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Summer Project: Responsive Web Design

I spent more time than I’d like to admit this summer redesigning my WordPress website. The new theme emphasizes thumbnails, which are very easy to create on an iPad or handheld and upload via the WordPress iOS app. Most important for me, though, is the fact that this new theme is responsive — that is, it arranges the content in a manner that is useful for very narrow screens through…


Turnitin’s slick new iPad app almost erases years of web-based GradeMark trauma

I have in the past griped on Twitter and on my blog about the clunky web-based interface. You have to do so much clicking and dragging and typing and waiting for the screen to refresh, and there are places where the “delete” button appears right where an “OK” button was a second ago, so if you click out of sync with the screen you can delete a whole category…


Overheard at Quora: “Why after all these years is Moodle still so ugly?”

Moodle is a free course-management tool that many schools (including mine) use to manage the online components of courses (including computer-graded quizzes, discussion forums, and the submission of online papers). The tool is powerful, but the interface offers a bewildering array of options, so that casual users are often dismayed by how many checkboxes it takes to configure an operation that seems like it should be a simple thing. Overheard…

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Feeling a bit puzzled by the “Twitter Tools” plugin

I really like MailChimp’s “Social” plugin, which not only publishes a WordPress blog entry to Twitter and Facebook, but also collects responses from Twitter and Facebook users and collects them as WordPress comments. Today I installed a different plugin, Twitter Tools, which is really just a single tool — it lets you create a WordPress post via tweet. One problem — when I then try to publish the resulting WordPress…

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Teenage Usability (Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox)

Teens often work on laptops with track pads, making interactions that require precision — such as drop-down menus, drag-n-drop, and small buttons — difficult. Design elements such as rollover effects and small click zones are also problematic, if they’re usable at all. Small text sizes and dense text make reading difficult. Combine these elements with poor ergonomics and you have a prescription for fatigue and errors. –Jakob Nielsen Teenage Usability…