I’m doing my best to drift off to sleep. But I can’t do it. My mind is on a mission of some kind. I haven’t figured out what kind of mission yet, but we have taken our first stop. The thought that made me stop? “What if I’m wrong?”
I’ve been doing my best to build calgarysocialmedia.com. I’ve tried to follow the rules I’ve come to accept as the basis of a good website, and well… it’s just not flowing the way I want it to. I started out with 5 categories that will make up the navigation, and I’ve been trying to develop and group content within each of those categories. I’m trying to think about keeping information so it’s no more than 2 clicks away. I thinking about what I want people to go to when they get to the homepage and attempting to anticipate where else they might want to go… and while I think this would still hold true for a static site, one where the content will not change all that frequently, the website is meant to evolve as rapidly as the subject matter. And in such a case, a solid, well structured site just won’t do. Or can you have structure and still have it evolve where it needs to go? I’m not sure at this point, but all I can think is: “what if all of the fundamentals I thought were true of all good websites really aren’t? What if I’m wrong?”
I was also thinking about how the web is evolving more as more people come to it. And the more we interact with it, the more our natural processes are being integrated into what is being built (an idea courtesy of @julien who spoke at Third Tuesday Calgary yesterday). I think that the standard, structured, static website is on its way out. The more we want people to interact with our site and with us, the less structured our sites will be able to be. It’s natural for us to jump from one topic to another. It’s natural for us to have tangents and to roam. Look at even how people surf the web. It’s not done in predefined categories, visitors make up their own using search terms, or they follow the path of tweets from their favourite Twitter folk, or blog posts in their RSS feeds, or whatever happens to be at the top of Digg, or the current top view on YouTube. Or do they? What if I’m wrong there?
I’m not yet sure what to take of this first pit stop, but it seems I’m headed in the direction of rejigging what I think makes a good site. I’m leaning more towards “website model” like a “business model”, there are different kinds for different purposes, I just need to do a bit more exploration on what website models are out there. If you’ve come across any resources in your wanderings, or have any thoughts with regards to website models, I’d be appreciative if you could share them in the comments. Also, what do you think still makes a good website? And what if you’re wrong too?