Category Archives: Web Design

Add Polls to Library Websites and Blogs

Wish you had time to make your website more interactive? Try adding simple, fun polls! It only takes a few minutes to create your own polls using one of the free polling services.

The sample on this post was created using a free PollDaddy account — feel free to make a selection and click on Vote to try this out. You’ll be shown the results by percentage. In this case, I allow the user to choose “Other” and input their own answer. The names they add this way aren’t seen online, but I can see the full results on the PollDaddy website.

You can set options to try to limit users to a single vote by cookie or IP address, but either method might be problematic on library workstations. But there’s no statistical validity to this kind of polling anyway, so use it just for fun. These are especially popular on blogs and pages for kids and teens.

If your blog or website is running on WordPress, checkout PollDaddy’s WordPress plugin to make it even easier to add these to your site. But on any site, it’s pretty much just a matter of filling out a form and then copying and pasting a snippet of code to your post or page.

I like Polldaddy, but other sites are similar. If you pay for an account, you get more options, but you may find you can do everything you want with a free account.

Have fun!

Links

  • PollDaddy — Sign up for a free account and try this out
  • Read This! — This excellent book blog from the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers, Massachusetts, uses polls as an interactive feature in the sidebar.

Hulu : Television and Movies Online, Free and Legal

Hulu is a site designed to bring professional TV and movie content to the web in a legal, ad-supported format. It’s a joint venture of NBC and the News Corporation, with partnerships with many content providers and web services for syndication.

They’ve been in private Beta for months and just officially launched a few weeks ago, and they’ve been getting a lot of attention. The content is still limited (we’re not talking NetFlix here) but there’s an interesting assortment full-length content here, old and new — the entire run of “Arrested Development,” 48 episodes of the old Bob Newhart show, 78 episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” and other old shows like “Barney Miller,” “Hill Street Blues” and “The Practice.” There are lots of current shows here, too, with several full episodes and lots of clips.
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Easy Palette Generator

Palette Generator — “Automagically create a harmonious color palette from a photograph”

Choosing a palette of colors for your website or for a particular web project is a difficult task for many of us, but here’s something that can really help. Just select a photograph from your Flickr account, your PC, or any webpage, click on Create, and this tool will present a matching palette of colors, with numbered color swatches and a simple CSS sample.
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Firefox Extensions for Webmasters

One of the great things about the Firefox browser is that there are so many great extensions to add all sorts of new features. Many of these can help you design, maintain and improve your library’s website. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Web Developer Toolbar — This extension adds a large set of useful functions for working with your website, including the ability to outline or label various elements; to disable Javascript, images, etc.; to view and edit a copy of a stylesheet and see the results, and much more.
  • MeasureIt — This handy little extension makes it easy to measure any element or section of a web page
  • ColorZilla — This extension allows you to quickly identify color information about any point on your browser screen, create your own palette of favorites, and use other handy color tools
  • LinkChecker — Quickly checks and color-codes the links on the current page.
  • Fangs — If you’re working on accessibility issues, this extension shows you how a page looks when parsed by the JAWS program.