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Bonkers Blog October 2011

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8 October - Site maintenance

I have had a complaint. “Can you make your website an inch narrower?” As the complainer didn’t say whether he was looking on a Blackberry or his internet enabled plasma TV it wasn’t a very helpful suggestion but I have at times regretted fixing the page width at 1040 pixels back in 2009 because it is just a bit too wide for older 1024x768 screens. So I have grasped the nettle and reduced the width to 960 pixels which is much the same as the BBC use. It’s not all that easy to make a web page look OK on all the devices that might view it but I feel it is important to try. Some organisations don’t bother presumably because they couldn't give a stuff for their readers. Here’s an example of the same site as viewed at three different screen sizes. The people who did it should be shot.

Note: The complainer is well known to me; I wouldn’t ordinarily seek to take the proverbial out of a reader, not unless it’s a councillor anyway!
Bexley website wide
Bexley website mediumAt medium screen widths the option to change Contrast ironically disappears because it gets placed over a tree. The Services and Features menus merge and become inaccessible.

Bexley website narrowWith smaller screens the A-Z list of Services disappears entirely.

If you click on the link “Bexley publishes the top 100 websites visited by staff” you will see a letter from council leader Teresa O’Neill - yes, she is still around apparently, just invisible to those who don’t watch TV - to the Evening Standard about an article they published last Tuesday about the websites visited by Bexley council staff. Of all the things they could choose to criticise Bexley council for the Evening Standard chooses web stats!

I have to say I agree with Teresa O’Neill. Website statistics need to be studied with great care and many of the numbers Bexley council published will have a rational explanation and many will be worthless. Nearly half of the so called top 100 sites visited are not websites at all but various internet facilities that support websites. If Bexley council feels that publishing their web statistics is worthwhile, can they please do the job properly?

It’s not very impressive that they decided to publish some unimportant numbers but it took complaints by the Bexley Council Monitoring Group to get last year’s Accounts published on line. More about that another time.

I’m expecting Mr. Cromwell’s website to be back on line before the weekend is out. Hosted in some shack under a palm tree on a Pacific Island I suspect and probably brasher and ruder than ever.


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