Weeknotes 22

by Clive Walker

This week, I’ve been working on two sites where I didn’t build either. Both have been a challenge in different ways and I’ve learned new things with each.

It’s easy in Photoshop

Firstly, I’ve been working on an intranet site and amending the CSS of a web app’s dashboard. It was working and functional already but the company wants a better design that is closer to their public-facing site. The new design has a few elements that seem (at first glance) quite difficult to achieve (but easy in Photoshop). So, I have been adapting the current CSS, which is based on Bootstrap but with an added application layer on top.

One element that was particularly difficult is a honeycomb-like grid pattern where each ‘diamond’ shape/item is abutted against the next. Each item is an icon and text. I tried a couple of different approaches including CSS Grid but in the end I’ve adjusted margins to get each item into position. It needs more work to make it work better on smaller screens but on desktop it looks good. Perhaps not as flexible as I would like but there’s a deadline for the desktop version. If I was starting from scratch, I might do this differently but working with existing CSS is what I have to do here.

Anyway, I have a first draft and it’s waiting for feedback/approval now.

Help me with my site

The second site is more about the CMS. It’s a great site and the CMS is a good one. And easy to use (I think). However, in this case the client does need help with editing the site via the CMS. Perhaps he was given some help with it at the outset but the current developer seems unresponsive or late in replying to the client’s support requests. I’m not sure if the developer doesn’t want to do this type of work or is mega busy but it’s not helping the client. As a result, despite a fabulous design, some pages on the site now look amateurish, for example pages with URLs as the link text, blank pages, content areas missing etc.

After a website launch, there’s’ s a CMS in place and it’s easy to assume that the owner “gets on with it”. However, there’s still a learning curve for many people. As a web developer, I do some things without a thought (link text for exampe). I know how the web works. But, not everyone does. People and sites need extended support.

People and sites need extended support

I see this all the time. A great site with a CMS that hasn’t been updated or with pages that don’t look so great. In many cases, I think that’s because the client doesn’t feel comfortable editing the site. Or is not too “web savvy”. They need help and this is often forgotten, especially in smaller companies (perhaps when the website budget is already spent).

Right, that’s it for this week. See you next time.

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