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#1 AbleReach

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 04:22 PM

I'm extremely pleased to introduce you to my mom's nonprofit, The Louis Braille School, a new day school for visually impaired kids. The school opened this Fall, after 15+ years of working, learning, dreaming and planning.

I've volunteered to adopt the current site and help them expand. After we get some restructuring in place, I'll have access to literally years of useful and targeted content covering topics like how braille is written, or how to use tactile labels to customize a deck of UNO cards. I'm excited about what I am sure will be a rewarding and challenging project.

The site's purpose:
Provide a resource for the school's families
Showcase the school for potential students
Promote the school's agenda, including interest in accessible curriculum, braille literacy, braille and Louis Braille
Make information available to potential benefactors and the media

The site should be welcoming to the school's families, supporters and a diverse wider community, while providing smooth accessibility for adaptive technologies that may be used by people who are visually impaired. Adaptive technologies may include software such as screen readers and screen magnifiers.

Ideas, feedback, more?

Here's a little laughter, for your inspiration - :-)
camp1.jpg

#2 Respree

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 06:28 PM

I like the simplicity of the site, Liz.

The width made for very comfortable reading. You kindly didn't hijack any browser controls, when I tested to see if I could make the fonts larger (something, I would imagine a large portion of your visitors might try to do).

My comments have more to do with content, rather than the design (which I thougth was fine).

On the Home Page, I thought it might help if you expand the discussion about the school, perhaps going a little deeper in explaining the curriculum and explaining how you differ from other similar schools (i.e. your USP).

On the Louise Braille page, I was surprised there was no mention of that bumpy writing he invented (I guess it's called "Braille").

The contact us page could benefit from posting your office hours, which I assume nobody is there 24 hours a day.

On your top navigation, I though the 'Home' link was a little out of place. I instinctly wanted to look left, but it was on the right. Maybe just a personal pre-judgement or preference.

I also noticed that the site has almost no links, either externally or internally. You may want to provide other resources (external links) to help the visitor understand the organization and potential special needs a little better.

I'd rethink the mailto: link, wherever you mention contact us. No doubt, that the spam harvest bots will come to pay you a visit shortly.

On the images (Louis Braille), you might want change it so that you can also click on the thumbnail images (to view larger images). When you get to the larger images, I think it's a nice touch to put "next," rather than force the user back to the main index of thumbnails. That way, they're not going 'in' and 'out', so to speak.

Hope these comments help.

Edited by Respree, 10 December 2006 - 10:05 AM.


#3 AbleReach

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 07:50 PM

Thank you, Garrick!

The original designer offered this design as a way to get started. Once more content was added, navigation problems developed.
I'm going to add a vertical nav to supplement the horizontal, to make it easier to get around in pages that are more than one click off of the home page.

The "Braille" page will need some rethinking. Eventually, we may want it to serve as the entry to braille literacy, learning braille, braille displays on computer keyboards or braille notetakers, braille in everyday life, and biographies of people like Helen Keller, in addition to the Louis Braille biography. They may get a lot of search engine traffic in January for Braille Literacy Month. A revamped section geared towards kids looking for resources for school reports would be handy to have online by the end of December, in time to garner some nice .edu links.

The same navigation issues apply to the newsletter section.

When I start the navigation restructure I'm going to use Joe Dolson's skiplinks tutorial as a jump start for a fresh template.

While I'm at it, certain other features will be included -- such as (LOL!) putting office hours on the contact page. Good catch. They will get a kick out of that! :)

BTW, schools like this are very unusual. In this case, the USP may take the form of building an authoritative position, with good, linkable resources. Regardless of the USP-ish ness, I think readers will appreciate a USP-like approach.

#4 travis

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 11:19 PM

Liz,

Who designed that ? It does not have your name on it.

#5 joedolson

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 01:56 PM

Hey, Elizabeth! Glad you're going to use my tutorial :).

One thing I noticed pretty quickly for this site was how difficult it is to navigate using keyboard-only means. Although the navigation is simple, straighforward, and right up front, it's still a bit of a problem because of the lack of a :focus state. While tabbing through the links, it's very difficult to see which link is currently in focus!

Although most browsers do provide a default focus, it's very subtle: a gray dotted border. Not really sufficient to stand out for anybody with vision difficulties, for example.

I definitely suggest adding a strong :focus state -

a:focus, a.button:focus, a.webstyr:focus, a:active, a.button:active, a.webstyr:active {
background: #222; color: #eee;
}	

That's very basic - it'll just make the background dark gray and the text off-white, so it may not be the ideal choice for your design, but it WILL at least make the focus highly visible!

#6 AbleReach

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 02:17 AM

Here's a draft template: http://www.louisbrai...chool.org/test/
I haven't looked at it in IE or Opera yet.

Basically, I put it into CSS, increased contrast between text and ground, and added a vertical nav area at one side. Updating will be soooo much easier with clean code and the nav in includes. This is my first attempt at CSS for structure, and, so far, with considerable help from The CSS Anthology, it hasn't been too bad. Granted, I haven't dealt with differences in how padding & margin will be applied in other browsers... but it's a start!

I'll deal with replacing "that bumpy writing" (LOL Garrick) later.
Hours of operation are now on the contact page. :)
mailto link is no longer live - for a few days there will just be text that says "director @ louisbrailleschool.org"

Travis - The design was put together by another designer, and content has been added by several people. It's been through two WYSIWYGs, a home-made CMS, and a little text editing.

Joe - My previous accessibility experience has been with screen readers, not so much with visual interfaces. Learning to use :focus well is definitely on the list. :) It seems logical that a:focus states should be the same as a:hover. Is this correct?

Thanks, all!

#7 travis

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 06:11 AM

Joe,

That TAB keyboard stuff is interesting.

I tabbed through my website, and it controlled the Flash animations which was cool.

How many people use this form of navigation ?

And how do I focus the first TAB on the second menu item ?

#8 TheManBehindTheCurtain

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 11:23 AM

Hi Liz ...

Sites such as this really do perfectly capture the true meaning of "a labor of love." Good luck with this!

A few design suggestions ....

I'd suggest that the "Louis Braille School" type in the header be complemented with some sort of additional tagline (perhaps the one from the <title> tag) to reinforce the school's mission.

For the header itself, the school's architecture, the snow-capped mountains in the background, and the picture (which looks like a bust) all suggest a European feel to me, perhaps Switzerland. Perhaps a mention of the locale would help as well in the tagline. While I think providing a resource for information on Louis Braille is an excellent service, the school's strongest mission is in serving its local community.

To that end, I think from a content perspective I would find a way to humanize the pages more with more pictures of the children in classrooms and social settings. My wife works at a school for severely learning-disadvantaged children, and one of their biggest challenges is breaking down misconceptions about these children and getting the local community more used to welcoming them in local businesses. Most people are so uncomfortable around these children, and I think showing pictures of them doing the normal things that kids do could begin to send the message that they should not be hidden and should be treated as much as possible like other children. (Sorry, off the soapbox now.) Also, showing the children in a supportive environment would seem to me to be the best way to encourage parents to contact the school.

To return back to the header ... I've been staring at the middle portion of the collage and I think that might be a keyboard, but it also reminds me of a bank of turbines at the foot of a dam. In other words, just too obscure, and it is smack-dab in the middle where my eye begins to obsess about it. I'm even more wanting to see some children in there instead.

In your test menu, is the contrast between the pinkish secondary (indented) menu items strong enough for your audience? Likewise, the reddish headings against the white background. Is the delicate serif type and the color strong enough? Is the main body type a dark gray instead of black? I think I'd go for strong black and increase the line-height significantly. (Years ago when I was working at a magazine, I taught the wife of a coworker -- a university lecturer who was legally blind but sighted enough to read large large type -- how to use the typesetter. She printed out lecture notes in 24-pt bold sans serif, about six lines to a page if I recall correctly.)

Also, looking at it in IE6, the layout breaks out about 10 pixels to the right all up and down the length of the page. Something I'm sure you'll fix ... mentioning it "just in case."

Good luck on this!

#9 joedolson

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 12:07 PM

Joe - My previous accessibility experience has been with screen readers, not so much with visual interfaces. Learning to use :focus well is definitely on the list. :) It seems logical that a:focus states should be the same as a:hover. Is this correct?


I'd generally say no. Although the use of :focus and :hover are pretty much distinct behaviors (people using keyboard navigation are unlikely to switch to a mouse to click on a link), I still like to keep the states separate, visually. Partially this is for my own preference, I suppose - I like to see something different when using keyboard than when using a mouse. I'm not sure there's any strong accessibility reason it should be one way or the other, however.

How many people use this form of navigation ?

And how do I focus the first TAB on the second menu item ?


How many people? I don't know...it's generally people with some kind of mobility difficulty which impairs the use of a mouse - which could include not having arms (using a mouthstick for navigation), having a condition such as Parkinson's disease which makes control of the mouse very difficult, arthritis which makes fine motor skills painful (easier to take a break while using the keyboard), etc. It's a broad range of possibilities.

You can control where the first tab falls by using the tabindex attribute: tabindex="1" will place the focus there first. I don't especially recommend using this, since it can actually disrupt things more than you'd think. Still, it is part of the WCAG 1.0 recommendations for accessibility, and in limited use it can be quite effective. In your case, you might want to consider specifying the "1" index but not any others, leaving them in code order.

#10 AbleReach

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 04:51 PM

I backtracked to tables because it's going to be quicker for right now. My Windows machine is on the fritz and I have no access to quickie peeks at IE. :) If someone could post screen shots for IE 6 I'd much appreciate it.

Frank - LOL - I thought that the piano was the top of a wall somewhere in the vicinity of the Louis Braille Musum in France. Goodness gracious!

#11 Respree

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 05:07 PM

Here you go.

Attached Thumbnails

  • liz.jpg


#12 AbleReach

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 05:40 PM

Thank you, Garrick!

We're puzzling over what to call an area for fundraising events, wish lists, volunteer activities/recognition, etc. We need to give thought to content and arrangement. Some nonprofits use "Making a Difference," which the staff currently likes. They think "Support Us" sounds like a demand. I'm looking for something short.

#13 Respree

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 06:02 PM

Maybe Philanthropy?

#14 joedolson

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 07:48 PM

Maybe Philanthropy?


My first reaction was "hey, good thought!", but the second was questioning whether the term is universally known enough to be a good usable term. "Giving" or some such simpler term may be better for reaching a broader audience. Philanthropy, to me, implies an upper level of donations: rather than the whole volunteering for an hour a week, more along the lines of "naming this building after me."

I know that this meaning isn't inherent to the term, but it sometimes seems like these longer, high-falutin' terms are more likely to be applied to upper-crust donations, whereas a simpler term may appeal to a wider audience.

#15 AbleReach

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 09:00 PM

"Making a Difference" does have an appealing sweetness too it.

For the header itself, the school's architecture, the snow-capped mountains in the background, and the picture (which looks like a bust) all suggest a European feel to me, perhaps Switzerland. Perhaps a mention of the locale would help as well in the tagline. While I think providing a resource for information on Louis Braille is an excellent service, the school's strongest mission is in serving its local community.

I'm leaning towards suggesting that down the line the header image be used in a separate braille resource. A tagline should do more than counteract an impression given by the header.

Right now, over 90% of search engine traffic pertains to Louis Braille and braille information. The rest are very specific, such as the phone number of the school, or a worker's name. 80% of traffic overall is from bookmarks or inlinks that go straight to braille info. I want to find ways to integrate that lovely existing 80% with the child and family centered mission of a school. Some of those viewers will have an interest in the school, too.

As time allows, developing some SE-attractive content about kid stuff will help the traffic reflect the target audience. Since the Center became the School, I am seeing some searches on interesting topics like "teaching music to blind children" or "learning numbers." "Accessible Curriculum" is a focus that needs to be reflected in search terms that parents may use... again, as time allows.

#16 AbleReach

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 11:43 PM

"Giving" or some such simpler term may be better for reaching a broader audience. Philanthropy, to me, implies an upper level of donations: rather than the whole volunteering for an hour a week, more along the lines of "naming this building after me."

"Giving" got the vote. :D

Thanks!

#17 tinkerbellchime

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 03:12 PM

Elizabeth,

This is a great and worthy project. My bet is that it will continue to grow and become an authoritative voice in its field. I see a long term project here that will age well. I’m an educator, so I felt inspired by your site and its philosophy.

Here’s a list of what stands out in my mind about the Home Page:

Banner—Cleverest use of texture I have ever seen. I enjoyed reading about the significance of the objects in the box at the bottom of the page. My solution to Frank Elley’s comment about the piano: I think the piano could be moved below the bust of Louis Braille. He’s right about it being in the dominate position of the home page. Other than that, I love it. It sets a nice tone: solid, long lasting, calming, sophisticated. It tells me that children at your school will not just spend the day learning survival skills to cope with their handicap. Instead, they will also be enriched by the finer things in life too, much like Louis Braille was.

About the School – Perfect write up…smart way to start the website. Answered all the questions users have when they go to a website. If I were a parent looking for a school, I’d feel confident that I discovered the right place.

Location—Nice section with interesting information about the surrounding areas. It made we want to book a flight. What about adding a link inside the paragraph to the map on the Contact Us page.

Navigation Bar—The buttons are in the perfect order of importance for parents looking for a school for their kids. Philosophy to Curriculum to Enrollment to Louis Braille to News to Contact Us. I followed the links in the order you set them up and was sold on your school by the time I got to Contact Us.

The Philosophy page is wonderful; heartfelt, clear, descriptive, concise. Throw in the word ‘enrichment’ somewhere because I get the impression that the school goes beyond everyday skill building.

The Curriculum page is perfect.

Somewhere I saw a navigation tab that said “School Closure.” My heart sank because I thought the school was closing due to lack of funds or support. When I clicked on the link, it had information about vacations, etc. Please add an ‘s’ to ‘Closure’ so it reads “School Closures.”

Many blessings to you, your mom, and the kids. I’ll be sure to pass the word.



Favorite Quote: If you think education is expensive, add up the costs of not having one. –unknown-

Edited by tinkerbellchime, 30 December 2006 - 03:23 PM.


#18 SEOigloo

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 03:19 AM

What a fine project for a wonderful school. It was a pleasure looking at this, and thinking about the work involved in helping children with visual impairments. Having worked as a child educator in the past, I know the satisfaction an adult feels when they help a child to learn, and I would say this satisfaction would be even greater when working with children who need learning methods adapted to their vision needs.

We just finished a site for a fellow who designs special garments for deaf children who wear cochlear implant speech processors. I had never even heard of these until taking on this contract. It was a good learning experience for us.

A couple of comments:

I am concerned about the height of the masthead pushing most of the content down below the fold. My first impression was that I had to focus on it, rather than on the text.

However, if that vertically broad banner is a must, I really second the vote that a super image of children be used to replace the piano. I think this would really uplift the whole mood of the banner, and instill a positive, engaging light into the design.

I'm a big fan of phone numbers and at least partial addresses in the masthead. It immediately tells a visitor that this is a physical location...not a cyberspace entity, and would also help to locate the school in America, which I feel this site needs to stress, as the feeling is definitely European at first glance.

One other comment:

It sounds like you are going to develop some great content for the site. May I cast my vote for a biography on Laura Bridgeman? She is not as well known as Hellen Keller. She was a blind, deaf and mute child who was born in the 19th century, and was one of the very first children with these disabilities to be fully educated in a school for the blind. As a child, I read and re-read a children's book about her called Child of the Silent Night, and was so inspired by her story. Charles Dickens came to visit her on his trip to America, and she was truly an amazing person. Just thought I'd mention this for your future content brainstorming.

I hope these suggestions are of use to you and your mother, and wish you all the best of luck with your great endeavour!
Miriam

#19 AbleReach

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 05:25 AM

Thank you, tinkerbellchime and seoigloo! This is very much a labor of love.

I've been working on the site in another directory.
What I have so far is now at www.louisbrailleschool.org/test/
About 2/3 of the content is there.

I got this content today: www.louisbrailleschool.org/test/news/ :-)
I love the way filling things out highlights how involved they are with the community.

All pages have skiplinks started - though destination links generally aren't set up yet.
Most pages work make sense with heading navigation.
There is an a:focus state that shows up when tabbing through in Firefox. It's not supported in other browsers, outside of forms, but I understand that there's a way to accomplish the same effect with javascript. If I ask nicely, perhaps someone will volunteer to walk me through it? ;-)

I've put in a navigation sidebar and added a current state for each page. What do you think?
Using CSS to highlight the current page is my neat trick of the month. I just learned how to use php to set the current page's CSS automatically.

So far the original collage is still on the top level pages. I haven't settled on how to put more happy people pictures in the header in the long term, but for now there are a few on sub category pages. After we get more high quality kid photos in the text, shrinking the heading height would be a good idea.

So far we've resisted taking on too many new ideas at once until more is polished - LOL - but here's one to share ahead of time --
On a staff page, I think it would be fun to have a short "hello" recording associated with photos of staff members. That way, prospective students could "see" the feeling of a future teacher's voice.

Edited by AbleReach, 07 February 2007 - 09:33 PM.


#20 tinkerbellchime

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 01:20 PM

I like the new masthead, but I miss the raised Braille bump texture of the old one. It was such a cleaver use of textures. Plus, you could interpret what the bumps say for the rest of us by adding an alt tag to the picture. Hey, your tagline could be in Braille with a rollover giving the script.

I miss the warmth of your original home page. It was more comforting. Even though I don't know you or your mom, I think it captured the personality of the two of you more than the new one. But the idea of adding a location in the masthead and making it shorter is good. I always longed for a more classical education than is provided nowadays in America, so I was fond of the old European look.

I would love to learn more about the bios that were mentioned. I'm thinking that a whole collection of them would be wonderful and might get you links from .edu sites. I like simple short stories even at this age.


Great idea to add speech to the teachers’ page. Wonderful use of technology.

#21 AbleReach

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 03:30 PM

Message from mom:

Please tell SEOigloo that the Laura Bridgeman book "Child of the Silent Night" is one of the first children's books I transcribed into braille. I, too, read it several times, as I did Charles Dickens' account of his visit with her, and there is an interesting diary style account by Dr. Howe who worked with Laura at Perkins. I think, in a sense, Laura was a forerunner of Helen Keller in that she planted the seed that the light of the soul shines brightly whether or not the eyes and ears work.

I am warmed by Tinkerbellchime's comments, especially the banner. She apparently reviewed the original site? She expresses my feelings about the collage perfectly and that is why I am having a hard time giving it up, especially the home page version with that wonderful curve and simulated braille and the feeling of refinement. I like the way she understands the blending of refinement with the fun and games. But, we do need to reconcile the piano issue. I am interested to see if there will be comments about mixing the collage banner with the children's photo banners for the subs. I am intrigued with the idea of putting a child/children in place of the piano.

:-)

The original banner was created by the volunteer who designed the original site. I like the art in it, but I also think it's too confusing - a web page header should never require explanation. I thought the piano was the top of a wall. :embarrassed: I even wondered, briefly, how they found such a grand old-world building for the school, in 150 year-old Edmonds.

I'd like to see the school have a header that has the best of both worlds - kid stuff plus artistic goodness.

I've been thinking of how I could get some simulated braille "texture" in the header and not lock myself into one, layered jpeg.

#22 tinkerbellchime

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 03:17 PM

Thanks for passing my message on to your mom. It's apparent that she's an expert in her field. I read what you said about keeping the Braille and the problem with layers. I'm a beginner, so I'm not up to speed in that area. It's always exciting to get a new redo.

Christina Niven

:flowers:

#23 AbleReach

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 06:25 PM

This is where I am with the Louis Braille School site right now. It's easy to read, bright and open. I have a long list of tweaks and other stuff to do, but this page is the gist. I'm liking the optimistic look of that blue background.
http://www.louisbrai...blue-ground.htm

For reference, this is the current site:
http://www.louisbrailleschool.org/

Before deciding not to use the original header, I came up with this as a navigation structure re-do:
http://louisbrailleschool.org/test/
The resources section is waiting for me to decide how to organize and CSS-ify an image gallery, and we still need to work on the policies content and a destination for the skiplinks.

About 19% of SE traffic is coming through Google image search - more in January, due to Braille Literacy Month and Louis Braille's birthday. Many of the incoming links are from teachers who want to help kids with school reports. We want to make it clear that the content of the site is owned by the site, though kids are welcome to use it for school reports. Others will be considered on a case by case basis, and may involve payment for use. Any ideas on how I can clarify this through a licensing policy?

Edited by AbleReach, 31 January 2007 - 07:27 PM.


#24 swainzy

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 08:00 PM

Liz,
Your new test design is so great! I really like the horizontal line at the top as opposed to the curved line, it's a bit more grounding for my brain. I also like the red color block (tab), it gives my eye an immediate resting place. I like that the headings have red roll overs and the text font is simple an easy to read. I really like the simplicity. The colors are still soft even with the red. The text is written well and also easy to read. I can't think of anything design wise that I would change. I love it.
Donna

Whoops, I'm embarassed, I was looking at the test site! However, I really like this one too. Nice!

Edited by swainzy, 31 January 2007 - 08:39 PM.


#25 joedolson

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 08:25 PM

One thing I find rather nice on background colors is a subtle gradient - something like this:

louis_braille.png


It can add a subtle extra dimension to the background without distracting - I usually use two fairly similar colors so that it's closer to an impression of movement than to an obvious change.

In general, I like it a lot! Good job!

As to licensing...you could look into Creative Commons licenses. They allow you to prepare a custom license - I don't know if they have anything which provides for use payment, however.

#26 Respree

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 08:54 PM

You might want to consider altering the cube images so the the bumps look a little more three-dimensional, consistent with the bumpy writing. :)

As a side note, it struck me as a little odd that the red and blue dots contained three dots. My first impression (assumption) was this symbol designated three (and, if so, which one is it -- red or blue). Something to consider.

#27 SEOigloo

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 09:05 PM

Hi Elizabeth,
Please say hello to your mother for me. I was so interested to read what she said about Child of the Silent Night. Really, an excellent children's book. Thank her from me for her greeting!
Miriam

#28 AbleReach

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 11:08 PM

Garrick - I don't know what you mean. Could you explain some more, please?

The blocks contain the symbol for l, b, and c.

Making an upper case letter would require adding a capital letter sign. The lower left dot is the capital sign, when added before a letter.

Grade 1 braille uses one six-dot braille cell per letter. Grade 1 is normally only used when first learning braille. Grade 2 braille uses six-dot cells, too, but it has contractions that use fewer cells than Grade 1 braille.

I've attached an image of simulated braille that spells "Braille" in grade two braille. It uses four cells, the first of which is the capital letter sign. I don't "know" braille, but I can sometimes recognize/guess and copy certain frequently seen symbols. :angel:

One of the things I'd like to do down the line is make some images that look like little braille-print flash cards. A "card" could be at the first of a paragraph, the symbol of the card corresponding to the first letter. :)

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Edited by AbleReach, 31 January 2007 - 11:09 PM.


#29 joedolson

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 12:07 AM

My first assumption was that they were abc - but I think the message is really for people who are involved in the braille world, so perhaps it's not that important that everybody else understands it!

Still, mentioning it in some way would be a good idea. It's not uncommon to include some sort of an informational colophon on a site which explains those sorts of things. Might be worth considering!

#30 Respree

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 12:47 AM

The blocks contain the symbol for l, b, and c.



Hmm. There I go again, talking with great authority about something I know nothing about. :)

I had assumed they were braille for numbers -- as in 1, 2, 3. So to me, it looked like 3-2-3 (but why are the two three's different - that was what my comment was about).

I can see now, my assumption was wrong. Out of curiosity, what is the significance of "l, b & c." Seems like "a, b & c" might make better sense. No?

#31 AbleReach

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 01:28 AM

OOPS!

I meant to say l, b, s. The letters in the blocks are l, b, s.

LBC was the Louis Braille Center, the predecessor of the Louis Braille School.

:embarrassed:


I had assumed they were braille for numbers

Hey, you know, it might be fun to use images representing braille numbers as bullets in ordered lists.

Edited by AbleReach, 01 February 2007 - 01:31 AM.


#32 AbleReach

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 05:40 PM

My first assumption was that they were abc - but I think the message is really for people who are involved in the braille world, so perhaps it's not that important that everybody else understands it!

Still, mentioning it in some way would be a good idea. It's not uncommon to include some sort of an informational colophon on a site which explains those sorts of things. Might be worth considering!

Good point, Joe.

I think that the challenge will be to use images that work without explanation while speaking to whatever "world" the viewer identifies with. Without knowing anything about braille, the blocks will still work as a symbol - building blocks, abc blocks, etc. They will also make some people curious, and, as long as we don't confuse them too much, that curiosity is an opportunity for education.

The short answer is "yes." Yes, we should explain the braille, but if we need to do it to make up for something I've not done my job.

#33 joedolson

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 05:54 PM

Without knowing anything about braille, the blocks will still work as a symbol - building blocks, abc blocks, etc.


Regardless of the specific content meaning, these kinds of blocks have a strong symbolic connection with education - they are used as an aid to learning letters and numbers, in fact, so not understanding their precise meaning immediately is fine: they are meant to teach, not to already be known.

I think you should definitely make a point of explaining them somewhere on the site - along with explaining the braille alphabet, frankly. It's a learning opportunity to be cherished.

Yes, we should explain the braille, but if we need to do it to make up for something I've not done my job.


I think you're fine - if there's anything you're making up for it's the fact that most people don't know braille. That's not your problem (actually, it's not really a problem - most people have no need to learn braille.) Regardless, to your target audience it conveys very clearly the idea of learning composited with the needs of the visually impaired. It's a great choice of symbol.

#34 AbleReach

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 04:05 AM

It's a learning opportunity to be cherished.

Thank you and bravo. :applause:



Here's a version with gradients on the body background, the nav, and the footer. The footer looks a little heavy to me with that red font color, though I like the backgrounds against each other.
http://www.louisbrai...ol.org/staging/

#35 joedolson

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 12:05 PM

Background body gradient: like it.

Background nav gradient: barely even perceptible to me...but that's just fine!

Background footer: hmmm...maybe a bit too much contrast. It's OK, but it does seem to punch out that peach color a little much. The red font may be a little heavy - but it doesn't bother me.

-Joe

#36 AbleReach

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 03:59 PM

I lightened up the footer a bit. :-)

#37 Respree

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 07:55 PM

You might want to look at this page. It doesn't like something... :)

C8.JPG

#38 AbleReach

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 10:03 PM

Hi Garrick,

I've been moving things around getting ready to update the published site. What you see there are broken links to includes. "happennav.inc" got changed, because I needed to "include" a different navigation structure.

Sometimes during a trial run I'll use includes for anything that repeats and is more than a few lines long. When updating a site a chunk at a time it becomes more practical to use an include only where repeating content is going to change.

For example, originally "newsnav.inc" contained the whole navigation column.
Right now I have a "newsnav2.inc" that only contains the part of the navigation column that I want to change when someone is in the news area, like this:
<ul> 
<li>Home</li> 
<li>News<?php include("includes/newsnav2.inc"); ?></li> 
<li>Contact</li> 
</ul>


Is interpreted by the browser to be:
<ul> 
<li>Home</li> 
<li>News<ul>
		  <li>Newsnav Link 1</li> 
		  <li>Newsnav Link 2</li> 
		  <li>Newsnav Link 3</li>
		</ul>
		  </li> 
<li>Contact</li> 
</ul>


And that's one of the handful of fun things I can do with php :woohoo:

This link to the current news intro page will work:
http://www.louisbrai...chool.org/news/

After I get everything updated I'll try to leave something in place that will still give forum members something to look at. No promises about where the links on the page will go at any given moment, but the pages I link to from here will still be there for a while! ;-)

Thanks for looking!

Edited by AbleReach, 03 September 2007 - 08:25 PM.


#39 AbleReach

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 09:13 PM

Hello everyone!

This Fall I'm going to be freshening up the Louis Braille School site. One big change will be to move the News section into a Wordpress blog. The Happenings section will be especially suited for something bloggy. A little sidebar mentioning what's new would help the site feel more lively and current.

I also want to update and clarify the newsletter navigation, add an author picture and consistent byline to future articles, add some background information about the staff... and... and. :) The most challenging and fun things for me personally will probably be reworking my CSS, and making the In the Media section feel zippier. Because this was my first exclusively CSS site, over the course of the first six months or so I made a lot of little CSS tweaks that could be more re-usable and uniform.

Before I get started, I'm looking at starting an online poll where any interested readers can share opinions about the site. The next newsletter comes out about mid month. Subscribers will get an email letting them know it's available online, and if all goes well we'll have a link to the poll in the email.

I'm curious to know your experience with polls and web site updates. Do you have any advice for me about prefacing a redesign with a poll? Even if very few people respond, it seems like a good way to get across that we listen.

Edited by AbleReach, 03 September 2007 - 11:46 PM.


#40 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 07:06 AM

That is fantastic!

A site that is clear, crisp, open.... easily legible and usable... with general features that enhance usability and accessibility!

Congratulations.

That said, quickly Validate it... I did find some errors (silly little ones that catch all of us :) ).

But all in all, I think sites like that should be framed and posted as fine examples of what all sites should be doing.



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