I was recently asked to add a Follow us on Facebook and a Follow us on Twitter icon to the Media Zoo website. Not a problem I thought, both websites provide brand guidelines, logos and html to easily insert these features into your website. Unfortunately I hadn’t counted on Plone (the Content Management System controlling the Univesity website) and its portlets.
I wanted to horizontally align the two images within a portlet and have URLs on both images. Unfortunately after many attempts I couldn’t get this to work. After talking to the web team my options were:
- Include text saying ‘follow us’ after each icon. For me this defeated the purpose of the icons.
- Use an image map. This is an image where you can click on different areas of the image and they will have different URLs.
- Use a table. No, no and no. A table is for tabular data only, not layout. These icons would not fall into that category.
So an image map it was, which while better than a table is quite an old-fashioned approach to web design. But it worked:
Now I do completely understand why CMS are necessary on a large website to introduce consistency and an easy to use approach for its editors. but without knowledge of best practice, by its editors, a CMS can still have its issues.
But it makes me wonder: do outdated techniques impact negatively on innovation? To quote Sex and the City: can you get to the future with your past still present?