Out with the old, in with the new?

I was recently asked to add a Follow us on Facebook and a Follow us on Twitter icon to the Media Zoo website. Not a problem I thought, both websites provide brand guidelines, logos and html to easily insert these features into your website. Unfortunately I hadn’t counted on Plone (the Content Management System controlling the Univesity website) and its portlets.

I wanted to horizontally align the two images within a portlet and have URLs on both images. Unfortunately after many attempts I couldn’t get this to work. After talking to the web team my options were:

  1. Include text saying ‘follow us’ after each icon. For me this defeated the purpose of the icons.
  2. Use an image map. This is an image where you can click on different areas of the image and they will have different URLs.
  3. Use a table. No, no and no. A table is for tabular data only, not layout. These icons would not fall into that category.

So an image map it was, which while better than a table is quite an old-fashioned approach to web design. But it worked:

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Now I do completely understand why CMS are necessary on a large website to introduce consistency and an easy to use approach for its editors. but without knowledge of best practice, by its editors, a CMS can still have its issues.

But it makes me wonder: do outdated techniques impact negatively on innovation? To quote Sex and the City: can you get to the future with your past still present?

Emma Davies
Learning Technologist

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3 Comments

  1. Source of problem: technology controlled by technology “experts” rather than teachers. Educational Establishment #fail

    Reply
  2. Sandra Romenska

     /  September 28, 2010

    Great post Emma, I wish WordPress blogs had a “Like” button like Facebook – I would have clicked it 🙂

    Reply
  3. Emma Davies

     /  September 29, 2010

    Personally I find that as one of those technology ‘experts’ your opinion can be overridden easily by teachers and this can cause errors (e.g. the use of tables!) but the best solution is always to be able to listen to either side and work out the best way forward together. Compromise (and content) is key!

    Reply

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