On doing a lot less.
Architect Ian McChesney suggested that I take a look at Daniel Eatock's site at http://www.danieleatock.com and click on 'about this site'. Eatock offers a free and copyright-free template, complete with code, for what turns out to be a really sensible website layout. In fact it is so simple I wonder if you could ever stop people copying it. All it seems to be is two columns. The left-hand one contains the navigation stuff. The other, four times wider, has the basic material. You see my point about simple. And you think of my old favourite at www.adrianjames.com. In the more effective variant on the basic Eatock structure, the left-hand column remains fixed so that when you get fed up with looking at images and text in the main bit you can immediately click on another section. This obviates the need for a Back button.
But hold on, you say, 'Where's the creativity in two columns?' Well, first of all we are talking information websites here not cathedrals. Second, take a look at the sites which have joined the Eatock Template Connection--including McChesney's at www.mcchesney.co.uk and another at www.metwork.co.uk. There is nothing particularly stereotyped about them. Because this is merely a structural template, you can run riot with the graphics, drop in all kinds of art work, objects, buildings with captions and whatever--but please, not, as at the above Metwork site, with text running sideways down the page. This is a crime against nature for we surfers and potential clients are not normally trained as professional contortionists. The only other thing to watch when following the Eatock template is getting the resolution of images down to a point where they are still readable but whose files are small enough to allow instant uploading. That is really instant uploading. I think the secret is that this template starts out so simply that, unless you are a complete prat, you will want to keep it that way. OK. Less is more.