Archive for May, 2009

Loving the page layout of our siddur

Mishkan T'filah coverI’ve been preparing the program for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, to provide some orientation for the people who have never or rarely been to a Jewish service.  The prayer book (tziddur) can be particularly confounding without some explanation. There’s been plenty of controversy over the 2006 Reform siddur, Mishkan T’filah (“dwelling place for prayer”)—what should have been left in or left out, how much it weighs, accuracy of translation, gender-inclusive language that is too disruptive for some, etc. All that aside, I love the information design. The layout facilitates a more accessible service than its predecessor, using navigational cues and transliteration and translation for most prayers. It invites sinking in to each prayer through generous white space across a full two-page spread.

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Google Analytics Call to Action Trips Me Up

Access analyticsGoogle analytics login is like no other Google app. It always takes me a minute to figure out how to sign in. Every other Google app offers login on the top level page with a submit button: "Sign In." Below the login, there is a call to action (big blue button) to "Create Account" or "Get Started." Analytics, on the other hand, offers a text link to "Sign up" and the call to action button, "Access Analytics" takes you to the login. Access analytics? Couldn’t it at least say "Login?" How about just following the login design of every other Google app?

Google Apps Login Areas

Using PicoCrickets to Teach Debugging

P.I.C.O. Cricket program for a purring catWe ran into trouble yesterday trying to make a cat meow when left in the dark. The cat was a PicoCricket, a programmable kit for making creations that move, make sounds, and light up based on inputs like touch, sound, and light. We were trying to make a cat that purrs when it’s dark, but the thing purred no matter the light conditions. I did not plan it, but it turned into a good debugging exercise for my daughters (ages 10 and 12). The image on the left shows the program with which we began, which was running in concert with a similar program (stack of blocks) to make the cat’s collar light up. (This is one of the sample projects sent with the kit.) The program on the left basically instructs as follows: "Keep doing the following: if the sensor is picking up light at a brightness of less than 20, then play the sound of a kitten." ("20" what, I am not sure.)

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