New site design

Using quick links and secondary menus to de-clutter the PIElink site.

A website is itself a built environment.

We have therefore attempted to design - and occasionally re-design - this site to provide for a wide range of needs and uses.

Here currently we are currently exploring several ways to create alternative pathways, providing more immediate access for members/viewers with a particular interest in a particular subject, where that may cut across the categories, themes and headings used in the main menus.

  1. We now have the 'START HERE!' route, which is intended to offer some guidance to those entirely new to PIEs and the PIElink.
  2. We have secondary menus and quick links, providing similar direct routes to subjects, for those with a more understanding, looking to deepen their knowledge of the discussions here
  3. Finally, we will have here the 'references' sections for three new books and other writings on PIEs. These will allow those who have copies of these in print format to access the material mentioned in these writings, with hyperlinks that a printed book cannot provide.



There's a clue in the title. This is the recommended entry point for those entirely new to PIEs and/or the PIElink. From here you can follow any one of several paths, to explore the basics of the idea, and some suggestions for how to go about testing out and introducing this way of working in your own services.

Note the 'Hot Topics' link. in the side panel to this page, which can take even absolute beginners in to the heart of the current discussions


'Quick links'

Quick links offer one way to get directly to some of the pages or other kinds of material on the site  (such as Library items) that are on a common theme, but that may not be clustered conveniently together in the main page structure of the site site. The 'START HERE!' page is actually an example of such a quick link, which we wanted to give particular prominence to.

(The usual reason for this is because each is an example of more than one issue. Because of the complexity of complex needs, and of the PIEs framework, this happens ALL THE TIME. So if they are located in the main menu in categories that make sense, seen from one angle, secondary menus allow us to re-group them, approached from another angle.)

So, to experiment with this, we are proposing to create menus/routes for these subjects:

  • Other writings (such as the books)
  • American PIE ( also needed for the guide's US edition)
  • PIE community forums (and other discussions)
  • Case studies
  • Research and evaluation issues
  • PIE Abacus FAQs
  • Constructing the PIE frameworks
  • Narnia ( site development and future proofing issues)

Note that this selection of issues may change over time, as new issues come to prominence.


Secondary menus 

Finally, secondary menus (such as this) appear in the footer in the main site design. This allows us to have some topics that are set up for instant access, from anywhere.

The disadvantage of secondary menus is that there is less flexibility in how they show on the page, as they show on every page. Therefore we use them sparingly.



We will soon be able to publish three new titles, in book form, for those who find sitting at a computer and threading a path through a maze of options is not the best experience. A printed book has some advantage, not least a clear linear sequence. In a book, we do the work of finding a good sequence, so you don't have to..

As with most books, these will benefit from a host of references, that allow readers to follow up issues mentioned there, without clogging up the book with too much detail. But in the case fo a guide to the PIElink, much of that material is in the Library, and/or in the form of video; these are accessed by links, on this site; but a print book cannot have such instant access links.

One of the great advantages that a website has over a book, which inevitably must have a linear sequence to its chapters, is that we can create alternative pathways, to offer other routes to get more directly to some of the issues that would otherwise be scattered or spread across the main menu's divisions.


Further links and background

The main menu structure and sub-headings on the PIElink attempt to provide a fairly coherent overview of the principal issues in the development of PIEs.

But this is, by its nature, an extremely complex and multi-facetted subject, with many issues to explore.

As a result, the main menu structure can look very crowded; and it becomes harder to find the specific issues that may excite interest and discussion on a particular topic. Trying to cover all this ground in one single menu for all purposes is in practice an impossible ambition.

In addition, many if not most of the key issues in practice are interwoven with other issues, which is just as you might expect of a holistic approach to complex services.

For the present, these are the quick links we are trying:

  • Other writings (such as the books)
  • American PIE (also needed for the guide's US edition)
  • PIE community forums (and other discussions)
  • Case studies
  • Research and evaluation issues
  • PIE Abacus FAQs
  • Constructing the PIE frameworks
  • Narnia (site development and future proofing issues)

Fresh directions : HERE


The grown environment

Another way to imagine the site design is to see it as a built environment like a cathedral, with more and more rooms added over time.

But its also rather nice to imagine something more organic like the famous banyan tree, that has roots and branches, but then grows additional 'arial roots', that reach back down to the ground, for stability, and to nourish the whole.