Building the Modern Website: Part 0 -- Introduction
This post is the first part in a series about building a modern website. I'd appreciate feedback on what other topics people would have me cover. If you have any ideas or any other feedback, please leave a comment at the end of the article. I also recommend that you subscribe to my RSS feed, which will inform you when future posts are made.
Reasons for this Series
There are many old website still on the web. Many but not all are bad: some are just old and tired.. Perhaps you're reading this because....
- You've taken over an ancient website and want to modernize it, improve it, and generally make it worthy of the 21st century
- You have an ancient website that was designed a long time ago (another era!) and want to make it better
- You haven't built any websites in quite a while and want to do so again using the best of modern technology
The Modern Age
The process of launching a website is more complex than it has ever been. In some aspects it is simpler:
- The technology that people have can be expected to be better.
- More and more technologies are cross-platform: you don't have to build a flash and non-flash version of a site, for example
- There are more free libraries that can -- very simply -- make your website far better, far faster than it could have been otherwise.
- Browsers are faster and more consistent due to the establishment of formal standards.
Yet, overall there are so many more choices. I will attempt to cover the most important ones. But the amount of material is so vast, the 'most important' material covers a lot. So that's why I'll be covering it in parts.
Website Topics Covered
This series will cover the following topics, in no particular order:
- A summary of the expertise you will need to launch a website
- How a website *is* software, and a 10-second summary on how to build software.
- Old ideas that no longer hold
- A brief history of the past 10 years: what's new, what's changed, and what died.
- Alternative approaches to traditional sites
- How to host your site
- How to build your site around a CMS.
- How to approach rebuilding an existing site
- How to approach building a site from scratch
- A brief introduction to security concepts and building a secure site
- Usability and the user experience.
- Navigation, search, and findability
- Interacting with your audience
- Getting people to you
- Making it easier for search engines to find you
- Keeping your site running: upgrading and monitoring
- New technology on the horizon.
There are several books I feel are most useful. I'll make reference to these and others in successive articles. They go more in-depth on important topics I can only touch on in these articles. But if you only had three books, these are the ones I would want.
|Don't Make Me Think may seem a strange title for people who don't live and breath usability but this is the essence of something that is 'usable': the user should not have to think about what they should be doing: they should just be able to do it.|
|Designing Web Navigation: Optimizing the User Experience is a lovely, well thought-out book. One of the rare technical books that isn't printed in monochrome, it is well worth the money in the way it covers different layouts for website navigation. How your users navigate your website is one of its most important aspects: if they can't find anything, they'll leave.|
|HTML & CSS: The Good Parts is a book equally well-suited to either new developers, or 'oldschool' developers who built sites 10 years ago. As the title implies, it covers the 'good parts' and shares many principles with the content herein.|
If you've read this far, you've reached the end of this part. Once again, I'd like to remind you that I'd appreciate feedback on topics that people would appreciate seeing. I'll be starting publishing the series next week, so don't dawdle :)