How do we learn…anything

Back when I worked in the library, working my way through college, I was mostly a sub, so I would hop around from library to library int he Los Angeles Library System, learning how each branch did what it did. And as I learned, I took the new knowledge to the next branch and mentioned, oh, did you know that such as such did it this way, and then everyone would say, oh what a good idea, and adapt it as well.

That is rather the way I have learned all I know about the web. This is not to say that I don’t research and read up on things, web connected, but when I work on a site by someone else, I will look at how they have done it, and say "oh, look at that. That is a great way to do things." and add that to my bag of tricks. A useful javascript? A cool css setting? an include? I grab them all, and try to build the next site just a little bit better.

One of my clients said that all web designers criticize each others work, and it is true that sometimes I look at sites that I have inherited and wondered why someone did something the way they did. I think some people forget, or don’t know, or make it up as they go along, so I forgive them, and try to update the site as best I can.

This usually works fine, as the way the site appears to the client hasn’t changed, and I usually don’t have to go back to the original designer, until recently when I inherited a site from a client and found all these oddities that I thought just *had* to be fixed. The original web designer had done the whole thing in Front Page, and although it said there were includes, the includes didn’t work. So, I set about making the site my own, and moving through the oddities as best I could. But what I didn’t know was that he had a hand in doing the SEO portion of it, and felt that what I had done had broken the site, though it still worked fine. He raised his voice to my client, and she told him he had to play nice, or she would take her ball and go home.

I guess what I am trying to say is that he was so stuck in his ways that he could not imagine that anything I did was an improvement. Sad. Which is probably how he lost the updating part of the site in the first place.


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