyst company (sorry, couldn’t find a better way to say it) recently contacted me . He wanted to interview me and get my take on the difference between various server-side programming languages (PHP vs. ASP vs. JSP et cetera). His research was to be included in a report read by fortune 500 IT architects, VPs, and CTO – the big boys! So naturally, being the ham that I am, I agreed.
WHAT’S THE POINT?
An article in the ‘Killersites.com newsletter archive’ (published over a year ago,) prompted his call:
CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT
Due to years of consistent blows to my head, I tend to forget things (as far as I can remember,) so I decided to take a peek at what I wrote.
To my shock and horror, the archived page was in bad shape! It looked bad because, the CSS link had been broken somehow – the page was without style! But thankfully it was still readable; I had laid out the structure of the site so that even without CSS, it flowed logically*.
But my shock did not stop there - I decided to read the complete article.
What I really found was a first draft of the article - it had grammatical errors and the structure of the writing was in need of some polish. Since I’m a nerd who teaches web design to people around the world … this could not stand! So I took the time and ‘cleaned-house’ on that article.
This got me to thinking (it happens once and a while,) what if some of the other articles are in the same shape? I’ve been known to ‘bang-out’ things when times-a-pressing …
Well sure enough, the nasty truth surfaced – Killersites.com was in need of some house cleaning… that’s what I’m doing now.
WHAT DOES THIS STORY TELL US?
- Websites are in constant need of upkeep – remember that with your own sites (that’s why you need to use CSS based design) and remember that when dealing with clients (think upkeep cost and future work).
- You’ll never know when someone will be rummaging through your closets, so you better keep them clean!
- The key to any successful website is the content – ‘content is king’: the oldest rule of web design.
How does option #3 relate to the story? Despite the fact that the page had the problems I mentioned, the analyst still contacted me - based (obviously) solely on the content of the article and not the presentation.
1. That’s a point to take home - when you lay out your pages, you should get into the habit of initially structuring them like a normal letter … like you would in a word processor (ex: MS WORD.)
Next you wrap your content (the text) with div tags and header tags et cetera. If this is confusing, you ought to read my article on CSS.
Now with your web pages laid out this way, you don’t have to worry if your CSS doesn’t work for some reason. Say someone finds your page with a browser that can’t read CSS (a cell phone for example,) they will still be able to read the content … yet another reason to avoid table based web page design! BTW, CSS aficionados refer to this as ‘degrading gracefully. ’
BTW: For all of you who pre-ordered the Dreamweaver video – I’m trying hard to get it out before Xmas.
Until next time we meet - ciao.