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

Compressor.io

Compressor.io

I have fallen in love with this tool. Why? Because I hate slow loading webpages. I am one of those individuals you will lose if the site takes too long to load. It’s terrible but true. Large media files are often the cause of slower webpages. Compressor.io prevents this by compressing the images you want to host, sometimes by 50+%, but keeps the quality of the image in tact. How? Simply by removing all the information in the image that is irrelevant to humans (colors on a spectrum we cannot see) and optimizing coding. It supports JPEG,  PNG, GIF, and SVG. There are two options for compression: lossy (doesn’t keep all of the data after compression so it is smaller) and lossless (keeps all the data so original image can be recovered later should you need to). Don’t believe it’s possible? The featured image for this post was compressed by 57%. Find the original here. See if you find a difference.

-Cas

Page Vault

Page Vault

PageVault is a subscription version of PermaCC targeted at legal professionals. Why not just use PermaCC? While PermaCC has accounts for individuals, they top out at 10 links a month. The only accounts that get unlimited links must originate from libraries, journals, or courts. They are looking at expanding and providing a pay for service, but until they do, PageVault fills that gap. Also, PageVault provides a service PermaCC does not. They will provide an affidavit, for a fee, to confirm that the webpage capture is authentic and has not been tampered so the capture can be admitted into evidence at trial.  PageVault is not cheap, with the lowest priced plan starting at $95/month, but for those firms that could find this useful, it might be a sound investment.  For smaller practices with tighter budget, there is hope. Some state bar associations are starting to partner with PageVault and offer the service as a part of membership. Want to just keep an eye on them while you weigh your options, check out their blog.

-Cas

PermaCC

PermaCC

Use PermaCC to create a permanent, archived record of a webpage.  Even if the original page content is changed or the site removed completely, you’ll have your perma-link to reference.  This prevents what PermaCC calls link rot, or broken links.  Why might you need to create a permanent link?  Well, if you cite webpages in an article, you’ll want to make sure in six months (or even six years!), your readers can refer to your sources.  The PermaCC link you create includes a link to the original source and the date and time of the archived version.  Here’s the example provided by PermaCC: https://perma.cc/T8U2-994F.

Individual users may create a free account where up to 10 links may be captured per month.  Libraries play an important role in the maintenance and upkeep of PermaCC.  If you need to create a high volume of links, you’ll need to go through a library.  Don’t worry; it’s still free.  If your library would like to become involved, request a library account.

Canva: online graphic design tool

Canva: online graphic design tool

canva

One of my job responsibilities as a systems librarian is maintaining my library’s website.  Before preparing a mock library website for my interview less than a year ago, I had zero web design experience.  I have been tasked with bringing our website out of the ‘90s and making it less text-heavy and more millennial friendly.  One of the frustrating things about library websites is that we don’t always have a lot (if any) control over is the way databases and other products display for our patrons.  Something I’ve found I can control that makes a big impact are the graphics and visual elements of our website.  This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, but great-looking graphics will get a better response than clip art.

As a novice web designer (a librarian pretending to be a web designer), Canva has become my graphic design crutch.  It is probably going to sound like the folks at Canva paid me to tell you how awesome it is, but really… it’s just that awesome.  Canva is a robust, web-based design tool for making all sorts of visual elements.  Best of all?  There’s a free version that doesn’t suck.

So, what can you make on Canva?  Just about anything.
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