the geeky details (design geek and tech geek!)
I just flipped the switch on the third full design of the Unit Circle Rekkids website.
This new design was all about simplifying things and making the design look tres moderne. If the second design was an architectural unfolding: Entryway, front hallway, living room, etc…; the new design is about making it easy to get the info and find what you want. The front page basically doubles as a site-map. I’ve dropped a lot of nooks and crannies designed for people who might want to explore or look for weird stuff; that was hard to keep up-to-date and wasn’t really taken advantage of much anyway. While I believed in the notion of keeping data and design separate before, this re-design nailed that into my head like never before. The new site has about 35-40 pages. There are three main designs, the main page, the artist pages and the release pages. I wasn’t adding any new content (although I was revising some of the old content). Once I had the designs set, mostly I was copying and pasting from the old pages into the new. So, it should have taken a day or two, right? Actually, it took most of a week working a few hours a day. This is due to how much the old site had the content and layout mixed, but even in that design, I’d already started using CSS. This new design is using some tables for simple layout stuff, but all the rest is 100% CSS, also I’m now using Dreamweaver templates. I’d tried using them before, but in DW8 they seem to be much simpler, or maybe I finally figured out how to use them. I know better than to rely on a proprietary technology, but they really did help and should make any future redesigns much, much simpler.
I did think about switching to a database-driven website design, like I did for Unit Circle Mailorder. There were some limitations that I’m now encountering with that approach that makes me very cautious about using it again. I’m very conscious that people are linking into my site. I encourage it mightily. The problem is that I can’t go changing my URLs around willy-nilly. I have that problem with the mailorder pages now. They are all ASP pages with parameters. I’ve got to support those urls forever. So if I switch to a linux host, I’m going to have to fake those URLs. My site isn’t big enough to warrant its own servers, so I can’t do any tricks around faking directory paths being intercepted at the web server or whatever. Doing a SQL-driven site would make doing a redesign dead-simple though, so it is in the back of my head…