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Week 3

Week 3

Wow 10 days have slipped by and I am desperately trying to play catch-up. The principles of design has been a great asset for preparation but I’m spending more time thinking about what to do than actually doing it on the computer and working full time with two children leaves little time for my classes.
I’ve decided to design a site for a hypothetical nursery- Green Gaia Growers (I work for a nursery and hope to use this project as inspiration for an actual site for work). Green Gaia will specialize in Florida natives and earth-friendly gardening/landscaping materials. The last page will be a library and organization link page for low impact landscaping resources.
Website reviews:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN is a non profit organization dedicated to the preservation of individual domain names on the internet. Basically, ICANN promotes peaceful solutions for the internet community without formal authority. The website, last updated in Feb 2008, has a hoorizontal menu below the header and a left column navigation(most common) with a variety of icons for links. The right side has a video display. The footage is well edited for an otherwise uninteresting ICANN presentation.

Wow. These guys measure global data flow by sending test data from A-B and back. An index scale from 0(slow)-100(fast) indicates the speed of connection. Say you’re online-conferencing from New York to Singapore. If the connection is failing, you can visit this site to see if the region of Asia is having an internet traffic jam instead of freaking out at your laptop.
The site has a simple blue silhouette world map with white background. Each continent has a speed rating posted and colored red,yellow, or green accordingly. The FAQ section can be linked from the horizontal menu. There you’ll find out that they don’t have access to enough routers in Africa to provide a report. Overall, this site is clean and simple with easy to read charts, and minimal color scheme.

Another clean and easily navigable site. Fascinating data regarding internet usage by region: 48.1% of Europeans use the internet representing 26.3% yet73.6% of North Americans are users representing only17%. The big winner -Asia uses 39.5% of traffic. There are links to several of the other sites reviewed this week and there are many colorful charts reporting usage. However, a breakdown by nationstates would be useful. Geographically, Mexico as an economically disadvantaged part of the North American region probably skews the results for what some may mistake as U.S. usage.

The Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis site is perfect for the internet-tech enthusiast (lots of reports that were of little interest to me). Nevertheless, the site was (of course) well composed. I’ve noticed the use of white backgrounds in most of the sites reviewed. We probably tend to try to colorize everything in our web editors, but as J. Beaird points out we want people to see the text clearly. If someone with poor eyesight does not see a distinct contrast between text and background they might look elsewhere. White solves the problem.

Ahh. Now here is a site that I am all too familiar with. As an undergrad in Sociology/Poli-sci I found myself using this resource regularly. Pew Research Center is a treasure trove of social science stats and the website with three-column navigation allows you follow links to all their latest polls. The center column is currently loaded with reports on the U.S. presidential campaign.

Good thing I read this. I was just about to post images of barbaric sex toys to my web page. Naughty, Naughty!!
Seriously, posting the USF web guidelines was a good idea. We have the opportunity to have fun and be creative with this but we do have to respectfully consider that the space is provided by the school.

WEEK 2 in review

Week 2 websites:
W3 Consortium
This unattractive yet well organized site dedicated to the general research of the World Wide Web and internet offers many resources for designers but stands out for its supply of reports and reviews. The BBC and Scientific America links provide under the Semantic Web link offer compelling insights to the future of the web. Language extending from html within Web pages will be designed with extensive associative links to other sources of data. Search engines will be able to select information with greater relevance than current search strategies offer. Through a “Web Agent”, which I assume is the future search tool, a user’s information profile will affect search results. Say you want to find activities for your kids on a particular weekend. The browser or search engine will have a record of your zipcode and consider weather conditions for outdoor events, the age of your children, total costs for gas, lunch, etc. If privacy issues are an issue today, just wait till TOMORROW!!! This site has a clean appearance with a friendly format full of tutorial links. However,I was surprised to not find a KompoZer tutorial. In fact, the search option (Google) seems to be limited to sponsored links. The W3 School offers many courses free of charge- when your ready to take the certificate exam, you pay a $59 fee. Excellent for your resume. Again, this USF tutorial page set up by Heather Dodge, has been very, very helpful. I was able to pause the voice instructed program, follow the steps and continue my way through with out any difficulties.
Creating Websites chpt 3 and 4:

Back Track to Week 1 websites

Now that this blog is up and running I can post comments on the week 1 websites.
The Principles of beautiful design site has a great homepage. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the beauty demonstrated here is in functionality. Jason Beaird demonstrates how to hold the users attention. For. one: Less is more. Another feature that can be useful is the “roll over”- where subtext appears without having to double click. On some sites it can be annoying but Beaird shows how useful it can be. Without a roll over, a lot of a websites contents might be overlooked.
The Creating Websites site offers a well organized list of software links- basically everything we’ll need to develop our sites.
Smashing Magazine- offers useful critiques of applications and current trends in design. It also provides links to lots of free stuff. Free is for me.
These sites give excellent guidelines to what is considered good and bad design:

2Advanced Studios
FWA – Favorite Website Awards
Web Pages that Suck – good examples of what not to do!
Some of the critiques are a bit harsh. Web Pages that Suck offers the Worst sites of the year with at #3. Yes its a bit cluttered and colorful, but perhaps not all websites should be sterile or minimalist. It depends on your patrons. The havenworks target audience appears to be political news junkies who might be used to navigating through massive amounts of text and data. Besides, the carnival like colors convey an well suited political circus/theater motif.

A bit of success

After yesterday’s frustrations, I have had a taste of success. I added another line of text to the webpage after downloading it and reuploading it through SSH into Kompozer. Heather Dodge’s SSH tutorial page was most excellent.

Prof. Simon covered this in class- but it’s nice to have the refresher on demand. So far the help feature on Kompozer appears to offer reasonable instructions for what I will be doing.
On that note, what am I doing?? I’m not entirely sure. I work for a plant nursery in Sarasota, so I’ve considered coming up with a fictitious nursery. For that matter I could come up with entirely fantastical plants- perhaps huge and carnivorous. This would have to be supplemented with wonderful imagery. Perhaps from an old movie poster.
I guess I need to know whether or not I need a disclaimer. I may attract the attention of particularly malicious people in search of cat or child eating fly traps.

Rough Start

This blog will chronicle my experience as a nubile blogger and web designer. I lead an extremely busy life- work, graduate school, marriage and most central to my life- my two beloved children. Blogs are typically updated with daily posts but I will be lucky to sit down for a couple of hours a week to announce my progress and review the assigned websites. I look forward to gaining valuable web design knowledge through this course.
This is the end of the second week of Instructional graphics. I’ve been following along with the Creating Web Sites book which is easy to use but I’ve been having difficulty gaining access to my blog and webspace. A program entitled WordPress kept interfering when I would try to log in with my user ID. Well I’m in now,somehow, so here’s a quick update: I have a Firefox Browser so I’ve decided to use Komposer as my web editor. USF offers Dreamweaver for $100. This is a deal compared to the $250-$350 price range I’ve seen elsewhere, but my funds are currently limited and I’d rather begin with the basics offered by Komposer- which are free. At the moment I am trying to change the background to something more attractive.