Monday, October 14, 2013

GIS Day - November 20th

Los Angeles County is hosting its 6th annual GIS Day event.

The event will be open from 9:00am to 3:00pm at
Grand Park (Olive Court)
200 N Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
This year’s event is titled GIS – Tying LA County Together.  The event is designed for County residents, government employees, and students.

Find more details on the official GIS Day site

Friday, July 17, 2009

Consistent Navigation

Most web sites are not very big, so this isn't usually an issue. Once people understand how to get around your web site, don't confuse them.
  • Use your navigation system on all your pages, with few exceptions. Exceptions should make sense and usually involve processes that follow from step to step.
  • Provide an indicator to let people know where they are in your navigation system. This can involve changing the color of the link for the current page and disabling the link for the current page.
  • For larger sites, consider using bread crums, which are a set of links for all the pages the user has visited.
When you are ready for a full web site redesign, consider keeping the navigation the same or at least similar. This reduces the amount of time for people to re-learn how to get around. Of course, if you are changing your site because nobody could find anything on it, by all means re-work the navigation!

Friday, June 19, 2009

GIS Day - November 18

This week has been a particularly good GIS week for me. I have managed to get quite a bit accomplished at my day job implementing GIS web applications and developing new resources.

One exciting bit of news was an announcement for this years Los Angeles County Annual GIS Day event which has been booked for the Civic Center Mall in downtown Los Angeles for November 18, 2009. Please mark your calendar and save the date if you are interested in GIS activies, especially as they relate to the greater Los Angeles area. There may even be ESRI representatives there.

I'll post more details as they become available.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Common English Grammar Mistakes

I love the fact that web tools offer spell check. My favorite web site development tool, Dreamweaver, has spell check for when you are creating web pages. Firefox has it too (I see that it does not like the word Dreamweaver). Many of these tools are even getting better with correcting common grammar errors too, but they can't catch everything!

One of my readers recently submitted her blog site that deals with common errors, especially homophones which many tools will not correct.

I make an effort to go back and review my work after a day or two. I hate when I find stupid errors and hope I correct them before others see them. When blogging or developing web sites, always recheck your content after a few days to make sure you have it right. Sometimes it's little things that will turn your audience away from your site.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The "F" Pattern

People on the web are in a rush to get what they want. Click they come and click they go. You have a limited amount of time and words on the screen to get your point across.

When people view a web page, they scan it for the information they want. They will scan across the top of your page reading the content. Then they will scan down and read across again. If they scan down further, they will likely scan across the page an even shorter distance.

You need to get your main information across in the first few scans! It is also helpful to use a few tricks to make sure your main point jumps out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Plain Language

Using plain language is not one of my strong points. I like words and I like using the word that best fits my exact tone and meaning. I think in and have a tendency to write complex sentences.

It takes effort to write so that you express the same ideas and emotion using simple language that is easy for everyone to understand. Some pages require jargon, legal text or formal and complicated language, but these pages are best saved as support pages. Your main pages should be designed for a more general audience and should keep things clear and easy to read. Use short sentences of 25 words or less. Break longer sentences into shorter thoughts that are easy to understand. Remove jargon, or explain what it means if you must use it. Use active language and be direct.

Studies have shown that people who can use fewer and simpler words are often considered more intelligent. They also get their point across to more people. On the web you only have a short amount of time to attract someones attention before they are off to the next click. Most people start to lose interest after about 122 words. Help them get the point of what you are trying to express immediately. If they want to know more, they can drill down into your site for more information.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It's a way to publish information so that it can be displayed in a variety of places including other web sites, RSS reader applications and some mobile devices. If your a blog reader, you're probably already familiar with RSS. Blog entries can be re-published in major portals like Google, or displayed on "gadgets" in other blogs or web sites. Entries are usually from the most current to recent past with a set, and usually small number of entries.

So then, what is GeoRSS? GeoRSS is an extension of the RSS format (XML) but includes location information. Good examples of GeoRSS feeds include the USGS earthquake feed. It publishes information about recent earthquakes, including their magnatude, date, place and map coordinates. It can also be used to show current traffic accidents.

There are lots of fun ways to use it too. For those on Twitter, try looking at Twittervision. You may want to display delivery or sales locations, daily appointments locations, where your web site visitors are coming from or other interesting facts from data your collect on your web site.

Maps are fun. Interactive maps can be fascinating!