All posts tagged English 4025

  • 4025: Importance of web design

    The “Love of Art” vs. Website Design: An Application of Bourdieu’s Theory in Online Environments is a study done by Jessie Pallud and Detmar W. Straub to measure the effect of web design on non-commercial websites by  how it may have influenced people to carry out their original intentions when they visited the site. This study focused on art museums since numerous studies had already been conducted on commercial and cross-cultural websites and wanted to see if the similar responses would be evoked in studies beyond those two web  genres.

    This chart they used breaks down what they considered the goals of people visiting the website are (either to visit the museum or interest in the information on the website). Why the measured external factor (H 2-4), their main interest was H1, or, to what extent did web design lead to the user’s intentions being fulfilled.

    Not to vicariously toot my own horn, but the study basically found that yes, web design did positively influence user intentions. “So the link between user interface and the physical setting is established.”

    For once, I won’t begin my analysis with a question.* Although my website will not be advertising a physical place, my website, like an art museum website, is in the business of creating interest. Returning viewers, desire to contact me, desire to distribute site, etc. As an additional perk, this study also demonstrates the power of good design to influence people, something I believed already but it’s nice to know others feel the same way.

    In the larger picture, this study also has implications towards the importance of designers everyone. The growing access to design programs has increase the number of make-shift designers in the world. Not only does such a trend increase the number of heinous fonts like Papyrus, Comic Sans, and handwriting fonts  being used, but it undermines the importance of designers. Not that there aren’t some secretly talented people who discover design, but it people begin thinking that they can produce the same quality of work or that what graphic designers do is not difficult or meaningful. This study shows that good design can impact consumers and it’s something companies should invest in. Seriously.

    *Ex: So why should I care? or What does this mean?

    This entry is part of an assignment in an English class called “Writing for the Web: Digital Story Telling” in which we have to post research relevant to our final project. My final project will be the creation of a professional website.

  • 4025: Webdesign checklist

    Sometimes I like to think that design can’t be reduced to a checklist, but apparently it can. Virgina Montecino, an retired professor of new media at George Mason University compiled a list of Web Design Principles on one of her course pages.

    Although it feels weird for me to get my information from a list and not an article, Moncento has compiled quite a hand list. Here are some thing things she believes designers must be aware of as they design their sites (I will talk about some, but not all of them in detail, be feel free to go to her site to see a complete list:

    • Audience
    • Purpose
    • Location of the site
    • Type(s) of content
    • What information do you want on the home page
    • Content (“should be spell-checked”—sigh)
    • Level of Web technology to best suit the purpose
      • I think this is an interesting point. Can you think of a site where you  have felt like there is too much technology involved? I think any non-musician website that has music is annoying.
    • Style to best suit purpose
      • Professional, scholarly, casual, child friendly, teen-oriented, artistic?
    • Page design: Consistency, clarity, and user friendliness
      • Include a “back to home” link
      • Use a consistent template on each page
      • Create a uniform color scheme (with limited color palate)
      • Be sure there is sufficient contrast between background and text
      • Avoid a too large font that SHOUTS*
      • Avoid a too small font that is hard to read*
      • Place important information near the top
      • Avoid long lists of links if possible.
      • Categorize lists in smaller chunks and provide internal tags
      • Provide a  table of contents (with links to find information in a long list)
      • Organize your material to too much scrolling to find content
    • Technical specifications
      • graphics, resolution, frames, colors
    • Accessibility for the disabled
    • Copyright rules

    Why is this checklist important? Because even though you can read a bunch of theory and collect a bunch of advice, at the end of day your website needs to be functional and appealing in the most basic sense. I know I have to keep all more elaborate ideas grounded by consciously remembering what needs to be on my website and not just what I want there to be on my website.

    It’s also easy to get overwhelmed with the construction of a website (being defined as the organization of web content using multiple web pages) because there seems to be so many different things you have remember, do, and consider. Just making a list like this might be the best think for panickers (like me) to do.

    This entry is part of an assignment in an English class called “Writing for the Web: Digital Story Telling” in which we have to post research relevant to our final project. My final project will be the creation of a professional website.

  • 4025: Making websites “human”

    A good website is built on two basic truths—that the internet is an interactive medium and that the end user is in fact human. In other words, it is meant to be an experience. As with any adventure, a little strategic thought is needed to ensure that the experience is enjoyable. [source]

    In A List Apart‘s article, “Human-to-Human Design” Sharon Lee explain the importance for a websites to remember their audience are individuals and the importance for web designers to make their websites feel like an intimate experience (in terms of feeling human and not mass produced). I though this article was interesting because it combined a lot of the ideas our Writing for the Web class discussed.

    Here are some of the key things designers should keep in mind when creating their site:

    • Respect your audience. Lee tells designers to take time to know who their audience is and to tailor you message to them.
    • Tell  a story. The most effective way of communicating a message, and websites allow you to do it multimodally and non-linearly. Take advantage of the this.
    • Engage.Your website should create an experience for the reader.
    • Inspire & Enchant. Your website can do more than just mimic your company identity, it can show your personality.

    I believe the advice this article gives can help designers make a more affective website. Designers should be making interested in the audience as much as they would like their audience to be interested in them.

    I recently wrote a paper on a similar topic, it briefly discussed the importance for artists to show their personalities in their websites. Like a resume,  an online website needs to tell your audience who you are and why you are special from other artists. One website I really enjoy is StudioBenBen‘s. I think it’s important to seem like a person that a potential client would enjoy working with, as well as someone who is good at designing. Which means: Always keep your audience in mind

    This entry is part of an assignment in an English class called “Writing for the Web: Digital Story Telling” in which we have to post research relevant to our final project. My final project will be the creation of a professional website.

  • 4025: Flash vs. HTML 5 websites

    During the summer I attempted to make a website using Flash. I developed a basic structure which I really liked, but I my knowledge of Flash was too limited for me to ever make it a functioning webpage. I was also discouraged by the fact that I had heard that Flash websites were decreasing in popularity because of things like the iPad and iPhone not supporting Flash. Combined with my already present frustration, it seemed an easy choice to give up on the website since it didn’t seem useful to create something that would be instantly out-of-date at it’s release.

    [image source]

    On the subject of web standards, Dan Mall wrote a very informative article on the topic called “Flash and Standards: The Cold War of the Web” that I will discuss today.

    Like I alluded to previously, this debate really went into full swing with the release of the iPad. The Apple corporation didn’t want to support flash because they believed that it make things slower and had “bulky” software that Apple didn’t want to have to deal with.  Flash videos have to be downloaded in order to be watched.

    Because of this the idea of HTML 5 became more appeal because videos are embedded into the server and played from the server so there isn’t the need for the videos to be loaded, necessarily. (At least this is my understanding of the situation, from previous research over the summer).

    Mall points out the power of Flash as it’s used today. It’s no longer a simple drawing application, but rather fully functional and complex website can be built with them. For example, take graphic designer Bang-Wool Han’s website. This is a very cool website that was made completely in Flash. I like flash because you always know who everything will function and look on different browsers because all of your design is within the movie.

    Mall doesn’t think that it’s Flash that it’s the problem, but web developers. He points out that users don’t care what program you used to make your web page, as long as it works. And the more innovative it is, the more popular it has the potential to be.

    What Mall reminds us is that it comes down to the designer, not the technology to be successful.

    “Agencies: Stop writing job listings for HTML5 designers or ActionScript gurus. You’re just fanning the flames. Instead, invest in creative people who know how to execute in a number of ways, people who prioritize learning new tools to solve a problem over honing their chops. Don’t sell (or discourage) Flash or standards to your clients; instead, sell creative brand extensions, accessible content, enjoyable experiences, and simple maintainability.”

    This entry is part of an assignment in an English class called “Writing for the Web: Digital Story Telling” in which we have to post research relevant to our final project. My final project will be the creation of a professional website.

  • 4025: Web design – basic definitions

    As part of my webliography, I am required to have posts based on “source material” so I went onto Amazon* and bought two brand-spanking-new (and rather expensive) books based on reviews. They are Sam’s Teach Yourself HTML and CSS in 24 Hours and Introducing HTML5: Voices That Matter and I’ve just cracked them open today so I’m not necessarily recommending them at this point.

    Anyway, my decision to buy these books stems from the fact that I know barely enough about web design to get by and for the most part have worked in the WYSIWYG mode. I know some of the most basic tag from making a horrendous geocities website when I was 14. So really, I need to know the basics. Like, what is the difference between HTML and CSS? What is CSS? What can HTML 5 do? What is XHTML? How are you going to replace Flash websites?

    Today, I wanted to answer the basic questions on the what HTML and CSS are, and I hope to post next time about new standards in web design. Here goes!

    [Source: Sam’s Teach Yourself]

    HMTL codes “mark up,” or surround the text in order to tell a browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome…) how to display web content. For instance, a common code bloggers use to change the color of their text is. EX:  <font color=green>Verde</font>

    Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are, from what I have gathered, something similar to templates which allow you to carefully control the layout, font, colors, and formatting of your web page. CSS goes beyond what HTML can do.

    [Source: Introducing HTML 5]

    HTML5 is essentially the up-and-coming generation of HMTL which is significant because it’s supposed to be simpler (tags are more logically named) and is backwards compatible. The three main aims of HMTL 5 are:

    1. Specifying current browser behaviours that are interoperable
    2. defining error handling for the first time
    3. evolving the language for easier authoring of web applications

    For instance, one thing that I’ve read during my pre-book research was that instead of having a bunch of <div> (divider) tags, there will be more intuitive tags like <header> or  <navigation> —I don’t know if these in particular actually exist, but it’s the general idea that they are labeled more clearly.

    And now you know.

    *I hope you all know that if you’re a student you can get Amazon Prime for free for a year! I already loved Amazon, so this was great news for me. Free and 2-day shipping?!

    This entry is part of an assignment in an English class called “Writing for the Web: Digital Story Telling” in which we have to post research relevant to our final project. My final project will be the creation of a professional website.

  • 4025.2:Artist statement article, Part 2

    This is just an addition to my last post and does not need to exist. I didn’t want to write it yesterday because I thought I had already rambled on for a disgusting amount of time.

    So, why did I bring out artists statements in the first place? I mean, yes, I’m a quasi-artist-student-mutant thing, but just because you are a QASMT doesn’t mean you need an artist statement. I’m just making a website right?

    The design program at UW wants you to have concept behind all your design. My website, after all will be a design. I believe that my professor’s website is designed meaningfully so that it represents why she believes design is important. The website is not just there to look pretty, but be an example of yourself and your art. So my idea was to write an artist statement which then reflected in my website.

    For example, my professor, Jenny Venn, believes that good design is like a city plan, I has a foundation which you work off of to create a successful city. Once you’ve laid all the grid work, then you can work on making the city functional. She applies this to design, I’m paraphrasing here, by saying your design must have a good concept backing all of it and then you make things look pleasing.

    Applied, Jenny’s website is literally a map of a city and your portfolio is spread on different locations of the map. It’s just very successful.

    So basically, that’s why I want my website to have an artist statement in general, even if it’s short and snappy, so that I have something to design around.

    Also, look at these pretty flowers Evan gave me! So unexpected:

    This entry is part of an assignment in an English class called “Writing for the Web: Digital Story Telling” in which we have to post research relevant to our final project. My final project will be the creation of a professional website.

  • 4025: To artist state, or not to artist state

    “Most artist statements, 99 out of 100, are not useful, and they’re often ludicrous,”   -Philadelphia Inquirer art critic Edward Sozanski

    For my second post I thought I would find a cute little article about “How to Write an Artist Statement” when I stumbled upon this article from the Huffington Post: “Are artist statements really necessary?” by Daniel Grant. It was a really interesting article and I recommend it (to artists especially).

    Daniel’s short answer: No.

    He speaks nostalgically of the old idea that perhaps, maybe, it might work that…art speaks for itself. He laments the trend in artist statements for exhibitions getting longer and longer. My initial reaction to this was resistance. What does he know? He’s not an art-teeest*!” (*nor am I). And it isn’t necessarily a trend, the increase in artist statements is a reflection of the art curriculum. I think that more schools are having art majors write artist statements like little art-major factories of Art Etiquette & Expectations. In fact, UW just created a required class for art majors called “Exiting Strategies” where, as I like to describe it, one learns how to be an art major in The World. Just yesterday Evan was forced to buy CDs for that class so that they could learn how to put images on it (something everyone from our generation learned to do when we were like 5 and which is already out-of-date).

    I digress.

    What I want to say is that, despite Daniel’s somewhat harsh beginning, he wins me over in his argument because he brings in a lot of good sources and quotes to back up his idea. Quickly, here are some of the good points or commentary he brought up:

    • “Many artists and dealers dislike the trend or are unhappy with most of the artist statements they see.” One director of a New York gallery said “They are generally cryptic, esoteric, ungrammatical and besides the point.”
    • Sozanski (the critic I quoted at the beginning) explained that frequently, artist statements had a negative affect on his view of the artists’ work. “Most art dealers claim that an artist statement is never an important consideration in selecting an artist to show or represent and that a poorly written statement may have a detrimental effect if the artist’s slides had otherwise interested the dealer.”
    • While dealers don’t feel that an artist should be judged by their artist statement (aka, writing abilities), they found that it could speak a lot to their maturity and confidence that the dealer can’t help but be affected by.
    • Daniel recommends (at the recommendation of the people he’s interviewing) that an artist instead speak with the dealer or gallery owner to find out what information they would like from him. This could be a biography, questions about his/her process, or questions about he art.


    My thoughts? I like artist statements for myself. But when I go to a gallery, I don’t typically read them (shame, shame, I know). They are often long-winded, boring, and exalt the work of the artists without foundation. At the same time, I think it’s beneficial for the artist to express him/herself, even if it is not for the public. It’s important to know the importance of your work, and perhaps the importance of art to you and making the work. Like research proposals, you are finding your niche in the world of art where you talk about why your work needs to be at done. That being said, I expect that there is a great number of artists who can’t articulate the importance of their work well, and who may benefit from not having an artist statement…

    My own grandiose plans of a world-view-shattering artist statement is no more. I anticipate having a short and snappy How-do-you-do? now.

    Ps. Again, please read the article for yourself. It was fascinating to me.

    Pps. Did you miss me? Sorry for my little disappearance, but in defense, I warned you that once school started there was no way I could continue with my obsessive posting.

    This entry is part of an assignment in an English class called “Writing for the Web: Digital Story Telling” in which we have to post research relevant to our final project. My final project will be the creation of a professional website.

  • 4025: Behanced vs. a professional website

    For freelancers, he [Glen Sansberry] says, social media is a chance to get your work out there, and there are a number of websites like Behance that are growing very quickly in popularity…Behance allows designers to upload their portfolios where visitors, including recruiters, come to search (and potentially hire) talents. This past July, the site launched a collaboration with LinkedIn (LinkedIn) that enables users to upload their portfolios directly to their LinkedIn accounts, meaning that recruiters and employers have twice the chance of spotting their work. [source]

    This article, “How freelancers might use social media in the future” by Stephanie Marcus discusses how free lance graphic designers are using new media and likewise, how these forms of new media are using designers.

    Benefits of Behanced (and other new media):

    01| The importance of maintaining a sense of design community when your a freelance graphic designer who is probably working from home. It’s important and beneficial for you to get feedback on your work and to see what other designers are doing, not just to promote yourself and get a job.

    02| Greater likelihood of getting seen. More likely than not, strangers don’t typically just type your name into Google to look for you, by having social networking sites specifically for artists, you have a greater opportunity of being seen. Sites like Behanced even have rating systems which show you the most popular portfolios.

    03| Also, of course, this promotion of self and the connections you make through these new forms of media can potentially lead to career opportunities.

    So, why shouldn’t designers/artists just display their work using these sites and not just make their own?

    For me, it’s a matter of being able to show off another skill. Behance allows you to format your space to a certain extent, but this might not be enough. Especially as graphic designer, having your own website establishes that 1) you can create a functional webpage, which may or may not be complicated and amazing, and  2) that you can design a web page so that it’s aesthetically appealing.

    Of course, it doesn’t have to be one of the other. I’ve already created a Behance account, fumbled around like a mom creating a Facebook account, and then gave up. En lieu of this article however, I’m motivated to give artistic social networking another try.

    This entry is part of an assignment in an English class called “Writing for the Web: Digital Story Telling” in which we have to post research relevant to our final project. My final project will be the creation of a professional website.

  • Hardest button to button

    Me at 4:25 am this morning after finally finishing my button packaging.

    Oh the life of graphic design. I assure you, I worked really hard on this project from when it was assigned until I finished it last night despite the last minute-ness. I toyed with all sorts of ideas, arranged buttons, made mock-ups, and just never ended up happy. Out of all my ideas, I liked this one the best and thought it was the most reasonable for numerous reasons. However, there is room for improvement. I’ll consider telling you more about it later after sleeping.

    In other news, so tomorrow will be my first post for my English class that I briefly mentioned earlier. For this assignment we are exploring how new media affects story telling and how we can adapt to these changes. For my project, I will be re-designing my professional website, something you might remember I endeavored to do at during the summer. Not having any knowledge of web design makes web designing hard, I find.

    So expect some academic posts. We will be using a blog to create a webliography where we will write about a minimum of 7 different sources (popular press, policy briefs, and primary documents) which, of course help us with our final project.  Excited?

    Ps. During the ENTIRE project, I had the White Stripes song stuck in my head, but just the phrase “button to button” and I wasn’t sure if I had just imagined it. I’m relieved to find that it actually exists.

  • Today:

    01| Woke up and got ready early to just to be awkward for more hours during the day. Ok, really, I submitted an application to a really neat job that came up in Laramie, and noticed that there were a few typos (sigh) so I wanted to go into the office super early and switch out the paper mission-impossible style. I got there at 7:45, I had class at 8:10. Long story short, it turns out that that particular guy comes into work early, and so I ended up giving the paper to him in the most unsociable manner. I’m always so much cooler in my head.

    02| Was going to make a Nutella-banna sandwich, but the bread was so moldy that I’m suspicious of its purity the last time I ate it. In short, the squirrels who live around my house will feast tonight.


    03| Will be up all night doing button packaging. My inter-education is giving me an identity crisis.

    Coming soon:

    04| I will be using this blog for my Writing for the Web: Digital Story Telling class, which requires that I keep a blog. More on this later.


    05| At exactly 00:18-00:19 into this movie, your head will explode from the pure cuteness of this video.