Spicy hot – that’s me…

Your Score: Cayenne Pepper

You scored 75% intoxication, 75% hotness, 75% complexity, and 50% craziness!

You are Cayenne!

You’re known for your dry wit, saucy remarks, and ability to stimulate (take that however you want). People in hot climates like you for your ability to make them sweat, but you’re also quite good for people all over the world. Just don’t mention your cousin, deadly nightshade.

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid

I really don’t know how to feel about that…

PLE = Personal Learning Environments

I’ve been running across the concept of Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) recently in various blog posts, so when I noticed that Webjunction would be offering a PLE-focused webinar, I signed up! I didn’t get in right away, due to a glitch in the login, but I came in just as the meat of the presentation got going.
“PLE’s provide tools to allow users to take control of and manage their own learning”
3 principles of PLE

  • Interaction
  • Usability
  • Relevance

Why? “provide physical evidence of your self-taught skills” – great reasoning!!
Time? a few hours on setup plus brief, frequent visits with weeklyish review of information
Tools? Ajax start page (iGoogle, NetVibes, Protopage, Pageflakes etc.) recommended
Protopage offers mash-up of feeds – one feed box with all feeds included. Nice!
Topic searching services – del.icio.us, CiteULike, Technorati, Google Blog Search, SlideShare & Twitter Tracking – they all provide RSS results that you can pull into your PLE
“use what other people have already done”
www.pageflakes.com/mlx/14579658 – her “starter” PLE page, examples and information about PLEs
Review – Discussion – Evaluation
Her blog

The first slide I actually saw was a survey – how do you keep your learning stuff organized? The options were journaling, bookmarking, post-its, lists and something else I’ve already forgotten. I chose journaling because, as any long-time reader can attest – I do a lot of my learning and, perhaps more importantly, my thinking through what I’m learning, right here in the pages of this blog (posts of this blog? whichever…). Add an Ajax start page (and I already use iGoogle) with a focus on each of the topics I’d like to know more about with a way for me to easily post my thoughts about my learning here and I’ll have a darn near workable PLE of my own!

Update The archived Webinar that I attended is here

Web Form Design In The Wild

From the User Experience People at UIE comes a case study of usable, attractive web forms – http://www.uie.com/articles/forms-fairmont-hotel/share/. One of the things I need to do for the MRRL site is to determine the best kind and format of contact forms for us to use. This article series came at *exactly* the right time for me! The first in the series has 8 design “tips” that the Fairmont Hotel form the author used failed miserably on. The second in the series – linked to from the bottom of the first post – gives 6 more design tips using 2 other sites’ forms that failed as well. Of all of the tips, I think 7 (Always give people a way to easily recover from errors), 13 (Illuminate a clear path to form completion) and 14 (Remove secondary actions whenever possible) are the three most likely to help with user understanding of the form – and user completion of the form. I like the way the author took 3 forms, tore them apart and used the wreckage to deliver a nice, concise message about how to deal with forms on your site.

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