Just had a look at the website of a local (minor) author – it’s one of the ugliest I’ve seen in a long while. It was produced by a supposedly professional design company. Going to their website and looking through their portfolio I found not only dozens of design-failure horrors – piss-poor in terms of visual design, SEO and coding – but also all of them appear to have been produced from the same basic site template. Their own website doesn’t look to bad on the surface, but underneath, it’s using the same template as all the others, with all the same coding errors. No professional web designer would let a site go live without checking the code in various validators – but this lot do it all the time; they even do it with their own site.
Gah. It actually pains me to see poor web design, with crap HTML, inline styling, tables, depreciated tags and all the rest – not to mention horrible visual appearance. Not from an amateur, mind, somebody who has built their own site; mistakes they make can all be forgiven. But again and again, I see people claiming to be web designers taking money off people for bad work and ugly UGLY sites. It makes me angry, but there’s not much I can do about it; there’s no professional body I can complain to. I can certainly rant about it on forums and blogs but that’s about it.
The internet is ugly sometimes, in more ways than one.

….I completely redesigned the front end of this website. I spent a couple of days beforehand cruising around web-designers’ websites, putting myself in the place of a potential customer and noting what worked and what didn’t (tip no.1: don’t boast about how your sites are correctly coded and conform to web standards, and how your competitors’ sites are badly coded – potential customers aren’t interested in coding and don’t know HTML from HMV, otherwise they would be building their own websites; tip no. 2: remember that you’re a designer and that “the medium is the message” – in other words, don’t just rely on words but use the whole look and feel of your site to advertise your skills; tip no. 3: proof-read your copy!) It now looks a whole lot better, much more “web 2.0” and definitely more eye-catching.
…..I’m busy transferring the contents of the Oakleaf Circle site into WordPress – it’s a wearingly tedious and lengthy job, but updating it in future will mean quite a bit less work to do.
….I’m almost ready to launch Astro*Diary. The site’s not up yet, but it only needs a few more hours work. It’s now online.

Oh, and we sold our old Citroen and have just bought another car. It’s not here yet – it’s down in Preston, so B will be getting on the coach tomorrow morning to go and collect it.

And I’ve joined Facebook properly – I’m finding it very useful for keeping in touch with the kids. I’ve also joined Twitter, and using it to write short poetry (I’m on my real name there, so you can go and look).

And that’s about it….

…..are pagan websites so generally awful? I’ve spent the last hour going through the listings on the Oakleaf Circle site, checking for dead links. There were some beautifully-designed sites there, but they were in the minority. Honestly I have never seen so many animated gifs, cheesy clipart, misused fonts and violent colour schemes (purple on black was the clear favourite, with lime-green on navy blue second) since the last time I browsed through the sites on an evangelical Christian webring.
One site was so horrible that I actually deleted the link – besides the usual array of migraine-inducing colours (every single link was in a different colour!) – it spelled ‘jewelery’ at least three different ways all over the front page, none of them correctly. Illiteracy seems to go together with repellent design.

Ack. I need to rest my eyes.