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Archive for the 'web development' Category

The Internet Archive Bollocks

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Step right up, step right up, ladies and gentlemen of the Internet. The frantic effort is underway to archive the Internet warts-and-all so that future digital archeologists can turn back time and rediscover our 2011 web design rock stars in way-forward 2070. Or, more modestly, so people like Jeremy Keith can still find their social networking identities long after Zeldman has left the building.

Jeremy Keith tells me Pruning is Bollocks

Here’s my premise::: I would suggest that the biggest problem we have with archiving anything substantial from the Internet isn’t mass archive. Our problem is digging out what should be archived & what should be let to fade away gracefully into the vacuum of history.

Jeremy Keith, in a tweet, says “That’s utter bollocks… in my humble opinion.

Somehow I doubt that opinion is humble on the subject of Internet archival and I’d humbly reply that in my opinion, regardless of my lack of rock star conference speaking and book authoring status, when Jeremy Keith says it’s about archiving everything (culture) then bollocks to that. Double bollocks. The problem is bigger than bookmarks, LOLcats or relying on businesses stupid enough – like Delicious – to think their business model of FREE was going to take them anywhere in the long-term.

But I have a number of comments and questions regarding the arrogance of a total archival of the Internet (which we’re really synonymously using to mean the World Wide Web, an application that runs on the Internet). Let’s start with the value of information.

The Quality & Value of Information going into an Archive

My comment about sifting out the crap to find the value relies on a scientific fact of life – any repository of data (and therefore information – data + context) is only as valuable as the quality of the data. Any business knows that data becomes outdated because people move addresses and telephone numbers change. Hey, people even lie about stuff – so there you go with more crap into any repository. My suggestion that pruning is a part of any challenge to archive the Internet is based on that premise… a big load of rubbish pushed into an unordered box without pruning would have limited value. It would be information soup.

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Extra Questions to ask Web Designers

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

One major problem with web design is that for the most part clients find it difficult to conceptualise what we do and what final product we provide for them. On the surface, a web designer has some nice work and may be represented on portfolio gallery websites. But those portfolio sites may not be peer-awarded cutting edge contemporary best practice web design. So here are a few quick extra business questions I’d recommend thrown into the conversation before hiring anybody for the role:

  1. Do you have an ABN or ACN? What is your business structure – sole trader, partnership or company? And are you registered for GST?
  2. Are you insured (because you may damage my business or destroy my data or get me sued by a third party)?
  3. Who owns your business? How big is it? Where does the money go? It’s a fair question where money is involved.
  4. Are you a member of any professional associations, have you won awards, do you have client testimonials that I can verify?
  5. Is your business currently in financial difficulty? Again, it’s a fair question going into any financial contract.
  6. Do you have a lawyer? If so, can I have their contact details for my lawyer to discuss the contract?

These questions aren’t to piss anybody off or to bully service providers. They are the questions that will get the business owner / client over that hurdle of being stuck with a self-proclaimed award winning agency that turns out to be an uninsured, unregistered, unaccredited web designer. If you lose all of your data – what then? And if you get hacked & all your client lists are compromised and lawyers are beating down your door – what then? And if the taxman drags you in because the sums don’t add up – what then?

If you aren’t satisfied with any one of the answers to those six questions then walk away and consider the value of investment in a corporate firm that can protect your business interests while providing a professional web design service. There’s nothing worse than losing your own business because the other guy bullshitted their way in the door.

Pseudo-Award Winning Blah Blah Phoney

Monday, April 11th, 2011

This morning I ran across a Sydney based web designer’s business website and I saw a link in a prominent position (top right corner) that read – ‘I also win awards!’

Web Awards are an Industry Recognition of Best Practice

The interesting part about that link is the key ‘call to action’ that it implied in my mind as a customer sitting on the fence – the claim that awards had been won created a beautiful marketing hook. After all, branding is about perception in the mind of the market and the link dramatically moved ‘attractive site’ way up to ‘professionally attractive site’ on my busines radar.

Only (and I won’t name names or flame anybody over this) there were no awards. The list under a title heading of ‘Awards & Honourable Mentions’ – One Page Love, Colorgorize, CSS Loggia, Twitter, Design Fridge and Reddit. Not one of those are an award of any kind. And Twitter? Reddit? In reality most are user submitted galleries that showcase web designs and are run by independent people who have a priority to pump as many decent web designs across their homepage as possible to attract advertising revenue.

Real awards and honourable mentions would be handed out from the Australian Web Awards or similar calibre State or National associations that come together within the industry to assert the best work on a number of levels – including design aesthetic, business effectiveness and technical excellence.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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