Blog Design Study

Smashing Magazine present their findings of their study of top blogs.

  • Part 1 discusses layout design and typographic settings.
  • Part 2 discusses navigation design, information architecture, advertisements and functionality (RSS-feeds, tag clouds, pagination, etc).

What Smashing Magazine has to say about their study:

We have identified 30 design problems and considered solutions for each of the problems separately. We have posed 30 questions which we would like to answer with our blog survey. Below we present findings of our survey of popular blog designs — the results of an analysis of 50 popular blogs according to Technorati’s Top 100.

Also from Smashing Magazine is their helpful post on 15 Desktop Blogging Tools Reviewed. I actually wrote this post using BlogDesk. Not too bad, just took some getting used to. I will try ScribeFire (a Firefox plugin) for my next post.

References:

Blog Content Pirates – Advice Needed on How to Deal with Them?

There is one word to describe how I feel at this moment: Ick.

And the reason is feel this way is because I discovered that the entire blog post I made yesterday was copied and pasted and reposted on someone else’s site. Oh, the heading states that I (or technogenii) as the source, but there is no link to my blog. Actually, I was able to discovered this incident because I linked to another one of my blog posts in that post and received a pingback request.

But even writing “Source: technogenii” in the headline, in my opinion, is not enough. I understand that because I’ve published my post in the public domain that it isn’t protected by copyright. But isn’t there some kind of an etiquette amongst bloggers? There is an ethical way to point to another source on the Web without republishing it without permission.

I’ve been blogging for about a month now. So I’m looking for the advice of more seasoned bloggers on how to deal with this time of online rip-off.

Information R/evolution

I’m almost done editing my 165+ page thesis which I’ll be defending at the end of the summer. When I look at this video, I cringe to think of what it was like to write a thesis back in the olden days!

Reference:

Leveraging Technology to Turn Virtual Organization into Vehicles of Collaboration

I love social media and online collaborative tools. I truly see the potential in it. The thing is, though I see the potential, I don’t think it’s being leveraged not nearly as much as it can be. And why? Perhaps because it’s relatively new and we are still experimenting with it.

Interestingly enough, I came across the following report from the workshops on Building Effective Virtual Organizations: Beyond Being There: A Blueprint for Advancing the Design, Development, and Evaluation of Virtual Organizations [PDF 3.3 MB]. The researchers identified many of the components, characteristics, practices, and transformative impact of effective Virtual Organizations as well as topics for future research that will inform the ongoing design, development, and analysis. So what is a Virtual Organization, or VO? According to the researchers:

A virtual organization (VO) is a group of individuals whose members and resources may be dispersed geographically and institutionally, yet who function as a coherent unit through the use ofcyberinfrastructure (CI).

I their report, the researchers discuss a “new technology continuum” they have observed in which, at one end, there is a grid to coordinate resource-sharing and problem-solving whereas on the other, there is a much more informal emerging set of technologies that are highly influenced by the gamut of popular social media tools such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Second Life, and so on which have changed how individuals congregate, collaborate, and communicate. The thing is, that at this end of the spectrum:

VOs may be more like “containers” rather than “vehicles” of collaboration in that they are not necessarily driven by common goals or comparable inputs. Nevertheless, VOs of this type may accumulate the results of many seemingly uncoordinated individual actions, creating a whole that becomes an integrated collection.

So how do we turn VOs into “vehicles” of collaboration? Part of it is harnessing and leveraging the technology and aligning it with processes, procedures and needs. But what else?

I’m quite interested in VOs, as I work in one. I’d say we’re leveraging quite a bit, but every day we face new hurdles and have to come up with solutions. Sometimes however, I feel we are so much in the trenches we need to take a step back and assess. If we were to building a model for VOs, what would need to be addressed?

Reference:

The Gen Y / Web 2.0 Way of Managing Information – Trend or Efficiency?

T+D Blog posted an entry today entitled There Is Not Much Difference Between Baby Boomers and Gen Y Grads. This slightly misleading title refers to a study which reported that new graduates, regardless of whether they graduated this year or 30 year ago, will make compromises to advance their career and succeed. This was probably in response to reports about Gen Y such as, but not necessarily, CIO.com’s October 2007 articles entitled Management Techniques for Bringing Out the Best in Generation Y and Employers Change Corporate HR Policies to Cater to Generation Y, Survey Finds.

What T+D Blog post does mention the report highlights as a fundamental difference is that:

today’s graduates are more community-oriented than boomers, and are more concerned with ethical behavior of employers and economic security.

Gen Y, Web 2.0 and Communities – a topic that has been in the forefront of my mind for a while now. In September 2006, I delivered a presentation at the Montreal ISPI Chapter conference entitled Designing eLearning Environments for Learning Organizations where I specifically addressed how the Gen Y, alternately referred to as “the Millennials”), have already incorporated social media technologies into their everyday lives and how forward-thinking learning organizations could leverage these spaces to get the communication flowing throughout the entire organization.

After watching this mash-up video on Informal learning & web 2.0 featuring Jay Cross, Donald Clark and Nigel Paine, I’m inclined to think that this wouldn’t be simply a trend brought forward by Gen Y, but rather technology catching up with the optimal and efficient way for professionals/adults to learn.

References:

Web 2.0 in Industry and in Academia

I delivered a presentation on Designing eLearning Environments for Learning Organizations at the ISPI Montreal’s 2006 Conference, which was assisted by Lt(N) Brett Christensen & Lt(N) Jason Barr of the Learning Technology and Innovation Cell of the Canadian Forces. Since then, we have been in communication discussing the role of eLearning/Web 2.0 to support virtual communities of practice and performance improvement

As a result, I have been invited to co-animate an interactive workshop with them on the application of Web 2.0 services to training, education and operations at the Canadian Forces Training Development Branch Association (CFTDBA) 2007 Conference on May 30th, 2007.

Click here to view the promotional Podcast (6 min.) to find out more. It requires the Flash Player to run

Here is the presentation team, minus Major Lemieux who had to leave right after his part of the presentation. In this picture: Lt(N) Brett Christensen & Lt(N) Jason Barr of the CFTDC R&D Company as well as LCdr Bruce Forrester, DTEP 3 and myself.

Designing eLearning Environments for Learning Organizations

My presentation at ISPI-Montreal’s 2006 Conference discussed A Systemic Approach to Designing Fluid eLearning Environments for Learning Organisations.

Presentation Summary

In a learning organization, a shared vision is built by linking individual and organizational performance objectives. The design of this organization’s eLearning environment must reflect this vision, empowering individuals, cultivating communities of practice and encouraging a holistic performance improvement perspective.

This presentation focuses on strategies for designing participative and collaborative eLearning environments. You will identify ways of assessing and implementing a new generation of eLearning tools that have the potential to keep learners curious, engaged, communicating and sharing, ultimately fulfilling a learning organization’s objectives.

At the end of this session, participants should be able to:

  • Recognize the principle requirements when designing eLearning environments for learning organizations;
  • Identify techniques and tools for designing networks that offer both collaborative and self-directed learning;
  • Describe the new generation of eLearning technologies, potential uses, strengths and weaknesses;
  • Select strategies for developing and implementing participative eLearning environments, and
  • Define criteria for success and growth.