paceaux

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So, a few weeks ago, my wife in her infinite beauty and grace allowed me to buy an Ibanez 7-string guitar. That makes a total of seven guitars. My fingertips are happy. I got the 7-string so I could have an electric exclusively dedicated to alternate tunings.  I’ve played a Fender Tex-Mex strat with a Floyd Rose

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support rapid updating of content, changes in Search Engine Marketing, and syndication of content. One of the core indicators of a well-architected CMS, in fact, is the separation of Design, Content, and Information Architecture. Put another way, the layout of a page is independent of the content on it, which is independent of the organization of pages. While there is much focus on getting the CMS to support the content strategies of now and the future, next to none goes into supporting the Brand strategies of the future.

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After a project was laid on me in the eleventh hour which had to be delivered in the twelfth, I found myself madly trying to educate myself on a foreign subject. The project and the subject doesn’t really matter. What mattered to me was collecting enough data for me to deliver it on time. Google performed beautifully; but a lot of the sites failed. Why? Pop-ups.

Of course, they aren’t the pop-ups of years past, they’re “modal windows” or “lightboxes”. You’ve all seen them. You visit a page, the background fades to grey, and a simple little window automagically springs into existence. Sometimes they asked me to register. Sometimes it was a sales pitch. The reason didn’t matter. I was there to get content. And now you’ve covered it up and forced me to click on something to get to it.

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One of the biggest problems that I’ve found working in the web industry is that outsiders don’t really get what a corporate website is all about. It’s not just about HTML, a really good design, or content. I’m finding that too many young businesses, or immature older ones, think one web designer is all it takes to put together a website. So I’m going to attempt to describe in under 1,000 words what should go into a website. The key word here is should.

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I’m beginning the first in a series of posts call the CMS diaries. I’m a contractor for a very large and reputable organization which is launching a new website very soon.I was brought in specifically to serve as the business analyst for the web content management system. As exciting as that might sound, it isn’t. In the wonderful, wide, world of the web – the CMS is the dullest part. The guy who does your CMS is the accountant for Greenday. There’s no chance of being hip, cool, or creative. At best, he can say that he’s the reason American Idiot was 99 cents a song. Regardless, I will sexify the incredibly boring and forgotten part of your web redesign: The Web Content Management System.

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Believe it or not, the first person to teach me how to write a program was my mother. Our first computer was a Commodore 64 – and she was a pro at that thing. She has a bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Reading; not who you’d expect to master BASIC in the early 80’s. In the days before the internet, she did some old-fashioned research, tracked down some books, and experimented a lot with programming until she was ready to teach it in a classroom a few years later. She wrote math programs for me, and she even taught me how to program by giving me the same rules she shared with her classroom, which I’ll share with you.

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Not too long ago I had a conversation with a graphic designer who was tasked with designing a website. Web Design was out of her area of immediate expertise, and she asked me if I had anything that I could share with her. After I sent her my email, I realized that I’ve said this before — and I’ll probably say it again. So, in case my mother, or anyone else, asks my thoughts on how to design a website, here are seven rules that I’ll mouth off.

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A very wise man once told me to expect Office Politics anywhere. He actually didn’t need to tell me, because I kind of suspected it. But regardless, he reminded me that every business is crazy in their own special way; don’t expect crazy to just disappear. I thought that I was okay with that axiom, but as it turns out — I’m not. I accept the existence of Politics as a fundamental nature of humanity. But when it becomes harmful and dangerous to the business, I don’t think that it’s okay to just cough up the phrase, “that’s Office Politics for ya. Take it or leave it.” If someone tells me just to take it, I think I’d rather lead it, than leave it.

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I read, a lot. here’s some recommended reading for those who want to learn more about the web. Some of these speak more to designers, others speak more to the web business owner. Either way, if you want some bright ideas for the web, here’s where I get mine.