First post for DITA!

I have to admit, before the course began I was a little daunted by DITA.  Where new technology is concerned I veer towards being one of those “it will never catch on!” people until it reaches a critical mass – and then I meekly get on board with it.

Complicating this is the fact that I work in the e-services team at Birkbeck Library, University of London, where the sole purpose of our jobs is to remain abreast of information technology and figure out how best to present it to students (i.e. information architecture!).  I also job share as the Library Access Support co-ordinator, supporting students with disabilities and dyslexia, and assistive technology is hugely important for these students.

So, it’s clearly time for an attitude adjustment.  I’m looking forward to it.

I chose this specific blog template as it seemed the cleanest and simplest to read.  These days, I am thinking a lot about information architecture in the context of my work with visually impaired students.  I work with blind students who utilise software such as JAWS, which reads out loud to the user, and navigates a webpage using keyboard tabbing. This is all dependent on the behind-the-scenes structure of the website, how things are tagged and ordered and so on, and very quickly it becomes obvious which websites have been constructed with thought for the end user – all end users – and which have not.  Reluctantly I have learned to be impressed with Apple, who (despite the many problematic issues around the production of their products and treatment of human workers) create technology that can be navigated by users of all abilities.

In terms of the final look of my blog, in the end I was not very happy with the out of the box colours or size of the text, and I will be changing this down the track when I have more time.  Good information architecture is essential for widening participation in education and the democratic dissemination of knowledge!  All things that drew me to becoming a librarian in the first place.  So, teach me DITA!

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