March 7, 2007

Why is accessibility using CSS important or not important for the current web design project?

I would love to make a blanket statement that CSS is not important in my current web site design project, but that might not be true. Yes, there might be some unfortunate folks out there who are handicapped in some way who also like to visit the BWCA. Okay, fine. For them, we will use CSS in designing this site. The thing is, unless Friends of BWCA decides to hire us to complete the site, those handicapped folks won't ever see a lick of it. Kinda pointless? Perhaps.

Regulate Digital Billboards in Duluth?

I know this controversy probably began with the installation of that digital billboard up on Central Entrance just after the copper top church. Well, it WAS outrageously bright when they first installed it and it was distracting and tacky all at the same time. Complaints prompted the owners to tone it down, thank goodness. I drive by it now and barely notice it unless I want to see what it says -- that's the way it should be I think.

Future billboard owners might not be so civic minded, so I guess there has to be regulations in place for those idiots who don't care how annoying their billboard is.

What is a good font for web/interactive design?

My personal favorite font for web site BODY TEXT is 12 pt. Verdana (80% black) just because it doesn't look so honking round like Arial. Not that I use Verdana for anything else I design; it's just that you really have to choose one of the universal fonts found on the majority of computers. The secondary font (within CSS) that I choose is Helvetica, I think.

I don't mind serif fonts in larger (headline) sizes, even though I have heard they can be more difficult to read. At larger sizes, I don't think that's much of an issue.

February 6, 2007

SecondLife Contemplation

My first impression of the interactive reality web site SecondLife.com was one of fascination. I was intrigued by the sophisticated 3D imagery and the ability to "fly" from place to place (a common fantasy of many humans, I'm sure). But the concept of buying virtual real estate is almost beyond what my mind is able to grasp, but I still somehow find it very intriguing. I think I like it. I can definitely see advantages for handicapped and elderly people to feel unencumbered, and that in itself is a positive thing. I can see a time in the maybe not-so-distant future when this kind of virtual reality will be commonplace, and we go there A LOT -- to buy our groceries, to do some window shopping, go to church, possibly go to your job, go to have some fun & meet other people. I see nothing wrong with that because I don't believe it will replace ACTUAL reality. I don't think any virtual world could possibly replace our actual world (unless we continue to harm our actual world to the point where we can no longer go outside because of health risks.)

What about the virtual porn that is appearing in SecondLife? So what? It's here in our actual world too, and there will always be sicko people who need that kind of thing. You can't expect SecondLife to be some idealized form of Mayberry RFD. That would be unrealistic. That's why I asked about murder and stealing. I was very curious to see which social laws might be carried over into this new virtual existence. It's actually an interesting social experiment...

Much like my belief that PAPER will always be around, I believe that we will always have an actual existence outside of any virtual existences that may become popular. I have faith in human nature, but am philosophical about it as well. Because the bottom line is: entering the virtual reality world of SecondLife is VOLUNTARY. No one will force you to go there. So if it offends you in some way or you just object to the idea of another reality besides the one you're in now, don't go there. Simple.

January 30, 2007

Compare 3 Websites - Assignment

Our assignment was to evaluate 3 similar web sites. My partner was the infamous Annie Haubenhofer. Here is the link to view our comparison of THREE TOURISM WEBSITES:
Comparison Assignment

This was an interesting assignment in that we could choose the type of sites to compare. I strong-armed Annie into comparing tourism web sites because I had experience in the field of tourism and could basically sound like I know what I'm talking about. Kind of. Anyway, I felt it was important to organize thumbnails of the site for the presentation so that our audience (the class) could see at a glance what we were up to. Wah-la.

January 25, 2007

Interactive Game Played

Annie turned me on to Shockwave.com and a game called "Text Twist." Link
You have to view an ad while it loads and that kinda stinks, but the game itself is kinda fun. I like word games, and anything that makes my mind work, so this one fit the bill. The navigation is in a kind a funky display font (appropriate). This is a timed game so you play against the clock. You try to spell as many words as you can from a computer-selected jumble of six letters. Once you have a word, you click Enter to save it. At the end of the game, all of the possible words appear and you have the opportunity to review those (and feel really stupid).

This is an okay game, but the blinking ads on this site are distracting. I may or may not decide to go to this site again to play.

January 18, 2007

Learning Web Tech - Definitions

Screw it; my tags that I placed around the first half dozen links didn't even show up and I don't know what I did wrong. How would I know what I did wrong when we haven't even learned how to do CSS coding yet? Maybe I'll actually read and learn the meanings of the terms more if they are written out and NOT just a link to a web site somewhere....


Web definitions, as defined on Wikipedia and/or Dictionary.com:

Internet = a large computer network linking smaller computer networks worldwide (usually prec. by the).

World Wide Web = a system of interlinked, hypertext documents that runs over the Internet.

Web Server = A computer that is responsible for accepting HTTP requests from clients, which are known as Web browsers, and serving them HTTP responses along with optional data contents, which usually are Web pages such as HTML documents and linked objects (images, etc.).

Host =a company or individual in web hosting who offers web space and sometimes a domain name.

Website = a collection of web pages, typically common to a particular domain name or subdomain on the World Wide Web on the Internet.

Web Page = a document, typically written in HTML, that is almost always accessible via HTTP, a protocol that transfers information from the website's server to display in the user's web browser.

Web Browser = a software application that enables a user to display and interact with text, images, and other information typically located on a web page at a website on the World Wide Web or a local area network.

Podcast = a media file that is distributed by subscription (paid or unpaid) over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers.

Cache = a collection of data duplicating original values stored elsewhere or computed earlier, where the original data is expensive (usually in terms of access time) to fetch or compute relative to reading the cache. Once the data is stored in the cache, future use can be made by accessing the cached copy rather than re-fetching or recomputing the original data, so that the average access time is lower.

HTML = Hyper Text Markup Language (even I knew that one). the predominant markup language for the creation of web pages. It provides a means to describe the structure of text-based information in a document β€” by denoting certain text as headings, paragraphs, lists, and so on β€” and to supplement that text with interactive forms, embedded images, and other objects.

XHTML = Extensible HyperText Markup Language is a markup language that has the same depth of expression as HTML, but a stricter syntax.

XML = Extensible Markup Language is a W3C-recommended general-purpose markup language that supports a wide variety of applications.

Javascript = is the name of Netscape Communications Corporation's implementation of the ECMAScript standard, a scripting language based on the concept of prototype-based programming. The language is best known for its use in websites (as client-side JavaScript), but is also used to enable scripting access to objects embedded in other applications.

IP Address = Internet Protocol address, a unique address that devices use in order to identify and communicate with each other on a computer network utilizing the Internet Protocol standard (IP)β€”in simpler terms, a computer address.

URLs = Uniform Resource Locator is a technical, Web-related term used in two distinct meanings:
in popular usage, it is a widespread synonym for Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) β€” many popular and technical texts will use the term "URL" when referring to URI;
in strict technical usage, it is a subset of URI specific to identifiers that are primarily locators.

Domain Name = A name that is entered into a computer (e.g. as part of a Web site or other URL, or an e-mail address). These names are technically hostnames.
The product that Domain name registrars provide to their customers. These names are often called registered domain names.
A name which is not a hostname used for other purposes in the Domain Name System (DNS), for example the special names used by Session Initiation Protocol (VoIP) or DomainKeys.

HTTP = Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a method used to transfer or convey information on the World Wide Web. Its original purpose was to provide a way to publish and retrieve HTML pages.

FTP = File Transfer Protocol is used to connect two computers over the Internet so that the user of one computer can transfer files and perform file commands on the other computer.

ISP = An Internet service provider (abbr. ISP, also called Internet access provider or IAP) is a business or organization that provides to consumers access to the Internet and related services.

IPP = Internet Presence Provider, another name for a web host.

Modem = a device that modulates an analogue carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information.

Cable Modem = a type of modem that provides access to a data signal sent over the cable television infrastructure. Cable modems are primarily used to deliver broadband Internet access, taking advantage of unused bandwidth on a cable television network.

Ethernet = a large, diverse family of frame-based computer networking technologies for local area networks (LANs).

Wireless = any type of electrical or electronic operation which is accomplished without the use of a "hard wired" connection.

CSS = Cascading Style Sheets, used to format HTML, SGML and XML-based documents

Blog = a user-generated website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order.

MP3 = a popular digital audio encoding and lossy compression format and algorithm, designed to greatly reduce the amount of data required to represent audio, yet still sound like a faithful reproduction of the original uncompressed audio to most listeners.

JPEG = a commonly used standard method of compression for photographic images. The name JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group.

GIF = Graphics Interchange Format is an 8-bit-per-pixel bitmap image format using a palette of up to 256 distinct colors from the 24-bit RGB color space.

GUI = graphical user interface is a particular case of user interface for interacting with a computer which employs graphical images and widgets in addition to text to represent the information and actions available to the user.

PHP = Hypertext Preprocessor) is a reflective programming language originally designed for producing dynamic Web pages.

January 16, 2007

The Three Questions

Interactive design -- what is is? It is communication between one or more persons using digital technology - profound, yes?

What do I want to learn in this course?
I would like to learn to like blogging. I would like to learn Dreamweaver better so that I can offer better web sites to my clients.

What applications/programming languages do I know or want to learn?
I am self-taught in Dreamweaver and have used it for several years. I have built over 30 web sites (with various levels of success). I know myself well enough that I sometimes resist learning new technologies, unless I am required to do so. I definitely like designing much more than building & maintaining web sites. I hope I can overcome my own resistance.

Other applications I know:
QuarkXPress 6.0
InDesign CS2
Photoshop CS2
Illustrator CS2
Dreamweaver 8
ImageReady
Flash 8
Word
Excel
PowerPoint