She Ain't Pretty


This morning as I was getting ready for the day, a Canadian classic song by The Northern Pikes popped into my head. She Ain't Pretty was released long before I started my career in the internet but as I was running through the lyrics in my head I realized that this song held some relevance to website design today. Although there are a lot of opinions about what makes a person physically attractive, most people understand and can identify some of the mainstream concepts. While physical attractiveness is important to a lot of people, I think most of us put a lot of stock into personality when determining the overall attractiveness, especially for long-term intimate relationships.

Take this concept to the web. Most people have little or no idea of what goes on behind the scenes that make a website do it's thing. Opinions on what makes an attractive website vary greatly. When working with clients on building new websites, very rarely do we get asked about what is going on behind the scenes. Most clients are focused on getting an attractive website; but what about it's personality? In this case I'm talking about the stuff that is underneath the skin and makeup. The code that makes the skin and make-up possible. In most websites this is the HTML, CSS and JavaScript. This is the stuff that goes beyond the physical attractiveness and much like the human experience, the quality of the code can affect how much you'll love your website after the honeymoon is over.

It is somewhat of a surprise how many nice looking websites have coding problems behind the scenes. The quality of the coding can have an effect on how effective your website is when it comes to things like search engine optimization (SEO) and how the site performs on a wide variety of devices (Mobile Friendliness). It's not unusual to find that some of the most advanced, modern-looking websites are filled with coding problems that can cause the website to have problems achieving good rankings and user experiences. A lot of website that use content management systems like Wordpress have templates that use as many as a dozen or more CSS and Javascript files full of unused code. This excess code can slow a site down and cause compatibility problems for some viewers. Sometimes there's so much code that visitors are forced to download megabytes of data where a tenth, hundredth, or thousandth of data would have done the job just fine. Sometimes the website has a strange mix of standards that confuse the visitors web browsers.

Next time you're looking over your website, take a look beneath the hood and find out if you're engine is in good shape. In the meantime, enjoy this piece of classic Canadian music!

July 31st 2015



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