Preneurs Helping Preneurs Get Noticed

Reply To: What do you think about the organization on the Member Access Page?

Home Page Forums Ask Anything What do you think about the organization on the Member Access Page? Reply To: What do you think about the organization on the Member Access Page?


Susan Parnaby

It is interesting how different people see things. I like organisation so all the books in my bookcases are organised by topic. I have boxes of things that are kept like with like and often labeled so I can find them. One room contains this sort of thing so my back bedroom is the stationery storage area as also has the spare cables I have gathered. It upsets my mother looking in there as she thinks it is untidy yet I think it is organised because I can find things in there.

It does not matter to me if what I want is in a box in a box under the bed and it takes a bit of time to actually get at it. The space is organised so that I can get at what I will need at a later date. That to me is the equivalent of having a menu item that when you click on it opens into a nested menu. I like things neatly in menus that take me to sections. I hate things piled up one thing on another that I cannot find an easy and neat pathway to.

Years ago when I did a Multimedia Application course at the University of Teesside some of the assignments involved creating websites. Part of the assignment was to produce a plan for the site. We then did a site with a few test pages to show how it would work in practice. The first section of the plan was about the target audience and their needs. Where they old or young? Did they have any needs in terms of accessibility? After that, there were three sections that we could cover in any order.

The design section described the appearance of the site. Where were the menus going to go? What colours were you going to use? This was so long ago we had to use websafe colours. Would white with pink accents suit them better than a black background and white text? What sort of style and feel suited the audience? Sturdy cars? Fluffy rabbits? I got quite proficient in using the drawing tools in Word to create diagrams to show the colours and the layout of the site. We were using Dreamweaver as WordPress was being birthed at that time. We had to set all this up ourselves, thankfully using a visual editor rather than hand coding.

The content section was all about what are you going to include to get your message across. So what does your audience want? What images or text will you include? What are the essential pages on the site? Where was the content going to come from? Bear in mind the aim of the course was to prepare people to build websites for other people and you would need their help to develop the content. How are you going to justify to your tutor why you included some things and not others?

The navigation section of a simple website was not a lot more than the content section. However, once it became more than just a handful of pages it became increasingly complicated. The idea was to set up links and pathways to make it as easy as possible to move from one page to another. Bear in mind that this was pre-WordPress so we could have a number of separate menus on the site. The site would be split into areas and each one had links to the other areas we thought were relevant, as well to the content within that area. Another reason why we became quite proficient with the drawing tools in Word.

I must admit I have got rather lazy now and carry all these things in my head rather than writing them down. I still start with the design or these days the theme and adjusting the theme to suit my aims and intentions. After that comes the content. Often it is a bit of content and then some navigation and back to content. I still find it useful to look at a website from each of those perspectives.

The fact that we were able to set things up so everything could be accessible using 3 clicks made it easier. Trying to pare that down to 1 or 2 clicks makes developing a navigation plan so much harder. We did not have access to accordion boxes that we could set up to take people to a section or to a page within that section. The idea of a feature box with a symbol to help guide us to different sections was unknown. We had no video no audio and images were supposed to be kept to under 10k. We did not have courseware plugins that would set up lessons in a series that added go back and go forwards buttons to a series of units.

I am not sure if all this progress has made it easier or harder to design and build a website. It does strike me though if you are working towards building a large platform that having some kind of plan to work towards is extremely useful and that looking at a website from those four directions makes a lot of sense.

For someone like me who likes things stowed into sections with clearly distinguishable boundaries this site although it has improved still has some way to go. How do you create boundaries? You can use borders or different coloured backgrounds to make it easier to tell where one section starts and another ends. You can separate things onto different pages.

P.S. What happened to the constraint of having as much as possible above the fold?

P.P.S. Ever thought that pleasing all of the people all of the time or getting something right from more than one perspective at once is virtually impossible.

God's Lily is "a voice for those frustrated by the slow progress towards a fair society where the needs of the weakest are met in a way that it strengthens them rather than weakens them further" . If that includes you then hop on over and have a look around. If you like what you see it would be a good idea to sign up to receive our blog broadcasts. Oh and you will get a couple of pdf files that explain the what and why behind the site when

1 user thanked author for this post.
Skip to toolbar