Usability: February 2008 Archives

I just ran into the site German GROW, a site with cultural links for German teachers at It's run by the AATG (American Association of German Teachers).

Like the icons? It looks very Web 1.0. But click each link and it actually takes you to a page that the AATG has set up. For instance the Musik link goes to As you can see, the AATG has established their own folders within

This is an interesting design which I like because the interface is intuitive to a Web 1.0 educator audience, but actually leverages Web 2.0 technology. If you do understand, you can go directly to and even suck in the RSS feed. You can even add your own resources if you know how to tag.

But if you haven't had a chance to get acquainted with tagging yet (and many instructors are still in this position), the Web 1.0 interface will still let you get to that content without learning a new set of terms. As my colleague Tim Perry noted recently, "RSS remains an elusive concept."

The Organization is still in the URL

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One issue we keep wrestling with in ITS is how do we hide our organizational structure so that our Web presence can be more seamless to the non-ITS savvy user.

An interesting case is Studio 204. I must say it is a well-designed site and nowhere does it mention that it's tied to ETS, TLT or even ITS. It just says it's a video studio any student or instructor can access. order to access the site, I MUST know it's a part of TLT because of the URL (see that little "tlt" between "studio204" and ""?). My first guess was "", but alas I got a 404 error.

I'm really not trying not to play a blame game here (in fact I can hear some of you grinding your teeth an muttering "I know I know"). I also know that you do have to go through "channels" to get a URL like "" - although I also know that it's not especially burdensome.

But if you're ever wondering why people can't find our valuable resources - maybe it's because we've made some of our URL's more exotic than people can digest.