mise-on-page

This week’s project charrette was exciting to say the least. The post follows up our conversation with some of the design choices and spatial vocabulary that you were exploring, some of the questions we raised, and some of the emergent examples on your project sites.

  • Titles matter: consider Abby’s “kick-ass” title that captures the essence of her project
  • Project description: make a few sentences or a paragraph or two that makes the project crystal clear. This can be done with the title and the tagline, to be sure. But an introduction will in most case be useful as well. Where this appears on the site is another consequential question
  • What about your landing page? All three of the project sites need to sit with and attend to this question. Information now embedded in pages might be the landing or portal: image galleries or sliders, timelines, maps. Perhaps use a “sticky page” post to keep the landing or welcome page stable?
  • Might the landing page be enhanced by an image slider in the header, or perhaps on the main site page? Don’t limit your imagination to the header. Sometimes not having a header creates an opening for alternative ideas. Browse other WP sites.
  • Look for examples. Consider the poet T.S. Eliot’s comment in an essay on the sixteenth century English dramatist Philip Massinger, that “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” Eliot might offer an instructive  gloss of a key term in the open education discourse on  repurposing information in digital domains. We are talking about poeisis here, after all: making, building, constructing.
  • Sidebars and footers: create link categories and assign each link a category. See Abby’s Site for an example of more than one category
  • Using the link category “NAPLA Sites” link to the other NAPLA Project Sites
  • If you have not already, add the creative commons license and social media buttons to facilitate sharing. Ultimate Media Social Icons is a WP Plug in that offers many choices for customizing the icon bar
  • Gallery options. There are many plug-ins. I believe Abby is using Photo Gallery by Supsystic
  • Add metadata to all images and documents in the fields provided when uploading. You do not want the default to be the file name!
  • Timelines: Emily and John’s site has a beautiful example. When adding content to the timeline remember to ask why each moment is being added and make sure to provide the reader with a connection between the item and the timeline, a connection between the micro and the macro, between the item and its context. Consider Timeline JS, Knight Lab Timeline
  • Maps: But to what end? StoryMapJS by Knight Lab is a promising plug in!
  • Integrating parts into the whole. How do the pages work together? Are pages the best way to segregate information?
  • Consider customization options. Feeling adventurous? Go to Appearance > Editor > Footer. So for example, in the footer on the NAPLA blog we changed the default “powered by wordpress” to ‘Copyright © 2016 Public Access and the Liberal Arts: A Narrative History’ Here is the code with the changes:

<a href=”<?php echo esc_url( __( ‘https://wordpress.org/’, ‘twentyfourteen’ ) ); ?>”><?php printf( __( ‘Copyright © 2016 Public Access and the Liberal Arts: A Narrative History’ ), ‘WordPress’ ); ?></a>

  • Work on how to embed in a functional and attractive way the audio files. Use a gallery to include an image or artifact to create balance on the page. A thumbnail caption?

For a more general overview of the relationship between data and design, and to get you thinking in different ways about mis-en-page, you may want to look again at Trina Chiasson and Dyanna Gregory, et al., Data + Design: A Simple Introduction to Preparing and Visualizing Information on the NAPLA Resources page.

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