Author Archives: Jaye Lapachet

Graphic Design 101: Marketing and Data Visualization Tips for the Non-Designer

I ‘attended’ another SLA2020 session today. Sarah DeWitt, a former graphic designer talked about graphic design for the non-graphic designer. This was another 30 minute session, which I am beginning to appreciate more and more. The session covered:

  • How to create a layout
  • Choosing fonts
  • Choosing colors
  • Information visualization

Grids, type and color are the three most important components of a design.

I have created forms, signs and marketing pieces in the past. I have never been afraid of leaping in and just doing it, but I thought this session would help me improve my skills.

The first tip she had, which made a lot of sense, was to visualize your information in a grid. Why didn’t I think of that?

Sarah talked about fonts and noted that Serif fonts are primarily used in print while Sans Serif fonts are used more frequently on websites. I find that interesting and will need to think about it some more. It is good to know that I should just use one or two fonts in my design, but I can mix up the look by including bold, italics or regular fonts in the final product. Size is also useful.

Ms. DeWitt talks about Lorem Ipsum text, which we all have seen as it is used as a placeholder for text. I didn’t know much more than that and the presenter gave a brief overview. She included the information that there are generators that could be used when you need text, but don’t have the final version yet.

Another tip had to do with spacing. It was interesting to see how space between columns could make text easier to read without looking like the designer had intentional put a big space in the text.

Color was also covered, though Sarah said that she didn’t have time in the presentation to do the topic justice. I thought she did a great job. One aspect of color that she talked about was evoking mood with colors.

i was impressed that Sarah covered color blindness in the section on color. I have never heard a presentation on color mention color blindness. It is an important topic and I am glad she talked about it. Coblis is a color blindness simulator you can use to test how your colors look to those with a variety of different types of color blindness.

Other important components of a design are:

  • simplicity and white space
  • alignment
  • focal point
  • flow
  • repetition

These tips or components track with design classes I have taught.

Information visualization, such as Infographics, were also discussed. Information visualization is a way to help us think about and understand data. In information visualization, less is more. One of the examples used a treemap example. I was interested to see how that type of graphic showed proportion.

Towards the end of the session, Sarah includes a list of free and subscription based resources. A couple that I had never heard of were Google Data Studio for information visualizations, Unsplash for images, and Gimp, which is design software.

For a 30 minute session, this one was packed with useful and easily understandable information.

SLA 2020 Awards Ceremony

Along with the rest of the conference, the Awards Ceremony moved online. A few of my colleagues received awards, so I wanted to attend. One of the things I found really interesting was the technology.

Remo Ballroom - SLA 2020

Remo Ballroom – SLA 2020

The organization used a program/web app called Remo. I was not excited about the virtual experience, but found it to work very well. It was easy to move around the ballroom and turning on the mic and/or camera made you live with your table mates. Being live made you part of the conversation and that sort of broke the ice for me.

The chat window was pretty active throughout the presentation. Remo could do a little better by making most or recently used emojis stay at the top of the emoji pop-up. I would also have liked to ‘like’ other people’s chats and be able to tag them in one of my chats.

One of my table mates brought out the whiteboard, so we all tried that out. Networking in this way was not on my to do list, but I found it enjoyable, especially when I got to chat with people across the country and who I only see at SLA conferences.

Of course, the award recipients were all eloquent and really deserved their awards.

I am a little confused about why SLA is using more than one platform, but I imagine there is a good reason.

All-in-all I found the technology to be a bonus and easy with which to familiarize myself.

Agile Principles and KM

I am struggling a little bit with scheduling at the SLA 2020 conference, but decided to dive in and try watching a pre-recorded session after watching the opening remarks live.

Applying Agile Principles to Ensure the Success of Your KM Strategy by Guillermo Galdamez

Agile is often cited as a requirement in various job descriptions, so I thought this would be a good session to attend. Also, it was listed as a 15 minute session. Since I had to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed at the crack of dawn (East Coast time is being used for the conference while I am on West Coast time) for the opening remarks, I thought a short pre-recorded session would work.

Guillermo’s session was very helpful and I think there are things I can take with me to my next opportunity.

One of his most helpful slides was the cost of not having KM in your organization:

  • Impeded decision making
    • Creating information anew doesn’t always provide the full picture
  • Knowledge loss when employees depart
  • Slower learning, upskilling
    • People don’t know who has specific skills, knows the institutional history or where to find training, so an employee has to recreate the skillset, which takes time.
  • Productivity loss
    • this can come in the form of sending an email for some information and having to wait for that information
    • It can also be that the information cannot be found, so the employee has to recreate it. This takes time when they could be working on something else.
  • Inconsistent and incomplete information
  • Limited innovation and strategic thinking
  • Ineffective collaboration

All of these lead to lowered employee satisfaction and morale.

Guillermo also briefly laid out the Common elements of a KM strategy:

  • current state assessment
  • benchmarking
  • visioning and target state definition
  • road mapping
  • implementation

I have used these principles for a long time, but it is great to see them laid out in a coherent manner.

The presenter also gave a brief overview of Agile, which the audience was reminded, is more about interactions than technology. In addition, he said:

  • Focus efforts on creating a usable product with business value
  • Engaging with customers is the best way to build trust
    • this begs the question of all the substandard customer support out in the technology world.
  • Leave room for emergent solutions / responding to change is more important than following a plan

He talked about 5 principles to include Agile in your KM practices:

One

  • Create an opportunity to learn after each milestone
    • this will bring closer alignment to the customer’s needs
    • it will also improve the team’s performance and, I think, create more satisfaction for the team

If the team discusses what went well and what could have been improved in a way that focuses on learning rather than blame, people are happier. They are happy to move forward, they don’t leave the meeting feeling underappreciated and undervalued. This approach can help to build trust within the team.

Two

  • Make team’s work and workflow visible
    • helps team members coordinate their work, which is helpful if one step is dependent on another. It also keeps the team well informed.
    • increases team accountability
    • brings clarity among complexity

Three

  • Invite constant feedback
    • inviting feedback ensures the team understanding of customer needs and objectives
    • surfaces conflicting priorities or requirements
    • co-creation leads to ownership
    • allows for knowledge transfer between project team and stakeholders

Often this can mean meetings, but the opportunity to ask for clarification or identify new issues is really valuable. Constant feedback also focuses on the collaborative aspects of meetings.

Four

  • Break down recommendations into smaller activities, then iterate and expand
    • smaller tasks reduce risk and are easier to accomplish. They also make the whole project seem less daunting
    • value is delivered earlier and team members see progress, which is great for morale
    • users are better able to understand and relate to activities with a targeted scope
    • there is an ability to adjust course as well.

With smaller tasks, the team can focus on solving a particular challenge as a team. More brains are better and the task can be accomplished faster than if one person was beating their head against the wall.

Testing in a limited timeframe also gives people an idea of how a feature will play out. Key stakeholders can see  progress as well.

Five

  • Engage stakeholders frequently
    • builds trust and understanding
    • identify issues sooner
    • makes difficult conversations easier

In situations like working from home because of a worldwide pandemic, having trust is key. Creating trust by being in the same room with stakeholders before the pandemic can be key, but we are improving our ability to communicate via video during the pandemic as well. It is also a good way to set expectations and objects as well as discuss obstacles.

 

These 5 principles are pretty basic, but just right as well. If  a team included all of these in a project, I think the team and project would be successful.

 

 

My only problem was that I couldn’t find the slides and would have liked to review them later.

SLA Conference 2020

After a rocky start, I got into the SLA 2020 Conference. I was awarded a scholarship to attend, so was excited to try out a new way of attending a conference. I have never attended a virtual conference like this one before, though the COVID-19 conference last week was similar. The first hurdle was the URL. The URL provide in the email started with icptrack… and my browser didn’t like that URL. Apparently it is flagged in some list. I parsed the full link and found a direct link embedded, which took me straight to the main page.

SLA 2020 Main Lobby

SLA 2020 Main Lobby

There is a lot to look at, do and see from the main page. I watched most of the intro video,  but since the welcome remarks were starting, I flagged it for later.

The chat window was helpful. People were identifying problems and others would provide solutions. I also looked at the attendee list and started connecting with people.

As a scholarship recipient, I have to report on some sessions (check back for those posts), so I watched a pre-recorded session called Applying Agile Principles to Ensure the Success of Your KM Strategy by Guillermo Galdamez. It is listed as a breakout session, but was just a short session. Despite my sad Internet service, I was able to watch it with no problems.

So far so good!

CM Start

In a recent talk on starting/brainstorming a content management plan, I suggested that people start small. That’s nice, but, then I went on to another bit of the talk. After the talk, I ran into a Washington librarian getting started on a CM program. I had seen him in the session and thought for sure he would ask a question, but he didn’t. I was glad I ran into him, because he told me what his library was doing and said he didn’t know how to start.

Content Management can be big and scary. Yes, you have to define what it means to your organization, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start with some small steps.

How to start:

The easiest thing to do is look at your events calendar. No matter what kind of library-or organization- you work in, events will be happening.

Pick out a couple of events

Create bibliographies of resources that support the event. Include town council  or management reports, videos, podcasts, websites, audiobooks in addition to the print and eBook materials that will surely find their way to your list. Do not segregate by format. If you segregate by format you are missing the point of CM.

Make sure your logo as well as suggestion to “Ask the Librarian for More Resources” and your phone number is on the sheet and pass it out at the next event.

Evolve that to a web page. If you can do it before the event, great. If not, put it up after the event. If you can’t make a webpage, scan it to PDF and create a catalog record.

You have made a good start. What’s next?

Internet Librarian 2018

I was selected to give a talk at Internet Librarian in Monterey again this year, so I went for a quick trip. My session was called Brainstorming Content Management Plans and I talked a lot about what I have discussed on this blog regarding content management.

Somehow my slides did not make it to the speaker site, so I am posting a pdf version here. I’ll also post the slides to Slideshare, if that is more convenient for you.

I was pleased to see a post about my session on another site. Shockingly fast reporting. The reporting is good, but do look at my slides and call if you need a consultation.

The wonderful Doris Helfer was the moderator and she did a great job. I also got a tip about continuing education courses held at Oxford University. I’ll have to put one of those on my list.