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What is downright scary for me as a webmaster…

October 11, 2004, 1:55 AM

Here’s what’s downright scary to me as a Webmaster. My Transit Center project.

(crickets chirping)

Why is that so scary? It’s not the expansion that I’m working on right now, that I’m about a day or so away from finishing. That’s easy. Right now I’m working on putting descriptions to pictures of Metro trains and stations.

The scary part is what I’m doing to the Transit Center after that. While the recently-expanded site is out doing what it’s supposed to, I’m going to be working behind the scenes to completely rebuild the site organizationally, since expansion of the site beyond its original bounds (adding several new transit systems) has proven to be a pain. Let’s just say that the site is a mess under the surface.

The funny thing is that for the user, the site works great. Everything works, and it navigates fairly well. In fact, I only have one navigational feature that I want to add, and it’s fairly minor.

What I’m actually working on is brekaing up the big database into more workable sections, and within those big sections, making everything work together. Right now, due to poor design, there are a LOT of redundant features – features that can be consolidated and done only once instead of several times over. I also want to shorten internal URLs, because after the main page URL, the page addresses are just over-long. This, for instance, is the URL for Metro Center:

http://transit.schuminweb.com/rail/washington/stations/red/metro-center.asp

If you ask me, that’s one long URL. Now it all logically makes sense. To find Metro Center, we have to go to The Schumin Web Transit Center. In there, we’re looking for rail systems. From there, we’re searching for rail systems in Washington DC. In Washington DC, we’re looking for Metro stations. We’re looking for Metro stations on the Red Line. Then on the Red Line we’re looking for Metro Center. Make sense?

We’re trying to compress that and still make the logic fit.

And most importantly? Keep the user’s experience the same! The look and feel on the surface is good. It’s what’s under the hood that is getting fixed. I can’t think of a great way to explain it, except that while I’m working on it and then after I’m done, you shouldn’t see a difference in the site. That’s my goal.

Let me tell you, though. This whole thing with the Transit Center is an a learning experience about my organizing skills. It seems I’m better at improving existing organization than I am at creating new organization from scratch. Look at the organization I did for the Transit Center. A disaster. Now, even though it’s my organization, I’m fixing it. Now I can really shine…

Web site: The Schumin Web Transit Center - I'm reorganizing it...

Song: Don't have one.

Quote: "I want to fix it without disrupting the surface."

Categories: Schumin Web meta