I like blogging … that’s no secret. I like WordPress too … it’s the most popular blogging software by far and it does the job for literally millions of bloggers. But strangely enough for a sophisticated piece of software that is designed to accomodate boogs that may emcopass thousands and thusands of posts/articles/pags and literally no end to different subjects, WordPress in it’s default format and most all the WordPress "themes" or skins that i have found seem to be designed for somehting a kindergarten class would be capable of producing. Strong words? Well, maybe they are but I ask just one question … Where’s The Freakin’ Naviagtion?
Navigation you say? yes, the visible means of moving around the blog/website that allows users to read what they want to read with as few mouse of key presses as possible. I’m not looking for miracles here, all I’m asking for is a simple, effective way to have at least the same table of contents and indexing function I can get if I go to the store and buy a cheap "Doing Something For Dummies" book.
I really, really hate to use Microsoft as a good example, and especially Microsoft Outlook, the email program so many of us love to hate … but just look at the screen capture from my currently open email folders.
Notice they look like folders … because that has been proven since the days of the Xerox PARCS research days that people visualize files easily by subject and can easily navigate around a "virtual file cabinet" with a mouse … opening and closing folders as they go, dragging and dropping files as they need to rearrange them, etc.
Notice that I, the user of the software can make and delete the folders at will … i don’t have to store my mail messages in pre-built folders that Bill gates decided would be good for me. I can put everything in one folder if I wish … ordering it by name, date rceived, size, etc. or I can build any practical number of suibfoklders hierarchically, at will … it’s my data and y softeware, so why shouldn’t the sapplication work my way. Many people don’t care to but I can even put messages in more thna one folder.
By default Outlook has a folder called "For Follow Up". every mesage that I have set a flag to review or answer and then put into a subjec oriented folder also shows up in my "Follow Up" folder until I … well … follow up. Ever think of being able to go to a site like ProBlogger for example and being able to know what posts you have already read .. or to mark ones you really need to go back and review? When you "read" a post on a dynamic blog/CMS like WordPress you are not reading some page out there in cybersapace … you are making a query to the database that drives the site and the WordPress software on the site "builds" the page on demand. There’s no reason you can’t organize the posts in multiple weays .. each link to a post is just that, a coded database command that takes up only a few bits, no matter how many ways you want to organize/access them.
Take a look at the orange screen clip I just snapped at the Open Source CMS site … a site built on another great Open source platform called Mambo. See the resmblence to Microsofts application of the age-old folder tradition? Expand, colapse, control the menu … actually be able to use the content the way it is mnost effective for each user.
So. again, where is the navigation in WordPress blogs? There are thousands of energetic programmers out there devoting themselves to "yet another plugin" to manage linking to deliecious or some other vaguely defined "social bookmarking" site. Is there anyone out there who actaully reads blogs rather than spend their day trying to get "Diggs"?
And just before I switch the "Rant" switch off … evr notice how many blogs don’t even have links at the top and bottom of the page to go to the next and last page you were just reading? Efen scrolling through the posts one by one is often impossible to do … the majority of WordPress blogs are like a book with the pages stuck together … all that valuable content and so few ways to find it.
Note to those who have found better ways … feel free toset me striaght, I’ll be happy to publicise, link to and otherwise promote solutions … this post is written out of frustration, not anger.