Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tabs, Layouts, and Other Organizational Crud

Have I ever mentioned that I hate paperwork?  In my world, the only rightful place for paper is lounging around in piles across my desk, iguana-like.  Seriously - who needs a paperweight when you have a black hole of paper?  And yet my website is supposed to be organized and user-friendly...So I spent a couple hours last night trying to make it just that.  And it's hard.  Forget the two hours I spent trying to match my homepage color scheme to Blogger (btw: I hate the fact that it now looks better than it ever did before.  Darn you, Google, doing everything better, prettier, and easier than I can...)
  Forget, even, the part about building static pages and arranging them into folders - that's pretty straightforward.  The part I hate is deciding which folders, and how to link them all together, and what you'll actually see when you get there.

The problem, I've found, is a question of arranging thoughts.  Quick question: what do you find more important?  Being able to skip the articles on fiction and go straight to poetry?  Or having instant links to all the workshops available on the site?

The question isn't trivial.  I've spent weeks mulling over what should get priority - the genres of writing, or the "genres of learning."  I've finally settled on splitting the site by the learning - writers versus teachers versus classrooms.  And I think it's the right choice.  But it still bothers me.  I still lost sleep last night thinking about it.  (it's okay, I lose sleep over other things, too.)

I think the problem is I just don't have an intuitive feel for organizing.  Usually, my life is measured in migrating piles of paper.  Bills end up on the kitchen table because they still need to paid weekly or so - they tend not to move very often, unless they're medical bills, in which case they flutter over to one of the tables in my living room.  My taxes, though, go pretty much wherever they want.  I think of them as a kind of free-range paperwork - they're in-season once a year, and that's when I set up a duck blind in my bedroom waiting for them to emerge from the stacks of paper, books, and laundry.  I'm just glad they aren't true waterfowl - somehow, I don't think my accountant would like reading receipts salvaged from my bathtub...

Clearly, that system wouldn't work well on a website.  So I guess I'll go ahead and continue organizing and hope for the best...

No comments: