UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

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Blog Evaluation: August-September 2007

About This Document

This document provides access to the results of an evaluation of the UK Web Focus blog carried out in the four-week period from 28th August – 24th September 2007.

The SurveyMonkey service was used to carry out the evaluation.

The aims of the survey were (a) to get a better picture of the tools used by readers of the blog and (b) to solicit their comments on the content of the blog, its publishing frequency and length of posts.

A total of 39 responses were received. The responses are given below.

Q1. What tool do you normally use for reading the blog?

  • I visit the UK Web Focus Web site – 20.5% (8)
  • I use an Web-based RSS reader (e.g. Bloglines, Google Reader, etc) – 38.5% (15)
  • I use a desktop RSS reader (e.g. Bloglines) – 20.5% (8)
  • I read the blog at an alternative location (e.g. the Emerge, OSS Watch or MyBlogLog blog aggregators or via Facebook) – 10.3% (4)
  • Other – 10.3% (4)

Additional comments:

  1. I use Sage as plugin with FireFox Wed, 9/12/07 12:38 PM
  2. Read it in Thunderbird, via email alert – and also use Thunderbird to manage RSS subscriptions Mon, 9/3/07 11:44 AM
  3. Use Firefox RSS to look at the headlines, then click through to the ones that look interesting (all of them, of course!) Tue, 8/28/07 12:04 PM
  4. via email Sat, 8/25/07 10:50 AM
  5. Principally and it’s NetNewsWire. At work I read on the web, using Newsgator Online, which syncs (most of the time) with NNW Fri, 8/24/07 3:14 PM
  6. I have it as a feed in Netvibes Fri, 8/24/07 12:33 PM
  7. I read via the OSS Watch planet which I then read via a web based RSS reader or an offline RSS reader on my PDA. In other words I need to tick three of your boxes. Note, it is unlikely you will find many others reading via our planet, we don’t (deliberately) publicise its existence. Fri, 8/24/07 8:51 AM
  8. OSS Watch Fri, 8/24/07 8:28 AM
  9. I usually visit the blog after seeing the updates in my Jaiku feeds. Thu, 8/23/07 8:34 PM
  10. I read the syndicated feed on LiveJournal ( Thu, 8/23/07 8:07 PM
  11. via Livejournal Thu, 8/23/07 5:19 PM
  12. Google Reader normally.

Q2. What platform do you normally use for reading the blog?

  • MS Windows: 64.1% (25)
  • Apple Macintosh: 25.6% (10)
  • Linux/Unix: 10.3% (4)
  • PDA: 0.0% (0)
  • Mobile phone: 0.0% (0)
  • Digital TV: 0.0% (0)
  • Other: 0.0%(0)

Additional comments:

  1. Both Windows and Mac Fri, 8/24/07 11:47 AM
  2. because i have to at work Fri, 8/24/07 9:21 AM
  3. NetNewsWire Thu, 8/23/07 5:33 PM
  4. Pretty evenly split between Windows and mobile phone – it depends on if I’m
    away from a computer and time of blog posts. Thu, 8/23/07 5:04 PM

Q3. Have you added any comments to the blog?

  • Yes: 51.3% (20)
  • No: 48.7% (19)

Please provide any additional comments. If you haven’t commented on the blog, why is this? And if you have, do you feel that a satisfactory response is provided?

  1. when commenting on blogs, like to place in context of other comments, but comments made on original blog do not feed into emerge elgg comments, so feel less part of the comment conversation stream somehow – would like to support aggregation of comments streams if poss so we’re all part of the broader conversation perhaps? Mon, 9/3/07 1:09 PM
  2. Worried about looking like I’m stating the obvious, I always feel I should have something new and original to offer rather than just agreeing with what’s been said. Tue, 8/28/07 12:04 PM
  3. As of writing this, I’m not part of the blogosphere myself yet. Anonymous or dummy commenting doesn’t feel right. Sat, 8/25/07 12:15 PM
  4. I have been tempted on occasions, but as a newbie in this arena, I don’t feel confident enough to put pen to paper. Fri, 8/24/07 12:33 PM
  5. But not very often Fri, 8/24/07 11:47 AM
  6. I’m looking as part of my work, and don’t really have the time to put together a considered response. Fri, 8/24/07 9:04 AM
  7. I try not to make comments in blogs that require a response. For me blogs are for dissemination, they do not work well for discussion. I comment if I feel I can add something to the observation being made. If I want a discussion I will bring it up on a more appropriate location. Fri, 8/24/07 8:51 AM
  8. I’ve posted articles in response to your articles though Fri, 8/24/07 8:28 AM
  9. Yes, but the last comment I made seemed to disappear into the ether. Thu, 8/23/07 8:34 PM
  10. I haven’t commented (yet) because I haven’t felt I had anything sufficiently new/original to contribute. If I felt I had something worth sharing, I’d probably comment. Thu, 8/23/07 8:07 PM
  11. I often read a post and think about it, then forget to come back and post a comment! Thu, 8/23/07 7:00 PM
  12. (At least I think I have commented) I don’t normally expect a response from a comment, but it’s nice when it happens! Thu, 8/23/07 5:33 PM
  13. Lack of time! Thu, 8/23/07 5:19 PM

Q4. Please give your views on the content of the UK Web Focus blog

  1. Invariably relevant and thought provoking. Informed opinion that is not opinionated. Wed, 9/12/07 12:46 PM
  2. Interesting. Wide-ranging. Often timely in terms of web developments and usage in educational settings. Sometimes too many initials – not novice friendly, not much “how to” support. A conversation between people in the middle of something, talking between themselves, that the rest of us only partly get. Tue, 9/11/07 11:04 PM
  3. It’s a good balance of useful, interesting and fun to read. Quite like it. Tue, 9/11/07 6:01 PM
  4. Very good. Tue, 9/11/07 3:18 PM
  5. marvellous – timely, detailed, open, and invitingly humble! Mon, 9/3/07 1:15 PM
  6. Topics in the main are interesting, timely and well thought through and researched. However I find the posts about the technical aspects of the blog software you use (WordPress?)less interesting. Tue, 8/28/07 11:15 AM
  7. It suits very well to my current interests: a) digital libraries (having been working as a system librarian in the 90’s), b) new ways of looking at, working with and serving data, especially in academic settings, c) future of the university and its present stakeholders Sat, 8/25/07 12:49 PM
  8. Very interesting Sat, 8/25/07 10:51 AM
  9. Always interesting. Fri, 8/24/07 3:15 PM
  10. Excellent, I can’t remember reading anything that I thought was a waste of my time. Fri, 8/24/07 12:37 PM
  11. Entries and variety very interesting. I won’t read all articles, but will read some Fri, 8/24/07 11:51 AM
  12. Clearly written. Cleraly titled so I don’t take long to decide whether it’s something I want to read. Talks about a subject I’m interested in, in an easy to assimilate way. I’ve learned some good stuff – thank you. Fri, 8/24/07 9:09 AM
  13. Generally very interesting, but occasionally I feel there is a bit of a space filler. Of course, what is a space filler for me is probably very interesting to someone else. Fri, 8/24/07 8:53 AM
  14. Useful and intelligent information and thoughts on the applications of Web 2.0 Fri, 8/24/07 8:00 AM
  15. I enjoy reading it. Thu, 8/23/07 8:35 PM
  16. Informative and thought-provoking — it’s good to read a blog about ‘web 2.0’ that manages to raise interesting questions rather than being dogmatic about the ‘right’ way to do things. And as a less-technical webmaster I appreciate the focus on the social issues rather than the technical details. Thu, 8/23/07 8:16 PM
  17. I find the discussion of social software very interesting – although I don’t know much about code and programming, so this is a little bit beyond me. Thu, 8/23/07 7:14 PM
  18. I’m enjoying it and finding it useful… but coming late, there’s an issue that I would probably like you to revisit things you’ve done before (eg how to get usage statistics out of your provider, that sort of thing) that are not interesting to longer-standing readers… Thu, 8/23/07 5:38 PM
  19. Good overview of edutechweb world.

Q5. Please give your views on the frequency of publication for articles on the UK Web Focus blog.

  1. Ideal. Frequent enough to keep interested but not so frequent that it becomes a chore to keep up Wed, 9/12/07 12:46 PM
  2. Adequate – appropriate. My perception is they appear about twice a week (?) Tue, 9/11/07 11:04 PM
  3. I wish postings were somewhat more frequent. Perhaps it should be a more central feature of Web Focus dissemination? Tue, 9/11/07 6:01 PM
  4. Good. Tue, 9/11/07 3:18 PM
  5. beats expectations – at least daily, sometimes twice – always somehow useful so far Mon, 9/3/07 1:15 PM
  6. I think there are too many postings-I often ignore them because I simply don’t have time to read through such lengthy and frequent posts. Tue, 8/28/07 11:15 AM
  7. Very good as it is now. It’s essential that you are served with fresh news and insights regularly and often, especially when you follow the blog as I do: coming straight to the web page. RSS feeds are handy of course, but IMHO they tend to become either BBC-like (terse, trying to catch hungry readers of accidents and the like) or obscure, saying nothing (trying to be funny or artistic). Note that I’m not referring here to _your_ headlines! Sat, 8/25/07 12:49 PM
  8. Good Fri, 8/24/07 3:15 PM
  9. As I understand Brians workload and the diverse calls on his time, I am amazed he has time to produce as much as he does. I am happy with frequency at present, much more would be too much. Fri, 8/24/07 12:37 PM
  10. Sometimes difficult to keep up with all articles! But I would prefer too many rather than not enough. Fri, 8/24/07 11:51 AM
  11. It’s fine. Fri, 8/24/07 9:09 AM
  12. Drop the space fillers and it would be great. Yes I know others want to read what I call space fillers. How about writing a blog just for me ;-) Fri, 8/24/07 8:53 AM
  13. Just right, Fri, 8/24/07 8:00 AM
  14. Fine. Thu, 8/23/07 8:35 PM
  15. About right. Thu, 8/23/07 8:16 PM
  16. Given the usual length of the posts, the frequency is about right, imho. Thu, 8/23/07 7:14 PM
  17. Amazing: don’t know how you do it. Short ones are easy, but a considered article I find a lot of work to make relebvant and to avoid complete pratfalls (small pratfalls are acceptable in blogging, I think!) Thu, 8/23/07 5:38 PM
  18. About right frequency

Q6. Please give your views on the length of postings on the UK Web Focus blog.

  1. Almost perfect. It is quite easy to get the gist of a post and decide whether to read in full. Wed, 9/12/07 12:46 PM
  2. Shorter would be less useful (I think.) I view on Firefox (800 x 600) which is not ideal for a 3 column set up: sometimes (always?) the post-column is harder to read because of frequent line breaks. Sometimes (often) the right-hand side of images are lost. Please note: 800 x 600 is my choice (about my eyesight) and so I don’t expect everything to line up as it might. Tue, 9/11/07 11:04 PM
  3. Good – enough detail usually to make it worthwhile. The writing style is good – waffle free. Tue, 9/11/07 6:01 PM
  4. Good.
  5. as long as they need to be in order to give appropriate detail – so just right – and effort made to embed examples very helpful Mon, 9/3/07 1:15 PM
  6. See above Tue, 8/28/07 11:15 AM
  7. Nothing to complain. Sat, 8/25/07 12:49 PM
  8. About right…I would have to be honest and say |I don’t always read every word Fri, 8/24/07 3:15 PM
  9. They are a good length. There is very little waffle in them, which is good. Fri, 8/24/07 12:37 PM
  10. Works well for your blog – other blogs work better with shorter news snippets but yours requires longer discussion to get point across Fri, 8/24/07 11:51 AM
  11. They are on the long side but fine if the subject merits it. Fri, 8/24/07 9:09 AM
  12. Generally a good length. Longer posts could do with a one para summary to kick them off. Fri, 8/24/07 8:53 AM
  13. Just right Fri, 8/24/07 8:00 AM
  14. Fine. Thu, 8/23/07 8:35 PM
  15. About right. Thu, 8/23/07 8:16 PM
  16. I find the postings quite detailed – longer than several of the blogs I read, but the use of diagrams and screenshots etc breaks this up and prevents it from being an arduous read (large quantities of text on a screen, no matter how interesting, are quite difficult to read afterall!) Thu, 8/23/07 7:14 PM
  17. No problems; I have found them easy to read and digest. Thu, 8/23/07 5:38 PM
  18. Good length – images are sometimes a little large which messes up formatting on mobile and Google Reader

Q7. Feel free to give any other comments or suggestions.

  1. This blog is well written and presents ideas and technologies in a very clear way. It makes good use of links for finding our more. But it does not overwhelm either. A nice balancing act! Wed, 9/12/07 12:46 PM
  2. 1. I rarely do from your site to another? Why is that? I know you include external links… I’m sure you even have a “who I’m reading” list or something. Anyway… just wondering 2. Despite the title, I don’t feel like I learn very much about internet use in the U.K. Again, I’m not sure why… Is that relevant? (Maybe I should add that I’m from overseas.) Tue, 9/11/07 11:04 PM
  3. That picture of Brian – oh come on, how many years ago was that taken? That hair is soooo Kajagoogoo :-) Tue, 9/11/07 6:01 PM
  4. It might be good to categorise the sections – some are very technical focussed which is great but a user may only be interested in those more about management and concepts (for example).
  5. keep up the great service – perhaps even take on a network of distributed apprentices to propagate subtleties of ethos which may otherwise be overlooked as a legitimate set of “higher” skills – professional or otherwise Mon, 9/3/07 1:15 PM
  6. In general, I appreciate the blog and find it useful when I have time to read it! Thank you also for taking the time to survey your readers. Tue, 8/28/07 11:15 AM
  7. Currently, your blog is one of the Top 5 that I follow regularly :) Two of them are in English – the other one is Lorcan Dempsey’s, btw – the rest in my mother tongue, Finnish. Sat, 8/25/07 12:49 PM
  8. Keep posting Brian, it is valued. Fri, 8/24/07 12:37 PM
  9. Default text too small. Too much on screen makes it difficult to read? Sometimes screenshots are too big Fri, 8/24/07 11:51 AM
  10. I think it’s great to have the range of info you have and to report back on events you have attended. I’m not interested in reading lots about libraries or museums but on the other hand it gives me an insight into the bigger picture of information managment. Fri, 8/24/07 9:09 AM
  11. None I can think of… Thu, 8/23/07 5:38 PM
  12. Keep on blogging!

Willing for Name to be published:

  1. Kirsty McGill
  2. James Clay
  3. Stuart Yeates, OSS Watch
  4. S.Hollingsworth HEFCE
  5. Phil Wilson, University of Bath
  6. Alastair Dunning, JISC
  7. Tom Roper
  8. Matt Gallon
  9. Alison Wildish, Edge Hill University
  10. John Kirriemuir
  11. Ian Watson, Scottish Institute for Excellence in Social Work Education

5 Responses to “Blog Evaluation: August-September 2007”

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  3. […] of the UK Web Focus blog. The results of the evaluation, which was open for a period of four weeks, are now available.  The evaluation, which made use of the SurveyMonkey software, have two main purposes: 1)  to […]

  4. […] in the August/September 2007 I carried out a survey of the blog.  Three years later it is now opportune to revisit that survey, so I invite readers to […]

  5. […] launch of the blog. The survey was open for three weeks and attracted 27 responses. In comparison a survey carried out in 2007, shortly before the first anniversary, received 39 responses during the four week period the survey […]

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