Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Winding Down

I am looking forward to the last two weeks of class. It doesn't seem like it's going to be too bad because this is the part where individual creativity comes in - not that I have any! I just hope that I don't forget to do anything - seems to be alot sometimes. Anway...I'm off...!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Week 4 Reflections

Wowzers. This past week was rough. I found that the labs took a long time to do. There was quite a difference between Photoshop 6 and version 7 that I downloaded from Adobe.com. I found myself using the Help section alot because the instructions were not clear (for one of my labs at least). I was glad to be finished with the labs. In my opinion, there is way too much homework in this class - but, that's my opinion - I don't get paid to think (ha!). I'm not very fond of Photoshop - I'd rather do HTML codes all day.

Accessibility - accessibility forces you to look at your potential web audience as a whole in order to customize content and web information for everyone, universally, regardless of impairment/disability (this pertains to physical as well as technical). There are many things to consider such as ensuring sure that 1)text can be re sized 2) forms are accessible and user friendly 3) having written transcripts for the hearing impaired 4) designing your website for those whose browsers do have support images by using alternative text 5) ensuring that the "shift" and "tab" keys can be used throughout your website (for those that do not have use of a mouse). Obviously, these are just a few checkpoints to think about on the technical side when designing a webpage. There are free programs on the Internet that can help you check your site for accessibility (Bobby and Wave).

Usability - making sure that yours site is "usable" and easy to use/user friendly. Your site should be easy enough to navigate through without making the user think too much. Awesome. I think I can do that part! Personally, as much as I love the Internet, if a site is not easy to use, regardless of how pretty the graphics and colors are, I will "x" out of it immediately.

It's awesome to be able to have the freedom to create your own website whether it's for commercial or personal purposes. The advantages/disadvantages of creating your own website as opposed to getting someone else to do it for you basically boils down to time, money and vision. Obviously, it is cheaper to create your own website but your website could suffer if you are not tuned into all of the technical information that is needed to make your website a success. On the other hand, if money is more of a friend to you than time is, it would be well worth it to hire someone to do this for you (providing that they are reputable and are able to clearly communicate and incorporate your personal vision and passion into your website - if not - well that's another page to incorporate in the Cumbersome WebSite Designing Process).

It's nice to have options right? As Michael Jackson would squeal "HE HEEEE"!!! R.I.P. Michael.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Photoshop Download

I was able to go to Adobe.com and download Photoshop 7 - awesome. I am happy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Week 3 Reflections

WOWZERS...the lab, the reading, the evaluations were way heavy for me this week - but I got through it. Out of everything, I really enjoyed doing the HTML lab! Can't wait to add pictures. Yay! The information in the book was really helpful - I like the fact that the book is easy to read and alot of information is repeated. The chapters focused on how simplicity, organization and clarity is way to go. Wow - I had the CRAP principles working inside of me all along before I even took this class - I used to think that I was just being lazy when I didn't want to go through a website because of it being to wordy and not simple enough - see there - innate CRAP residue working on the inside all along! HA! The principles of index/site mapping, responsible linking, and mapping out a general plan/list of things to be included in your website it pretty much common sense. Information found in diigo and the Wilson Web database was much more technical. Actually, I used the information found in the "Evaluating Websites" in articles to complete the website evaluation assignment - these articles seemed to have the same information repeated in them for the most part. The Kim Guenther article was more difficult for me to understand though. WHOA.

The information that I have learned will not only help me to create an organized and clear website,but I will also have a "universal focus" and be mindful of the standard monitor settings - one size surfing (800x600) and alt labels for those that do not have graphics. As far as me being more critical of websites - yes of course - the more you learn the better you understand things!

I'm anxious about the lab due for next week - I wanted to get a head start on it this week but obviously this week was way way heavy so I didn't get to it. Wow. I hope I make it through this class in one piece. The day after the last day of this class (7/14) - I will be on vacation - a much needed one let me tell ya....

Oh - and I just realizd that I lost the second part of my web evaluation - one hour down the drain...here i go again.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

WebSite Evaluation/Week 3 ReflectionsII

The two websites that I have chosen to evaluate are Happycurls.com and Adobe.com.
I used the website evaluation criteria find at http://www.library.duke.edu/ in diigo.

1) HAPPYCURLS: Authority -Who wrote the page? What are the author's credentials? Can you verify the author's credentials? Could the credentials be made up? Did the author include contact information? Whose web site is this? What organization is sponsoring the web page? This page is a social networking site so the need for credentials is basically out of the window - people share information about products and concerns and everyone writes about their questions, experiences and problems encountered with natural hair. Although it is not clearly evident who created and sponsored the site, in this case I don't believe that this information is important because of why this website is used. I did notice a copyright symbol at the bottom - it had "Charles Hill" behind it - I'm assuming he is the sponsor?
ADOBE: Authority: This is Adobe’s website and contact information is easily accessible at the top and bottom of the page. Adobe clearly establishes their legitimacy and credentials. Throughout the website there is information about their investor relations, partners, designers, developers as well as annual financial statements and legal information. There is even an option on the website for the viewer to listen to a replay of their earnings conference call – well alright now! This is important in my eyes because making this information available to the public is like saying – “hey – we are legit – we don’t have anything to hide”. The site also includes their corporate code of ethics, code of business and guiding principles. - …Awesomeness….Go Adobe!

2)HAPPYCURLS: Purpose -What is the purpose of the page? Why did the author create it? Who is the target audience? I'm assuming that the purpose should be clearly stated when a viewer navigates to this page. Actually, I never really thought about it because I know the purpose of the page (informative) but someone who is not familiar would probably have a hard time figuring out what the site was all about. Hmmmm...interesting. As stated earlier, the page was created to give members/users a place to voice opinions, experiences and concerns about natural hair. Very easy to read with a mixture of pictures and topics. Topics are separated by borders, with the most recent blog/post presented at the top. No ads or animations.
ADOBE: It’s clear that the the purpose of this page is to advertise Adobe products to prospective buyers of Adobe software. Everything on this site is all about Adobe. They have Adobe technical software as well as Adobe training programs provided by Adobe professionals. They are in the software industry what Walmart is in the retail industry. Go Adobe!
3) HAPPYCURLS: Currency - Is there a date at the top or bottom of the page? Is the information up-to-date? All information posted by posters/bloggers are time and date stamped. Well done.
ADOBE:There is no information in regards to when the page was last updated but I’m not really worried about that too much – Adobe has already established their authority with me and I am pretty much secure with their functionality. They really can do no wrong at this point – okay? LOL
4) HAPPYCURLS: Objectivity - Is the author being objective or biased? Information presented here is definitely subjective - based on opinions and feelings of the blogger about a particular subject.
ADOBE: The information contained in this website is factual (prices, Adobe News, information about products and services, training programs).
5) HAPPYCURLS: Support - Does the author support the information he/she uses? Is the support respectable? This site frequently references other articles, videos from external links.
ADOBE:- Adobe offers training and certification through seminars, online classes, and professional development workshops. Adobe also cites outside sources for education (Lynda.com) . While any trainings that are directly related to the Adobe team are directly linked from their site, this site (Lyda.com) is not…things that make you go hmmmm….! They also span across several different industries – they provide software and tutorials for the education, health, financial industries..and many many more…can I say that Adobe is “da bomb”!

HAPPYCURLS: Overall design is awesome - good contrast of colors, graphic repetition on home page and succeeding pages, good alignment of text, graphics and good use of space for posts, proximity - all relevant text is situated together. Good design principles at their best! Critique - there is no way of knowing who the creator of the website is or how to get in touch with her. I visit this website frequently so I know who this is - I found out after playing around with the website for awhile. Overall - thumbs up.
ADOBE: I learned so much and gained so much respect for Adobe from this website evaluation assignment. Not only did I reference evaluation tools to evaluate this website - i learned alot about ADOBE - the company. This website is easy to navigate through, follows good CRAP principles, and is very informative. Love it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Step 1...Pretty Painless

Okay...I'm finished with the lab due for next week and it wasn't too bad I guess - I'm still breathing so that's a good sign. I did have a problem getting into the Color Chooser on the wsdstaff.net website - the color box came up but it wouldnt show any color and I couldn't move the arrows around or type anything in - I'm not sure what that was about. My other challenge was opening my file into my browser - I have Windows Vista -that is totally different from wha t we worked with in class - so I had to research how to do this - it was fairly simple to figure out though. Question - I'm wondering if anyone else did not remember the "br"from class? I'm assuming that means break? Instead I used the "p" to separate the colors on individual lines. (I couldn't use brackets around the "br" or the "p" in this document because it actually did separate the text after it posted) I guess I answered my own question just by typing this document and using the "br" and "p" - I guess they are the same thing?

AnyWHO-still trottin'....


GULP. Swallow. Gulp Again. I can't believe all of the work that we have due for the next two weeks. I am so scared that I am going to forget to do something. I am going to start in plenty of time to make sure that everything gets done. Last night's class was cool - Photoshop is not too exciting to me but I absolutely love HTML and all the codes! It is cumbersome but exciting to see what you can actually produce with all of the mumbo jumbo! Hopefully Gimp will be similar enough to Photoshop so that I can be comfortable enough to work in it. Still haven't downloaded iTunes yet!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Week 2 Reflections

ow...the readings about all of the resolution, color, fonts and scanner stuff seemed to be pretty heavy to me. It's kinda makin' my head ache but I'm gonna hang in there. I think it will get better once I actually start to mess around with the pics, adjusting the sizes and messin' with the resolution numbers - I certainly hope so anyway. I should probably start messin' around with resolution stuff outside of class so it can start to stick. It's actually more involved than I thought it was gonna be.

Anywho - to answer the questions that are on the syllabus: Many people take a digital pic and then attach it to an e-mail to a friend, add it to their blog or their personal web space without making any changes. Is this a good idea? What are some changes that should be made to images to make them web ready?

This is not a good idea -because everyone does not have the similar computer settings (monitor resolution, pixel resolution and monitor size), graphics can be very tricky to translate from one computer to another - the following things need to be changed/considered before sending out a digital pic to an e-mail or to a web space:

1) Resolution - pixels per inch should be set to 72 so that the file will be small - this will help the image to be displayed more easily

2) Colors - there are only 216 colors that are commonly recognized, across the board, to all computers. When other colors are used outside of these colors, there is a risk that the colors may not be recognized, resulting in color/graphic distortion. So - to prevent this it is important to know how to access and use browser safe colors - these are swatches and palettes of colors that are undoubtedly safe to use universally. Cool websites such as Colormix.com and lynda.com allow you to create and select colors of your choice.

3) Type - the goal is to make sure that all information is both readable and legible (easy to read and easy to recognize. To achieve this for, use a sans serif type font not below 8 or above 18, long lines of text and excessive use of bold, italics and CAPS should be avoided, and attempts should be made to contrast between the background and the actual text on the page.

4) Size/Compression - compression (making the file smaller) ensures that the files is easily transferred and stored so that it will not take a long time to transfer/load on a web page- may compromise the quality of the graphic depending on how you choose to compress (cropping does not effect quality but reducing the KBs will)

5) File format - it's important to know what type of format to save your file under (TIFF, JPEG, JPG depending on the file) - this is to preserve quality of the graphic as well as to make sure that the file does not take up too much space on the web when page is being loaded for viewer


Monday, June 8, 2009

Wowzers...free stuff

I can't believe all of the free information that is available on the web - it was cool to learn about iTunes University and the free music website - I will definitely be checking into that. I can't believe there are only four more classes left - this class is way cool and time is flying by fasttttt!!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Week 1 Blog Entry

Wouldn't you know it - my computer was down the entire week - it happened right after the thunderstorm that we had in the middle of the night. I woke up the next morning trying to get on and was able to connect to the internet - I am still not able to connect but thank God for "other arrangements". What a week! Anyhow, needless to say - here goes!

I have to say that the first two chapters that I read in The Non-Designer's Web Book were very enjoyable. The readings were easy and the visuals made it easier to understand the technical information that was presented. Cool book. Cool writing. The other chapters were not as amusing but the information was not hard to follow at all.

What did I learn about graphic design and how does graphic design play a role in or daily lives and activities in both the print and web? Before I read information about print vs. web I would have said that the web was the "better' option when put up against print. However, from reading the artilces, I learned that one is not better than the other - they are just different from one another. Good point. I know that graphic design plays a big part in everybody's daily life because everywhere u go that's what you see - advertisements, commercials, flyers, web pages - we are in the information age and it is all around us. The world is moving fast, everything is about convenience, so it makes sense that designers have to be very clear, concise and smart when it comes to designing information on a page. So, it is very important to be able to not only to construct eye catching and legible information, but it's also important to be able to read and understand this info.

What is your understanding of designing of the web vs. designing for print. I learned that they both have their challenges, advantages and disadvantages. As I said, before I read these articles I would have given print a thumbs down and the web a thumbs up. However, it's clearer to me that print has advantages that the web does not - ex: being portable and being cost effective. According to the book, there are still two billion published works that are still not available on the web but available in print. WOWzers. This comes as a surprise to me especially when I think about the research that I had to do when I was young - memories of spending time in the school library with the card catalogue make me cringe. I'm not surprised that there is info out there that is not on the web - the fact that there is so much really blows my mind. Kinda cool though.

I also learned that one of the challenges of the web is trying to make sure that information will be legible regardless of individual resolution or screen size, brightness and contrast. Color can also change when viewed on the web as opposed to when printed out. There are alot of things that go into graphic design - not just simply making your finished product look pretty.

In regards to print ads - as I looked through ads for the homework I realized that there were ads that had both good and bad elements of CRAP, so to my suprise, it was a little more difficult to make the decision on whether the ad was good or bad. Surprise surprise. Nothing is ever cut and dry!

Looking forward to Monday night's class! Cool stuff.