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!


  • 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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Boston Phoenix on the Candidates’ Websites

The Boston Phoenix has an interesting article comparing the websites of the Presidential candidates. It’s worth reading, and worth spending some time visiting all of the candidates sites not for the messages but to see how the candidates and their campaign organizations are embracing the web, multimedia and social networking to get those messages across.
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Picnik: Facebook, Firefox and More

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called Picnik: Easy Photo Editing Online about the online photoediting site Picnik. But I have to write about it again because I keep discovering new features every time I use it.

The big news of the past week was adding Facebook support — which brought over 100,000 new Picnik accounts in just a matter of a few days. This should be great for all those libraries who use Facebook to communicate with students and others.
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Blog Header Generator

If you’re using WordPress for your blog, you’re no doubt familiar with the default theme, Kubrick, with the big blue box header:

Blog Header Generator — If you’d like to keep that theme but use one of your own photographs as a background, try this easy tool from fd’s Flickr Toys collection. You can upload a photograph from your PC, or choose one from your Flickr photostream or from another URL, click on Create, and you’ll get back the image you need, cropped, sized and ready for use.
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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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