dan lasota's masters in education portfolio for online innovation and design


Restructuring and Fine Tuning

6 June 2012 onid

One of the items in Google Sites that gave me designer hives were the blank pages created as a result of structuring a hierarchical site. Web pages structured in a hierarchy help structure information organization and navigation. The practice of using a parent page to form as a sort of supervisor to its subordinate child pages kind of reminds me of traditional HR org charts. Still, its a good to have nicely crafted URL schema and a nice side bar navigation for users to find material. What comes off poorly though is the empty page created as a result.

On my original class site I had a section for article reviews. Note that that page serves only as a place holder. It’s a waste. It’s a distraction. It will not stand.

Now take a look at my new design for the article review page. I was able to use the excerpt function of WordPress to manually highlight cogent and interesting bits from my writing sample and use that as the teaser text. By default WordPress uses the first 50 words of a page or post as the excerpt. With just a little more work I used the text I wanted for the excerpt and am able to place the focus where I think best. I have also used the same template on my reflective weekly writing page.

Two more items remain before this is ONID portfolio is ready for prime time. I need to enable comments and craft the landing home page. Enabling comments is easy. Doing it the way I want might not be, but I am determined not to get caught in a design/redesign vortex on this. I want a simple working model that provides a discussion platform for cohorts and my instructors. I think this will mostly involve fiddling with CSS. I already have Akisment spam protection in place. I intent to have my landing home page be a dash board of sorts for rest of the site. I’ve done this before too. Ready by tomorrow morning? That’s the plan. That’s my story and we’ll see if I stick to it.

2 thoughts on “Restructuring and Fine Tuning

  1. Skip Via says:

    Your portfolio/blog is very impressive, and as you mentioned in another post, well within the spirit and intent of the ONID program. (The “I” does stand for innovation, after all…)

    I also struggled a bit with the empty page that is created in a Google Sites sidebar when that page is used essentially as a divider for a hierarchical menu. I generally compromise by setting up a menu of the sub-pages on that blank page so that there is at least some relevance and it’s not simply blank. For my class web sites, I use that page as an explanation of the assignment or the unit for which the page serves as a header. (See the web site for ED 329 Fall 12 for an example, although this site is not yet complete.)

    I like your solution very much–well-crafted and easy to navigate. The default width is a bit wide for my 13″ Macbook screen at my default resolution, but I can chalk that up to aging eyes…

    • dan.lasota says:

      Hi Skip, thanks for the comments.

      I went a bit snobbish on the interface requirements; I wanted to find out what I would come up with if I was not designing for the typical <1000 pixel wide screen. I picked typefaces that usually only look good in print, and a layout that requires a good monitor.

      I will probably put in some adaptive css here in a bit to make it nicer for people with narrower screens. But, typeface looks great on an iPad3, with its super-high-def resolution.

      Could you resend that link for ED 329? It doesn't go anywhere at the moment.


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