[map]Potential changes to
Patterns for Personal Web Sites

Ideas Under Consideration

These are patterns, or proto-patterns, that might join the set of patterns on these pages. What problems do they solve?

  • The Power of Plain Text. Using plain text (as opposed to, say, Flash) allows a site to be modified by simple command-line scripts. This provides flexibility. Consider a chart which is updated daily. If the chart is a GIF made with a spreadsheet, manual work would be required to create and extract it. If the chart is an SVG, modification using a scripting language would be simple. In addition, savvy visitors would be able to extract the data from the SVG chart, something that would be much more difficult with a GIF. Problem solved: offers more to visitors

  • Structured Pages. Since your pages have a Consistent Format, go the extra step and provide additional structural information. For example, put each section of the page (body, navigation, header, footer, breadcrumbs, etc.) in its own div element with an appropriate class or id attribute. This will assist not only in later automation (e.g., you might want to modify only text within the footer), but also make modifying your site's presentation with cascading style sheets easier. This also helps if you make your site's appearance customizable. Problem solved: decreases maintenance cost

  • Meta-Information. Each page should have accurate meta-information in its HTML header. This allows search engines to index the page effectively. This pattern is especially important for Deep Content or a Gift To The Community. Problem solved: ?

  • "Under the Hood" Page. It's fine to be proud of awards your site has received, but putting them on your home page wastes space and makes it load slower (which keeps it from being a Useful Home Page). Instead, put them on a separate "About this Site" page which describes why and how you created the site, which kind of server it runs on, what awards it's won, and other "under the hood" information. [Likewise, visitors assume that every page of your site has Valid Markup, so there's no need to plaster your site with "Valid HTML" badges.] Problem solved: ?

  • Change Notification. Allow visitors to register to be notified when the site or a specific page changes. Transforms change notification from pull to push. This works well with Living Site. Problem solved: makes it easier for visitors to track changes to specific pages

  • Ways to Find Things. On many sites it's hard to find what you want, or even simply to learn what the site offers. Remedy this by providing multiple ways to find things: dense linkage, a site index, search, Related Pages, Index Pages, a Site Map. Problem solved: visitor frustration due to the "is it here?" problem

Other potential changes:

  1. Consider renaming Guessable Urls and Unchanging Urls to Guessable Locators and Unchanging Locators. "URL" is an ugly, technology-dependent acronym for a locator. However, people are used to talking about URLs, not locators.

  2. Rewrite these pages to be less HTML-specific. Nowadays pages are written in XHTML, XML, etc.

  3. Should Default Pages be a technology pattern, rather than a site structure pattern?

  4. Should History Page be a temporal pattern, rather than a site structure pattern?

  5. Consider renaming Incremental Growth to Constant Growth. The latter emphasizes that changes should happen continuously, not in fits and starts.

Last updated 14 October 2003
All contents ©2002-2003 Mark L. Irons