What does Permaculture Design have to do with Web sites?

I'm in the process of overhauling this site to reflect the fact that I'm shifting the business's focus toward permaculture design.  There are a number of reasons why I'm doing this:

  1. It's nice to get outside sometimes;
  2. As a culture, our relationship to the environment is seriously messed up, and there's only so much that can be done to fix it from behind a keyboard;
  3. Permaculture has a lot to offer to fields of study beyond just gardening, and I'm making it a personal mission to help people realize this, and the easiest place to start is in my own business.  Zone 0, if you will.

This is not a new decision... in early 2010 when I signed up to sell garden produce at the Emporia Farmers' Market, I gave my business name as Interdependent Web, so officially Interdependent Web has been a farm for almost a year now!  I've only just got around to reflecting that change here on the site.

But what does permaculture have to do with Web development?

Here are a few of the ways I've found to apply permaculture design to Web design:

  • The infrastructure of a modern Web site with its core software and supporting modules is very much like a guild built around a fruit tree or other major design element in permaculture.  A client's expectations for a site can rarely be satisfied by a content-management system such as Drupal on its own -- you need to add modules for that.  But the modules interact with Drupal and with each other, so you have to select them for what they do, not for what they are.  Drupal Gardens has already embraced the metaphor of a Web site as a garden.
  • Zone and sector analysis has clear implications for user interface design: the different audiences for a site are like sectors, and the features of the site they use most often need to be the easiest to find.
  • Now more than ever, with the semantic Web finally taking shape, no Web site is independent.  Permaculture is all about fostering interdependence and building connections.  And that's what this business is all about, too -- hence the name!

So in the coming months, you'll be seeing more information here about landscaping and gardening and ecology.  I'll try to make sure the relevance to Web development are clear!

Comments welcome.

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