Friday, January 17

a boring list of references, or "how your website might be a sea monster."

Hey! I left my studio yesterday! I went to speak to a group of lovely people (at the WISE Women's Business Center in Syracuse, NY) and guess what? It was super fun. I was the Entrepreneur that people could Meet. Folks asked lots of great questions and seemed to tolerate my circular rambling and idealistic-bordering-on-insane enthusiasm for what I do.

I talked some about my obsessive desire to have every small business person have a great website. Especially creative people. You know how some mothers will grab someone else's toddler and wipe slimy stuff off their faces without a second thought? (*full body shiver*) I'm like that with other people's websites. I feel a bordering-on-rude possibly involuntary urge to improve ugly out-of-the-box passive ugly websites. Wow I put "ugly" in there twice. Because I mean it.

A website is a process. Mine included. We'll always be tweaking our sites and evolving them along with our businesses, but I also think some solid pre-build thought about what you're trying to do with yours is crucial. It's too easy to be subsumed by the existing structure of a template - to become a passive plugger-inner of content instead of starting from the bigger picture of how you want to connect to people then finding a way (by building it or finding the right designer or host) to make that happen.

Yesterday I said I would post these links. Poof - here they are. They're about design. But more specifically, design that helps you think about our very human experience interacting with websites. When I was doing intensive web searches for inspiration I found this kind of thing difficult to dredge up, so I share them in the hope that you find them helpful:

  • "A Case for Web StoryTelling" by Curt Cloninger ... This was written in 2000 - I know! It's an internet antique. But it's still great and it's great because it's a plea for the importance of narrative and intimacy over technological focus.
  • "Fluidity of Content and Design - Learning from Where the Wild Things Are" by Sarah Bauer ... Yes, that's right, she uses the awesome book as a primer for how to meld images with narrative for a cohesive user experience.
  • "Knock Knock Seth Godin’s Incomplete Guide to Building a Web Site that Works" - by Seth Godin ... He is offering it as a free downloadable PDF. It's also not new but is super helpful in thinking about websites as breathing, non-linear entities. Which makes them sound like sea monsters, and so could be a bit misleading, sorry. It's a quick good read and really got my brain spinning with possibilities.
  • Though not web-specific I also mentioned "The Bootstrapper's Bible" by Seth Godin, which he also offers as a free download. If you feel left out of small business discussions that center around bank loans and are more prone to boot-strappy DIY stubbornness, I recommend!
Enjoy!  - helen