Tag Archives: web design

Digital Fluencies / Web Design / SEO workshops at Weigle this month!

This month is packed full of workshop goodness at Weigle!  To help you build your web presence and take control of your digital footprint, graduate interns Chava Spivak-Birndorf and Jaime Marie Estrada are teaching a series of complementary workshops on social media, digital fluencies, and web design.

Here’s are some quick tips to give you a small preview of the topics we’ll discuss:

1. Use consistent branding.
Name and image recognition is very important online when you’re competing with so many millions of other people and brands for milliseconds of attention.  For personal branding, pick a variation of your name and stick with it across your social media accounts and/or personal website.  If you’re building a web presence for a professional brand, create a recognizable logo and choose one name to use across platforms.  Learn more about how to do this in Jaime’s series of Digital Literacy workshops, which starts on April 8th with personal websites and LinkedIn.

2. Keep things up-to-date.
Nothing gives away that you’re not committed to your brand or that you don’t have time to maintain it like an old copyright date or an “updated date” that’s months or years old.

3. If you have a blog, keep it active.
If you’re going to have your blog showing up on your personal website, it will immediately alienate your visitors if they see your blog is not regularly updated.  It’s better to have a more static personal website with no blog than a static personal website and a static, old blog that’s not kept up.

4. Watch out for broken links.
Broken links kill your credibility and drive your visitors to set out in search of better resources, which can hurt your ranking in Google and other search engines.  Search engines want to deliver relevant results to their users, and when people don’t stick around on your site, it looks like your site isn’t one of them.  Chava will teach you how to keep your “bounce rate” low in her web design and search engine optimization (SEO) workshops.

5. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
You don’t need to establish active profiles across every platform immediately.  Pick the platform you feel most comfortable with (e.g. Instagram, LinkedIn, WordPress, etc.) and develop your skills and quality content there.  You can always broaden your reach after you get going.

Ready to get started?  Register at the links below!

 

Feature image: “The Art of Social Media” (CC BY 2.0) by  mkhmarketing

WordPress for Japanese Prints

This past spring, WIC staff members had the opportunity to work with Julie Nelson Davis‘s Art History 515: Utamaro and His Contemporaries seminar class. Students were first tasked with researching and cataloging a new collection of Japanese prints donated by Dr. Cecilia Segawa Seigle to the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts in Van Pelt Library. Thereafter, students worked together to build a collaborative WordPress site that would serve as an online catalog for the selected prints.

This image shows Julie's class interacting with the prints.

Julie developed this course with two main objectives in mind: the first was to provide students with a hands-on experience of the original materials, the second was to enable them to strengthen their web-design skills. She writes,

“This course was designed to bring together object-based learning with digital innovations.”

In this way, students interacted with and interpreted real objects, and the website showcases and preserves their research. WordPress, the platform of choice, makes it easy for multiple users to collaborate on a single site together. Each student set up a profile to create posts for individual prints for the catalog. Students were then able to upload images and add their text and links to related works.

Image of one of the posts on the website.
Post for Chōbunsai Eishi, “Beauties on a Pleasure Boat on the Sumida River,” ca. 1792-93

Together, the class also decided on an overall theme, which controls the look and feel of the site. WIC provided an initial overview of WordPress and met with students as they refined the project. In developing the online catalog, students were able to connect with their audience and directly shape how their research is experienced. Julie states,

“It gave them a sense that their research is real and that it really mattered.”

Check out her class’s fantastic website here. She also discussed her class’s experience during our spring Lightning Round held on April 26th and hopes to expand upon the project with future classes.

WIC staff have provided training and support to a number of courses throughout the years, and we look forward to collaborating with new classes in the upcoming semesters. If you have an idea for a project for your class, be sure to check out our Request Custom Training page. You are also always welcome to shoot us an email if you have questions.

If you are interested in learning more about WordPress, we provide workshops on the basics regularly. Our next WordPress Basics class will take place on Wednesday, July 13th from 11 to 12:30 p.m.  We can also provide a one-on-one consultation if you have more specific questions.

Interview with Audrey Harnagel

 smile-1Audrey Harnagel, rising Penn senior, recently completed the Hoesley Digital Literacy Fellows Program.
As we enter summer, we would like to acknowledge some of the incredible collaborations we’ve had with students this year. Today we’re delving into the work of Audrey Harnegel, a rising senior at Penn, who works in multiple disciplines and was a fellow in this year’s Hoesley Digital Literacy program. This program is designed for students who may not be familiar with technology topics such as Graphic Design and Visual Literacy, Web Design, Spreadsheets and Excel. The library staff who collaborate with students in this program focus on building confidence, providing learning strategies, and encouraging creative exploration of software and technologies commonly used in the workplace. Comfort and confidence with, and a strong foundation in technology skills can provide a valuable edge in many job and internship searches. Audrey was kind enough to answer a few questions about her experiences with Hoesley program activities below:

Happy New Website!

A new year, a new website! Take a sneak peek at:

http://commons.library.upenn.edu

It’s been a long and winding road to get here. We began discussing ways to simplify our website in 2012 at meetings of the WIC Faculty Advisory Group and the WIC Program Partners Group.  In 2013, we integrated search on our Drupal Logoblog and website. In 2014, we chose eCity to help us understand the Drupal website platform. They conducted focus groups this summer to identify expectations for the WIC and EC websites. Students, faculty and staff brought us their perspectives. We heard loud and clear the need for a mobile-friendly, visually appealing, responsive website.

Inspired by the designs of the new Penn Libraries website and the Penn Giving website, we began building pages in October. Our graduate student interns helped us with a complex moving process. We go live on January 12.

Our new website synthesizes content across the Weigle Information Commons and the Education Commons. We need your feedback to improve our new site, so please let us know what works and what does not!

From 2002 to 2014: An Odyssey

Take the PollPlease take a minute to help us on our journey. This poll will close in a few days.

In May, we invited you to share your ideas in focus groups. Many of you joined us for some great conversations. One undergraduate student commented, “The WIC website looks like it was created in 2002!” For those of us who have been around since the 1960’s, this did not seem too bad. But clearly this is not good enough. We have more than a decade to catch up on.

Your responses will help us reconsider the structure for the WIC and EC websites. Please share this call for feedback widely!

Web Focus Groups for WIC & EC

You may remember our April post about PennWIC’s new look. Now, we are exploring a redesign of the WIC and EC websites. We are partnering with eCity Interactive (creators of the Penn Vet and Making History websites) and holding three focus groups for students and faculty. We would love to benefit from your ideas! Please join us in the WIC Seminar Room (click on a date to register):

or send us your thoughts via email. Our goal for the focus groups is to understand how people from different parts of campus interact with our current web presence, and to visualize ways to make it easier and faster to find what you need.

Web Design with HTML

At this point, most people I encounter in the lab who are working on a website are using WordPress or Google Sites or Blogger or Tumblr or even just Facebook to create their webpages.  But some of us still want to get our hands dirty with good old HTML, the programming language used to create web pages. It’s not difficult, but it does take some time and practice to learn it well.  If you’re going to create an entire website, though, and you want total control over what your site looks like and how it behaves, and you don’t want to be the slave to somebody else’s templates, it’s really worth the effort.

Lynda.com has a new course which introduces you to the nuts and bolts of HTML.  Author Bill Weinman explains what HTML is, how it’s structured, and presents the major tags and features of the language. Discover how to format text and lists, add images and flow text around them, link to other pages and sites, embed audio and video, and create HTML forms. Additional tutorials cover the new elements in HTML5, the latest version of HTML, and prepare you to start working with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

Topics include:

  • What is HTML?
  • Using HTML tags and containers
  • Understanding block vs. inline tags
  • Controlling line breaks and spaces in text
  • Aligning images
  • Linking within a page
  • Using relative links
  • Working with tables
  • Creating progress indicators with HTML5
  • Adding buttons and check boxes to forms
  • Applying CSS
  • Optimizing your pages for search engines
  • Building document outlines

Check out the contents at http://www.lynda.com/HTML-tutorials/HTML-Essential-Training-2012/99326-2.html.  Let any staff person in the Media Lab or the front part of the WIC know if you’d like us to log you in to one of our computers so you can watch the training videos. And of course we’re here in the Vitale Digital Media Lab if you get stuck at any step along the way.

Also, be sure to check out the post I wrote back in June about a good site called “Don’t Fear the Internet,” aimed at non web-designers interested in building websites.