Of all the simple ideas on this page, this is the simplest. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, uh, and smart. That's it, right?
Our initial motivation for this page was thinking through how to organize the pages that we run jointly with A Christmas Carol St.Ann , "Crosstimbers Review Forum" and "Tales Shown, Not Told" . The original versions of these pages were cluttered. They had the necessary information, and the organization was okay, but the pages weren't pleasant to look at. That led to using dropnotes with headlines as links, and "Crosstimbers Review Forum" stayed that way for quite a while.
Meantime, my author website has undergone several incarnations. Wordpress has a large library of professionally designed themes, and I found one specifically designed for authors that I liked. It had lots of the features that I'd been trying for on my own. Best of all, Wordpress gives you an intuitve interface that requires no programming--it's all point and click. My author website isn't perfect, but I think it looks professional. Check it out if like: https://maxgriffin.net.
The problem is that my webpage, like most free-standing webpages, uses HTML and related tools for formatting the entire page. In case you didn't know, HTML is short for HyperText Markup Language. It's a "markup" language becuase it uses code, "markup," for layout, just like WritingML (short for Writing Markup Language). This is in contrast to word processors like MS Word which are "what you see is what you get" tools, also known as WYSIWYG. Gotta love them acronyms. Anyway, HTML is a super-powered markup language, full of complex coding capabilities. It's nothing like TEX, though, an even more complex markup language for typesetting mathematics, but that's another story.
Sorry. Sometimes I ramble.
Back to the main point. What I wanted was a way to build graphical interfaces for Writing.Com pages that were similar to my author page. I finally landed on the basic ideas described in this set of pages. They're simple, really, and they can give an uncluttered interface for users.
I wanted to keep the look of the page simple. I think this does it.
I wanted to avoid clutter. That meant having a limited color palette, and minimal text on the landing page. Limiting colors was really hard for me, since I like playing with color and effects in Photoshop. But lots of color can be distracting, so I had to give that up. It also meant having consistent typefaces throughout. That was an especially tough one for me. I love playing with fonts-a holdover from typesetting my first mathematics textbook.
I wanted it to be simple to maintain. Using separate files for each main topic and the insert command to put them into the page does that. It makes debugging the inevitable errors in WritingML much easier to track down, and an error in one of the page doesn't crash all of the others.
Most of all, I wanted the design to be easy for visitors to the page to use.
I hope this does all of these things.
I also hope that I've explained how to do these things in a way that makes it easy for you to copy. Nothing could please me more than seeing people copy these ideas.
Peace, and good writing to all.