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« Oops at Winkwell | Main | Cotswold canal restoration - Capel's Mill »

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

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Andrew Denny

Paul, True, it's not fair to blame the web designer. And in Narrowboat World's case, the web designer is Jason Crossley, the son of the editor, and presumably does it for free.

So it's quite understandable for Crossley Sr. to puff up with paternal pride and defend his good boy. It's a homebrew system, and it works, can't deny that.

But Tom Crossley doesn't understand that not only would it be simple to create NBW as a free Wordpress site, it would make it far more powerful into the bargain.

The real value of NBW isn't in the web design, it's the good work Tom puts into editing it.

paul

waterscape has been served via linux / apache since its inception and in 2004 moved exclusively to open source software (LAMP) after getting rid of a proprietary system for the CMS and using more OSS products to do this.

We provide stoppages via a WAP service if ppl want to use it and RSS feeds for the news and events. Plus we'll be making some changes to provide more accessability and RESTful urls so a lot more content will be guessable by a user in the near future.

@jason.
I don't think it's entirely fair to blame the web designer - after all, they have to fulfill the needs of the client who pays. They can argue for standards, but they still have to get paid when the crunch comes. It is perhaps more incumbent on them to educate the client as to why standards based design is better for them. Also, I think too many ppl consider themselves a designer - possibly to save on costs and throw something up that looks attractive to them - they fail to talk and think like their audience. We have that battle a lot - we have quite a few different audiences to cater for and striking a balance can be difficult. User testing is always helpful in these cases to identify places or things that seem 'odd' which, you / we are used to seeing on a day in, day out basis. But you will never make everyone happy :) accept it and get on doing the best you can.

all the best,
paul

Jason

The design of www.narrowboatworld.com is well behind the times. It still uses Frames, weren't those last seen on 1940s websites? And static pages aren't a sensible idea on a site with so many similarly laid-out entries: a CMS would prevent the coding errors and enable RSS feeds.

I too wish I could subscribe by RSS because the content is great but nowadays I just don't make repeat visits to websites or even sign up for emails, technology's moved on and feeds make it so much easier to manage the flow of information.

Having just made a list of 250 plus boating websites I'd say it's par for the course though. Very few of them are well-designed, most aren't fully accessible and only a handful take advantage of Internet technologies. But many of them have fantastic information. Personally I blame the web designers, most of whom are clueless.

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