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Redish Chapter 3: New Designer versus a Mature Designer

I read chapter 3 with a bit of amusement. It brought back memories of my days in a hospital marketing department. My responsibilities were to create the print materials for the hospital’s marketing department. Included in that was an internal newsletter. Keep in mind youth, energy, ambition and an over-zealous desire to impress the hospital staff. I’m sure you can imagine what the first issue looked like that hit my marketing director’s desk for edit. The only that was missing was Comic Sans font. Otherwise, I think I incorporated just about every color, font size, type and every other mistake an over-creative new designer could find. Fortunately, my director was kind and patient. She instructed me in how to design effective and clean pieces.

Fast forward to a position in the IT department at a mid-west university. I was the technical communicator tasked with designing, developing and implementing a website for the Lotus Notes email system. Fortunately for me, I understood the concepts of color, space and typography. My website was much easier to develop as a mature designer, than it would have been had I been new. Our customers (we never referred to them as users, even though they were all internal university personnel) appreciated the information presented on the website and made use of it. It helped reduce support calls as well as enabled us to fill training classes. Understanding what is needed and how to present it makes it easy on the developer as well as the customer.

Redish Chapter 1 – Make it easy and they will come

Redish Chapter 1 – Make it easy and they will come
The Internet recently celebrated its 20th birthday with the relaunch of the first web page http://info.cern.ch/. In 1993, web content was static, much like a filing cabinet. Access was gained from a wired, stationary position. The equipment was expensive and bulky. People who were using the Internet were typically researchers and government employees.

Fast forward to today and we see an entirely different world. Information is accessible from any point on the globe, and beyond (such as from a jet flying overhead). Devices are getting smaller and more portable. Greater amounts of information have contributed to a rich environment of possibilities, but it has also caused an information overload. As a result, people no longer have the time to spend perusing a lengthy website. Instead, information needs to be short, accurate and readily available.

The point of the first chapter of Ginny Redish’s book is to understand the need for a good conversation with the people who visit the website. A conversation involves two parties. It is an active process. It requires effort by engaging with your visitors. In addition,Redish reminds us to engage with all types of visitors. Everyone has access to products and information when a website meets accessibility standards.