JavaScript Training with HOTT

I just finished a three-day intensive JavaScript training with HOTT (Hands On Technology Transfer, Inc.). The class only had four students; therefore, the interaction with the instructor was great.

The instructor was very knowledgeable and he has the ability to explain the concept clearly and made the programming language easy to digest. Even though he had a cold and lost his voice a bit, he plowed through all the course materials and gave us the important components of JavaScript.

What I got the most out of the course was the ability to recognize and read the codes. There were loads of information in three days to soak in, but I had learned what I needed to know about JavaScript to continue to explore on my own. The training turned out to be worthwhile.


Six Simple Typographic Rules

Six simple typographic rules I use as basic guidelines for setting type.

  1. Read the content first.
  2. Start with the body text.
  3. Choose no more than two typefaces.
  4. Apply grids and modular scales that honor content.
  5. Use hanging punctuation to not disrupt the text alignment.
  6. Allow generous white space.

Jan Tschichold on Good Lettering


Good lettering demands three things: — (1) Good letters. A beautiful letter form must be selected which is appropriate to the purpose it is to serve and to the lettering technique to be used. — (2) Good design in all details. This calls for well balanced and sensitive letter spacing and word spacing which takes the letter spacing into account. — (3) A good layout. An harmonious and logical arrangement of lines is essential.

The intro of Jan Tschichold’s Treasury of Alphabets and Lettering has useful guides on letter spacing of capitals and lowercases.


The Art of Floating

Unlike Thirsty, Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s dark, disturbing, straightforward debut, The Art of Floating is poignant, witty and unconventional. Like Tarantino’s nonlinear art direction, the stories unfolds in an imaginative, interrupted flow. The novel has 171 chapters. A long chapter could be a few pages and a short chapter could be a sentence. In other word, Bair O’Keeffe’s idiosyncratic approach should be noted for creative writing and fictional storytelling. In addition, one of her gifted skills were the ability to pen erotic scenes so damn well and hilarious too (check chapter 90). As hinted through the main character Sia, Bair O’Keeffe is conscious of the sophomore slump, but The Art of Floating reassured that the novelist has stepped up her game.


Six Timeless Typefaces From Adrian Frutiger

Frutiger on Méridien (1957):

The most important thing about Méridien for me was its even rhythm. However, the overall impression wasn’t supposed to be rigid, but lively and organic and therefore reader-friendly.

Frutiger on Univers (1957):

Univers, however, would have been unthinkable without a constant width skeleton, it was only the concept of a systematic widths that made the many varieties possible.

Frutiger on Egyptienne (1958):

[Egyptienne’s] a useful text face, as the baseline is very good, distinctive and stable under any exposure.

Frutiger on Frutiger (1976):

My masterpiece is Univers, but my favourite typeface—if I’m being honest—is the original Frutiger.

Frutiger on Centennial (1986):

Centennial is one of my most professional typefaces; it was created on the back of 25 years’ experience of type design, with absolute logic—and feeling, naturally.

Frutiger on Avenir (1988):

Univers was a striking idea, as was Frutiger, but in Avenir there’s a harmony that’s much more subtle than in the others…My personality is stamped upon it.


Highlights From Computers in Libraries 2014

  • Responsive web design still came up many times at the conference.
  • Many libraries are using WordPress for their web site.
  • For its web site redesign project, the UNC library team is consisted of 4 web developers and 20 plus content contributors.
  • The MacEvan library contracted out $50,000 to build an iOS app.
  • The Cornell team for its library project is consisted of 6 UX designers, 9 web developers and a handful of contributors

I wish we have a team or a budget like the libraries mentioned above.


How to Maximize Usability & Findability

Presentation from Shari Thurow at Computer in Library 2014

Searchers on mobile

  • Quick fact
  • Location
  • Personal information

What searchers expect

Use elevator as an example to guide users.

Usability tips for labeling

  • Don’t put prompt text in text form. Leave form empty. Put help text underneath
  • Provide the right contexts
  • A label must be representative of a page and section content on a web website
  • Page title is important for findability. Lead with most important word
  • Name your image with context. Example: not logo.jpg, but mason-law-school-logo.jpg
  • Don’t use gray for navigation.

Labeling system

  • document (descriptive)
  • navigation (concise)
  • content (both)

Responsive Design

For responsive design on mobile, provide full desktop site. (I am not sure how to accomplish that since the whole point of responsive design is to adapt to different devices.

Recommended book

Mobile Speech and Advanced Natural Language Solutions


Environmental Type

The third assignment for our graduate seminar was to integrate handmade type with a location. The environment can be private or public and any size. My initial concept was to create the word “Law” out of law books in the library, but the class didn’t seem impressed. So I changed the environment to my home office, in which I housed a dozen of books on typography. With the help of the books, I created the word TYPE out of matting board as a display on my table where I work. The project turned out well and the class liked the concept better.


Re-Imagining the Library Website Experience

The UNC team shared the process of redesigning the UNC’s library web site at the Computers in Libraries 2014. They set out their goals: discover, access, services, branding and device neutrality. They focused on the user’s wish list: search, hours, contact info, place to study, renew books. They chose WordPress as a platform. They had 40 people, including 4 developers and 20 plus content contributors, involved in the redesign projects. The most impressive accomplishments was reducing their contents from 10,182 HMTL pages to 250.

I ran the homepage to YSlow and it received a “D” for its performance. I took a look at the codes and the amount of CSS, JavaScripts and inline CSS are overwhelming. Sites like this showed that WordPress is getting as worse as Drupal. WordPress’s ease of use comes with a price. Slapping a responsive theme and throw more CSS on top isn’t the way to go. The UNC team didn’t seem to take performance into consideration for this project.


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