Back to Where I Started

Those of you who are up-to-date with my school activities will know that I am webmaster for quite a few ECAs.

And if you’ve seen my work you’ll know that I’m not a very good designer. This is because I started off as a print designer – web design, with the new rules on useability and ergonomics, is still fresh for me. Also, I am usually in charge of creating content and doing up any dynamic stuff, so I’m also stuck with back-end management. Coupled with the fact that I hate to work with other people, it makes for rather sub-standard websites.

But I’m not here to bitch about that. I’m here to make the rather pointless announcement that I am off dynamic module-managed website creation. What do I mean? In the past, my websites were essentially PHP modules, included into a page to form a coherent whole. I thought this was a pretty clever tactic, since it results in having less typing to do when you have an update for all the pages. You don’t lose anything and it’s all good, I thought.

I didn’t really realize the tradeoff until recently. By making everything a module, you lose flexibility in design and content. It’s easy to overcome these, but in the mind of the designer, as soon as you start thinking of generality you lose flexibility – and that is not necessarily a good thing for a website. Advertising strategies will tell you that a concentrated, tight approach is far more advantageous than something that looks like it came out of a mould, neat but bland. And when you design for modules you end up with neat but bland.

It’s a slight problem with CSS too. I know the “problem” is easily circumvented, but it’s not a physical problem per se but a problem in the design strategy of the person doing it. CSS just makes you think in modularly.

Also, I experienced a PHP service-stop once, which killed the entire website. Not to mention the overheads in server-processing when you make things modular. Large-band websites hate this (slashdot, anyone?).

So now I am determind to follow Occam’s advice and keep it as simple as possible unless absolutely necessary. Am I making any sense? I don;t know. It’s more a preference than anything else. And I’m so sleepy.

Oh, and here’s my latest creation –

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