Saturday, 20 August 2011

If it ain't broke,...

...don't fix it. Most of the time I think what an excellent maxim that is by which to live. Most of the time. Then I have a change of heart and realise that it is the idle man in me that thinks so. Where would we be if nobody bothered to "fix" things that weren't broke? Presumably we would still be reading in the evenings by the light of candles and would be relying on horses or Shanks's pony for transport. I don't aspire to such heights as to invent a new method of providing artificial light or an improvement to the horseless carriage but I'm not beyond tweaking something that I think could be better. The Lions District web site is a case in point.

I assumed responsibility for this site just over a year ago. Unfortunately, despite my predecessor eventually sending me details of how to access the host server, I was never able to get into it to update what had become a very much out of date web site. In the end I gave up and decided to start from scratch. I was able to transfer the domain name to a new host and set about building the new site.

My knowledge of web site construction came from a one-day course some 12 or more years ago plus whatever I have managed to learn from books like the Idiot's Guide to HTML. Frankly, this means that my knowledge is severely limited. All the same, I do find that I usually manage to achieve the result I want - in the end. But I have never been entirely happy with the site. It was largely the navigation that niggled. OK, I had produced a site with simple navigation and a visitor could get to any part of the site in no more than two clicks - but somehow it all looked just a bit too amateurish.

Then I saw that Lions International were offering to Districts a scheme that had previously been for Lions Clubs only and I decided to give it a try. After some experimenting I decided it was just a bit too restrictive for what I wanted. Users are limited to about 10 pages whereas our site has at least 20 (I haven't bothered to count them). So things stayed as they were. Until this week when, by coincidence, I received two emails. One asked me to add something to the site, the other suggested that instead of providing one facility that the site offered, it would be more useful to provide a slightly different facility.

The result was that I decided the time had come to tweak the site. But it took me two days just to tweak! Part of the trouble was that navigation system. This was the main cause of my dissatisfaction but improving it was almost beyond my ability with HTML. I made one change, then tried it out. If that worked, I altered something else. Problems arose when I got over-confident (or too cocky) and made just too many changes before checking that all was still hunky-dory. When it wasn't, I ended up having to start from scratch. As I said, it took me two days before I managed to get what I wanted. And that was fixing something that wasn't broke. But I feel much happier about the site now that I've done that.

1 comment:

#1Nana said...

Isn't that the best way to learn new things...trial by fire? Congratulations on completing the update.