Posts Tagged ‘Web Design’


2009: A retrospective on my year of media development adventures

January 4, 2010

2009 was a banner year for me in terms of media development. It was not by any means my starting point in media, but it could go down as year in which my work achieved lift off. But all was done in the name of helping people spread information, express themselves, and/or strengthen their networks with other people to promote change. So, I thought I’d take a look back at my year in media development, get it all together in one place, take stock, establish something to compare 2010 to, reminisce a little.

Researching Extractive Industry Transparency and Journalism Development in Africa

I began the year leading a team through a study to assess needs and effective training practices to raise the level of business journalism in Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda. Our findings would then be synthesized into a report to provide training and media development recommendations to Revenue Watch Institute, which wanted to use training to improve business journalism, and promote extractive industry transparency. The best part of this project was that I got to spend two weeks in January in balmy Nigeria–a country the Bradt guide calls “Africa for the Advanced”–and meet face to face with Nigerian journalists, journalism educators, and media development experts. Lagos, in particular, was INTENSE. And fantastic. I also got a chance in this to bone up on my skills developing surveys and interview guides, building networks of contacts, designing a team research wiki, and producing a report of findings. Read the rest of this entry ?


Web Design Poll: What Frustrates You The Most About Donor Websites?

August 7, 2009

I’m conducting a poll of sorts here. I am  ask3184839175_9d16f48c33ing what kinds of frustrations you have had with websites of donor organizations, domestic and international. I encourage you to post a comment below about this (especially if you work in a country or an organization with very slow internet).

For instance:

  • Having to click a lot of links just to find the grant information (assuming you can even find it).
  • Too many high resolution pictures, slowing down your download.
  • Taking forever to determine whether or not an organization is still working in your particular country.

Like, let’s say you are sitting in the middle of Ukraine in 2004, like I was, and you are trying to find a grant for the local NGO you are working with. But, that NGO has a terribly slow internet connection, meaning that every time you have to click a link, it takes minutes (rather than seconds) to load that next page. And every new page just takes you deeper into a maze in which it is unclear whether you are actually going in the right direction. Is the information you want going to be there? If so, will it be current? Will you be able to tell if it is current? Answering these questions takes you 10 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour if your email service is sporadic.

Now, how are you supposed to access this donor’s support again? And how is this NGO going to help your community that is desperate for donor assistance?

So, please feel free to comment with some of your frustrations, experiences, and examples. Feel free to write just a few words, or tell your story of frustration and get it off your chest. (I mean, seriously, have you ever tried to get 2649344468_2713695c37frustration-free information from the United Nations website? Exactly.)

I think it would be very helpful to collect all of these thoughts, see what is driving the aid recipient community crazy about the way donors build their websites. Maybe if we team up, we can get the ones in need of improvement to improve their websites.

Photo 1:  Courtesy of ardenswayoflife.
Photo 2:  Courtesy of Lisa Brewster.


Web Design By Donor Organizations For Low Bandwidth

July 27, 2009

World of Internet v1.0.2There is an issue in the donor world that really bugs me. It has bugged me since 2004, when I was sitting in a small NGO in Ukraine that had a poor internet connection, and I found myself really struggling to find grant information that could help these people-this was largely attributable to web design that, instead of making it easy to find information, actually made it harder.

This issue bugged me enough that I finally finally did something about it. I was in Anne Nelson’s New Media and Development Communication course at SIPA, and capitalized on the opportunity to research this issue, put together a lot of my own thinking and experiences to create a list of recommendations and “how-tos”, and publish “Web Design By Donor Organizations For Low Bandwidth” on our wiki detailing a wide range of projects/findings/conclusions on real world new media and development projects.

I am certainly not alone in this frustration. In fact, I was talking to a fellow media developer who had a similar story. “I remember waiting many many minutes in ethiopia for silly pages to load that were just too heavy and finallly giving up,” he said.

Read the rest of this entry ?