Tag: internet

Making Your Website “Grandma Proof”

Nothing against grandmas or their computer skills, and yes their are many grandmas who are quite computer savvy. That said…

Old Laptop
Back in my day, laptops were the size of many people's laps.
A big way I hear people reference usability (or lack thereof) of websites is “even my grandma can/can’t use it.” Now that flashy, sparkly, sardine-can-style-packed-information is no longer the norm for websites (but still present — yuck) and having been thinking about who uses the websites I’ve been making (now that I make more for others than for personal projects), I’ve been giving usability a lot of thought.

These are some easy design principles that I think are pretty easy. Some my fellow designer friends will think are obvious, but I’ve navigated many websites that just aren’t user friendly — even from companies that have large budgets to hire good designers.

1. Generally speaking, the navigation should be the same on every page
Same links, same colors, same location. In a book I always know where the next page is. The contents of the table of contents are always in order, nor does the table of contents move elsewhere when I come back to it.

2. Text should be BIG.
Not huge. But if you don’t think grandma can read it without a microscope, don’t put it on the page.

3. Clickable items should be easy to find
A) If it’s clickable, it should be noticeably different than other stuff.
The default for text is black and links is blue and underlined. This is what many people have come to expect. Make it clear what I can click on. To help that I suggest…

B) If it’s clickable, it should change somehow when cursor hovers over it.
Not everyone does this, but I’m a fan. If I hover over a menu item, text link, or clickable image it should change somehow. Background changes, border color changes, underline goes away, text color changes. Something like that.

4. Make it clear what to do next
When I land on a page, what am I supposed to do next? Sign up for your email list? Buy tickets? If I don’t know what the next step is or why that page exists within 3 seconds of it opening… goodbye. Tell the user what to do. Part of that is making it big. And at the top of the page. If someone doesn’t want to be told what to do, let that be their choice, not their inability to find the “buy now” link that’s tiny and at the very bottom of the page all the way to the right after some very large and unrelated images.

5. Minimize scrolling
If your header image and navigation take up half the height of the page, users probably won’t see what you really want them to do right away. I don’t care how pretty the header image is or how well you think it represents you or your company. Your losing sales because someone didn’t scroll down the 800 pixels to get to the info they were looking for. Put headlines and other general info “above the fold.”

That’s just a few I thought of off the top of my head. There’s a lot more that can be said on the topic, and an increasingly important one as the number of internet users continues to increase.

What usability features do you like to see on websites?

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ShakespeareScene

Perhaps you’ve heard of a brand new magazine called ShakespeareScene. If you haven’t, their website describes the periodical as, “The twice yearly publication aims to provide a stimulating mix of topics on Shakespeare, his work and times, together with a comprehensive international listing of what, where & when plays & events are being held. Shakespeare Scene takes you exclusively to the heart of Shakespeare.”

There are a few Shakespeare journals published aimed at scholars and advanced students. There are other bulletins published for various other Shakespeare related organizations. This magazine seems to have been created to fill whatever demand there is for a magazine about Shakespeare performances, media, discoveries, etc. available to any Shakespeare-enthusiast. I happen to be subscribed to all the types of publications I mentioned above, including ShakespeareScene. I thought that one more couldn’t hurt. My curiosity was piqued when I first read about this new magazine.

The first issue recently found its way into my mailbox and subsequently into my hands. Any brand new resource starts on rocky ground as far as getting a subscriber base and generating enough interest to keep up production. And as much as I hate to say it, Shakespeare isn’t the most popular subject out there.

I’ve almost finished reading this issue. There are some interesting articles on various subjects: Shakespeare taught in Brazil, Examining Henry V and justifying war, as well resources on Shakespeare performances… they include a list of theatres showing Shakespeare all over the world! There’s also a fair share of not so interesting (in my humble opinion) sections. There are mistakes in the printing here and there, the layout needs some work, and I do like a magazine with lots of pictures. The magazine has its share of faults, but it’s a first issue! It could be the start of something really good. If the team of ShakespeareScene is reading this: keep it up! You’ve got a good thing going.

And if you are considering subscribing, it couldn’t hurt to try it for a couple issues right? For the casual Shakespearean fan, you can pick and choose from what’s online if you don’t want to spend the money OR you can forget the internet and have the info mailed right to you. If you’re a die-hard Bardolater like me, check it out. You might find something you like.

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The Internet Needs a Shakespeare ___ ?

Friends, Readers of this blog, Countrymen, lend me your rears!

I know some of you who read this scour the net for anything Shakespeare. At some point for a variety of reasons everyone needs to find something on Shakespeare online: the texts, summaries, history, scholarship, questions, answers, blogs, whatever.

In the digital age I think it’s important to recognize where we are and what we still need to do. So many old texts are now being digitized and are freely available online. Google Books makes research a breeze! Quarto texts online make editing Shakespearean texts quicker. All the information we want is at our fingertips! Or is it?

Here’s a question for you: what DOESN’T the internet have – Shakespeare related, of course – that you would like to see, or something you’d like to see improved?

Why do I ask? I’m curious.

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