Solidifying A Site Concept

Part of the purpose of this blog was to chronicle progress made in website development, with there being a particular idea I’m working towards, and other concepts that can be spun out from it. The concept going for the initial site has a lot going for it, there being an overwhelming abundance of material, without a great deal of organisation. In short, you know a bunch of work has been done, but finding out who did it, when, how the results were published, where specifically you would find that documentation… it’s a challenge.

Hence the opportunity to impose order.

Frustratingly, many days I don’t make much progress at all on the technical side of things, most of which ultimately end up under “presentation”. A lot of work has been accomplished under “data gathering”, and plans have been laid to establish links with the wider community in that subject area.

Following recent prompting, I think I’ve made progress on one particular question that had been thus far a bit baffling.

If all this information is out there, and is generally hard-to-find-unless-you-know-where-to-look, then to those who don’t know where to look the information is inaccessible. The question is, “Who is the site aimed at?”

To some extant, the site exists (conceptually) to help anyone interested in the subject, and interested more in primary sources than the latest book speculating on any specific aspect (of which there haven’t been a shortage). But that left the information I was presenting in very dry form. “Here’s this. More information at some other place.” I wasn’t very happy with that at all, though it was a problem I was deferring.

The solution, as it came to me, was to aim young for the site. Then it’s accessible to everyone. I can put a short “Cheat Sheet” on each page, with a short (but hopefully engaging) Who/What/Where/When/Why sort of thing, then have a “Further Reading” section for those who want (or need) to go more in-depth. So aim teen, with functionality for older researchers, but hopefully nothing to prevent younger (who can read) from learning something as well.

After spinning my wheels thinking about extending the functionality of a plugin, I realised that extra functionality doesn’t need to be a Day 1 thing: the modification is rather minor at the end of the day (hence my confidence that I could actually do it), but I need a bit more brain space to do it than I’ve been getting. So if that can be backburned, what can be brought forward to move this thing from theory to “released into the wild” more quickly?

The figuring out of the “Cheat sheet” helped with that, and helped with thinking about how to organise the site. I’ve made some notes, but I haven’t implemented any of it in the test site, yet.

Still, nice getting the feeling that I might get somewhere with this after all.

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