Website design

I had been struggling a bit with how to present the list content on the website. If I were to just “list” the posts in a category (e.g. skills lab tutorials), then they just show up in the order that I write them. This isn’t ideal. It would be better if there were some logic to the order in which they appear. Last night I had a couple of ah-ha moments: (1) to organize the skills labs by checklist, (2) include a discussion on search.

(1) Organize the skills labs by checklist

I found I disliked the layout of the skills lab tutorials, but couldn’t easily find a way to put it together. Last night I realized I could (and should) create a page and then create lists of tutorials. These lists can be used by the presenter in the workshop, as a list of things to cover – demonstrate, and talk about. Then, on the website, a future instructor, or workshop participant, can go to the site to see/review the content. It will all be there.

Now, the next question becomes, how do I organize the case vignettes and ice breakers? I may just do a bulleted list, with titles, and links to the various items. Their order is not relevant.

(2) Include a discussion on search

The discussion on search was inspired by what I was reading:

Gilster, P. (1997). Digital literacy. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

In chapter 2, “The Nature of Digital Learning”, Gilster talks about the evolution of the printed book – talking about how when a book moved from being on a scroll to being on pages, then the page number mattered, and became a way to access information. Suddenly you no longer needed to read it in order, and you could look things up much faster by using an index. The Internet has changed this too. We no longer need the index, we can now look things up by search – which is often faster and more effective. More importantly, as authors of content, we no longer need to spend the time building the indexes, as searches can be creating automatically in the content.

For me, the ah-ha moment was the opportunity to teach about the digital literacy. We start with organizing icons into folders. We do this because some people find organizing things this way is effective. However, this aligns with “indexing” – it is more inline with older methods of organizing content. Today, we need to learn to be effective at searching – rather than indexing. That being said, I think there is a large personal preference at play here – and like teaching & learning – I don’t think there is a single answer for everything. For example, I put some “like” apps in folders – mostly my TV apps, and anatomy apps. I usually only access these apps when I’m doing a specific task, so it helps to “go to” the folder when I know what I want to do that activity. Now, there are times when I’m looking for a specific app. When I want to do that, then I use the search functionality and go directly to the app. I have a few apps that I have no clue which screen they are on, I can never find the icon – but I don’t need to. I know the name of the app (actually I only need to know a couple of characters) – so I just search for it. With iOS7, the search is available on every screen – so by searching I can find what I want faster than if I had to look it up by folder.