In the ten months since my last column here, not much has changed other than my realization how deep the rabbit hole goes. With each minor new feature added (such as sorting by date) the possibilities and opportunities for the site burst wide open.
Ironically, it’s not the information architecture that is causing the problem, it’s the usability. The vision is to create a site so transparent, you’ll be able to navigate the way you want. With that goal/pipe dream, though, comes with a degree of complexity that taxes my technical skills; short spurts are all I can manage given the interruptions caused by my day job. Given enough c, c & q and the site would appear in weeks, not months.
Got a roadmap?
Various external pressures are creating a real deadline for this site’s new design. Already, the design I’d locked down for this relaunch contained elements that have since appeared in the redesigns of others. Though it’s good to know the non-designer in me wasn’t completely off-track, I anticipate the design will change yet again before the official debut. Once I catch the remaining broken links and finalize the output of some of the under-used features, it will launch.
This initial alpha release will be mentioned here, in the nearly comatose news list, and possibly LCKY. The next phase will have corrected the errors of the alpha, and finalized the less polished sections. Promotion for this beta version will be on each page; the current Web page will link to its twin on the beta site. This should catch any 404s and allow a bigger audience to test the site.
Finally, once the issues of the beta are resolved, the new site will be activated and the current static site will vanish into a zip file on my hard drive.
As for timelines, all I can say is that each subsequent stage will be exponentially shorter the the previous and that features of the new site will soon be available on this site (RSS, comments, and the afore mentioned newsletter).
Mine, all mine
All of this, including these columns is done for my own personal edification. While I do freelance work, I don’t rely on it; this design isn’s driven by design needs.
Aside from the reasons outline in the first of these columns, this process, like many personal-site redesigns, is done as a learning exercise. This is a playground that allows me to experiment with CSS (four years ago, this site introduced a three-column layout that is now being used on a number commercial sites); explore the server-side world; and experiment with all aspects of the launch process from project management to deployment.
That, and it’s easier than building maddeningly detailed historical dioramas.