My Web re Design- Process, Tips and Resources

Since I have been engaged in the redesign of my site over the last month, I thought that I will share some current principles and tips on good web/blog design. These were based on actual questions I was asking myself during my own process, as well as the resources I used. Although I've managed numerous ICT projects for NGOs, clients or governments, I've left most of the design work to the vendors (which as project manager, I should, anyway). But it is really when I am knee deep with my own site that I learn the most about design, and I'm constantly amaze at how many principles remain constant, how many others evolve or get created, and how some remain hotly debated.
Below, I share my web design process- from planning, choosing a platform, designing the site, and migrating older information and blog posts. (For a higher level, more comprehensive discussion on websites, you might want to first refer to my post "How much should a website cost" )

Conference: Legal Empowerment by Lund University, Mar 3-5, Lund Sweden

The Lund University Initiative on Legal Empowerment of the Poor is organizing a conference 3-4 March 2010, which will explore the legal dimension of the initiative. The Conference is organized by  LUCSUS – LEP in collaboration with University of Oslo, SUM -ANLEP.

Acronyms mean:
LEP- Legal Empowerment of the Poor
LUCSUS - Lund University Center for Sustainabilty Studies
SUM- Centre for Development and Environment, of University of Oslo
ANLEP- Academic Network on Legal Empowerment of the Poor


Official Announcement from Lund:
Legal Empowerment of the Poor: Exploring the Legal Dimension
The Lund University Initiative on Legal Empowerment of the Poor is organizing a conference on legal empowerment of the Poor 3-4 March 2010, which will focus on exploring the legal dimension of the initiative. The Conference is organized by LUCSUS – LEP (www.lucsus.lu.se/lep) in collaboration with University of Oslo (SUM) – ANLEP (www.sum.uio.no/research/networks/anlep/).
Created in December 2008, LEP is a strategic initiative for cross-faculty collaboration on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP). The initiative aims at contributing to the establishment of a solid and broad foundation for research across these involved faculties at Lund University on the issue of legal empowerment of the poor.
In June, 2008 the Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (CLEP) issued its final report entitled "Making the Law Work for Everyone". The Commission developed a comprehensive framework for legal empowerment, focusing on indigenous peoples, women and vulnerable groups, with four mutually reinforcing pillars: access to justice and the rule of law, property rights, labour rights and business rights. The Lund initiative also seeks to expand the scope of legal empowerment and will therefore advocate an inter-disciplinary approach to Human rights. This is chiefly done by integrating two additional dimensions into the pillars: the relationship between the national and the international; and the relationship between society and the environment.
Defined as a process which increases poor peoples’ ability to use the law, the legal system and legal services in order to protect their rights and interests as citizens, ‘legal empowerment’ is increasingly being considered as an important tool in ‘anti-poverty’ research and efforts around the world. However, there has been some critique directed towards the framing of the legal dimension in relation to LEP. Using this critique as a foundation, the purpose of this LEP conference is to discuss and elaborate the legal dimension of the legal empowerment initiative.

10 Myths of Development & Technology

Kentaro Toyama, a colleague at the iSchool at UC Berkeley and previously of Microsoft Research India, lays out his observation of 10 myths of ICT4D, which are what I see as examples of technology determinism.  These are myths that typifies technology determinism, which according to Wikipedia, presumes that "a society's technology drives the development of its social structure and cultural values". (note that Wikipedia also rightly claims that there is a spectrum of believers from 'Hard' to 'Soft', which I think appears in all sets of beliefs or theories.) I will be linking some previous writing to this post in the near future about current theories of ICT4D, but for now, I would like to share Kentaro's findings:



Who writes about ICT4D online?


I think this article from Global Voices has a great intention behind it, and is a good first attempt at creating some kind of organization of ICT blogs and sites. It observes that there are 3 catagories of people who write about ICT4D:
  1. People who both understand grassroots development needs and are proficient in ICT.
  2. Academics who are interested in the field. 
  3. Everyone else either comes from the ICT community, and open to designing tools for development/ social projects, or people working in the  development sector who need ICT solutions but have relatively low/ no knowledge of ICT. These two sets of people do not usually speak the same language
However, I think that there might be some oversimplification for the sake of straightforwardness. Moreover, the article might create some controversy, because it seems to imply that the first category (#1) of writers carry the most credit. Great article still, because I don't believe that anyone has taken the effort to survey the web space even as ICT4D as a field has matured.

Excerpt from Global Voices :
After several months of dedicated analysis and writing about how ICT for development is covered on the web, here are some thoughts about the online availability of information about ICT4D – from academic articles, to conversation, commentary, and citizen media reflections on what works, what’s difficult and what is worth sharing.

Materials available for Second IDRC-Harvard ICT4D Forum 9/23/09

The materials for the 2nd IDRC-Harvard forum on 9/23 (which I announced last year on this blog here) are uploaded onto the Berkman Center's site here: http://blog.sanng.com/2009/07/second-idrc-harvard-forum-announced-for.html
On the one hand, I was disappointed that many similar issues remain as 6 years before at the first conference (which I actually announced on this very blog here, yes, that long ago!), but am also amazed at so many changes that have taken place, some of which are: 


TISCO's focus is on justice needs in civil law. Key to our research are the individuals and corporations who use, are involved with, or are influenced by the law and the civil justice system. Taking a bottom-up approach, TISCO members develop, integrate, and apply insights from negotiation theory, conflict research, dispute system design, (comparative) legal research, network theory, behavioural law, and law and economics in their research in order to connect and extend the body of knowledge on building, maintaining and (constructively) ending horizontal relationships in which people and businesses are involved.

Core Competences
TISCO's core competences are in the fields of access to justice, ADR, and conflict system design; complex relational networks and (inter)dependency (e.g. contractual relationships, family law, bankruptcy, and tort); and behavioural private law. Some TISCO members are specialised in facilitating large and complex multiparty processes (consensus building processes and negotiated rulemaking).
Approach
Our approach is interdisciplinary and increasingly empirical-based. There is a strong focus on innovation, product development, and collaboration. TISCO is the only academic workplace in the world developing user-focused theories on, and applications for collaborative, interest-based, low-cost services and dispute system design. Salient examples of such projects are the Measuring Access to Justice Project (www.measuringaccesstojustice.com), the Microjustice Initiative (www.microjustice.org) and Rechtwijzer ("Signpost to Justice", www.rechtwijzer.nl).
Some of our research takes a more dogmatic route by researching new social phenomena, such as the increasing complexity of relationships and networks. We aim to provide the basics of a relational network theory of civil law, for instance by exploring the means to prevent coordinating problems in large building and construction projects and by developing new contract and governance models.
We do not do our work in isolation. TISCO members work closely together with legal scholars and researchers from other scientific disciplines within and outside Tilburg University, and with stakeholders from societal organisations, NGO's, and governments. We actively participate in national and international networks, and build new collaborative partnerships, such as the Measuring Access to Justice Network.
History
TISCO has its origins in the Department of Private Law of Tilburg University and in the Center for Liability Law.
Organization Chart:Professors:
Prof. J.M. (Maurits) Barendrecht(publications)
Prof. M.A.M.C. (Matton) van den Berg(publications)
Prof. W.A. (Willem) Hoyng(publications)
Prof.dr. A.C. (Bert) van Schaick(publications)
Prof. T.F.E. (Eric) Tjong Tjin Tai LL.M.(publications)
Prof. I.N. (Ianika) Tzankova(publications)
Prof.dr. A.L.P.G. (Alain) Verbeke(publications)
Prof. P. (Paul) Vlaardingerbroek(publications)
Prof. J.B.M. (Jan) Vranken(publications)
Prof. R.D. (Reinout) Vriesendorp(publications)
Prof. R.M. (Reinout) Wibier(publications)


Researchers:
M.W.F. (Thijs) Bosters LL.M.(publications)
R. (Rachid) Chetouani LL.M.
J. (Jael) Diamant LL.M.
Dr. G. (Gijs) van Dijck LL.M.(publications)
R.J. (Robert) Dijkstra LL.M. M.Sc.(publications)
C.J.M. (Karlijn) van Doorn LL.M.(publications)
Dr. M. (Martin) Gramatikov LL.M.(publications)
K. (Kathelijne) van Gulick LL.M.(publications)
Dr. S. (St├ęphanie) van Gulijk LL.M.(publications)
Dr. M.W. (Machteld) de Hoon LL.M.(publications)
R. (Romy) de Jong LL.M.
Dr. L. (Laura) Klaming M.Sc.(publications)
C.C.H.A. (Christel) van der Kop LL.M.(publications)
N. (Noortje) Lavrijssen LL.M.(publications)
J. (Jessey) Liauw-A-Joe LL.B.
J. (Janneke) van der Linden LL.M. M.Sc.(publications)
Dr. V. (Vanessa) Mak LLM(publications)
J. (Jobien) Monster LL.M.
J.M.H.P. (Anne-Marie) van Neer- van den Broek LL.M.(publications)
R.B. (Robert) Porter M.Sc.(publications)
O. (Omar) Salah LL.M.(publications)
P. (Paul) Sluijter LL.M.(publications)
C.H.M.A. (Cecile) Smid - de Munnik LL.M.(publications)
V.M. (Veronica) Smits LL.M.(publications)
W.J. (Wouter) van 't Spijker(publications)
N.E. (Nadine) Tijssens LL.M.
F.A. (Floortje) van Tilburg LL.M.(publications)
J. (Jelle) van Veenen(publications)
J.H. (Jin Ho) Verdonschot LL.M.(publications)
J.A.A.M. (Jiri) Verschure LL.M.(publications)
C.M.C. (Corry) van Zeeland LL.M.(publications)
C.B.M.C. (Charlotte) Zegveld LL.M.(publications)


Research Fellows:
Dr. Paolo Balboni LL.M.(publications)
Dr. Nicole van den Heuvel LL.M.
- Margot Kokke LL.M.


Research Assistants:
J.J.A. (Jurgen) Braspenning