(last updated on April 29, 2014)
I have, lately, been feeling constrained by the existing structure of this web site, which has been bothering me for a long time. The main problem is the lack of navigation; it’s basically one giant scrolling chain of articles, with some slapped-on navigation at the bottom of the page. The user experience is quite awful for the casual visitor.
Despite knowing all this, and having an idea of what I need to do to fix it, I’ve been kind of stuck on it, because the number of options I have in making changes is incredibly broad. I’m thinking of splitting the site into multiple blogs, one each for Productivity, Design, Personal, and Making. Also, a general article area will become the new repository for content like The Printable CEO, so there’s always ONE updated location for every tool. To enable all these changes, I’m going to use the Expression Engine content management system; the main reason is that the integration with the forum and wiki modules with multiple blogs will make it easier to start deploying software products that need user authentication. However, this new arrangement will require me to handle all the old incoming links (pointing to the old blog) so they’re pointed at the new one or ones.
As a result, I have not been feeling like blogging. The ideas are still here, but the thought of putting them into the existing blog structure makes me feel a bit ill. I am actually forcing myself to finish this post, because I think I need to write it.
Normally, when I’m in this situation, I redefine the rules such that victory is achievable through some other means. For example, I am thinking that the new structure will be a big pain in the butt to create (recall that I don’t particularly enjoy working with CSS). It probably isn’t, if I define a smaller subset of features that absolutely need to come over.
Another approach I’ve taken is to whittle away at the problem by doing a Q & A with myself. Right now, I am not sure how to move everything from WordPress to Expression Engine…I just know it’s going to be a pain in the butt. If I ask myself a single question at a time and write down the answer, I can maintain the focus and eventually get to the point where I run out of questions.
Yet a third approach is to apply time blocking and just work on the site for an hour at a time, just fixing whatever I see here and there. This is not a particularly focused way of working, but sometimes that’s the mood I’m in. I figure anything is better than nothing.
There comes a time, however, where you just got to make the big push. The last major thing I need to find out is how to create multiple forum installations and to transfer existing users to the new structure. Sigh.
The main problem, I think, is that I’m feeling the weight of the existing content and registered users, and I have to figure out a way of making sure everything merges neatly together. While I think this is a necessary step, I’m not particularly excited about implementing it. Having written that, though, I think I’m probably overestimating the difficulty involved.
Anyway, perhaps this weekend I’ll make some progress on this. The website may be acting a little flakier than usual over the next week.