Web Design

What You Don’t See

Sometimes, what you don’t see can be more important than what you actually see.

Just might hurt you.  Ignorance isn’t really bliss, at least not in every situation. Sometimes, what you don’t see can be more important than what you actually see.

For a graphic (as in visual) example, consider a tree. We look at a tree and see a trunk, limbs, perhaps leaves and fruit, and that’s it.  But that’s only half the picture; the real picture is below the surface, under the soil, where the root system of the tree lives.

The root system is where the tree really lives; it’s the source of the trunk, the trees, and the leaves that we see above the surface.  A healthy root system means a healthy tree, and an unhealthy root system means an unhealthy tree.

Seeing the Whole Picture

Being mindful of what’s below the surface can often help us correct or even prevent problems from showing up “above the surface.”  This is true for trees, and it’s also true for websites.

The roots of a website are the code, and it’s the code that actually creates what you see in that web browser.

That’s simple enough… or is it?

Well, there are a few complications:

  • “Code behind the site” – uh, what’s that? You’re probably not a web designer, so even if you looked at the code, it may not make any sense to you;
  • Not everyone looks at your site in the same browser. Even if it looks great on your browser, it might be totally broken in another browser;
  • Appearances can be deceiving. Just because your site may look nice, it may have major problems under the surface.

Depressing, huh! It is, and I’ve felt so bad for folks who contact me wanting to make a few changes to their site only to find a terrible code mess below the surface that makes it impossible to make even minor changes.

But I don’t wanna be a web designer!

So do you really have to learn all the ins and outs of web design to make sure you get a stable, fully functional, happy cross browser friendly, easy to udpate website?

No, absolutely not!  You can dance a jig here if you want 🙂

But I would recommend that you consider how your site is built and designed before you decide on a web design solution.

Whether you are using service that provides pre-packaged templates or hiring a web designer, ask them how their templates are built before you sign up.

  • Do they use CSS to separate content from presentation?
  • Do they use valid HTML/XHTML code?
  • Are their templates cross browser compatible?
  • Will you have a stable, easy to use Content Management System, so you can update the site yourself?

If you have these four technical pieces in place, chances are you have a fairly stable site solution. But this solution still may not be what is best for you at this stage.  There’s also an organic piece to consider – what you currently need from your website and what you’re ready to invest in the website – but that’s for next time.

And if you can’t decipher what’s being offered, ask for help. Best to get help now before you spend money on a less than optimum solution.

Posted in Web Design

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3 thoughts on “What You Don’t See”

  1. I love this tree analogy. Grate ! I think your tree analogy also applies to other things such as links and other things pertaining to websites. In fact after reading your tree grate analogy I was able to visualize the google formula down to the aging. Just as a tree with strong roots develops much stronger and the tree is much more beautiful and healthy so is a website in the google formula. In fact by this grate tree analogy I was thinking you had some insight into how google come about developing its formula.

    • Hi Kathy,
      Thanks for your input. Yea, the tree analogy extends to many things in life and work. One thing for sure thought — I don’t have any insights into the Google formula 🙂 — that’s over my head!

      Be well, Yael

  2. Hey Yael,

    Thank you for the pleasant journey in explaining the ins and outs of a stable, fully functional, happy and friendly website, such as you have created for myself, and I am so very appreciative of your expertise in doing so.

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