Measure twice, cut once. A lesson in Website Design from Dad

Back to the Drawing Board!My father is a civil engineer. He has built all kinds of things over his lifetime. No matter if it was ripping out walls in my boyhood house to adding new terminals to JFK, he does it well and with pride. He also does it once. With a favorite Robert Moses phrase “Get the job done” at his lips there is no small reason why.

Dad reminded me of a good lesson today. He is a prolific writer covering all topics engineering, liberty, and growing up in the 40s, 50s, 60s. I started keeping a copy of his writings at a blog I made for him. You can find it under Henry W Hessing at Blogger.

Design Errors on the Website

The other day Dad asked me to post a few of his recent articles. I happily did so. Unfortunately later on he called to ask what all of the extra lines and code was. “Code and lines?” I thought. I had to check it out.

HTML Errors

When I looked at the site in Firefox, my preferred web browser, everything looked fine. Then I realized I had not checked the site in Internet Explorer – the browser my Dad uses. Sure enough, I saw the errors there. When I copied and pasted from his Microsoft Word documents the underlying MS markup came with it. Those article were packed with all sorts of garbage tags from Microsoft. Funny how the errors only showed up in another Microsoft product, Internet Explorer.

Website Design Lesson

How could I forget to check browser compatability? At Charlotte Web Development we have a checklist we follow at website design time to ensure that we have consistent, repeatable results. Talent only gets you so far. Excellence demands consistency. Our checklist has several items to make sure we usability test all of our websites in all kinds of browsers on all kinds of systems. I didn’t follow that checklist when I was updating my Dad’s site and as a result, I messed up.

No one wants to do the same work twice. Not civil engineers and not website designers. Lesson learned.

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