The glass wall

Journal

The glass wall

The Glass Wall is the name of a research document compiled by the BBC when they were in the process of re-vamping their website a year or more ago (I forget the exact time). It presents the information they gathered on the user experience upon a visit to the BBC site, detailing the area of the home page they used or clicked first, and then the journey they took before leaving the site. Apparently the document took its name from a glass wall in the reception area of the BBC building in London, and it also represented making the site as transparent as possible to the user.

I believe they meant that folk should easily be able to see where they want to go, but with a big helping of pretentiousness it took on the more grand title of The Glass Wall.

Thus, it seems ironic for me that the glass wall I’m experiencing represents being able to see where I want to go in life, but finding that I’m just not able to get there. Like a glass ceiling only more vertical. Myself and a friend came up with this awesome analogy that was something to do with me having plenty of currency, except it was of the wrong type so although I was in the sweetie shop I was unable to buy anything or take part like all the other shoppers. With hindsight it sounded a lot more awesome when it came straight off the cuff!

Anyhoo, it means that I feel like I’m treading water at the moment – I can do what I’m doing no problem at all. Although I do get a challenge every now and again that means I have to do a bit of thinking, or work that much faster, the rest of this website making lark is pretty much the same as it has been for the last five years.

With the latest announcement by MicroSoft regarding their decision not to develop Internet Explorer any further (something Jeremy goes into better detail about), it makes it pretty obvious that the next three or four years of coding for the web are going to be just as frustrating as the last five years. Which basically entails hours of fiddling while various browsers spew your well formed code back at you in a variety of different forms because none of them is fully standards compliant or they have different ways of rendering the same code.

The time I’ve spent over the last half-decade making hacks and fudges in order to get the result I’m after cross-platform must run into several months of frustration by now. Even more frustrating is that I don’t know if I really want to do it any more. If there were a geek tv show called I’m a Web Developer, get me out of here! I doubt I’d last beyond the first episode as they’d undoubtedly lock me in a room with a computer running only Netscape 4! ;o)

Maybe it’s that I don’t design any more and I just simply code other peoples designs? Maybe it’s just that I need to feel like I’m pushing myself and that web work isn’t doing that any longer? or maybe it’s a case of the grass being greener on the other side?

Whether this is just a five year itch or not remains to be seen, but since I’ve been feeling this way for a good six months now I’m pretty certain that the passion and fire I once had for making websites has all but burned itself out.