A WebPage and a Website are NOT the Same Thing

As it turns out, designing and coding a “modest, reasonably sophisticated history web site” is no simple task. And thus, my original plan to conduct an entirely new research project before beginning to build its internet home is foiled. I do like to eat and sleep after all. Like other, smarter classmates, I ultimately decided to use last semester’s Clio I project as the starting point for my final project, relying heavily on research already conducted but undertaking a bit more in order to shift the focus of that original assignment (from emphasis on white reactions to an increasingly black population to the urban black experience in turn-of-the-century New York.)
Although I am still conducting some research, I have a general outline of the content structure of the site- i.e. a home page and the main navigation links. However, as I start to actually build the site, I am realizing the importance of two things in particular that I may have overlooked in our previous assignments as they required attention only to individual webpages. The first is navigation. A site of multiple pages and links is simply that without clear navigation to guide visitors through them. My primary navigation tabs broadly organize the site, but I think the site might benefit from sub-menus or drop-down navigation links. I have been trying to follow the “simple” tutorials online, but success has thus far evaded me. Sadly, I imagine my Sunday evening will be spent trying to figure out drop-down code, refusing to be bested by the “for dummies” guide.
Consistency is the second piece of site-building that requires more attention with more pages. Pages should be parts of a coherent whole, but how much consistency is too much? When does consistency become just plain boring? My primary navigation links will remain the same across pages and I will likely use the same font for body content, but selections of colors and design templates across pages within the same site are choices to be made more carefully, more thoughtfully- choices that make me glad I decided to scrap that whole new research idea.

Comments on Dan’s blog and Sara’s post.

4 responses to “A WebPage and a Website are NOT the Same Thing

  1. Welcome to the wonderful world of website building! I am glad to see that you came over to the “dark side” with the rest of us. It is certainly difficult enough putting together a site, never mind doing new research simultaneously.
    In reference to your question about too much consistency, have you thought to try out your site on some viewers and get their thoughts? Two of the best recommendations I got from my Digital Public History class regarding ‘content strategy’ was to try out my ideas on paper first – even using colored pencils and rulers – and to experiment with a small audience before putting the work into actually building the site. It really helped me to better understand what I was trying to accomplish and what my audience wanted to see. Good luck!

  2. Pingback: Design and the Beginnings of a Site | Beth's Clio II Blog

    • Oh Amanda, Where were you a week ago? I think I may have figured out how to code a drop-down navigation bar, it only took an entire Sunday and a million failed attempts. Your way sounds better. This is good to know for the future though- Thank you.

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