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Blog : Posts tagged with 'websites'

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We want information

In which FP gets described


Incidentally, K recently pointed out that the About Page on this site was severely out of date. And, indeed, it was. It was written when the site first appeared, and had barely been updated since then. In the time that this site’s been going a lot’s changed. I’ve met K, for one thing, moved across the country, been abroad a couple of times, learned a lot, and become slightly more optimistic about life in general. The old About Page really would have confused anyone who’d come across the site at random, read it, and tried to match the description there to the description of my life now.

So: the other day, it got rewritten. I’m still not entirely happy with it, but self-descriptions are one of the hardest things in the language to write. Next time I do one, I’ll just get other people to describe me instead, I think; it will probably be far more accurate.

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Upgrade

In which I try to update the site


An administrative note: I’ve just upgraded the site to WordPress 2.7, the new, latest version, before I start on the planned epic redesign. And: it’s different. To you, the site itself should look just the same as before. On the underside, writing and managing the site, it looks completely different. I’m all-at-sea. Everything has moved about, and it’s going to take me a few days to relearn how to work the thing. That’s upgrades for you.

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Mistakes

In which we consider how well this site scores against Nielsen’s standard


Website design and usability expert Dr Jakob Nielsen has published his list of the top ten blog design mistakes. So, I thought I’d go through the list and see how many of them I’m making.

No author biography, no author photo. Well, there’s a kind of biography, but certainly no photo. I don’t want you to know who I am. It wouldn’t mean anything unless you already know me in real life. Telling you more about myself wouldn’t gain me anything in credibility, which seems to be the most important point here.

Nondescript posting titles – I do this all the time. Mostly because, as he says, writing good headlines is hard work. Partly, though, because this isn’t a news site. If you look at a newspaper, the concise descriptive headlines Nielsen favours are all over the news pages; but the comment sections’ headlines are deliberately vaguer and enticing.

Links don’t say where they go – I try not to do this, because I know it’s bad for search engines.

Classic hits are buried. If I ever write some, I might think about doing something about this.

The calendar is the only navigation – in other words, you should try to categorise everything properly. I’d say I score half-marks on this one.

Irregular publishing frequency is about the only thing on the list you can’t accuse me of, unless you want to complain about me not always posting at the same time every day.

Mixing topics. Hah. I don’t even have a topic.

Forgetting that you write for your future boss – this is why I don’t tell you much about who I am, in the hope of avoiding this problem. Nielsen thinks that trying to avoid this is hopeless given the march of technology, though.

Finally, Having a domain name owned by a weblog service – lots of well-known, well-respected sites do do this. I see the point, though: you need to control your domain to control your reputation. Not something I need to worry about, though.

Totting up, I seem to have hit six (and a half) of the top mistakes in weblog design. All of them, though, are all very good points when made about a different sort of site to mine. I just don’t feel that those six mistakes I’ve made are a problem for me at the moment – and some of them might be mistakes, but they’re decisions that I deliberately took. I’m fairly happy with the nature of this site at the moment, whatever an expert might say.

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Reasoning

In which FP is easily (and correctly) stereotyped


There was a reason behind yesterday’s post: a conversation I had at work yesterday.* Taking a shortcut through the warehouse behind the office, I got talking to Colleague M. Colleague M is fairly new, so tends to get all the rubbish jobs, such as sitting out in the cold of the warehouse sorting through boxes of stuff before it goes upstairs. We ended up talking for a while, and for some reason I ended up having to mention that I have a website.**

“Yes,” said M, “you look like the sort of person who would have a website.”

Frankly, I was a bit baffled. M may be right, but I have no idea why. What do people who have websites look like?

* which was, itself, only a small part of what added up to be a rather odd day.

** but not the address of it.

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Daily Hate

In which I find the site is read by local journalists


Flicking through my logs, I noticed that this site had a visitor from associated.co.uk. My immediate assumption was that they work for Associated Newspapers, publishers of hate-filled rightwing scaremongering tabloids such as the Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Grimsby Telegraph** and so on.

Indeed, a quick check showed that they did. More amusingly, though, a second quick check showed that they’re too lazy to point the domain at any useful webspace. They have set up a webserver at that address, but – as you’ll see if you click on the link – all it contains are the words “blah blah blah blah blah”.*

Their main website runs on some complex Perl-based active content system, and its web designers clearly aren’t that stupid, because they’ve managed to set up a favicon for the site. However, for some mysterious and unclear reason, the icon they’ve chosen is the Netscape Navigator logo, circa 1997. Given that AOL-Time Warner probably own the copyright on that, I wonder if we can persuade them to sue?

* “Much like their newspapers,” I could say if I was feeling cruel.

** Technically, the Grimsby Telegraph is probably owned by a different company for complicated tax reasons; it’s all the same group really though.

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