UCLA Portal Blog

Everything you've wanted to know about the Portal but were afraid to ask.

Archive for the ‘General Information’ Category

Why You Need a Content Strategist

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Do you need a content strategist to help strengthen your website? Here’s an article to help you better understand what content strategists do and why their work is so invaluable.

Why You Need a Content Strategist


Written by uclaportal

April 14, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Horizontal Attention Leans Left

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Another insightful Jakob Neilsen article about how users tend to spend more time viewing the left half of a web page, in contrast to the right half.

Horizontal Attention Leans Left

Written by uclaportal

April 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm

In Defense of the CMS

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Here’s a great article I found on Erin Kissane’s website incisive.nu. With much debate about the use of Content Management Systems, this article uncovers new perspectives that can help you better understand the role of a CMS and how you should be using it.

Click here for the article.

Written by uclaportal

March 19, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Goodbye, SkillNet. Hello UC Learning Center

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Campus Human Resources has launched a new Learning Management System (LMS) to replace the SkillNet system called the UC Learning Center.

The new system will utilize the UCLA Logon ID, and all employees must use their Logon ID to sign up for classes or to complete assigned training (e.g., Ethics Briefing).

Bookmark it today: http://lms.ucla.edu

Written by uclaportal

March 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Why Your Users May Overlook Your Site’s Important Features

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Jakob Neilsen, known by many as “The Guru of Web Page Usability,” shares his knowledge of Graphical User Interface (GUI) design strategies for today’s web developers. He addresses the importance of keeping actionable elements close to one another, as not to confuse or mislead the user.

An excerpt:

When buttons, drop-downs, checkboxes, or other actionable GUI elements are too far away from the objects they act on, people don’t see them. Often, users don’t realize what they’re missing and simply assume the features aren’t available.

Here’s the full article. And be sure to bookmark Neilsen’s web site for insightful articles about usability.

Written by uclaportal

March 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Shorter, Simpler URLs for UCLA Web Pages

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Here’s a helpful site you should bookmark immediately. UCLA Communications & Public Outreach has launched a UCLA branded URL shortener at http://ucla.in. The service allows users to shorten a long URL, share it and then track the resulting usage, while keeping the UCLA name as part of the URL.

For example, ucla.in converts this long link:

http://map.ais.ucla.edu/portal/site/UCLA/menuitem.b67ecc2ab4bd59c1ae13e110f8 48344a/?vgnextoid=38b9f9c37ed01210VgnVCM100000e1d76180RCRD

into this short link:


Unlike traditional URL shorteners, which can create URLs to any site, ucla.in only shortens UCLA web page links (containing ucla.edu). As this service grows, it can also act as a trusted URL to UCLA web pages for users.

Important Guidelines for Using Shortened URLs in the Portal

Though shortened links generated in ucla.in are ideal for use in email and print, this service is NOT intended to replace the current Portal standard for inserting links in Related Information or embedded links. You must still follow the appropriate method of inserting links by browsing for the article in VCM or by using “/go/<article ID>” or “/portal/”. Adhering to this standard will ensure the proper monitoring of Omniture analytics and broken links in the Portal.

You can also shorten the URL of any Portal article by clicking on its hyperlinked ID number located just above the title.

For more information, please go to http://ucla.in/9Hqfv7 or contact Mike Takahashi at mtakahashi@support.ucla.edu.

Written by uclaportal

March 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Seeing Content as Conversation

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Content Strategist Ginny Redish shares her views about web content as conversation with Lou Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld Media, a publisher of literature and webinars on user experience design.

Citing from her webinar, Redish explains how online content should be viewed as a conversation started by the site visitor. She discusses the importance of headings and keeping the conversation from being one-sided. Below are some highlights from the interview.

Read the entire interview here.  

Four helpful guidelines from Redish’s webinar “Content as Conversation”:

  1. Don’t hog the conversation. If you write dense paragraphs of text and web content that goes on and on without breaks, you are hogging the conversation. You are saying “listen to me, listen to me, don’t interrupt me.” Many readers will give up. When I do usability testing, dense paragraphs often cause my participants to start saying, “yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah,” and then stop reading.
  2. Take turns. Successful conversations allow each person to take a turn. In web content, headings are the site visitor’s turns in the conversation. That’s why good web pages break the information with well-written headings. And that’s why questions make wonderful headings for many types of web content.
  3. Market when the site visitor is ready for it. On paper, you start the conversation; so you can put your marketing messages right in front of people. On web sites, site visitors come very focused on their needs, their conversation. You have to satisfy that conversation before your site visitors are ready to hear marketing messages that are not directly related to their need.
  4. Respect your site visitors’ time. On the web, there’s always another web site, somewhere else to go, something else to do. Writing with simple, common words in short, straightforward sentences or bulleted lists or even fragments helps all of us grasp the information. We all read simple, short, common words quickly and easily; and high-literacy readers are often the busiest and least patient of your site visitors. Writing plain English is a way to respect your busy site visitors’ time.

Written by uclaportal

February 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm