Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I have been focusing on Mapping and Storyboarding analysis of the IJDH website, and the first thing that I encounter, and the consistent thing that has been driving me crazy, is the inconsistencies across the website. The worst part is that the navigation bar menu at the top of the website changes depending on what pathway you are navigating. So, "Prison Project," which is one of IJDH's major initiatives, is a link in the nav bar from the homepage, but it disappears, or is replaced by Section Francais (which is itself a grammatically incorrect name), if you navigate to the "Haiti Justice Videos" pathway page!

As we now subscribe to the Steve Krug school of web design, this inconsistency is unacceptable. It frustrates the audience, and it makes you have to figure out what happened to your menu links, which is not something we should have to deal with as website readers. In summary, I give the IJDH website a failing grade in navigation.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Post-Spring Break Plans

As we head into the home stretch of the semester (and, for some of us, our time at Columbia), we're keeping in mind a few basic strategies for the IJDH project.

  • Posting to Google docs to make sure we're sharing progress and ideas
  • Meeting for a half hour or so outside of class each week to discuss developments
  • Checking in with the "client" through phone conferencing
  • Applying what we've learned in class that week to our report on the client's site. For instance, I took Mary-Lea's advice (from the first or second class) of printing out the entire site to map the , which was a really useful exercise.
Given our wildly varying schedules, we have had a bit of trouble so far finding common times to meet. (Too many classes and jobs, it seems!) But tools like Google docs provide a great virtual space in which to communicate, and the work we do there will probably form the bulk of our ideas and report material.

Will the IJDH site rise like a phoenix? We will do our best.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Project Approach 1

I think our meeting yesterday really drilled home the fact that although there are many different facets of this project, they are all interlinked, so it will be essential for us to collaborate on all sections together.

Also, it was useful to note that although the class to date has been divided into sections, it might be more useful to the team to formulate our own categories of what we think needs to be done to improve the website.

IJDH Homepage overview

We have talked about the value and function of the homepage in class, and I had several initial impressions of the IJDH homepage that I wanted to share. Essentially, I think the homepage lacks the basic tools to make an effective introduction and explain the general IJDH message.

At this time, I just want to address the structural layout of the current hompage and some recommendations for improvement. As we continue to learn about the website's function and target audiences, we will go into discussion on actual content. Here is my overall evaluation of the present homepage structure:
  • Add a tag line. It is not immediately recognizable what IJDH is as an organization to many potential site visitors.

  • Add a welcome blurb into the “About IJDH” section.

  • The top menu bar could be reorganized by moving Haiti Justice Videos, Haiti JusticeBlog, and Links sections to be the final three items. This seems like a more logically listed cohesion of headings.

  • Center the main feature photo (Matt Damon and others at JFK library).

  • Realign the bullets in main feature section.

  • Resize the chart box in main feature section.

  • Change the color scheme (currently orange, red, white, grey).

  • Reformat the “Major Campaigns section” to either decrease font size and make it look more like a cohesive list, or add one line briefs after the headlines.

  • Stay consistent with the font difference scheme that symbolizes hyperlinks (e.g. always bold print, always same color).

  • Resize image files so that they are all the same size per section, which will help delineate sections within a page.

My Web Com. Group

Where am I? Taking the picture of my cool web com. team in Lehman group study area last night. I'll get in on the next one.