Posts by Megg
Check out the slides for Megg’s presentation:
Site Best Practices, Content Repurposing, and Custom Reporting at Vassar
2012 Cascade Server User Conference
September 18, 2012
Today’s thoughts put to post are inspired by notes I checked out yesterday from a talk. While I wasn’t at An Event Apart, I read Brad Hopkin’s notes on Karen McGrane’s talk after catching this tweet from Zeldman and it got my brain in a tizzy (in a good way.) Jotting those thoughts here to refer to later. More
We’ve had a page in Facebook for a while and it’s doing well. It would do better if we had dedicated staff for interacting with our community online, but we do the best we can with the co-administrators of the page. As Google+ joins the social media scene I am curious how it will play out for the college. More
Over the weekend I noticed a poster for a local event with a QR code on it. A QR code is a simple black and white box with a specific pattern–a box-shaped barcode–that you can take a picture of and use an app on your phone to translate it–generally it jumps to a website or shows a message. The code on the poster directed me to a website for the event. This is something we’ve thought of doing for campus events, and the idea of including codes on posters and other print publicity came into conversation recently. Is it time to reintroduce the idea? More
In 2009 we ventured into the cloud to use Flickr to manage images for media relations. It began as an experiment, and has allowed us to explore different uses for the images. It was worth the small amount of risk.
A technical walk-through of how the college catalogue is set up in our CMS, Cascade Server. It started as a note to another Cascade user, and might be helpful to others. A less Cascade-specific description of how the catalogue is set up is planned.
Who Cares about Semantics Anyway? On semantic markup, conveying its usage to those who generally don’t need to care, and a reusable markup guide for your enjoyment.
“Just educate your clients”, you may think. I hope you understand why this doesn’t always work. As an analogy, compare and contrast these situations:
- You just built a site for a plumbing company, complete with a CMS. You tell them to make sure to use
<ol>elements for parts lists, and
<h2>elements for product names on their respective pages. 6 months from now, you check the site and find a ton of
<br />elements to separate the list items, and headers in
<font size="5">tags. D’oh.
- In exchange for your work on the site, the plumbing company gives you some advice on your kitchen remodeling. They suggest copper pipes for your water lines running through the exterior walls, with a small length of flexible CPVC inside the house. You decide to go all CPVC because it’s slightly cheaper. 6 months later, your pipes burst during a particularly cold winter night. D’oh.
In both cases, a little bit of education goes a long way. In both cases, the client needs to take a little initiative of their own to ensure higher quality. In both cases, there will be people looking for shortcuts who simply won’t take the advice of the expert.
It brings up an interesting issue—I think we should discuss whether we’ll need such a guide when a CMS is in place. Most users won’t see any HTML, but they will need to know how to select styles, and which styles are appropriate for which bits of content.
On another note, I’ve had an idea kicking around in my head that we should have a basic document containing dummy text for viewing how style sheets handle all the various elements that get used in our sites (from paragraphs to definition lists.) I’ve wanted to create such a document, but just haven’t worked it in yet. It’s something to help with maintenance, but also to help with design to see if any elements need tweaking. I know having a default style sheet, or a specific list of elements to include will make sure everything has a style, but I’m looking for other issues: how nested elements look, and how multiple elements on a page look together.
Take this page for example. It contains many, many nested lists. As long as the styles for
li aren’t too complex the nested lists won’t need extra consideration. But if you’ve tweaked the list styles (padding and margins and such) it might look funny when there are nested lists. Another issue is what happens when there are many headers on a page. Most pages just have the title and a sub-header, so just
h2. But what happens when a document requires more sub-sections, like
h4. How do these look on the same page?
Actually, I asked for such a style guide from N+S for the Admissions site and was told it was far too complicated to create quickly. (??? but if they have a style sheet wouldn’t it be easy to set-up a page that tells us what the styles should be on an end-page verses a section home page?)
For future discussion.
Welcome to our venue for discussions. I know I’ll have an easier time following discussions in NetNewsWire than my email program.