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Thursday, 19 October 2006 news

Unhappiness is not a pleasant thing at the best of times and big wave of it has just hit me.

I’m ankle knee waist chest neck-deep in the latest ThePCSpy.com design (that I’ve been working on for 8 days) and am just starting to implement it into the site code and now I’m getting cold feet.

I started the mock design with aspirations of making things a little more “Web 2.0” and now I’m coming to hate the phrase and the resultant design. Bigger fonts, swishy graphics and more client side scripting than you can shake a stick at… All those things are so far from what the current design shows but what can I say?

I want it to work. I thought I had the mock design upto a reasonable standard but as I piece bit by bit of the real content into the template, I’m losing faith that I can actually pull it off and it look pretty. Perhaps that’s the problem. Perhaps I wanted it to work so much, I’ve skipped corners along the way.

I’m also having reservations about canning it. How do you just say “In those eight days I made a big pile of crap” and come out the other side feeling you’ll be able to make it better?

There are certain elements of it that I really adore. The logo is beautiful. The navigation bar looks quite regal. The advert placements should yield a better click-through-rate. The width of the sidebar allows me to bring the live-chat back. The improved RSS feed at the bottom of the page looks better and has more horizontal space. I even like the font (and its sizing) in certain places.

My hold-ups are primarily the font. It’s, admittedly, very large. A few people on Experts-Exchange have pointed this out as a possible problem. But how do you go “Web 2.0” with “small” fonts? Why are they even big? I’m going on the CSS standard for “regular” sizing.

I’ve also lost space for menus and controls. I can only fit five main menu items up in the top and I’ve got nowhere to place an “admin” menu, which I have in the current design (for me). This is a minor issue as only I have to deal with it, but still. I need to stick a login form somewhere too so registered users (myself included) can authenticate with the system. The sidebar would be a good place for both these items but how do you keep them in plain sight at the same time as not shifting other content (like page specific content) out the way?

And there are certain bits that I don’t think transfer well into “Web 2.0”. My calendar is looking repulsive (IMO). The month/date tab next to blog entries is appallingly fugly and basic.

So how do I implement something that I’m starting to resent? Put it on pause for a while, go back to the design and try to “fix” it? Or admit failure, start again on a new design? Or just wing it and implement it all anyway?

I’m going to leave this open to debate before making any decision. I want to know what you think of the design in question and what you would change to make it better, or even overcome some of my own fears about it.

If you feel I should start over (I won’t be offended as I’m seriously contemplating it) can you think of any sites that meet the Web 2.0 cliché while packing in so many zones (articles, blog, forums)? It takes about 10 seconds to find a site that provides a single service/tool/whatever and looks all Web 2.0 but I don’t think I can find one with more than two uses.

My brain is going to explode. I’m unplugging.

Late edit: I’ve been playing with it for another couple of hours and have come up with this design which is a sort of halfway point between the current one and the original new one.