Besides being the writer, photographer and curator on numerous websites, I am also the admin and webmaster on those sites (and quite a few more, where the content is provided by friends).
Part of the webmaster work is finding ways to improve the site and make it easier to use, and generally more useful to visitors.
In this regard I found a much neater way to navigate the files – which are usually a network of documents in a subfolder – than the text links I have been using previously.
Now I have instituted a buttons system which, given a list of documents, can automatically detect where we are in relation to the other documents, and provide previous and next buttons, and a way to get back to the main index file or local home page.
This may sound like a simple upgrade, but in fact when you have a site with 5,000 interlinked documents that have grown up over a 20 year period, there is a lot of work involved!
Here it called for listing the documents, then opening them all up folder by folder and updating all the links at the top and bottom of the pages, being careful not to miss any.
It took around two weeks of morning’s work to get them all done. But I now have a template to work from when preparing any new documents, and a much cleaner and easier way of navigating the site than previously.
Although these things will hardly be noticed by a visitor – and indeed that is the way it should be – it explains some of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make the sites more visitor friendly, so I record it here.