A Journal of Formal & Metrical Verse


Welcome to issue #10 of the new, sexier Barefoot Muse! You know, when I took on this project, back in 2005, I didn't realize how much of the work would end up being website design. Back then, I just borrowed off a couple of existing poetry 'zines to find enough html to use as a template, slapped the poems on, added a few links and uploaded the files. Easy!

How much web design has changed in five years, though! In 2005 90 percent of web surfers used an early version of Internet Explorer; by 2010 that has dropped to 50 or 60 percent (depending on statistics source) and the rest use, in order of decreasing percentages, Firefox (30-40), Chrome (6), Safari (5) and Opera (2). In 2005 over 80 percent of viewers used a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels or less; nowadays over 75 percent use a higher one. HTML itself has also grown more sophisticated: cascading style sheets, php, and the latest issue, which sparked this redesign--the deprecation of tables as a layout tool in favor of <div> tags.

But I'm a poet, I hear you say, Why on earth does this matter to me?

It doesn't, of course. You just want to read the excellent poems the Barefoot Muse has always delivered you, in a clean, clear, and easily navigable format.

But THAT is precisely why all these changes to the Internet matter to ME. Internet Explorer and Firefox don't always display the same code in the same way, and your screen resolution will affect how you see layout too. It's my job to make these pages look as consistently good as possible regardless of the browser or display resolution you use, and to keep them looking good so that all of this excellent poetry is available for posterity in our archives.

And you know, the process of perfecting such a versatile web design is not dissimilar to the process of revising a poem. First you get the rough draft done—the basic site layout and color scheme. Then you begin the arduous process of making changes and looking to see if they work. Sometimes you change things then change them right back. You solicit opinions from trusted individuals. Sometimes these individuals even agree. Right up to the point an issue gets published from the temporary directory to the main directory, you're still tweaking tiny things.

Indeed, a website design is never finished, it is merely abandoned...typically in a state of nervous exhaustion!


Anna Evans, Editor, the Barefoot Muse