UCLA Portal Blog

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

Wise Words: How to Influence Readers with Kairos

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Check out this article by Colleen Jones on A List Apart. It highlights strategies for selecting the right words to connect with your readers.

Words that Zing by Colleen Jones


When someone consults a website, there is a precious opportunity not only to provide useful information but also to influence their decision. To make the most of this opportune moment, we must ensure that the site says or does precisely the right thing at precisely the right time. Understanding the rhetorical concept of kairos can help us craft a context for the opportune moment and hit the mark with appropriately zingy text.


Written by uclaportal

February 10, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Strategizing Web Content

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Here’s a valuable blog post from Shay Howe, a professional web and user experience designer. He details the recommended strategies for creating web content that’s relavent, up-to-date and easy for readers to grasp quickly.

Strategizing Web Content

Written by uclaportal

January 26, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Best Practices

The New UCLA Sign-In Page

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As you’ve probably heard, on January 31, 2010, a new sign-in page will be seen before accessing UCLA web applications and services. The only visible change will be the page’s new look and feel. For all the details, please visit the Portal article below:

The New UCLA Sign-In Page

Written by uclaportal

January 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

How to Write for New Readers

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Here’s a great article about how to write for new readers.

An excerpt:

The trick to writing for new readers is that they’re the least patient with our content… unlike regular readers, they may not hold out long enough to get to the juicy part of our posts; they may also gloss over the subtlety in our writing… Since they’re new, sound content that helps them can give them a huge boost in their ability to do whatever they’re trying to do.

IttyBiz Article: How to Write for New Readers

Written by uclaportal

January 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Hard Returns & How Different Browsers Display Them

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Internet Explorer, Safari, FireFox, Chrome, Opera, oh my. With so many browsers available these days, it’s important that your Portal articles look similar across the board. A common concern among Portal content contributors has been the formatting issues that arise when using “hard returns” (the Enter key). In articles that contain multiple tables, sometimes the tables appear horizontally adjacent to one another, when they should really appear vertically above or below one another. Content contributors often hit the Enter key numerous times to force the table in its proper place. However, this can create formatting problems (large chunks of blank space) when the article is viewed in different browsers.  

Here are some tips to help you along.

  1. Obviously you should test your articles in different browsers. Try viewing your articles in older versions of browsers; there’s no guarantee that all your users are using the most recent version.
  2. Remove hard returns by center aligning the table.
    • Select the table
    • Right-click on the table’s outline
    • Select Properties> Table Properties
    • In the Table Properties window, set the horizontal alignment to CENTER

Doing this will reveal all the hard returns you’ve inserted to force the table in place. Delete those erroenous hard returns and the awkward white space should disappear.

As always, the Portal team is here to help. If you find yourself struggling with tables or other formatting issues, feel free to contact us at aisportaleditor@ais.ucla.edu.

Written by uclaportal

January 15, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Nesting: Helpful HTML Code for Simple Tables

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I was pointed to this great article by one of our Content Contributors. It’s about Nesting, or what some have called “tables within tables.” If you use graphics, bullet points or numbering in table cells, this article can help you better organize your content.

Nesting HTML Tables Tutorial

In your E Web Edit Pro toolbar, click on the View Source button, circled in the image. This will switch it to HTML view. Simply copy and paste the HTML code, and click on the button directly to the left of the View Source button to switch back to normal view.

I hope you find this article as valuable as I have.

click the button to switch to HTML view

The button switches to HTML view.

Written by uclaportal

November 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Content Strategy: What is it?

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I read an outstanding article today and I must share it with you. Rachel Lovinger, a Content Strategy Lead for Razorfish, contributed the below article to boxesandarrows.com, a site dedicated to the practice, innovation and discussion of design. In it, Lovinger shares valuable insight into the ideology behind content in new media.

Of particular importance:
“How did the need for detailed focus on content emerge in the heavily visually oriented field of web design? As website functionality has increased and web users have become savvier, sites have had to meet the demand for sophisticated interaction and more content to support it. But simply more content won’t do; it has to be accurate and relevant. It has to be meaningful.”

I hope you enjoy her thoughts as much as I have.

Link to boxesandarrows.com article by Rachel Lovinger

Written by uclaportal

November 2, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Best Practices