I started building websites in 1998, so I have a bit of experience with both successful ventures AND with making my WebDev life more difficult. For example . .
One of my long neglected sites, a site that continues to draw traffic and pay its way despite neglect, is in need of an update.
As I began working on this site it was immediately apparent that what I once considered an organized approach to presenting information really wasn't that well organized. I could see that if I didn't make some changes User Experience (UX), especially "information discovery", was likely to degrade despite my efforts to improve and expand the site by adding and updating its contents.
Specifically, information that should have been organized or categorized in directories / sub-directories like this - Geo-location > General Activity > Specific Activities or Events
- I instead chose to organize like this - Geo-location -> Activity . . and like this . . Activity -> Geo-location . . and like this . . Activity with NO geo-location except for geo references in the body of pages text
As part of the rebuild process articles are being regrouped, while being updated. Therefore 301 redirects will be required, which takes time. Navigation must also be redone, consistent with the revised IA. Due to the volume of changes I've chosen to blow up the WP database, rather than attempting a salvage operation. Why? Because I'm concerned that inserting countless fixes, re-titling, etc. would make future DB management more difficult and may slow down the DB. I'm saving the guts of the various articles. Related images are being re-titled. While I'm doing that I'm also resizing images,crafting better alt-attributes . ..which image reworking is a subject, by itself, worthy of a separate post.
FWIW and FYI, I am not overly concerned about SEO/SERPs taking a hit during this process. I view this as a long term project, one that should be able to stand on its own no matter what SE love is given . . or not. That said, the improvements will likely be pleasing to both humans and SEs.
So, my BIG mistake? Shoddy IA, especially from a "planning for growth" perspective. Sometimes success can reveal failings. Who woulda thunk that would be the case?
Read and respect the following classic WebmasterWorld threads about IA, ones that have enduring relevance and that are worth a read, listed here: [webmasterworld.com
] So what have you done or failed to do that made your WebDev life more difficult? What lesson(s) did you take away from the experience?