It’s so hard to keep track of all the cool things you can use to juice up your site and all the places to visit for inspiration. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be raiding my bookmarks to share some of the tools & sites I find interesting & useful. Here’s a start, with minimal annotations and a pretty sketchy clumping, but I can assure you that following a few of these links will give you plenty to think about.
- SeeClickFix: The pothole reporting tool.
- Ning social media tools
- Cover It Live: Quick and easy to use tool for live coverage, online interviews & and discussions.
- Twitter widgets: Several quick tools here, like the feed of Twitter references to “online journalism” that I liked enough to stuff into my right column.
- Intense Debate
- WebCreme.com: Great spot for general website design inspiration.
A handful of useful web tools and widgets
- WidgetBox: Lots of widgets to explore here
- Yahoo Pipes: Build your own…
- Scribd: Embed documents.
- QR codes: Learn the basics on Wikipedia.
- Document Cloud: Inserting supporting documents. Bit geeky, but effective.
- ReadWriteWeb: Online apps.
- iStockPhoto.com: Indispensable source for stock pix.
- FastOne: Good screen cap tool.
- Splashup: Online photo editing.
- EffectGenerator: Quick-and-dirty Flash tool.
- Tableau: Handy free dataviz tool. Check out the gallery to see what it can do.
- Thsrs: Quick online thesaurus.
- Free multimedia tools: 10 free and totally legal programs every multimedia journalist should have. From Adam Westbrook.
- DoodleBuzz: Silly, but fun.
- Wordles: Surprisingly revealing images. Screengrab the results for a quick illustration, like this shot of the NewsFutureNow.com home page in April:
- SMILE Widgets: Timeline, exhibit, timeplot and runway widgets. Haven’t tried any of these yet. I’m not thrilled by the design, but they look like they offer a quick way to augment coverage.
- How to: Create time-lapse video of a website.
- Great Tumblr example: http://newyorker.tumblr.com/
- Soundslides: Hard to go wrong with this slide show tool. Not hard to learn, beautiful results.
- Tips on using UMapper from MediaBistro.
- GPS Visualizer: One of my personal favorites. Very customizable, and it’s easy to upload lots of data. Includes batch geocoding tool.
- FMAtlas: Simple, but a bit limited.
- How to get a Google map from Google spreadsheet.
- Feed Journal
- Mashable: Always worth a visit…
- A Drive: This is a good spot for sharing large files. There’s a free plan for up to 50GB storage, and they let you upload large files, unlike Sky Drive and some other options.
- A Beautiful WWW
- Simple Complexity
- Visual Complexity
- Cool Infographics
- NY Times multimedia: They seem to have gotten rid of the vizlabs link, but you can find examples here. Such great work.
- MSNBC tools
- Chart Port: This site always has eye-opening stuff to look at. Great time-waster.
- That little Twitter feed widget I put on my site in writing this has already paid off, with a great link popping up to a post by Mindy McAdams on her Teaching Online Journalism blog. She tweeted a link to “10 Awesome Free Tools to Make Infographics.” I saw some good stuff there and will check them out…
Stats and data sources
- Internet stats: For more Net stats than you could ever need, check out the Complete Guide to Internet Statistics and Research and Interesting web sites for Internet Monitoring.
- ClickZ: Somewhat strange compendium of stats and charts from all sorts of sources. Great PowerPoint stuffers, especially for marketing-oriented presentations, but you do have to consider the source.
- For deep understanding of online trends the Pew work is great, and the gold standard when they’ve looked into something you’re following.
- Compete and Quantcast: Traffic stats for competitive analysis. I personally have found Compete to be closer to reality on the sites I know from the inside, but both are useful, even in their free versions.
General web building and design resources
This is obviously a huge area and I could never pretend to offer a comprehensive guide. But here are a few tried-and-true resources it’s worth keeping at hand.
- Web Style Guide: Formerly the Yale style guide. Well-written, thoughtful, comprehensive.
- W3Schools.com: Great resource for looking up a quick coding question. I especially like the Try It editor.
- IPTC: The source for standard news taxonomies and formats.
- useit.com: Jakob Nielsen’s usability site.
- 960 grid system
- BrowserShots: Test your page in basically any browser.
- Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate
- Markup.io: Annotate any web page. Handy for offering quick feedback on a design concept.
- Zap2It: TV listings and grid, movie times and more from Tribune Media Services.
- GasBuddy.com: Price tools & widgets.
- Financial Content: Like the name says; stock prices and news. Other options include Yahoo’s tools, Quote.com, Google’s finance gadgets and Wikinvest’s embeddable charts.