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This challenge was both fun and difficult.  I needed to take a fresh look at how my site appeared to other people.  So here’s what I did and why I did it.

Additions

  1. Show Yourself – This widget (which I found at “The Groovy Librarian”) allows you to group all your contact information on the Internet in one handy, dandy tool.  I like that all the lines are hot links to the appropriate pages.  It eliminated the need for a separate Twitter tool.  I added this widget to each page of my site, since it simplified my contact information.
  2. Badges – I added to my “Library Wanderings” page my Badges from the Guide to Online Schools and PBWorks.  I wanted to share the educational aspect of my work.
  3. Categories – I hadn’t used categories up until now.  Now that my site has this page, I have a greater need to have one.  I decided (for now, at least) not to add categories to the review pages because the separate pages do some of that work for me.
  4. Flag Counter – I replaced Cluster Maps with Flag Counter when I began the Teacher Challenge because I think it is more interesting to see the various countries that people are from.  I like Cluster Maps too, but I think the flags are more visually interesting.

Subtractions

  1. Twitter tools – I had included a visual image for people to click on to follow me in Twitter.  With the Show Yourself widget, I don’t need the separate tool.
  2. Voki – While I liked playing with the Voki, I don’t feel an overwhelming need to have it live in my sidebar.  It also makes the page load VERY slowly, which can be an issue for some users.
  3. Poll Daddy – I decided that I will be removing the Poll Daddy poll in my sidebar soon, so as to declutter.

Aesthetics and Organization

  1. Color Coordination – This aspect was what took me the longest, but I like the results.  I went into the html of several of my widgets to make the colors and patterns follow the general color scheme of my site overall.  I was able to tweak the colors in my Twitter feed, the Flag Counter, and the Show Yourself widgets. 
  2. Organization – I tried to group my widgets in an order that made sense to me.  With any luck it will make sense to other people too.  I began with all the contact information, then the material in the blog, then Twitter, tags, and everything else.

So what do you think?  Do these changes work and make sense?  Is there anything else I should drop or add?