The biggest thing that went wrong with my site was the background image – I still haven’t yet figured out how to fix it in place for my pages with extra content so that it doesn’t stretch out. Luckily, Professor Weir was also stumped by this one, so we’re both trying to figure it out. I guess it goes to show that sometimes even the pros struggle, and it’s not that they aren’t good at what they do, it’s just that computers in general are evil (just kidding. A little).
My site mostly had lots of smaller problems that took me a while to fix. I think one of the most frustrating problems was trying to get my photos to align for a gallery. I’m still somewhat fuzzy on floating, margins and padding, so getting my photos to sit exactly where I wanted them to was a challenge, to say the least. At one point, my photos cascaded out of their container and down the page in a zig-zag pattern, despite my frantic attempts to correct the code. In that case, hitting ‘Undo’ and starting all over again with the code was the best option. Creating separate <div> classes for black and white photos and their color counterparts was a solution suggested by Professor Weir, and I think it’s worked out pretty well. Getting the captions to line up correctly under the gallery was a challenge also. I’m currently experimenting with <div> tags to figure out where I should group the text.
The biggest problem I encountered, and one that I’m not quite sure I fixed, was fitting the tone of the website to the story I was trying to tell. I feel this problem isn’t unique to journalism students who are just learning how to code, however; many sites for professional organizations don’t fit the tone or feel of their mission at all. I looked up websites for several historical societies for inspiration and was dismayed at the presence of garish colors, cutesy fonts and content that was thrown all over the page instead of organized well. I think designing a website that is truly elegant with a simple user interface is an art form. This was my first attempt ever at creating such art, and even though I felt it ended up a little more “Crayola” than “Rembrandt”, I’m not content to stop there. The Internet deserves better.