Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back at School Again

On Monday night I started back at School again after having seven glorious weeks of vacation from School. I am taking English 101. So far I think I am going to like it. Hopefully, I will learn to write papers and essays the correct way. Might even take less time.....if I know what I am doing. (A girl can hope : )
I am excited cuz not only is the topic interesting, but my buddy Maria is in my class too!
I went on a cruise over my vacation. It was the best vacation I have ever had. I want to go again. Beautiful water, sunshine, yummy food, fun, relaxation and splurging. See you later.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Just for fun

It is almost two weeks since the last web design class. I really enjoyed the class. I learned a lot of useful information and I was able to apply it to my life. So even though nobody is going to grade my blog, I felt like checking in and writing down some of my thoughts. I took a little break from studying till September. Then I will be hitting it hard again. I took two classes this past time, and I am sorry I did that. Probably won't do that again. If anybody does read this blog, I will be surprised. Maybe I will check back in later if I have anything worthwhile to say.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Webnode - If only they had some on-line directions


Here is the website I built with Webnode. I started this at 6:30 this morning. It is now 1:37 pm. I could have shaved off about 3 hours if there were some directions. Blah, Blah, Cry me a river.

Now it all makes sense. It is all relative, if you know how to do it, then anything is easy. I will type out all the details after I get some refreshment.

Thinking back on Monday evening and my very "rocky road" experience with Frontpage. The evening started out a little bit shaky, but by 10:00 I was almost finished. I still need to add the additional links and tweak some of the cosmetic issues. Some of the columns aren't lining up exactly right. I made my logo a little bit different for Webnode, so I still need to replace that. I also need to get rid of a few of the duplicate pictures. For the most part, I was pretty satisfied with the way that Frontpage looked when I was finished. The Frontpage format worked well for me. I erased some prefab formats and put in some new tables. This is pretty easy to do with Front page. You can get rid of the unwanted stuff without much trouble.

Like I said earlier in my blog, I started playing with Webnode at about 6:30 am Wednesday morning. I signed up for an account, actually, I signed up for it late Tuesday night.
Anyway, as I started playing with WebNode, I was getting pretty discouraged. I could not find any instructions anywhere. I see now that there is a tutorial at the sign in screen. Sadly, I did not see that until after I had already figured out the program through trial and error. When I figured out how to upload pictures, and how to apply the templates then I started to get somewhere. The templates are nice, and you have a lot of different templates to choose from. They look very polished.

The top of the screen, the website name field is not easily edited. I have not been able to change font style, font size, or the color of the text. If anybody else has figured out how to change them, would you please let me know.

At first, I was wishing for the flexibility of the Frontpage, when I could not figure anything out, but when I started to make progress, I think I have a new favorite. Webnode is more polished looking overall, and it has more gadgets.

Features that are easier or better with Webnode.......
  • Previewing your webpage is easier with Webnode.
  • You can set up a slide show of your pictures with Webnode (not available with Frontpage)
  • I like the styling of the templates better
  • Webnode is free
  • You don't get the Active X script message every time you load the page
  • It has widgets and other cool add ons

Features that are easier or better with Frontpage.......

  • It is easier to change fonts, and headings at any location of the webpage
  • You can delete unwanted "stuff" easier
  • The links to the website are also displayed on the bottom of the page
  • Home is listed with the other links (With webnode the home button is available, just not at the same location.
  • I liked the styling of the tabs on the left - (a little fancier)
  • You can put a description with each picture that you upload (I could not figure out how to do this in Webnode.)

(Never mind, I just figured it out in Webnode. You can add a description under Image Properties.)

Some of these things may be different with other templates, and since I don't have a lot of experience with either Frontpage or Webnode, I can only speak based on my limited use with only a few of the layouts. I would rather use the layouts in Frontpage, or the layouts in Webnodes vs. creating everything from scratch. I can also see why some people choose to use Web generation programs without using templates. Templates are great for novices. However, a website expert may not want to be locked into their limitations.

Overall, I am pleased with the fact that I can in fact build a web site. Yaaaaay. Thanks Ms. Mislevy for your instruction and your patience.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Web Page - Part 2

For my website, I will add several other links to help the potential customer choose the type of wood, the color of the stain, or ceramic tile needed for their custom made piece.

The first one will be a site that shows the different kinds of wood that could be used for a project. A hardwood guide. http://www.hardwoodinfo.com/species_guide/display_species.asp

The next ones will assist in the selection of stains to choose from with a lot of different manufacturers. Specialty Paints and Coatings.
or Olympia

The final one will be types of ceramic tile that could be used.

These websites should assist the potential customer.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's time to make a Web Page

Holy Cow, I am a bit overwhelmed here. I have taken lots of pictures, cropped and resized pictures for my website. I tried to make them all approximately the same size. I am doing a website for my husband. (He was just sent packing from his job of 20 years) The name of the site will be "Wood Art - A Custom Made Legacy "He wants to start a homebased woodworking business. I typed up a few documents in word in preparation for this evening and I have created a storyboard to outline my thoughts.

Storyboard - to create a site map where each sheet represents a specific web page. Without a storyboard, building a website is a lot more complicated. It is important to know how many pages you will need from the start so that the website can be built correctly from the beginning. If you try to add additional links after you have already started, you could have problems linking them together. First the Home Page. I am going to have a Home Page. On the Home Page I will have links to go to several other pages. I will also have some rotating pictures and a breif summary of what the website is all about (Custom made wood items). The first will be the "Craftsman" page. There I will give a brief history of the craftsman and include contact information. The second one will be the "Custom Work" page. There I will explain that furniture and cabinetry can be custom ordered to your specifications. The third page will be the "Gallery". This page will have lots of pictures of items that have already been made. I do not have Frontpage, but if I get stuck in the mud tonight, I may have to buy it to work on this away from class.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Isn't Photoshop fun? :)

I have finally finished my photoshop lab. I sure hope I got it right. I spent a lot of time on this. The good news is, I have learned a few more tricks and the things that I do not know, I can look up in the book and the tutorial and (hopefully) figure them out. I consider myself a computer literate type of person, however, Photoshop is not an easy program to learn. I will stop complaining now. Onto the other homework assignments.
Wow you were not kidding when you said the "Web Designs from Scratch" had a lot of links. A lot of good information there. A lot of marketing stuff. What is the goal of the website? Is the information organized in a user-friendly way? Does the information get your attention? Will the user stick around long enough to find out if you are selling what he is looking for? Does it look good? Does it work? The way I see it.....It all boils down to preference. The same concepts apply here that you would apply to music, or any other marketable art. If people like it, they will buy it. If they really like it (love it) they will pursue it. To the question "Is it a good thing that anyone can create a website, start their own business" Why not? This is America after all. Free speech is our right. If people like what you are selling, you will be successful. If not, then try something else.
The benefit of creating your own website, if you have the ability and the knowledge.....you can create a website that meets your expectations and your vision. The downside to making your own website would be the reverse. If you do not have the ability or the vision then your website could be boring, may not work, possibly useless. So the moral of the story is, If you know what you are doing, go for it. If you don't, you have 2 choices, you either learn, or you pay somebody else to do it for you.
Accessibility - Is the website easy to use regardless of impairment or disability. Usability - Is the product easy to use? Usability is more important than appearance. If your website is not easy to use, that will limit the use of the website.
Chapter 3 - What are Web Pages?
If you use a web authoring software, making a web page is a lot easier. This makes web design a lot like using a word processor. You can format text, change colors, fonts, backgrounds, tables, frames, add graphics and a navigation bar. If you don't want a space between lines use the "break code". You can also add links such as ......
Internal link - takes you to another page in the same web site.
External link - take you to a page outside the current web site.
e-mail link - open up e-mail program and address an e-mail to a particular person.
anchors - takes you to another spot on the same page or to a specific spot on another web page.
Layers - each element of your web page should be located on a different layer.
Chapter 4 - Before you Begin Your Site
Organize your files. Rules for naming your files.
1. Use all lowercase letters.
2. Use only letters or numbers - no funny characters
3. You can use the tilde~, underscore_, hyphen-, or period.
4. Do not use spaces
5. Web pages must end in either .htm or .html
6. Use the correct extension for your file names
7. Keep file names as short as possible.
Assuming you have a place to house your website, to create a good website you need to plan ahead. Who do you want to reach with your website? Start by making an outline on paper. Gather the information you want to post on your website. Creating and designing a website will be much easier if you do the two following things.
1. Decide what you want your website to accomplish. What is its purpose?
2. Gather all the information you want to make available.
I am still trying to decide between a semi-serious marketing web-site for my husbands future wood working business, or a website which lists family information, pictures, and biographies. Haven't decided yet, but I better decide soon. See you Monday at 6:00.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Week 4 - HTML , Good and Bad Design .....and such

I just completed my HTML lab. I think I get it. It is very cumbersome, but with a little trial and error I figured it out. Pretty cool stuff. I am sure that we only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to HTML code. Next I am going to look up the article "What's Your Style, Organizing Information for the Web" by Kim Guenther.
Here goes....Inverted pyramid method structures content from general to specific. Important information should be in the first two paragraphs. Information units are called chunks. The key is to organize first. Establish a hierarchy. What is most important. Usability is more important than appearance. Content is King. A Style guide serves to ensure that content is consistent, well organized, and facilitates use by the audience across the entire website. Meta data - the words we write to describe our pages.
Chapter 7
Interface - How does the page look? How do the pages work and interact with the viewer? Underlined words are always hypertext links that will send you to another page. Different browsers display web pages differently. Navigation design - the way you get around your site. Interface and navigation work together.
All good sites start with a plan. What information do you want to include? Create an outline. Horizontal format makes the most sense, because monitors are wider than they are tall. Most pages are designed to fit 800 x 600. If you can easily find your way around a site and back to home, then your site is well designed. If you get lost, not good. :( Use repetition and consistency of elements on each page. Do not use active links that take you to the exact same page you are already on. Hmmmmmm....that should be a no brainer. If you have a lot of information, then use a site map. Internal link is a local link that connects you with another part of your website. An external link connects you to someone else's website. External can make a website better, but make sure the links are relevant. External links can also be distracting too.
Chapter 8
Bad Designs - My Top 10 (Not exactly Letterman material here :)
1. All Caps
2. Don't break your lines
3. broken links
4. Don't tell people how to set their browser
5. unreadable fonts that are too small - in unreadable colors
6. Fonts that are too large can look like a children's book.
7. Don't require user to scroll sideways
8. A straight quote is the single most visible sign of an unprofessional.
9. Don't make buttons that are not real buttons.
10. Text inside of buttons should be consistent (don't use different fonts).
Now for the Good Design....
1. Working space of 800x600 for the "main visual impression"
2. Use the space below the 800x600 for less important items
3. Provide essential information as well as links without crowding
4. Consistency and Repetition from page to page
5. Use the Logo on every page.
6. Simple navigation bar
7. White or light colored background looks tidy
8. Easy to read print, font and colors
9. link colors coordinate with page colors
10. Pages download quickly
Evaluating Websites........
Let's look at the American Education Services Website.
It has a strange identity theft advertisement at the top that kind of looks like a suntan lotion ad. I have been at this website many times and I just breezed right by the heading. It takes up a lot of space and doesn't effectively communicate the intended message. The rest of the site shows continuity as well as essential information. However, the page is very crowded. Overall it is a good site, but I just don't get why they have a heading taking up so much space that is addressing a completely different subject. Maybe, they should take a web design course. Snicker, Snicker.
Onto the next victim........Major League Baseball (mlb.com)
This site is huge and complex. I was trying to find my way around, I could not find my way back to the home page without typing in the web address again. It is impressive with all the information on every major league team. I am sure you can purchase all kinds of memorabilia, however, it does not provide a clear road map for navigating. It was a bit slower to download because of all the pictures and videos available to watch. Again it is a good website, but not completely perfect. I am sure this was a very expensive web site to create and to maintain. Creating the perfect website may be very difficult. It seems like almost everyone will break the rules to suit their individual tastes or their agenda for creating the website. Maybe, the mlb website wants you to get lost in their memorabilia store to encourage sales.
Ya never know (Marketing 101).

I purchased Photoshop Elements 7 at Costco, it is on sale for $49.99(with a coupon for $30.00 off) if you have a membership. I was playing with it on Saturday for a few hours and today for about 3 hours. It seems like it is pretty much the same as the Elements 6. I am having some trouble with it. I could really use some help with the layers aspect. Not an easy program to learn. I hope we have some time to ask questions and get some help in class tomorrow. See you then.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What I learned this week.......

Wow...Looking at all these numbers for resolution and pixels makes me a little crazy. In a nut shell, I believe I have all the information I need to resize a picture file. Looks like I will be using a little trial and error in my upcoming exercises.

Dpi(dots per inch) vs ppi(pixels per inch)...they are not the same. It is important to know the difference. Dpi is the number of dots per inch that your printer will print on paper. Ppi is the numbers of dots per inch on your monitor. The article in Diigo for scanning tips went on and on forever. Wow, information overload here.

Chapter 9

Color Schemes, Color is good tastefully done. Contrast is also good. You may have to do a little experimenting. CMYK the four color process for graphics on the web.. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. RGB indexed color....Red, Green and Blue, a limited palette with a maximum of 256 colors. Onto Bit Depth, or pixel depth, or bit resolution. A bit is one electronic pulse. The higher the bit graphic measurement, the more colors are available.

Monitor resolution.....When pixels are smaller everything on the screen is smaller, which makes them look like a better quality. The more colors in your graphic the better it will look. The less colors, will appear to be at a lower resolution. The higher the bit depth, the larger the file. The browser safe or web-safe colors was a big problem in the past, but with newer technology, it is not as big of an issue, unless the people who will be accessing the images are using very old monitors. According to the book, the web-safe colors are not always the prettiest colors. To work around that problem, you can try mixing two colors together.

Chapter 10 - Graphic Definitions
  • native file format is the format native to or natural to a particular program. (i.e. Excel .xls)
  • graphic file formats used on the web - gif and jpeg
  • pixel based - bitmap, paint, raster (applications that use paint brushes and erasers)
  • math based - outline, object oriented, draw, vector (applications that draws shapes with a handle.
  • anti-aliasing - smoothness of the edge of a graphic
  • image map - a graphic with several links attached to it
  • server-side image map - dependent on the server doing the work
  • client-side image map - as easy to create as any other link
  • alternate label - allows a visitor of the web site to see the label as the web page loads
  • thumbnails - a thumbnail sized version of a picture
  • orphan page - a thumbnail enlarged with no additional information (boring)

Chapter 12 - Readability vs. legibility

Make sure the text is readable and legible. You can break rules when it works for you.
So much to think about. Cross platform fonts, proportional vs monospaced type, cascading style sheets, CSS Codes and Syntax. I am starting to see just how complicated web design is.

Now I need to discuss the attaching of a picture to a web page, blog or e-mail without make any adjustments to it. To be honest I did that a few times myself. I soon learned that files were too large to attach to e-mails. They were good quality, you just couldn't send them anywhere.

5 things you should do to an image to make it web ready.......

  1. Crop the picture - get rid of any part of the picture that may not be needed.
  2. Resize the picture by reducing the numbers of pixels - do not overwrite the original picture
  3. When reducing a file size, enable the aspect ratio to protect the picture from being distorted.
  4. Save file as a jpeg file (suggested for photographs)
  5. Set compression level to medium or high range
  6. Do not exceed 100 KB per Web page for the total of all pictures on the web page

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Homework Blog

When I first started reading Chapter 1 (What is the Web) of the "The Non-Designer's Web Book", I remember thinking and feeling confident that I understood what I was reading. I had just completed the computer terms worksheet, so they were all fresh on my mind. Reading Chapter 2 on searching the Internet was interesting and I learned some things that I did not know. Specifically the difference between search engines and search directories. I was aware that other search engines existed, but I never understood the differences. I am sure I will be able to use that helpful piece of information in my future searches.

The upside of web page advertising..........I learned in Chapter 5 that costs associated with advertising and web sites can be considerably less than printed advertising. It is also easier to correct mistakes on a Web page than to correct a mistake after an ad has already been printed. There are no additional costs related to colors. The sky is the limit. Information can be added or changed everyday or several times a day keeping your static information up to date.

The upside of print..........Printed information is more portable, you don't need a computer to read printed material. Printing has been around a lot longer than web advertising and therefore we are more accustomed to it, and there are more print tools available. Printed material does not crash, unless you would call dropping your magazine in the bathtub crashing. However, a computer would also be ruined if you dropped it in your bath tub. :)

In Chapter 6 I learned the following about designing a web page. Do not mix alignments unless the mixed alignment strengthens the design. Centering is overused. Straight lines make a document easier and more pleasant to read. Borders should be removed because they clutter the page and can distract the reader from focusing on what is important. Proximity is also key. Things that are closely related to each other should be close together in order to make the relationships obvious to the viewer. Repetition is also important. Logos, color schemes, background, and layout should remain consistent throughout the website. Contrast can be used to pull you in, don't contrast two shades of one color, make the colors very different from the other. Last but not least, make sure you spell everything correctly. Why bother making a beautiful design if you don't take the time to check your spelling.

When deciding between gif and jpeg, gifs should be used for the simple or less flashy applications, and jpeg should be used with photographs because of the complexity of colors and shading.

Wow, I just experienced a sinking feeling. I previewed my blog, and it just disappeared. Poof it was gone. So after a few minutes of being disgusted with myself, I thought my only choice was to start over. So I clicked on "New Post" and then I saw the option to edit blogs. There it was. I feel much better now.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My First Blog

This is a test. My first Blog. Actually I posted on a site where I was a fanclub member. Not anymore but that is a long story that I really don't want to tell. So here it goes. Let the blogging begin.....