CrossSearch is the University of Dundee’s database for journal, magazine and newspaper articles. It’s useful for quickly surveying what’s available in a particular area, then accessing PDFs or physical copies of things you’re interested in.
Using CrossSearch for the first time can be tricky but once you’re used to it, it’s a piece of cake… Well, very chewy cake.
Read the tutorial to get started or, if you prefer, view the video walkthrough below.
Twitter’s List feature allows you to group together people by common topic (e.g. “friends”, “textile designers”, “news”) and get an overview of what’s being said. The benefit of Twitter Lists is that you don’t have to follow people in your lists, which means your normal Twitter timeline can be kept under control. Here’s how to create a list.
What’s your WordPress site address? Is it easy to remember? If you put it on business cards and give it to potential clients or customers, does it send the right signal?
Maybe you should think about changing it to something easier and a bit better…
WordPress has just announced that it is making .me domains available to users. The easiest way to turn your wordpress.com URL in to something a bit more professional (and easy to remember) is to upgrade your WordPress account and adopt a .com, .org or .net domain. That might be quite easy if your site address is uncommon, but if you want to use your name, there’s a strong chance it’s already gone. So this new addition means you can easily (and affordably) change your site address to something like “johnsmith.me” instead of “johnsmith.wordpress.com”
To upgrade your WordPress account and get a better URL, read the instructions. It’s just under £2 a month.
A great article – the first of a series – on making “Sketchnotes”, over at Core77. Take a look.
The recent rise of the “visual thinking” movement in business borrows from the natural ways designers work—using sketches to explore and express ideas, manipulating complex systems of thoughts on sticky notes, and using rough visuals to make sense of the world. Humans are, of course, wired to be visual thinkers from birth, so it’s only natural that people are attracted to these tools, and the power they have to help solve problems and explore opportunities.
In the long list of tools one could use for visual thinking, sketchnotes are one of the most exciting. Simply put, sketchnotes are visual notes that are drawn in real time. Through the use of images, text, and diagrams, these notes take advantage of the “visual thinker” mind’s penchant for make sense of—and understanding—information with pictures. Often these notes come out of lectures or conferences, and have gained a lot of attention and interest in the past few years when people post scans of their sketchbooks from events like SXSW or various design conferences for the whole internet to see.
via Sketchnotes 101: Visual Thinking – Core77.
Adding a watermark to your images is a good way of preventing them being used inappropriately by others, and for branding your pictures. This short tutorial uses Photoshop to apply text and image-based watermarks.
Read the whole thing at Watermark your images in Photoshop « Design Studies at Dundee.
Uploading your images to the web or sharing them by email is an essential part of showing off your work to others. But what about copyright? Although you can put statements on websites, or use Flickr’s copyright features, images can easily be downloaded with the best intentions but separated from your contact info. Once someone has an image of yours and wants to get hold of you, how can they?
This tutorial shows you how to use Photoshop to embed your contact details and copyright info in to images you share with others.
Read the full tutorial at Embed your details in images « Design Studies at Dundee.
UX Magazine has a good overview of the concept of a “persona”. Although the focus is on developing a “user experience” personas can also be used in other design fields. For example if you’re developing a brand, or interior, or even a range of jewellery, having a “persona” to hand can help you fix in your mind who you’re designing for.
“What Is a Persona?
A persona represents a cluster of users who exhibit similar behavioral patterns in their purchasing decisions, use of technology or products, customer service preferences, lifestyle choices, and the like. Behaviors, attitudes, and motivations are common to a “type” regardless of age, gender, education, and other typical demographics. In fact, personas vastly span demographics.
Read the full article at Personas: The Foundation of a Great User Experience | UX Magazine.
If you’re not using Dropbox, you should take a look. It’s a free service for synchronising and sharing files with other computers and other users. I use it all the time so that files I’m working on are on my laptop at work, my iMac at home and even on my iPhone and iPad when I’m out and about. It’s saved my bacon a few times, including when I found I’d forgotten some important file and was able to retrieve it even though I was in another country…
It’s also really useful for sharing files, photos and music with friends and family, such as photos or for projects you’re working on together – so if you’re working on a group project you can set up a shared folder and everyone will get the latest versions of the files on their computer. You can even access your files via the web so if you’re out an about and need to show someone something, you can use their web browser to download the latest version.
More secure and less losable than a USB stick!
The Ultimate Dropbox Toolkit & Guide gives a good overview of the service and some top tips – well worth a read if you want to know more.
Remember it’s free and it’s really easy to use (take a look at the video on the Dropbox site) – if you can’t think of a use for it just yet, keep it in mind because it may well come in handy later!
Sign up for Dropbox here
One of the powerful things you can do with WordPress is add pages. This turns your WordPress site in to more than just a blog – in fact many people use WordPress to create their whole web site with the blog just a section of that (just like the Design Studies site in fact).
In this tutorial I’ll show you what the difference is between a page and a post, how to add pages and how to create a “hierarchy”. I’ll also explain how important it is to plan your site on paper first.
Head over here to read through the full tutorial.