v 5.10.00
6 Oct 2018
updated 18 Dec 2018


As already suggested, it has become an axiom of web-design that each and every feature of each and every page of a successful website should be clearly viewable on all sizes of device from which the website might be accessed, and that this should be achieved seamlessly and automatically.

This criterion is known informally as scalability, or more technically as responsive web design (RWD). To quote the opening line of the Wikipedia article, it's an approach to web design which makes web pages render well on a variety of devices and window or screen sizes ... Content, design and performance are necessary across all devices to ensure [universal] usability and satisfaction.

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I have to admit to initial scepticism about any such necessity; the content of OrnaVerum is assembled using a Windows desktop PC with a 30x52 cm monitor, as so many of the images are immensely detailed, and I felt that any attempt to access it via (say) a mobile phone was not entirely serious.

But Eboracus has noticed that about 40% or more of public accesses to OrnaVerum are indeed already made by mobile phone, so that it's a matter of courtesy to render those visits as congenial as possible. And to quote once again from Wikipedia, RWD has become more important as the amount of mobile traffic now accounts for more than half of total internet traffic. Indeed, Google announced 'Mobilegeddon' in 2015, and started to boost the ratings of sites that are mobile friendly if the search was made from a mobile device.

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So I fell back on another argument, that much as I welcome public interest in OrnaVerum (especially when visitors make contact to say that they like it, or can tell me more about particular individuals or families that feature in it), ratings are not the be-all and end-all of this enterprise, which is after all merely an online account of intersecting family narratives pertinent to my own. It's not trying to sell anything, or earn any money from advertisements.

But of course, the higher the ratings, the more hits from Google and the more public interest and therefore public input. And as Google preferentially boosts the ratings of mobile-friendly websites, scalability becomes a no-brainer: in fact Eboracus has already started to make each and every page of OrnaVerum as scalable as possible, and that is a long haul as there are thousands of pages to be dealt with.

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Somerset Maugham, for me the most acute observer of human nature, once remarked that an author writes first for pleasure, later for the pleasure of others and finally for money. I can't remember in which of his many books that featured.

But whatever I have written, about close or extended family history, or of the context in which each happened, was first and foremost either an exciting discovery of things I had never known before, or a cathartic resolution of painful personal things that had been deeply obscured in a Lethean grey fog or suppressed by a kindly mental censor. Either way, personal satisfaction, or peace of mind, was engendered - my mental motto in late teenage years, felix qui potest rerum cognoscere causas, slightly tweaked from Virgil, resurfaced with a vengeance.

The fact that a website is inevitably in the public domain was a secondary matter to start with, compared with getting things clear in my mind as to who did what which way up and to whom, during the murky years of my parents' ascendancy. But as acceptance grew of the importance of ratings, awareness and appreciation of a multitude in the online auditorium has grown too, and, yes, Maugham was right on the second count too.

But not on the third count, as nothing whatsoever herein has been written for profit; although my other hero Samuel Johnson once observed that no man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money, I'm willing to defy him just this once. There are no paid advertisements whatsoever. Worth much more than mere money is the speed and responsiveness of the website itself, a pleasure to browse.

Although ... there is consequently no pressure from advertisers to do what it takes (such as going for scalability) to push up the ratings ... oh dear, a counter-argument, must stop, getting dizzy.