Why are they clicking there?

Several months ago, I produced a Violin Pedagogy site. Because of the time involved in capturing and editing the video clips used on the site, a friend of mine suggested that I use a Rapid Prototyping model of development. This is the idea (described by Dorsey, Goodrum, & Schwen 1997) that content is developed in iterations, testing it with “end users” along the way. Confident that I really didn’t need end-user feedback, I produced about half of the video clips before reluctantly doing finding a violinist to look at the clips. The first user, after about 30 seconds of looking at the clips, said, “It’s too far away. This won’t help at all.” Humbled, I finished the project adhering strictly to the iterative model of Rapid Prototyping.
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Blogs for Dogs

One of the great things about blogging is that it gives everyone an opportunity to have their voice heard. You never know who will be interested in what you have to say. To quote Strongbad, “Maybe tomorrow you’ll be really big in Pakistan… Or at least with some guy named Stan”.

Anyway, to prove my point, take a look at this blog from Freddie…
I particularly enjoy his most recent blog called, “Ruff, ruff ruff.”

Bad Examples of Behaviorism

So often the response to the idea of Behaviorism is something like, “I wouldn’t reduce my students to treating them like dogs” or “Skinner thinks people are just big rats.” My problem isn’t that many people share this opinion (which I don’t think is entirely unfounded), it is that such comments are based largely on ineffective examples of behaviorism.
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Giving fish…

One of my many “hats” is the Director of Operations for The Rose Education Foundation. The Foundation’s goal is to help improve the economy and social status of Guatemala through education. When the Foundation was just beginning, there were many ways to in which the members attempted to “help out” a struggling, hopeless people. These were the ways that many international organizations work – giving out meals, providing medical treatment, building houses. After awhile, the Rose Foundation discovered that these efforts were not making a difference in the lives of the Guatemalans.
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“Don’t Make Me Think”

I have read a plethora of books on web design, and user interfaces. However, I think I’ve found my favorte book yet. It is called “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” by Steve Krug. Definitely worth the $20. on Amazon.com.

Krug’s down-to-earth approach forces us to look at how people really use web pages, not how we claim our users use our web pages. Some of his key points are that we don’t take the time to read pages — we scan them for what we think is important to us and that we don’t bother learning how things work–we muddle through until we figure it out. Coming to grips with such hard facts sets the stage for Web design that then produces topnotch sites.

Starting a Weblog

I have always sort of laughed at the idea of “blogging”. The “like anyone else is actually going to care what I have to say” mentality rings loudly in my head as I write. However, in a conversation with Paul Allen, he suggested that it isn’t always that way. Paul is one of those people who I admire becaue of his willingness to share pearls of wisdom with those around him. And because of his success, you tend to listen to the things he says. I’m not pretending that I’m going to have 400 readers a day, as he does, but I think it’s worth starting somewhere.
My experiences are mostly lumpped in 2 major categories: multimedia (web) design, and educational technology. Because of that I have created those two categories for my blog. Since I too hope to be able to share useful information with those who are working on related projects, I’m just going to start by blogging about some of the tricks that I’ve used over time in my design work that have saved me tiime and made life better and if anyone actually reads it, bless you for making this all worth it!

Color Schemer

One of the best little tools I’ve found when it comes to designing is called ColorSchemer. This online app lets you set colors while automatically generating related color schemes. Fortunately, for the colorly challenged, like myself, this thing can be a life saver.