Archive for the ‘Site’ Category

Icon

*Update: I expected this to be posted when I hit the “Publish” button. Which it was, using the date I created the the first draft. I love WordPress but sometimes I wonder what the developers were thinking. So I’m manually editing the dates of this article and the one after it to when they were actually published. I apologize if you see them twice.*

Here it is, the first post in the series I’ve been working on since this new design went live last summer. When they’re finished, I’ll go back through and make a master post of all the links.

My first topic is the icon or favicon. They’re small things, usually only noticed when you go looking for a website in a bookmark list. But they’re important as the most recognizable part of your design, the one users remember to find your site faster. When I was finishing this latest redesign I got to the point where I needed to make a new set of icons and hit a brick wall. In a way it’s the same wall I’ve hit several times before with this site.

I’ve never been able to come up with a symbol of librarianship I was fully comfortable with. The book imagery most commonly associated with libraries has a lot going for it. It’s a well-established and flexible metaphor with many positive connotations. But there are negative aspects as well. For one thing, the concept of a library as only a place that stores print books is one that is already making problems with funding.

Icon of a question mark with an upper case "L" at the bottom.

While libraries are still places to find knowledge, that information now takes many forms and many libraries are trying to move away from the traditional image. They certainly offer many other services, most computer and Internet-based. But the problem with choosing a symbol from technology is that technology is still changing and it could quickly become outdated. It also excludes the more traditional services that weren’t necessarily about information.

So I was looking at library logos trying to get ideas of how to represent librarians without using a book and I noticed all of the “Ask a” services using question marks. And I thought why not, aren’t librarians the answer people?

Not just answers to factual questions but adapting to meet the needs of individual communities and the smaller groups within those communities. Libraries have almost always been more than buildings with books and need a more abstract symbol to represent all of the ways we serve our community.

Anniversary

I missed this site’s 10th birthday. Didn’t even notice it was coming up until I was working on the redesign. It’s utterly bizarre to think that one of my websites is that old but another is even older. Both the site and myself have changed a lot over the years.

Screenshot of the current design

I did get it a present though. If I kept a swear jar while I was working on the php of the new theme I could buy myself a lot of the good chocolate (which I needed while fooling around with WordPress and php). So it’s not only responsive (try making your browser window smaller), I can change the whole color scheme and both fonts on a whim. I learned a lot about the new options in WordPress and current web design options to work with both the increase in mobile devices and screen resolutions, which was one of the reasons I did it. And I have ideas for several blog posts, which is a plus.

I also revised the list of Open-Source Software for Libraries (finally). It had gotten kind of short after a few years of trimming dead links, but I was very surprised and pleased with the amount of projects I found once I started looking. It’s still not comprehensive but it is a good starter guide to software that might be useful in a library setting.

New theme, kinda

I finally couldn’t take it any longer. As the old design had aged, I had liked it less and less. I spruced it up a while ago with a brighter color scheme and a little layout rejiggering but it still wasn’t perfect. Lately the lack of a responsive design has been nagging at me. I felt I really needed something that would work on mobile devices but I haven’t had the time to either modify the design I had or create a new one from scratch.

So here we have a (slightly) modified version of WordPress’ 2012 theme as a child theme. I really like the clean look and beautiful typography of 2012, while the new customizer helps keep it from looking exactly like every other WordPress blog.

I’m still not completely happy, (really hate how post images look at larger screen sizes) but it’s as good as it’s going to get until I have time to do something really custom. So now I’m having too much fun playing with Google web fonts for the header and color schemes in the customizer.

New Look

I’ve put up a long over-due redesign. I like the simpler look. The most interesting thing is that it’s coded with HTML5 based on the free WordPress theme.

HTML5 is the next version of the hypertext markup language (HTML). HTML5 brings a lot of useful changes to website coding, including more meaningful markup. For instance a website header would be denoted as a “Header,” which would be easier for both humans and machines to understand and make changing formats (say pulling the information off a website and compiling it in a database) easier.

Another interesting part of this design is that it mostly uses advanced CSS selectors. There are 3 classes and 3 ids in the whole site. It makes and interesting change and may make updating much easier.

This site works in all modern browsers, unfortunately IE6 isn’t one of them (mostly because of the CSS). I know a lot of libraries were stuck with using IE6 because of their IT departments a couple of years ago. Hopefully they’ve been able to move on since then but if yours hasn’t this is what it’s supposed to look like.

Life Trumps Blogging

I thought I owed you guys an explanation for why I haven’t been really posting lately. Life hates me.

No, seriously.

First I got a roomate. Then the new apartment manager gives me a hard time because she has 3 cats even though the old apartment manager okayed it.

Then I found out that my mom has cancer. She has maybe a year and I’m too far away to see her often.

So we found a new apartment and we’re moving this weekend. Or rather I am because my roomate has to work 6:30am to 7:30pm Friday through Sunday (she’s a nurse).

I got in my car this morning to come to work and it wouldn’t start. I’m pretty sure the battery will have to be replaced, but there may be an alternator problem too.

Online stuff just doesn’t seem that important these days.

New Look

Nothing lasts forever, particularly my site designs. ;-)

If you’re using a feed reader, you might want click through to see the new look. As always, I would love feedback.

Time to go

I’m moving next week and I don’t know when I’ll get back online so I’ll see you soon.

Feeling Much Better

I’m back at work full time and I’ve finally managed to get caught up with work. I’ve reopened comments and hopefully I’ll get something interesting in here soon.