Information Architecture

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CAP has in its web design a fatal flaw with its architecture. Links are redundant. Pages are redundant. Words are redundant. Nearly everything seems to be repeated far too often because the content of the site is so lacking. Much of this stems from my comments above regarding the CAP site in general. There is a lack of personality and depth associated with all content: words, colors, graphics. It has been given little love or attention and it shows. What we have here is a site that is far past its prime (which I would have said the day it was created) and unable to really reach out. It frustrates and is useful only to a very limited group of users. Not all the links are ready and many of the pdfs have an outdated logo.

I'm still as unhappy with this site as I was the day I laid eyes upon it. I, unfortunately, cannot change much of the architecture as I do not currently have the time. If I could there would be more content and more pages. I know there are things to write about and images to post. I would hire a graphic designer (such as City Wall Graphics) to help with illustrations and artwork. The lesson learned here is that the time and effort put into the site will surely show when completed.

Custom Adhesive Products

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Captape.com is a long friend of mine. I created many of the links on some of the pages and have been in charge of its maintenance (which is very little) since last May. In taking a look at the headings, it seems as if we have a bit of redundancy and confusion. Why are there CONTACT US, ABOUT US, and REQUEST FOR QUOTE tabs on the left side? All these topics are already covered on the front page (phone number, location) or could be condensed into two or maybe even one tab.

Every link in the MARKETS SERVED and TAPE PRODUCTS tabs is redundant to a link available on the front page and the HOME tab is redundant of the CAP logo. This leaves the possibility of 3 or 4 useful links. I would rearrange much of the information and include illustrations and photographs more heavily. I believe people want to be able to look at the products being discussed.

Replacing the information in the "Our Products" section with a link and deleting the "Industries We Serve" section in favor of the MARKETS SERVED tab would create ample links on the side. The "Featured Products" section could be expanded down the left side and incorporate product pictures. A scrolling gallery with links can replace the large space opened by the deletion of 2 sections. Even just a single large picture (or maybe one random image from a large selection) could be sufficient.

I believe everything could use a different color palate on this site. Besides grayscale, the only other colors are contained in the blue spectrum. The links are sand colored. It's painful. I suppose the inclusion of too many graphics and distractions could be a worse conclusion, but I'm definitely left wanting when visiting this site.

Video on the web

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Video itself has changed the way we view content on the web. We have Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, and the grand daddy - Youtube. An article I found in Wired regarding Youtube and Google claims that the two combined compromise around 10% of all internet traffic - and possibly more. Youtube is by far the most bandwidth intensive site Google operates, taking the majority of that statistic.. A blog posting also revealed that there was a study done in 2007 revealing that 10% of internet traffic was from Youtube for broadband users in the US. That figure grows to 20% if you disregard Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networking. Add in the many other sites that rely mainly on video to capture an audience and its easy to see why. Video is obviously very bandwidth heavy by nature (especially with HD streaming), but this is only because so much information can be presented through video. It has allowed bloggers and writers to easily present and clarify events, demonstrate tasks, and entertain. It is an easy way to enhance credibility and capture the reader.
I believe video to be an accessory to writing as it can clarify and credit the information and ideas being presented. It is an effective tool and is utilized almost universally whenever possible. Writing can also be done for video and presented via many free sites. A script for this would look much like one for any other form of video but must be made to be easily viewable on a computer screen.

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The visual has taken off since the introduction of digital writing, mainly because of the convenience and added interest given to whatever it is being written about. There are many sites and genres that consist nearly completely of images, using words as no more than a compliment or definition of what it is being seen on the screen. It is easier to appeal to a larger audience through images as well, since there is no language barrier and usually little cultural barrier. As with any other image, they also have the ability to pull emotion and attention very quickly. Seeing a beautiful mountain in an article could bring back a pleasant (or any other type) memory and cause you to read into the article a bit.
Hence the direction of this small brainstorming is that many (read: extremely noticeable but unquantifiable) images are simply advertisements, whether as a hyperlink for another site as a typical advertisement or one to draw attention to the site already being displayed, as I have mentioned above. We have already seen the possibilities for profit through advertisement on the internet with companies like Google and Yahoo. Sites such as ESPN, Facebook, and nearly any other you can think of use some form of advertisement in their designs because of the nature of images. We have also seen the creation of GIF (moving images) and, recently, the full adoption of video as a form of advertisement. Video occurred long before the internet but it is only recently we really have enough people with broadband access to make it convenient and plausible. Youtube is far from old and is sure to spawn even more media-centric sites as we move forward.

Unification

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Sitting in class with my good friend Nick last semester I was texting another friend of ours. We were trying to plan an event for our fraternity and I decided texting wasn't nearly powerful enough to say what I wanted. I quickly snagged the Macbook and began facebook messaging him. He turned to me and commented, "It's so cool that you can do that." I quizzically replied, "What?" I had changed from one means of digital writing to another so seamlessly and subconsciously that not even I realized that I had completely changed my method of input. The reason why is that the most important aspect of the conversation has remained: the audience. The other person was able to switch just as seamlessly and because of it we were able to more efficiently use our time. This is the move to technology Sherry Turkle speaks of in her article "Can You Hear Me Now?" We are moving to the point of unified digital communication through our mobile devices that is adding to the creation of our global network. Its fairly obvious if you're willing to pay attention, as I suggest you may. The most unified client I have yet to come across is an email based application named Google Wave I recommend applying for notification of a public release as it is only in testing right now.

2.1.10

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While reading through Writing Space by Jay David Bolter its hard not to notice how many of his observations are more or less simple ideas and observations. He goes through the great time and effort to organize them, but much of what he says can be seen very easily and accurately today. Due to the copyright of the book its also very possible that many things we are reading weren't as true then as they are now, giving him credit for his insight. The progression of text and really just the visual representation of words in general have changed at an incredibly slow pace (by today's standards).
I couldn't help but keep bringing to mind the recently introduced iPad and the excellent presentations given by Will Wright and Cory Hertog on the Barnes and Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle, respectively. They are again a new representation of text that offer something previous iterations have not. There is the ability to hold an incredibly large amount of books within the single device. The iPad really takes it the step further by having full color screen and video, something not really seen in a tablet style device. We see this on our computers when reading all the time but to take even the most traditional works of literature and digitize them for mass distribution is an idea yet to completely catch on. Daily news articles and blogs are perfectly fine to read online but a novel requires more emotion from the reader, something that people may think will be lost on an lcd. The book loses its tangible value creating an issue for the reader. It will be much time before we are a society that wholly prefers digital content over books.
Digital technology has the obvious advantages though, hyperlinking being one of the greatest. The ability to instantly reference and be able to read the reference is a huge advantage when trying to understand content. It has taken the idea of a bibliography and completely re-envisioned it for the benefit of the reader. Hyperlink also provides the option of extra content, a "back of the book" type link that isn't truly necessary but is useful for the more curious reader. I see every form of text to take advantage of digitization with the exception of the novel (although I'm sure we could find some others). It is a form of writing that relies more heavily on nostalgia and could benefit less from digitization in terms of content. The advantage comes in being able to hold an incredible amount of books at once, something many don't have a real need for yet.

And off we go...

There are many times throughout a day in which I am forced by the environment around me to think and interpret. Looking into these thoughts leads to the conclusion that I am without a doubt a product of the digital age. Some of my most valuable possessions are electronic devices, such as my TV, stereo, and computer. This may come off as mundane but my TV is a 42 inch flat screen, my "stereo" one of far more than 2 speakers (though 2 are of the traditional floorstanding variety), and my computer powerful enough to connect the other 2 together in a small digital environment. Of course I also have a Playstation 3 in case I have a sudden thirst for a first-person shooter or high definition Blu-ray. I sit here on my couch, listening to music while typing on my wireless keyboard and mouse, intermittently switching on the Vikings game. (I am a Bears fan, just to clarify this point.) With all the money I have spent on media devices and the way in which I utilize them, I am undoubtedly someone born into an age where these things are intertwined into every aspect of my daily life. My Blackberry never leaves my side and I have no reason to let it for all I am concerned. I expect instant gratification at all times and am usually able to receive it, mostly because I know no better. This is my first blog and at this point feel as if I have moved a significant portion of my life onto servers 3,000 miles away. I suspect many who read this will feel much the same.

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Recent Comments

  • Lee-Ann Breuch: Given the redundancy of information, perhaps you could take one read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: Hi Nick, You have some great ideas already for this read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: Hi Nick, You raise some interesting related points about YouTube. read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: You make a good point about the prevalence of advertisements read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: I am intrigued by the seamless integration of textual media. read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: I am intrigued by the seamless integration of textual media. read more
  • Lee-Ann Breuch: Hi Nick, Right on regarding Bolter's writing style. He takes read more

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