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Webbin' Rebels

What do YOU want to know about?

By Brian Egan on July 21, 2009 5:35 PM | Permalink
Today is all about YOU! What web topics interest you? What would you like to know about the web?

I keep a running list of blog post ideas, but I'm not sure how they're landing so far. Are my posts informative and useful, and are they answering questions you might have been wondering about?

Please let me know if our posts have been helpful, and if you would like us to cover a specific topic. Here's a list of topics that might help you brainstorm, but please don't limit yourself to only these topics!

  • Drupal / Content Management
  • Mobile Web Design
  • Web site terminology
  • Web Tutorials / Screencasts
  • Information Architecture
  • Graphic Design
  • Accessibility
  • Usability
  • Content
  • Web Writing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Web site statistics
  • Informational Games
  • Video

The Design Process

By Brian Egan on July 16, 2009 6:18 PM | Permalink

The chance to switch to Drupal will give us a chance to improve our website in a number of ways. However, switching over to Drupal isn't a magic bullet that will solve all our problems. In fact, should we approach the transition the wrong way, a lot of headaches could ensue.

Therefore, I think it's crucial we plan our design process up front to include all relevant factors for consideration. That way, we will gather the right information, and use that information to influence our design choices with the next web site. Douglas Bowman, lead designer for Twitter, said the following in his post "A design process revealed":

"For individuals who are neither designers nor artists, it may seem like those who are, use a lot of smoke and mirrors, magically whipping up each stunning creation. Artistic talent and creativity can certainly aid and enhance the final result, but design, in particular, generally follows a process."

5 ideas for better Web Accessibility

By Brian Egan on July 14, 2009 6:11 PM | Permalink

Note: Please see the Drupal Primer for information about Drupal.

As we ramp up for our transition to Drupal, I keep thinking of areas of our website that really need some love. One area which has come up time and again over the past year is my concern for the accessibility of our website. The transition to Drupal will give us an opportunity to build a robust, sustainable accessibility solution. These are five short suggestions I have for improving the accessibility of our site.

The importance of stable URIs on the library website

By Alex Dolski on July 10, 2009 3:31 PM | Permalink
Our move to a CMS provides an ideal opportunity to examine issues of resource identifier (URI) stability, which virtually all of the locally-hosted resources on our website currently lack.

What is a URI?

You probably already know what a URL is, and a URI is similar. Whereas speaking of a URL emphasizes the location of a resource, speaking of a URI emphasizes the resource itself. In practice, these may be the same thing. It turns out that on the web, the one sure-fire way of uniquely identifying something is by its URL. So, that URL happens to be its URI.

But resources can move. Their URLs can change. Although a particular resource's URL will always be unique, it may not always remain the same. Unfortunately, as is often the case, when a resource's URL changes, its URI changes as well. Which means that when a newspaper (for example) has an article with a URL like this:

Improving the Home Page

By Brian Egan on July 9, 2009 6:22 PM | Permalink

Note: Please see the Drupal Primer for information about Drupal. This post has to do with our new home page design going live in August, which won't yet be running on Drupal.

I've been looking at the mockup I did for our new home page, and I have to tell ya: I can do way better. While I think it is an improvement over our previous home page, I still feel like the design isn't really addressing the needs of our patrons, and I don't think it'll win big points on (my primary concern).

In order to correct this, I decided to do a library website review to find things that I liked, and incorporate them into the updated mockup, which will also address feedback we received from library staff. Now, unfortunately, most library websites aren't the most attractive on the planet, but a few caught my eye, and several had good concepts to borrow.

Drupal Primer

By Brian Egan on July 7, 2009 6:19 PM | Permalink

After my post Thursday, I realized: Do people even know what Drupal is? I thought today I'd take a step back to explain what Drupal is and how it can help the library.

Why do we need Drupal?

To understand why we need Drupal (pronounced /ˈdruːpəl/), let us first examine our current website. We have a ton of material scattered throughout the site. Some of it is well organized, some not, and organizational structures differ from section to section. Some of it conforms to the Web Style Guide, some doesn't. Some content is duplicated in multiple locations. Some information is uselessly out of date. The site is probably not easily accessible for users with disabilities. The navigational structure is inconsistent and often confusing. Search engine positioning is only mildly addressed, and naming conventions for our pages differ drastically from section to section. We don't have any sort of versioning to keep track of changes to our website, nor do we really offer any social tools.

Drupal Inspiration

By Brian Egan on July 2, 2009 12:14 PM | Permalink

Today's post will be a short one. Judith has me workin hard (or hardly workin, eh Mac?) on an article for the UNLV Discovery issue of ITAL. The article should be a real thriller, easily as exciting as any episode of 24 or Lost.

It's always good to have sources of inspiration. Be it the discovery of a potential new type of cloud, or something simpler, like a list of 70 great sites built with Drupal.

Some of my Favorites on the list: