Then – Part 1

leeuwin.jpg

That’s a screenshot of the first website that I ever worked on. I initiated the project in late 1999 and finished it in early 2000.

The website was for the Yayasan Anak Warisan Alam trip on board the STS Leeuwin, off the coast of Perth, Australia in January 2000. I built it with two guys called Aslam and Sashi, who were also my then workmates at malaysiakini.com, an independent online Malaysian newspaper that had just been launched in late 1999.

When I worked on the architecture, I didn’t even know it was called architecture; I was just preparing ‘web content’ as far as I was concerned.

We went for a simple two-column layout with the main links on the left and the logo in the top left. Much later on, I would discover that the layout was indeed one that was user-friendly, at least according to the nice folks at Eyetracker.

At that point in time, though, all that I knew was that it was ‘easy on the eyes’.

Looking back, we made a lot of mistakes. At the time, we weren’t aware of anything like web standards or the benefits of separating content, presentation and behaviour. And HTML tables and guestbooks were so totally in!

So, what do I think of it now , then?

What’s good is that it features a simple navigation. To be fair, the site is pretty easy to navigate, although the content could have been better organized. And there aren’t annoying ads or animated GIFs.

What’s bad? Crap markup! It fails W3C markup validation with a grand total of 19 errors. It also screams ‘Loud Structure’ because, among other things, it’s got a useless header that doesn’t tell you anything about the site and the spacing and text alignment is inconsistent, with images thrown in pretty much wherever we liked. The picture gallery looks like it was copy-and-pasted from Microsoft Word and there isn’t even a ‘Contact Us’ link, for user feedback, anywhere on the site.

Overall, the site obviously could have been a lot worse. But thankfully, we were in a hurry and had very little time (or money) to add any flourishes to the design. But that’s probably a good thing because we would have probably add a Flash intro, just to make it ‘interactive’.

The next part of this article will be up as soon as I get confirmation that I won’t get my ass sued by clients for taking apart their website. Stay tuned!

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Filed under Design, Development, Portfolio

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