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Websites are dynamic creations, not static fixtures. Unlike books, websites do not become revered in their old age. They do not ascend to the status of “classic” or become collector’s items. Instead, websites are valued on their ability to be up-to-date and current, constantly morphing and evolving to meet users’ ever-growing expectations. Web designers must accept that what seems to be the perfect design today will be the laughably out-dated dinosaur of tomorrow. As such, continual web re-design is an unavoidable reality.
I took a critical look at my blog to see what aspects needed to change and what aspects should remain intact. In terms of overall design, I had the option to switch out the template. However, I feel that the current “Mystique” template still looks current. One idea to keep in mind when re-designing websites is consistency. Although it may be tempting to continually change the templates (a temptation made more attractive by its relative ease) this may not be the best course of action. Large visual changes should be occasional, not frequent, in order to maintain consistency and avoid user confusion. Similarly, large structural reorganizations should be kept to a minimum, so repeat visitors can easily navigate the site. I also considered changing the layout of my blog by removing the side panel, since it did not facilitate navigation that much. However, when I viewed the page without the panel, the text stretched from one side of the page to the other and seemed much too wide and unappealing to read. Therefore, I elected to keep the side panel.
I made several small changes to improve the usability and appeal of the site. I experimented with changing the colour of category cloud header and the title sub-heading from the colour purple to either red or blue. The red immediately clashed with the pink in the background, so I decided to forgo that option. Meanwhile, the blue did not standout against the background and seemed dull, so I decided against that colour choice as well. I eventually settled on the bright green colour because it stands out against the background without clashing with the other colours. Furthermore, the colour green is more gender neutral than the original pink-purple colour. I also added an “origin” page to add more personality and salience to the blog. This helps create a “stickier” site as it gives users more content to explore. In addition, the image on the “origin” image is humorous, which might encourage users to share the content. Structurally, I added a tag cloud in the sidebar for better organization. Furthermore, I adjusted some settings to ensure that the posts appeared in reverse chronological order, which complies with the conventions and expectations associated with the blog genre. I feel that good website maintenance involves continual little changes that keep the site up to date while maintaining consistency.