Friday, August 31, 2012

Tekton. 4.0 -- or is it 5.0?

In a few weeks, the Tekton website will begin the process of what I think is its 4th -- or 5th -- facelift in the last 14 years. (See link to TWeb thread below to discuss, and see the samples.)

Inevitably, when the time comes to do this sort of thing, I do it with an overhanging and perpetual sigh of resignation.

Oh...fads are changing again? That's only what, the 134th time in the last 4 years?

For a bit of fun, go to the Wayback Machine and pick any website. Watch how it has changed over the years. I'm sure each time a change was made, it was thought that THIS time, we've got a design that is more efficient, more user-friendly, more up to date. The users will love it.

And I'm sure they did -- for at least a week. 

These days the rage is menus with tabs. I've been assured by some that THIS is more intuitive and easier to use than what I have now. I'm sure in 7 years, when Tekton 6.0 looms, I'll be assured that it's time to dump the clumsy and out of date menu tabs for something else, which probably will get a start on Justin Bieber's fansite.

Inevitably as well, what happens with these things is that we have a cycle of streamlining, and bloating, and streamlining again: Alternate demands to simplify the site so that dangit, we can find things easier; and then, demands to put MORE on the pages so that dadgumit, we can actually find out what your site has. Streamline, bloat. Streamline, bloat.

That's why I don't revamp the site often. In some ways it seems to be an exercise in futility. The dictum goes that you can't please everyone, and in today's Net-imbibed society, where attention spans have all the duration of a flashbulb, it's closer to, you can't please anyone, at least for more than 30 seconds.

As am information science guy, I went through school using databases that worked like Google, and were so dull looking that today's surfer would recoil in horror and pelt their screen with tomatoes. And of course, I still know how to use a card catalog (gasp). Which leads me to wonder: Is the problem with the websites -- or with the users? (Or maybe both at times!)

Ah well. Have a peek and give some feedback if you like. If all goes well, I'll start the transition on October 1.


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