Bill's Blog

blog |bl├Ąg|
a Web site on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoing narrative : Most of his work colleagues were unaware of his blog until recently.

verb (blogged, blogging) [ intrans. ]
add new material to or regularly update a blog.

blogger noun

ORIGIN a shortening of WEBLOG.
Picture of William (a.k.a. Bill)

6 August 2012

Today's topic: Speed Bumps

Where do we go? Where do we go from here? Have you ever found yourself staring at a web page and thinking, "Now what?" Or maybe, "I know the information is here. The link I just clicked said this is where I'd find it. So why can't I find it?" You stare at the page. Read it again. And again. Eventually frustration presents you with at least 4 options:

1. Back button
2. Random click
3. Go Home
4. Forget it

If I've overlooked any please let me know.

The Back button seems a safe bet. Maybe you clicked the wrong link while on the previous page. If you use the Back button, be sure to pick a different link on that previous page. Clicking the link which prompted you to use the Back button can lead to temporary insanity... doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Always select a different link.

A random click sometimes works. Stay on the page which clearly is devoid of the information you were led to believe was just "one click away" and instead of going back, be bold, click on the next best thing. It could work.

Going Home is always a safe option. Maybe you misunderstood the web site's structure. By going Home you can start over. Exercise caution with this option for it too can lead to temporary insanity.

Forget about it. Close the window and step away from the computer. This is the most frustrating option. You have nothing to show for your efforts, except for maybe the smile on your face because you didn't spend 20 minutes letting a web site get the best of you.

"The information superhighway" was a popular term used through the 1990s which referred to digital communication systems and the Internet, a term that has fallen into disuse and until recently a term I hadn't thought about, not about why or how the term had faded away but rather what it meant in the first place. With the redesign of my site I have been challenged to revisit a tried and true axiom, "form follows function" which is to say there's more to web design than aesthetics.

In my opinion the primary goal of any well designed page is two-fold: presentation and accessibility. In just a few seconds you are presented with an array of options or elements which comprise the look of the page. If sufficient forethought went into providing you with obvious access to whatever content the page is selling, sharing, promoting, etc., you should be one or maybe two clicks away.

As I navigate the web I find that while information often flows freely there are times when I'm stuck on a digital roundabout, going in circles, wondering and often wandering. Occasionally I'll collide with a "404 FILE NOT FOUND" barrier, a cringe making experience for sure. Because I have contributed to this collective we call the web, I must be responsible about what I publish... content has to load and behave, links have to work, etc. I don't want my site to be a speed bump on the information superhighway. Can you imagine what that would be like?

While I have learned a lot in the past few weeks about the Internet, there's more to learn, always. To have any sort of a web presence I must understand and respect certain rules. I'm not talking about rules like avoiding discussion of politics and religion, but rather the building blocks of how the web works. I must accept that the web is very literal in its own quirky way. Comedian Steve Martin once quipped, "Some people have a way with words, others, not have way."


Until next time...

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