November, 2009

Flickr for Photo Workflow

Many higher ed institutions use Flickr to share photos with their constituents. We launched DU’s Flickr site this summer. We also set up an “internal” Flickr account for our overworked photographer Wayne. It was meant to cut down on his daily grunt work and, I’m happy to report, it has. Here are some of the efficiencies it has garnered for him since its inception: Fewer in-person client reviews: Wayne is hired by various departments for photo shoots. After a gig, he used to schedule an in-person meeting with his client to review and choose the final photos that the client…

Health Care Bill(s) & (Many) Higher Ed Websites

Some random connections: Similar in that the “solutions” don’t account for the real audience that matters: patients / students Similar in that those with ultimate decision making authority are swayed too much by lobbyists and insiders Similar in that those in positions of power tend to be too insular in their thinking and don’t go out of their way to listen to their constituents Similar in that opponents to change, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative change, use fear tactics as a mechanism to stop it (death panels / uncontrolled blog commenting) The end product is, at best, a…

Entropy and the Web

Websites want to be chaotic. They don’t like order, hierarchy, or staying on brand. Your efforts to tame it or control it are largely futile. The best you can do is point it in the right direction and then keep on eye on it. Turn your head for just a minute and suffer the consequences: broken links, inconsistent messages, oddball layouts, one time exceptions, and so on. We¬†usually clammer for more people, more money and more tools as salvation. They’re not. Those things will solve today’s problems, but new ones will arrive tomorrow. No set of widgets, plug-ins or third…

Use link titles as a check on your architecture decisions

Recently at work, there was a discussion about link titles, their utility, when to use them, when not to and so forth. Link titles are those attributes you insert into a link tag that helps set expectations for users of where a link will take them. Conceptually, they’re easy to understand and rationalize. The hard part is actually writing them. I’m certainly guilty of writing banal descriptions that would make you wonder why I included one at all. But since no one ever calls you on them, it’s easy to let them slide. But over the years, I’ve come to…