Widget Visibility

Prerequisite: Your sidebar / widget area is managed in the Customizer. Read my tutorial on the Customizer if you haven’t used it before.

Widgets in your sidebar appear on every page of your website by default. This is great, because it provides increased visibility for your most important calls to action. See the “Information Sessions” button on this page:

information-sessions

Click on the image to view the full-size version

This button links to the Events page on the same website. But when we go to that page, the button is still there even though we don’t need it. We’re already on that page!

information-sessions-2

Click on the image to view the full-size version

You may encounter situations like this, where you want a widget to appear on all pages except one, or maybe you want it on just one page and not all pages. You can make these customizations using the Visibility option on your widget:

widget-visibility

Click on the Visibility button and you will see the options to Show or Hide the widget based on page:

widget-visibility-2

Make sure you select a specific page.

And that’s it! Save your changes and verify the widget is behaving the way you want it to.

If you do not see the Visibility button on your widgets, let me know. I may need to make a change to your website in order for that button to show.

The Customizer

Note: Some Internet Explorer users have experienced problems with the Customizer. Try using Firefox, Chrome, or Safari instead.

I will be going through old tutorials on my website, updating them to reflect the new website template. However, the only significant change in terms of managing websites is the implementation of the Customizer, which I will explain here. In the past, you went to the Widgets area to manage your sidebar widgets, and you went to the Options page to edit the contact information that displays in the upper right corner of the website. Now, you will edit both of these using the Customizer. You can access the Customizer by clicking Customize in the Admin bar:

customize

Or Customizer in the Admin menu:

customizer

This will open the Customizer. There you will see the options for both the Header and Widgets.

Header, Blog, Widgets

As you make changes, you will see the changes reflected in the preview window to the right. Note that this is only a preview. In order to save your changes you must click the “Save and Publish” button:

customize

You can leave the customizer by clicking the X in the upper left corner:

customize

If you try to close the customizer without saving your changes, it will prompt you to confirm that you want to leave without saving your changes:

customize

You can click “Stay” to remain in the customizer and continue editing or save your changes. Click “Leave” to leave the customizer without saving your changes.

Finding page traffic numbers in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great tool, but in a previous post I explain why you have to be careful about drawing conclusions from mere traffic numbers. If you’re interested in seeing your website’s traffic numbers just for the heck of it, great. But avoid drawing hasty conclusions or taking hasty actions based on them. Talk to me first. If you want to see your traffic data, this post will explain how to find it. Continue reading

Web Wednesday Hangouts

This semester, I’m trying something new: a Google Hangout every Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. You can join from anywhere–your office, home, abroad. We can speak face to face, and even share screens so that I can see what you can see (and vice versa).

You’ll need to be logged into your Augsburg email account to access the hangout, and you will need to be on a computer with a microphone (at least) and a camera (preferred). There are also Hangout apps, so you may be able to join from a mobile device.

Join the Hangout or see the full schedule on my Meetings page.

Accessibility Guidelines

Making your website accessible is easy with WordPress. Most of the work is already done for you, in the technical design of the website, but some of it is up to you. Here are the main things you need to:

  1. Use Headings instead of bolded text
    • If you write a heading , highlight it, and click the “B” to bold it, then you have created a bold text that simulates a heading but is not technically a heading. Instead, use the options Heading 2 or Heading 3. Continue reading

Augsburg’s Brand Voice

Augsburg CollegeRecently, the Augsburg College Department of Marketing and Communication produced a document on the college’s “brand voice.” It describes how to write in a way that reflects the tone and character. Whether you are writing for a department website, an email on behalf of the college or one of its departments, or anything else, follow these guidelines. Here is the content of the document in full. Continue reading

Wasted clicks

Sometimes I hear people talk about the “number of clicks” required to get somewhere on the website. For example: “It should only be three clicks from the home page” or “Someone should not have to click that many times to get to it.”

Number of clicks vs. wasted clicks

It does not matter how many clicks it takes in order for a web user to get to a particular page or accomplish a task as long as each click along the way is intuitive and not wasted. Here is what web usability guru Jakob Nielsen wrote back in 1999 and the principle still applies today: Continue reading

Spring (Summer?) cleaning and your website

Websites are not unlike homes. When left unattended, when not maintained, they develop clutter and slide into decay. Unlike our homes, a website is open to the public, anytime, anywhere. We do a lot of cleaning and organizing if we have people visiting our home in order to give our visitors the best impression and experience. Now imagine that every day dozens or hundreds or thousands of people you are trying to impress walk through your house. That is exactly what is happening on your website. Continue reading