Monthly Archives: December 2015

Free, no license white noise mp3s for sleeping

My wife likes to sleep with white noise, especially when we’re somewhere very quiet. We used to try always to have a fan running–they make the best sleeping sounds. But that’s not always practical. So we switched to using Youtube, but it tends to flake out when you try to play something for hours (or your wifi will drop off, or whatever).

Now I just make noise snippets in Audacity and play them on repeat in any music player. The amazing thing is that there are people out there charging money for this. Here are some for free:

I’m releasing these to the public domain, so you can do anything you want with them.

The brown noise one seems best. I may get ambitious one day and try to take the tone of the pink noise down. I’ll post it here if I do and it works out.

By the way, doing this in Audacity is easy. There are Youtube videos on it, or just go to the “Generate” menu and pick “Noise.”

Search-dominance and NYPL’s home page redesign

An earlier version of this post appears on the New York Public Library’s blog. I’m highlighting it here as a success in applying generalized web UX research to the specific needs and content of an institution.

Among my first tasks upon taking leadership of the Website Department at New York Public Library in late 2012 was to update its old and ineffective home page. Driving the strategy were a few important points that distinguished NYPL and its web site from many others:

  • a huge proportion of visitors used the home page simply as a pathway to catalog searches, leading to book-checkout transactions.
  • With 88 branch (neighborhood) libraries, and four large research libraries, NYPL was a HUGE institution, with a TON of great events and classes going on all the time, that hardly anybody knew about.

I wanted to support that aggregate search-dominant visitor behavior, but also to make people aware of all the other amazing things the library did (and still does). We needed a great, beautiful home page that didn’t make search any harder, but put those events right in your face.

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