Friday, 14 November 2008

A Coincidence

I've just made a beautifully bizarre accidental discovery.

I happened upon this site. I was actually looking for a different site, the Worst Covers of 2004, which I eventually found, and it's still hilarious. Read it if you've ever read a cheap romantic novel, and you would like to laugh quite hard for several minutes.

But anyway. Here is a small screenshot of "Romance Book Covers", after the Flash animations stop whirling.

Romance Book Covers

Here, on the other hand, is a small screenshot of "Tango in Action", after the identical Flash animations stop whirling.

Tango in Action

Poetic, no?

This is in no way odd or inexplicable; it's certainly a template, pre-designed and supplied with options to anyone who needs a website but doesn't have the relevant skills in-house. Lots of small businesses use them. They do the job they do, moderately well, and they're very reasonably priced. I wouldn't use one; but I have the skills myself.

Although now I consider the matter, I think if I were a tango small business, or any other small business, what I might do in practice is just use Blogger, together with Google's mildly-useful Calendar tool, a YouTube account, a domain name, maybe some hacking around with the stylesheet, and a little extra ingenuity in the sidebar. I could build myself something clever in PHP, but it wouldn't be a good use of time. What would be a good use of time, and money, would be getting some good photos done (as Stefano and Alexandra have in this example) and dreaming up some interesting content.

One advantage of Blogger is that it manages everything chronologically, solving the problem of cobwebs in a way that's transparent to the visitor, so you don't have to go back and update things all the time, and you don't have to lose anything either. Another would be that it's very straightforward to share the job of adding content between several people, none of them needing more than minimal skills.


Anonymous said...

You seem to be really obsessed with people's web sites here! What we don't get from you here is why you have failed to create a professional blog about making web sites and instead that you are forever talking nonsense by trying to rubbish a good tango site like "tango in action".

Why can't you do websites for tens of thousands of small businesses that are working there in the UK specially for majority that your government figures state that they don't have any websites at all. That will help you more than instead just talking about how clever you can be if someone asks you to read your book on PHP once again?

I hope you get this!

msHedgehog said...

I'm not rubbishing the site at all, on the contrary I think it does the job quite nicely; in particular, for example, because they've spent some time and money on photography. Any negative comment is entirely in your imagination - not in this post. I repeat, this is a sensible, practical way for a small business to create a website that works.

The coincidence is just a charming juxtaposition of ideas; the romance front covers with the tango, which is so often presented as much the same thing.

I sometimes mention websites because they're one of the things that interests me, and which I have studied a good deal in my career. A site about tango websites would be about as interesting as a site about racing drivers' jewellery.

But putting thought into your website is putting thought into your customers. I think that should be encouraged, and it interests me to discuss different ways of doing it.

Not only do I get your message when you click Comments, but it is also displayed for everyone else to see.

Anonymous said...

Oh look, anonymous criticism with exclamation marks, how useful :rolleyes:

Game Cat said...

Ms H,

You're right - because tools have become available for small businesses to build a decent website, one of the remaining ways to stand out is to offer distinctive and unique it aesthetically appealing media or news or services.

Re tango - how does one convey something so complex, subtle, multi-layered and essentially visceral on a website??

It's probably a challenge for any experential product, which is no surprise why some of the first things sold on the web are books and CDs (a la Amazon) and one of the hardest is....people (solicitors, accountants, consultants).

If anybody comes across a really good tango website that, in your opinion, manages to convey something of the depth, the light, the darkness of tango (assuming you agree with that interpretation that is).... please do let me know!

Anonymous said...

Although you confirmed that you did not get "it" but foolishly at least thought that my phrase of "I hope you get this!" is simply referring to the physical message rather than its content with the the context that it was put here, you did however try and retreated from your earlier statement that attempted rubbishing "tango in action".
That is some small outcome that may benefit them if no one else from this conversation.

just one other observation was that sadly your friend "ghost" feels you are not intelligent enough to stand tall and express your own opinions here in defense of yourself and therefore in desperation of wanting to help you "ghost" needed to inform us of some rolling eyes but he it was done "in-anonymously" :)

I shall leave these exclamations marks here for your "ghost"'s further excitements and feverish breathing : There...there...there!!!

Game Cat said...


This is the second time you've posted that H has in your words "rubbished" another site. I think I have missed her "earlier statement", literal or figurative, that you are referring to. Could you please point it out?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on this one, Ms Hedgehog. Despite my website experience (or perhaps because of it!) I'd go for a integrated site rather than a standalone, even though they're both created to a template of sorts. Then you get the benefit of the traffic/audience familiarity of YouTube/Google or whatever and don't have to worry about maintenance. But of course for the long term, as you so rightly say, it is all about content.

Anonymous said...

PS. Ta for the link to the covers site. I feel most sorry for the authors!