librarian things I must share!

Here are two resources that I am absolutely raving about:

  1. Bound By Law, a graphic novel all about copyright and fair use… Awesome! Thanks, Duke Law! Read it at http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/comics/pdf/cspdcomichigh.pdf (And their main page, if you don’t like the PDF and want to get a paper copy or support them otherwise http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/comics/digital.php) Fair use and copyright aren’t easy, but this helps.

  2. O’Reilly’s Head First tech guide series. They are using brain-based research to teach so that you remember. It’s like having a talented, real-live teacher built into your book. I am using Head First HTML and CSS as an optional textbook in my Information Architecture course this semester, and I feel like HTML might actually stick this time! Every time I try to learn it, it’s gone two weeks later. If you are looking to tackle a new tech skill, programming language, whatever–this is the way to go.

Redesign and the Ugly Website

I’ve been pondering a website redesign project I’ve got coming up. Ugly websites bother me just about as much as ugly fonts. (If you have never heard me rant about Comic Sans, I have a barrage of articles I have collected in my case against Comic Sans to share with you.) For my class this semester, we are collecting and sharing articles on information architecture and web design strategies on the discussion board–a professional learning community in action! Here is my latest contribution:

Krasny, J. (2014, July 14). Ugly Website? 4 Reasons to Skip a Redesign. Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.inc.com/jill-krasny/when-it-pays-to-have-an-ugly-website.html.

In this article, Krasny takes a look at reasons why an “ugly” website maybe shouldn’t change. She suggests that the old classics, like Craigslist and Wikipedia who haven’t really changed at all since their origins, are better off because:

  • users love them the way they are (think of how upset people get when Facebook changes how their feed looks)
  • they simply work (great UX + practical layout)
  • they have flexible systems enough to accommodate content changes
  • they reflect your brand (maintain the “feel” of your product/service)

In a way, these tips protect the aesthetically simple, yet productive websites: nothing flashy, just the facts. We can learn from this as we design by recycling the things they do right. That said, there are plenty truly ugly websites with elements that should NOT be repeated. I really loved this infographic too and the lessons it offers, especially on color schemes and layouts. These are probably the easiest, data-driven fixes we can make for a redesign!