Category Archives: Tips

What watches can teach us about usability

Until a few years ago, I wore a wristwatch. Usually, a cheap Timex that was waterproof, with a back-lit digital display so I could see it at night. But after I got my first cell phone, the watch seemed unnecessary because the phone had a clock. Why carry two clocks around? I do have one nice wristwatch that I wear when I am dressed up for a special occasion. One such occasion happened a couple of weeks ago and it made me realize how much I love wearing a watch. I could check the time without having to get out my phone; consequently, I detached from my phone, because usually a check on the time leads to checking email and Twitter and Facebook. So now I want to get a watch for daily use, and in my search for a watch, I noticed that, much like with a website, I am trying to find the right balance of two things: Continue reading

The Problem with Google Analytics

Google Analytics screen

Confused yet?

Augsburg College uses Google Analytics to track our website traffic. It is a useful tool that does many great things. If you want to use Google Analytics to see information about your website’s traffic, it’s important that you know this one thing:

Google Analytics will give you numbers, but not actionable data. Continue reading

Accordions are bad. Scrolling is ok.

“Users don’t scroll long pages.”

“People avoid pages with a lot of content.”

These are two common misconceptions about website content debunked in a recent article by the Nielsen Norman Group. The article focuses on accordion menus, and how studies have shown that the use of accordion menus to show and hide blocks of content, in order to keep the page length short, are often less helpful than simply displaying all of the content, even if it creates a long page. Continue reading

How to Copy and Paste properly

Whenever you copy and paste content from a website or a document (Word doc, Google Doc, etc,) into a web page in WordPress, you’re also inadvertently copying code that you do not see. WordPress has gotten better over time at filtering out this code, but it doesn’t catch everything. While the page may look fine to you, there could be all sorts of problematic things happening in the code. Here’s an example of what it can look like:

This can have terrible implications for your page. It may cause unwanted yet minor issues, such as changing some colors and fonts on your page, but it can also cause more major damage, such as putting <div> tags on the page that can ultimately wreak havoc with the page layout.

The solution: paste your text in the Text tab (see above) and then format the text as needed in the Visual tab. You can use the Visual tab, but be aware that you may have to go back later and fix problem spots.

Linking to an email address

Linking to an email address is done almost the same way as creating any other text link. So if you don’t know how to create a text link, read my post about how to create a text link.

The Easy Way: Shortcode

If you are editing a page on, you can use this handy shortcode. Just replace the email address with the one you want to use. It will display your email address and properly hyperlink it. Continue reading

Changing your display name

If you have a blog, you may have noticed that when you write a post it displays your name as the author of the post like this:

You can change what is displayed there. It will be your username by default, but that doesn’t look great. What if you want it to say “Kim Stone” instead of “stonek”? Here’s how you change it.

Continue reading