Website Updates and Frustrations

It’s been a long time since I posted a text entry to this blog (a lot of my recent posts have been in the form of Audioboo messages.)
I’ll admit, I actually think that audio blogging is better than writing, because I find I can get my points across when speaking. Regardless though, it’s good to be back. But enough about blogging, let’s focus on the actual topic of this post.

We’ve all been there. You’ll find a great website, and are surprised when one day they decide to change their layout. Well, that’s probably going to be the case with both of my websites at some point. I’ve been, for quite some time now, interested in going the CMS (content management system) route, rather than editing HTML and PHP files by hand. There are several reasons for this.

First, I find that if I add something new to one of my sites, such as a new section for example, I have to go into each PHP or HTML file that has a menu at the top of the page, and paste in the link to the new section. While this is a very simple procedure, and hardly takes any time, I’ve been in situations where I may forget to add the link to one or more pages. And if there’s one thing I want the menu on all my site’s pages to be, it’s consistent. With a CMS, I could add another section to the site, and the menu would be updated automatically.

The second reason is that I’ve always written my sites with pretty much straight HTML or basic PHP code. I don’t know anything about using different color values for links or page text. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I’m sure a CMS would make things more visually pleasing for sighted visitors, while still making the page usable with screen readers such as JAWS, Window-Eyes, or NVDA.

But the big reason for me is that with a CMS, such as WordPress or Drupal, I can use different plugins or modules to enhance a site’s functionality. As I write this, I’m still trying to figure out how to add a text CAPTCHA feature to my personal site’s contact form. The problem is that this particular add-on’s website doesn’t provide clear instructions for a beginner on how to do what I want. I contacted the developer and asked if he could help me implement it, but got a response a day later saying he didn’t have any spare time. (Thanks a lot!) However, the plugin version of this CAPTCHA works beautifully with WordPress, and there’s also a Drupal version available as well.
The reason I want to use this form of CAPTCHA, instead of what I’m using now, is because the current system sometimes causes Firefox to shut down when playing back the audio version. I’ve looked at some other contact forms that can easily be included in PHP sites, but don’t find their logic question and answer approach good enough as they generally show the same question all the time, whereas the one I want to use can randomly select one.
Now I know what you’re wondering, “Why are you using a CAPTCHA system at all?”
That’s a good question. I personally find that it, along with a spam filter site, helps to get rid of unwanted junk mail. The other answer is, of course, “Hey, if sighted people can use these things, why can’t I?” As far as audio CAPTCHAs are concerned, I wanted to find a system with good audio. At first, I thought ReCaptcha was alright, but then they made it hard to understand, so that one was out. The one I currently use now has, in my opinion anyway, the best audio captcha I’ve heard. When it first came out, it sounded clear and easy to understand. However, if it’s going to cause a browser like Firefox to crash, then I think it’s time to move on.

Currently, I’m slowly learning how to use Drupal to make a test site. I know WordPress also can be used to make sites as well, and I might give that one a try too.
Obviously, I cannot say when changes to this site will take effect, but it’s something I’m working towards anyway, one step at a time.

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