Learning to love square wheels



I’ve been busy working on my third totally new web site in less than a year — and that doesn’t count the sites I simply helped update.

The one thing I’ve learned: no matter what technology you use, whether you use a CMS or you code the thing by hand, it’s an astonishingly complex and costly thing to create a commercial web site.

Everything — and I mean everything — is like riding on blocks. If your site looks good in Internet Explorer, it doesn’t in Firefox. If you try to avoid JavaScript, you can’t do squat for the user. The best-intentioned UI conventions become mush as you shoe-horn the content into them. Just proofreading the site requires the patience of Job and the skill of a novelist.

Worse, you can’t please everyone. So knowing how to please most people becomes the standard, and figuring that out before you have weeks of analytics to look at is more black art than science.

I think the solution is radical simplification. Set an arbitrary limit on the number of pages. 10, 15, whatever. Make the content fit the bucket you’ve created. Use a blog (how’d you guess we’d come back to that?) for everything else. People want fresh…a blog is fresh. You want to change your message on a dime, focus visitors’ attention on something? A blog does it.

Doing a standard corporate web site is like being run over by square wheels. The only thing that’ll round those wheels off is a complete departure from what corporate web sites have become.  And even I am not crazy enough to try that yet.

So, crush me with those edges…





2 responses to “Learning to love square wheels”

  1. Alex Neihaus Avatar
    Alex Neihaus

    Nah, I love the FireWire Box 1394.

  2. limeduck Avatar

    I’m all for radical simplification, but I can’t help feeling that you’re making fun of my ride. Sometimes it’s hip to be square.

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