In a previous note I looked back at many (alas, not all, due to some server losses) of the designs I’ve made for Morganica.com over the years.
At the end I’d said we’ll see how this evolves as the new design settles into its paces. There’s a point at which you stop testing and simply float the bloody thing (which is what I was talking about last time)…and then come back about a month later and see all the things you did wrong, or at least ways you can make it better. So…this is my to-do list for the next few weeks, in between clients:
So far the primary nav on top is working well, although I’ve gotten a couple of bemused “don’t you think you’re taking the “ery” stuff too far? Imagery? Webbery? Glassery?” I’d probably die rather than make up words for a commercial site, but hey–this is my funsite. So it stays.
Secondary navigation is a different matter. There’s no clear identification of the page–what I’d intended as a section title looks like the page title (top right), no breadcrumbing, and the secondary nav itself is at the bottom of the lefthand column when convention (and most users) expect it to be at the top. It’s also probably too prominent on the page.
Solution: flip the lefthand column so the nav’s on top and make it smaller, swap the section and page titles, and add breadcrumbing.
Probably would speed things up to reduce image resolution to 72dpi from the current 96 dpi, but again, this is my funsite, so it stays.
My, how the Web (and my interests) have grown. This site’s primary function is to serve as my site “tickler” file, reminding me where I’ve been online and what kinds of things are available so I don’t have to go through multiple searches to find stuff.
When I was still doing this in 2003 I had about 1,200 sites registered in different categories, manageable with about 16 pages. Right now I’m tracking about 700 sites on morganica, i.e., I’ve tested the links, noted what’s on the site, and posted. In the background, though, I’m checking several thousand more sites, about 90% need to be included, but 16 classification pages aren’t going to hold all that without becoming very unwieldy.
In addition, I’m already getting many, many requests to add pages (which has always puzzled me–morganica’s site lists are freely available to anyone, but not intended to be any kind of comprehensive directory to a subject, and I don’t intend to sell advertising or promote them). If other people are finding and sending me sites as well, this could rapidly get out of hand.
Solution: establish a new taxonomy, rebuild the database schema with more field control, and allow a deeper hierarchy of pages. Institute a direct search/index function, and add a site suggestion feature.
Right now I’m using straight out of the box Movable Type templates, mostly because I haven’t had time to alter them, they work pretty well, and I wanted to settle the rest of the site into its design before doing more than writing the blog. But…they need to be integrated into the site design so that it’s not such a glaring jump.
The trick will be figuring out how to get all the different blog menus in the right places so they make sense and also visually integrate. Not a difficult problem, but not one that’s on the top of my list, either. Probably some of the changing design elements will drive this.
So…that’s a nice little worklist to be going on for the next few weeks. (sighs happily) The day I get this site right will be the day it gets boring and dies again.