Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Next steps…

18th October 2008

A month ago, this blog passed the second anniversary of its move to WordPress and that has set me to thinking about how this website is structured. There are two main pieces to the jigsaw here, this blog and the photo gallery, so it should come as no surprise that my mind has journeyed towards these as my thoughts have progressed.

With a blog, there is always the temptation to wander away from the intended subject and I have to admit that has happened here too. It is less of a problem for posts than for pages because the former drift out of view over time. The outdoors focus will be tightened, so pieces of website news like this one along with the occasional public transport piece will be rarer. After all, trip reports and related items will remain the mainstay here.

The photo gallery started out as a single slide show and it was only later on that the country and region organisation of the present day started to come into place; the thumbnail gallery was a later addition too. Now though, I am beginning to challenge the sense of having two ways to navigate the gallery. The country and region approach itself is being brought into question by the prospect of a full Pennine Way portion crossing from England into Scotland. All of this is leading me to wonder if the tag and category classifications that are so commonplace these days would be an asset. If so, a way that I could see things working is that you pick your tag or category first and then pick the way in which you are to view things. The elements of that way of thinking are already in place so it’s just a matter of turning the current arrangement on its head and making it work without causing too much upheaval. In fact, I can even see a way ahead towards this approach and it might even allow me to add the ability for visitors to “play” a slide show too.

There is another part to this website and that often feels like the Cinderella here: it’s an information directory for those wanting to visit the places featured in either the blog or the photo gallery. Unfortunately, I have had a tendency to dilute its usefulness with off-topic content and it does demand a tightening of focus to enhance it. It is with that in mind that I have been trying out a publishing system named Textpattern. Bending it to my will has been going well thus far and my experience with it is contributing to my plans. This is leading me to think that those elements of the website that add background information for the rest could be moved onto it and help me to make those elements of the information directory most applicable to those who enjoy great countryside more prominent. It even is making me ponder the of adding that information as articles to this blog so that it is nearer to hand. If this happens, I’ll ensure that it compliments rather than overwhelms what you already find here. Saying that, such a development makes the case for making those items listed under the Feature Articles section on the sidebar even more prominent if I were to proceed with the idea.

All of the above thoughts are in a state of flux at the moment and some may survive while others don’t. Because there are more things in life than playing around with a website (for one thing, I still intend to make it into the hills whenever I can…), any changes are likely to be incremental rather than taking the form of a big bang. The theme of gradual evolution will stay but you might find that things change their appearance from time to time. Who knows what might come up yet?

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