Technical Upgrades to UkeSchool

The web has changed since we launched in 2004 — and so has this site.

We've been giving ukulele lessons online since 2004. Though, all the code that was used back then has been replaced a few times since. In around 2007, the whole site was re-written to serve a number of needs including search engine optimization and improving access for the visually impaired. Yup, the visually impaired need an easy website to learn ukulele, too. Back in 2012, some of it was re-written again, because modern browsers did not carry the same browser-specific quirks with regard to layouts — though, I found that people didn't like the site (find and stick to the site) any better if it layed out correctly or not. Hm. Seems the usability of the lessons and the tutolets is key — which is good. This site obviously ain't here to look smashing — it's here to do a job.

Mobile Devices

If you've browsed around the site recently, you've probably noticed that some of the pages look very different than others. Some are narrow — some are wide. The narrow pages are the "old" design — which was never ever imagined to be used on a phone. Hey, it was 2004, people had monitors that were 640, 800, or 1024 pixels wide. That whole graphical treatment worked fine in those sizes. And it works not bad in the new HD monitors — it just makes a tiny column down the middle of the screen. But on mobile? Well, with that layout on mobile, you can't really read jack. And that's a problem.

"Responsive" Layouts

When building modern websites, we use something call "Responsive Design". Which is a really stupid name for, layouts that adjust to the size of the screen. Personally, I think responsive means, you do something to it, it responds. Like half of interactive. But I digress. To make UkeSchool easy-to-use on mobile devices, I'm re-writing it, again, this time using a "responsive" layout. It looks nicer in my big monitor, as it uses more of the screen space and isn't so cramped. But best of all is how it looks on mobile — very easy to read, very easy to navigate — aaahhh, I feel much better. Though, porting the whole site to this technology will take a while.

By the way, people are still viewing this site on screens that are 800 pixels wide — but they're using something else we hadn't imagined in 2004 — a "tablet". The new ways will accommodate tablet users, too.

The Future

Not to worry. When I notice that almost half of my traffic is coming from soft holographic interfaces, it'll probably already be my job delivering content for soft holographic interfaces. So I'll notice it. And I'll be ready...

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