Infographics

Infographics

Let’s talk about infographics!  Infographics are great way to get a message across with visual interest.  I especially like to use infographics when I teach library instruction classes.  I find that if I can give my students handouts highlighting the key points of our discussion, they pay more attention and are more interactive throughout the class.  I suspect this is because they aren’t frantically trying to write down everything I say.  I’ve also learned that it’s important how the information is presented.  When I first began teaching instruction classes, I gave my students WAY too much information.  Trust me, they aren’t going to read a packet full of library information.  They might even leave it sitting on the table when they leave.  (Ouch!)   However, they will almost always take a cool infographic with them.

If you’ve read my past posts, you probably know I’m a huge fan of Canva.  Canva is my “go to” when it comes to anything graphic design related.  It’s easy for me, a non-designer, to create a great looking graphic with this program.  Simply choose the infographic template option and start designing.

I’ll mention a couple more options for you if you’re ready to create your first infographic: Piktochart and Venngage.  Piktochart is specifically made for the design of infographics, meaning you can get a little more sophisticated with your layout than with Canva.  You can sign up for free and accomplish just about anything you’d like in a graphic.  Their support and tutorials are fantastic, and I can’t really tell you anything they haven’t already covered.  I suggest you just jump right in and get your feet wet.  Here’s a quick overview of their product.  Once you start playing around, you’ll notice the layout is very similar to Canva. Continue reading “Infographics”

Keep it private

Keep it private

As part of starting my new job, I had to set up my new computer. Doing this always reminds me of the things I take for granted. The set up of my desktop, the icons pinned to my taskbar, and the extensions on my browser. However, the shake up in my complacency also made me reevaluate what privacy measures I’m taking. I did some research, and while not a ton has changed, there are some new developments. So, for this short post, I give you a annotated list of privacy extensions, apps, and programs you should know about if you don’t already.

Privacy badger – A browser extension created by EFF that blocks third party cookies.

HTTPS: Everywhere – Another browser extension created by the good folks at EFF. This one makes sure that your communication with major sites is encrypted using https regardless of whether the site defaults to http. Continue reading “Keep it private”

Slack

Slack

Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool.  Their tagline is “Be less busy.”  I feel like I could stop talking about it right now, and many of you would be sold… but I digress.  Slack has chat rooms, called channels, where any part of your team can join the conversation.  You can also have private channels or send direct messages, but the real beauty of this tool is that any member of your team can jump in with their thoughts.  You can also upload files into your channels.  Slack is very social media-esque.  You can “like” things or reply to certain comments instead of an entire thread.  Most of this will come intuitively.  The BEST feature: everything on Slack is searchable, and I mean everything.  Slack also has the ability to work with many tools you’re probably already using, like Dropbox for instance.

Who’s ready to be less busy?  I know I am!

-Dee

Kahoot!

Kahoot!

Kahoot is a free web based interactive quiz creation platform. It allows you to build your own quiz, project it to a room, and have the audience provide answers. You can choose to give the participants points for right answers, like in trivia night. Or you can use it to survey the room, no  points, no leader board. I have to say I’m not a big fan, mainly because of you can’t customize the way it looks. The primary color scheme and overly playful design makes it less that ideal as a teaching tool in university and higher level classes.However, if you have a more playful event, or are teaching to young kids this tool may be ideal for you. You can play with Kahoot and see if it will work for you here.

Screenshot of the preview mode
Screenshot of the preview mode

-Cas

WriteClearly

WriteClearly

Though it was made by the same people that made ReadClearly, WriteClearly is a more universal tool. You place the bookmark on your toolbar and are then able to use it to test the reading level of your website. WriteClearly will give you suggestion to help simplify the language to better fit lower reading levels. Have a section on the library website geared to children; get that website down to their level. Targeting teens or adults? WriteClearly can still help you identify where you content might be bulky, dense, or too loquacious. Click here to get started.

-Cas

ReadClearly

ReadClearly

This tool is a specialized tool targeted to individuals whose websites contain legal jargon. Using legal terminology is often necessary. Arbitration is arbitration; there is no alternative term. Which is why this tool is both awesome, and necessary! ReadClearly is a snippet of Javascript code that just needs to be added to a website’s code. It helps bridge that gap in communication caused by the use of legal terminology by providing the user an unintrusive option to hover over a word to get it’s definition. The definitions are sourced from ReadClearly’s legal glossary. Sound useful. The code is provided for free here.

-Cas

WAVE Web Accessibility Tool

WAVE Web Accessibility Tool

Whether or not your organization is bound by Section 508 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to meet accessibility standards, can we all just agree that making your library’s online content accessible to EVERYONE is the right thing to do?  Good.  Now that we’re on the same page, use WAVE to evaluate the accessibility of your website.  All you do is enter a URL and WAVE embeds various icons at potential problem areas throughout the page.  It’s not important to know what they all mean because you can click on each for more information and tips for improvement.

*No accessibility tool can replace a real human being, but WAVE is a great place to start.

-Dee