Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Shuttering at the thought Once upon a time, window shutters actually had a function. You could open them to let the light in, close them to keep out the rain, and adjust the slats to let in a breeze. Now that central air and storm windows have taken over those homely duties, there’s not much left for the shutter to do. But they are still with us, often nailed fast to the sides of gigantic picture windows in comic disproportion.

Whatever happened to form following function? It’s easy to see the humor here, but why don’t we see the gobs of similarly obsolete ornamentation in our websites and print materials? Curlicue color backgrounds, blinking buttons, arrows pointing in all directions, sun bursts, and drop shadows are cluttering our messages. Luckily, there’s an easy fix. Look at every element on the screen or page and ask, “What does this do?” If you can’t answer, then your audience probably won’t know why it’s there, either.

Contributed by Domenica