In most professions deadlines seem to loom over every horizon. It really doesn’t matter what the job. In this case that deadline happens to be a brand new Web site launch. Typically this should be an exciting time. Something you have worked on for the last 4-5 months is going to be put under the gun.
In this particular case I am very happy with our solution, it has a lot of potential fixes for a lot of problems that we were having prior to this site going up. However on the flip side, when you are working on a site this magnitude, which is lacking a enterprise wide CMS, making sure you have all your ducks in a row is no easy task.
As it is now, since there is no CMS to handle most of the data on our site, keywords, description, and titles are hand coded per page, which leaves the site prone to forgetfulness, laziness, or oversight. One of the big jobs with one day prior to launch is making sure these are all inline. Searching on our site via our Google search appliance as well as how the outside perceives our site is very important with us as it is with all sites.
Pages as on all sites… or most sites follow fairly strict look and feels. Headings have their look, paragraphs may have their own look, links look and feel the same, images might be formatted as well. There are a million formatting techniques that you can apply, typically via a stylesheet which we have done, but this again on such a large site is prone to oversight, laziness, and forgetfulness. This isn’t the case on very many pages, but I know it exists.
As the deadlines crawls near, pieces are dropped, made into “phase 2” sort of projects, or scrubbed all together however, not always for reasons that are part of your control. They are excluded from the site because even more maybe then the site in general it may not be ready for the public eye. Or at least you might think that to be the case. Maybe a server or database related issue is causing a delay. There are a lot of reasons why this might become an issue.
All in all there are a million intricate details that can derail or discourage you from launching a site. As developers and designers I would be apprehensive if someone gave me a Web project or app that he/she had full confidence in that it was done the best it could be done. I am always re-working things, making fine adjustments to make things better, or easier to use, and I know i am not alone in that.
Going forward with the launch I feel much more confident with that thought in mind. What site really isn’t a constant work in progress? The little intricate details that maybe I think need to be corrected before the sites release to the public might be so minor that no one other then a Web developer might know the difference. The site has a deadline and has to be up, and so it will. With some minor problems and add-ons in the works it’s a working machine that just needs a little maintenance.