Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Dotting the I

Walter Scales examines everyone's favourite Education Gateway, NISS.

Do we like it? Yes, I, for one, do. At least, I’m pretty sure I do. I love the NISS logo - very elegant. A bit like the “tick” beloved of all educationalists (or, of course, the Nike “swish” symbol). The new NISS page is much nicer and more modern-looking than the old NISS page, and its pleasingly simple and minimalist look makes it easy for the eye to see the various sections.

I like the intuitive way the page is divided into “header, main body, and footer” sections, with searching offered right at the top; this functionality is emphasized by the three areas of the page having clearly defined colour-coordinated buttons. In general, I do like the 5 individually-coloured buttons going to the categories Education, Reference, Studentzone, News, and Noticeboard. I also like the way it’s clear now that NISS looks after sectors other than HE, but why does the Studentzone category seem to cater only to HE students? I also chuckled at the way the Studentzone is chosen to get the hip Frames treatment.

I find the pleasing effect of all the white space and gaily coloured buttons somewhat marred by the size of the explanatory text underneath the five category buttons. Better safe than sorry of course, but I think the text is just a little too big, or else there’s something odd about the way the page is laid out. The search group and the “about NISS” cluster quite rightly manage to get by without such text.

My only real criticism is that the new NISS face has an alarmingly transient look to it: a rather cute but mobile expression. It puts me in mind of the attitude my local supermarket manager seems to have adopted towards the arrangement of his shelves. I hope this isn’t so, as I like the new fresh NISS look. I guess the (thoroughly admirable) Contents and Help pages will be updated soon - come on those awfully nice NISS people, Help Page last updated 12th September?

In summary, a nice, attractive, pleasing face; a positive thumbs-up from my corner.

Author details

Walter Scales,
Netskills Trainer
Email: walter.scales@newcastle.ac.uk
Tel: 0191 222 5002