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Tag Archives: Web Design

Creating a Wiki?

Some advice that I would give to someone creating a wiki specifically for a class working synchronously:

  1. Students must write their information in Word first – for better grammar, but especially for back-up.
  2. Create separate designated pages for each student to work on – possibly name the pages with their name embedded to be changed out later – as the wiki creator, you may be the only one to have the page creation rights.
  3. If you know multiple people will be working on the same pages at the same times, allocate time buffer zones that people may post – for example, if 4 people work on the same page, one may post between 4-6pm, another between 7-9pm, another between 10-12pm, and another between 6-8am.

There are always Revision histories, but having 15-30 students post on the same page at the same time DOES NOT WORK. Separate the tasks and times as best as you can.

I would actually recommend Google Docs or Microsoft One-note if you are networked and have that option.  It depends on your final goal of the project.

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Cheap ways to master the universe

These are some ways that I am planning to master the universe.  You can steal, borrow, appropriate and copy any that you see fit.  A couple things seem to be in my future:

  • a book – most probably an ebook – coming soon – gonna read more about some ideas for marketing it here from Seth Godin’s “Ideavirus” (a free book that you can buy – I might try this myself – you should too)
  • a domain name – toying with a “.me” as the suffix and have a pretty good idea what it will be called.  I will get it from godaddy.com as they seem to have worked well in the past for domain name forwarding.¹
  • logging, creating, showcasing more of my artistry – I am good.  I have good ideas.  I actually was allowed into OCAD for 5 years because they thought so too.  I will probably do that starting right here on the site with some of the logos and designs I have made with hopefully a lot more to come
  • working through education towards working anywhere, any time, and most probably about any thing – I don’t want to be limited by any of the aforementioned factors: place, time, confines of job description, so I am plotting ways to do this – one way is hopefully through developing online resources
  • (slick) business cards – gotta have em – plus you can feel cool giving them out – ooh, and designing them.

¹ Since writing this post I have created this blog through WordPress.com.  It allows you to buy and link a domain name really easily to your site.  The drawbacks are that you do not have complete control over the look and addition of plug-ins or widgets.  The advantages are that you will probably get higher hits to your blog sooner, it is all-in-one, which means it is easier, and you have support from WordPress.com.  This is something I did not find with Orgfree.com.  Too bad.

 

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Is your website fitting iPhones, iPads and computers?

Are you taking into account that people have one and possibly even all of the following devices?  iPhones, iPads, and Computers.  If so, you need to see for yourself what your site looks like on them.

I just looked at my site on my new iPad2 (woot woot) and found out that my formatted table columns at width 600 pixels needed to be changed to 100%, along with the square images being brought from 200 pixels down to 150 pixels for them to fit properly.

In order for the site to load nicely on the iPhone there is a plugin for WordPress called WPTouch found here.

At the present moment Skype for iPad is just an iPhone version enlarged 2x and then pixelated.  It bugs me.  Skype: Do Something!

Mint.com is supposed to have a beautiful little gadget for iPhone, but for the iPad: No such luck.  Get with it!

Some items I have found for the iPad that I am really enjoying are listed in an article here.

Back to my original thesis, designers need to concern themselves with every and all gadgets out there.  We used to be concerned mostly with one browser to the next, one operating system to the next, but now we are concerned with all sorts of viewing sizes.  The main ones are the smart-phones, the tablets, and the notebooks, aka – the 3:1

 
 

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Aesthetic vs content vs usability of websites

I’ve been designing websites for quite a while now and have gone through the same process I find many of my students go through.

The first consideration always seems to be about aesthetic.

  • What does it look like?
  • Is it pretty?

But this is not enough, beyond this content becomes a factor.

  • What is in the site?
  • Are there gadgets?
  • Are there games or things to keep people occupied and possibly even coming back? Included in content and leading to the next point is image size.
  • Are the images made small enough so that they will download without problem?
  • Are videos and music files resized properly to stream and download on slow connections?

The final consideration and one the I look at mostly now is usability.

  • Is there a search function built in to the site or am I using an archaic sitemap?
  • Does the site load well?
  • Does it have an unnecessary Flash page?
  • Does it have unnecessary Flash, animations, sound, hard to read fonts or bad use of colors?
  • Are the buttons available in the same place on every page?
  • Are they buttons logical or could they be grouped better?
  • Is the content linked to itself and easy to find?
  • Do the pages have continuity beyond the buttons?
  • Is the site filled up? (for example, the site has been launched but you find placeholder text, “This is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information…”
  • Is the site updated or stagnant? Will I come back to it?
  • Is the site useful or interesting?

As a design I need to consider other things like:

  • Is there good support from the site administrators?
  • Is the site upgradable/adaptable to my needs?
  • How easy is content addition/updating?
  • Is it going to search rank well without outside factors?
 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Design, Technology

 

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Weebly vs Joomla vs WordPress

I have been working on a few different versions of the same sites and have been comparing my needs with what is offered with each of these site infrastructures.

I started using Weebly.com.

I enjoyed the back-end interface; a little clunky, but the built in blog was easy to add info to AND it had the Facebook “Like” button and Twitter “Tweet” button built in automatically.  The reason I moved away from Weebly was because there was no built in Search.  I tried adding Google Search to the site, but to no avail.  I am still not sure why.  Plus, I didn’t like the idea of showing a “Google” search as advertising that I added this item in.

Next, I moved over to Orgfree.com.  This hosting company allows free space and excellent integration of SQL databases to support for Joomla, WordPress, phpBB, simple machines forum, Drupal, and Moodle.  Talk about excellent…and EASY.¹

I started with a Joomla.org installation.

The intention was to strip out all the unnecessary pages, categories, menus, sections and then add a plug-in or module for blogging, as this was my primary concern.  The easy blog plug-ins were not easy to install.  The more simple sounding ones all seemed to cost money.  I was not impressed.  Joomla has offered an excellent infrastructure for so many other modules.  I decided to try to WordPress.org.

WordPress was like an angel sent from heaven.  For all my needs it was easy to install, very intuitive to use, had a great blog, minus the “like” and “tweet” buttons, which I will look for later.  So far, I am enjoying the interface and may show my students how easy it is to create an online blog for themselves soon enough.

¹Sidenote: I have recently had access problems to the back-end of my WordPress installation with Orgfree.  I have emailed them multiple times to try to gain access to my account, but have not heard anything.  I have switched to WordPress.com.  I still think Orgfree is great to try out different website management interfaces.  They just have not given me any support.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 15, 2011 in Design, Technology

 

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