So how would you integrate Twitter into Schumin Web?

March 17, 2010, 9:39 PM

As you may have seen on a recent site update, I have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. I envision using Twitter as kind of a mini-Journal. In other words, stuff that’s not enough for a full Journal entry, but certainly worth a mention. And with the site redesign going on, now is a good time to do this kind of work, rather than shoehorn it in later.

So far, I’ve come up with a footer link for the page. It takes the existing Facebook page link that’s been at the bottom of every page since October and makes it more prominent and pairs it with the new Twitter link. Thus under the row of links with updates, contact, privacy, etc., there will be a new line that says, “Follow The Schumin Web on Facebook and Twitter”, with “Facebook” and “Twitter” in their own logos. Facebook will still be used the same as it always has, consisting mainly of Journal entries and the like. Then Twitter will be like a mini-Journal. Of course, I first have to get into the habit of actually using the Twitter.

So now the question becomes, how do you integrate Twitter into Schumin Web? Considering I envision Twitter as something of a mini-Journal, I was thinking of putting a box of some sort for the Twitter feed there, possibly in the vicinity of the menu.

By the way, if you’re trying to visualize the new look, it’s going to look very similar to the existing site, with a slightly wider content panel and minor enhancements. So if you’re trying to visualize it, looking at the production site will do, while I’m actually testing it all on the new build of the site in a “sandbox” elsewhere on the same server.

So I’m thinking of putting it below the menu in the Journal. I don’t really want to put a box in the content panel that will drop into the top Journal entry’s space, because in some cases, like this recent Journal entry, I start out with a few lines of text and then a wide image. I don’t want a potential Twitter box interacting with a Journal entry’s wide graphic. I figure one of two things will happen. Depending on how everything fits together, it will either push the graphic down below the box (bad because it leaves an odd gap “above the fold”), or it will move the box outward (bad because it breaks the layout).

I have a few weeks to think about it, though, because I’m currently about halfway through putting the Photography section together, and then Life and Times will get put together after that. The Journal will come after Life and Times, since the Journal’s going to be more complicated to design than the photo sections (which are pretty much straight copy-overs with minor tweaks), and so I’m doing it almost last. See, I had to design the Journal on the current production site in a hurry (since my existing production site was rendered unusable, I had to redesign it all fast), and so I cheated in a few places to get the “look” I was after, and the hell with doing it correctly. Look at my source code if you don’t believe me. There are little placeholder graphics in there to get the spacing right! This time, I’m doing it the right way, and no cheating. I don’t care if it takes months. I’m doing it right.

On that note, I know that the new setup will break a few entries (and I can guess which ones), and I know how I’m going to handle it. The Journal’s going to come online on the new site with the offending entries temporarily broken, and then I’m going to put the current production site into the “sandbox” for observation, so I can see what they’re supposed to look like while I work on them. CSS classes are kind of fun, I must say. Span tags are our friends.

So if you want to make a suggestion on how to integrate Twitter into this site, let me know. Drop me a Facebook note, throw me an Email, IM me, or whatever. Let’s make it happen in a way that makes sense and makes it actually useful, and not looking like it was kind of thrown in there as an afterthought.

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