[thelist] Content Publishing Systems Squash News Design

Michael Kimsal michael at tapinternet.com
Mon May 20 11:54:01 CDT 2002

aardvark wrote:

> i think building templates per type of document is very effective...
> my own company site (algonquinstudios.com) uses 8 templates
> depending on the type of content (case study vs. press release vs.
> generic document, etc.), and that same content is shared by a
> sister site (quantumcms.com) which has an additional 5 templates
> on top of the content... and then i'm adding another sister site
> which will have another 5 or so templates...

Perhaps I misspoke earlier about the template issue - or
at least how we use the terminology.  In our design approach,
a 'template' is the overarching header/footer and menu layout.
That is almost always the same on every page.  The 'content' area
(middle page) is generally different based on the area.  Similar
to what you mentioned above:  "press releases" have one
content-template, "discussion forums" have another, and so on.

The truly frustrating part is dealing with designers on some projects
who want to move things around completely.  "Well, we're in
the press release area, so I think the menu should be gone, because
someone might want to print a press release."  "Oh, on the
secondary inside news pages of archived articles we should make the
footers bigger."

As you (or someone else?) suggested before though, designers
get paid to 'design', and in the projects I've worked on
they rarely even implemented.  Just designed.  And when a
design was questioned/challenged by someone so utterly
devoid of creativity as a (*gasp*) "coder", they just
couldn't handle it.  Too many designers that I've worked
with have treated a client's website project as another
page of their portfolio, instead of looking to address
the client's needs.  Being primarily involved in the coding
aspect, it's often easier to quantify things we do for clients
into dollars and cents ("reduced ordering time by 40%,
saving $x") and it's often much harder to quantify/justify
*multiple* designs.  It didn't used to be the case - clients
liked seeing lots of whizzy graphics/pictures up on the internet
to show their friends.  What I'm seeing now though is that
people are being forced to look at the bottom line now,
and while minimalist, low bandwidth, cross-platform designs
are cheaper and increase the bottom line, it's harder for
"web designers" (using the term loosely) to fit into this
shifting model.

Michael Kimsal

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