Web Texts or Web Chi?

I’ve been going back and forth wondering whether to talk about the Allegheny College professor who suggests there are enough good resources on the Web that you can teach a course without textbooks, or the movement in Web design consulting that helps you create a balanced site according to principles of the Indian science vaastu shastra and/or the Asian feng shui. I guess I’ll do the latter, since the first one is in the subscription-only Chronicle of Higher Education.

CNN reports on the trend among some Indian Web consulting firms to translate the principles of vaastu shastra into Web elements in order to bring more commerce to flagging sites.

“Believers in vaastu shastra say the Indian science, which seeks to create harmony between nature’s five elements — earth, fire, water, air and space — man and objects, can be directly applied to the Web, just as it is to home design.”

And if you Google the concept, you’ll find that it’s more common than you think. A number of firms use feng shui principles, as well.

Before I ran across this phenomenon, I had been redoing the my sites, trying to lighten the amount of code that my template required. I found a thinner template that uses much less code and fewer tables for organization (I still don’t know how to create such a site on my own, but am doing some self-paced learning). I also wanted to choose more eye-friendly colors, and a layout that was more informational and easy to navigate.

Turns out these are exactly the kinds of things that can make for a more balanced site–in terms of the elements of nature, that is. If such design features work for business, surely they must work for academic sites. Have you–faculty or student–created a Web site recently based on academic research that needs more traffic? If you’re planning to revise soon, maybe a little meditation would be a good place to start. What would your Web mantra be?

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Categories: technology

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