Thursday, May 29, 2008

Design Envy

I am working on a project to help 8 hospitals have an Internet presence for their users. We wanted something with a cohesive look and feel so that doctors going from one hospital to another would be familiar with finding things. We wanted something that could be easily edited and changed by all of the librarians, because they don't want to be calling me to make the changes to the web page. We needed a hosted site because we don't have a server.

After going through our criteria list and bouncing things around, it appeared that a wiki might satisfy our needs. The WikiMatix allowed me to compare different wiki platforms to see which one would best suit us. WetPaint had most of the critical features we needed. So I started creating the 8 hospital library wiki site and started to encounter design envy. I want to do so much more than WetPaint can do. I want to design a wiki site that will include the online catalog's search box and delete some of the permanent tabs (Members, ToDos, Invite) within WetPaint that might be confusing to our users. I want to make a nice header graphic listing each hospital with hotspots within the graphic linking to each library's wiki page. That way when you are buried within Hospital A's page you can easily click on the header and jump to Hospital B instead of scrolling through the left hand list of 8 hospitals. And while I was at it why not create a whole new skin which better incorporates my branding.

Hmm, some great ideas but from what I can tell it isn't going to happen because WetPaint doesn't allow HTML editing. WetPaint only supports widgets (which the catalog box would be) that are embedded Flash content or published in internal frames. And WetPaint is not real keen on messing with their overall style (skin) and deleting some of their WetPaint features (Members, ToDos, Invite tabs).

So scrap WetPaint? Well not necessarily. As I mentioned, given our unique criteria WetPaint emerged as the wiki leader for us. It just means that I must scale back my design aspirations. Instead of the search box for the catalog on the wiki page, I can easily link out to the Web OPAC. Instead of a nice graphic hotspot embedded header, I can create a normal nice graphic header without hotspots. I have to remember that for some of these hospitals this is the first time they will ever have any sort of Internet web page, so they may not need all of the bells and whistles yet.

I just have to remember to keep things in perspective to try and curb my design envy.

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The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: