This week has been full of the less glamorous side of creating a web site (or is calling everything a ‘web app’ still in vogue? - I forget.) Before we can get on and design a useful and pleasing interface we have to work out what is going on the page - and as is often the case, whilst that is fairly straightforward tracing the process that results in that information making it on to the page means navigating some pretty labyrinthine practices and habits that have formed over the years. It’s pretty common in my experience for people to ‘know’ what happens but no-on has ever documented it. When the time comes to turn that collections of customs into a system it can be really hard for people to realize just how much activity happens to accomplish even a simple task. Breaking that down into practical and useable chunks has been my task this week - asking obvious questions, clarifying answers and asking more obvious questions in an attempt to nail down a decision.
It can feel pretty laborious, and it’s hard to convince people who think that computers are magic that they’ll only do what you tell them. It comes with the territory that discovering a process takes time and effort, but I’d rather do as much of this at the start than half way through having gone down a wrong path.