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WEEK 4

Another week has passed and I’d hoped for more progress. I jumped ahead in Kompozer, set up a basic layout for my Green Gaia Growers website and I’ve been jotting down content ideas; plant price lists, sustainable gardening links, homepage link, map, photo gallery, etc. The Beaird reading has been very helpful. The law of thirds or “turds” was particularly interesting as well as the tendency to put the links in a left aligned column, simple things we overlook.My difficulties thus far have been table and cell manipulation within Kompozer. Rearranging tables and cells in Word, Excel, Acces, etc, seems much easier. I’ve read through the help section within Kompozer and I’ve read several tutorials. All give basic instructions for html tags and uploading but not for layout instruction. Kompozer is useful but I’m curious as to what I’m missing out on without Dreamweaver. Chpter 7 in Creating Web Sites covers the basics of using graphics. GIF file formats are best for logos and JPEGs are best for photo images. PNGs are another format but older browsers have trouble with them. I’ll be sticking to reliable GIFs and JPEGs. I’m using Corel Paint Shop for my graphics program and I’ve spent hours manipulating family photos. Chpter 8 deals with creating links internal and external for your site. Much of this can be done easily with the link feature in KompoZer but the book offers concise manual instruction and understanding of the basic HTML commands. Unfortunately, reading about things that are ahead of where I am in putting this website together is less than ideal. I began designing my homepage and this has created challenges for starting my Cascading Style Sheet( the more you do before you establish a style sheet, the more code to sort through).
Web site reviews:
http://webstyleguide.com/index.html – This is really a good site for getting organized. (Something I notoriously struggle with) It sets forth an outline in stages and covers everything from information architecture to multimedia usage. Very useful for producing a functional site that meets the needs of the business/organization while attracting visitors. One interesting section describes three basic information structures to consider in layout; sequences, hierarchies, and webs.
http://universalusability.com/access_by_design/index.html – Here’s another A-Z handbook for layout and usability. Both sites open with tables of contents. However this one offers an aesthetically pleasing color scheme. While the webstyle guide is cold white with blue text this site is warm tan with soft blue borders etc. While white is typically easier to read from, this site offers a certain comfort for the user.
http://www.jjg.net/ia/ – This site is useful to designers and information architects focusing on user experience rather than aesthetics. The homepage appears clean and futuristic looking with a sharp font and large colorful icons that link to subcategories; elements of user experience, how to work as a web team, structural schematics, etc. Worth visiting later.
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/05/08/now-more-than-ever-50-more-excellent-blog-designs/ – Wow!! smashing magazine offers lists and links to some amazingly attractive blogs. Many ideas for our own sites.

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