March 12, 2007

Accessibility

We are redesigning the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory web site. I think that accessibility using css for our current web design project is important because a large part of Hawk Ridge's work is educating the public about raptors and migration. The public is obviously diverse and Hawk Ridge probably wants to accommodate their diverse needs by making their website accessible to all. They don't want anyone to be excluded from the information and programs that they offer.

March 3, 2007

Digital Billboards

The only digital billboard that I've consciously noticed is the one on East Central Entrance in Duluth. A couple of times it has been REALLY bright, but it never caused problems with my driving. It did, however, make me wonder every single time how it is possible for a screen like that to survive the outdoor weather conditions...

I read a short article about the debate over these billboards in the Twin Cities. I think that as long as the billboards don't display flashing ads or anything like that, they probably aren't that distracting to drivers. I think that using them to display Amber Alerts and stuff like that is a good idea and could be very beneficial. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if they start causing accidents...

This brings up a funny sign that I see every time I drive home to Rochester. It's a green government sign that says Concentrate On Driving. If you're reading that sign, you're not really concentrating on driving now are you?

Web Fonts

Basically, I have been a fan of Verdana on the web. I like sans serif fonts over serif any day if i have to read a lot of text on the screen. Verdana is simple and very easy to read. I am also a fan of whatever this font is that is being used right now. I'm not sure which one it is, but I like it. It is a more interesting sans serif font that gives the feeling of serifs, such as how the lower case 'L' curves at the bottom. The lower case 'g' is my favorite.

Kiosk

I saw the kiosk for Solon Campus Center before it was installed. Pretty sweet!

The only other kiosk that I can recall interacting with is the one in the Sports & Health Center lobby. It's a big 3-sided display case, so you can walk all the way around it. Last year, 2 other RSOP graphic designers and I redesigned the displays for the kiosk and I'll be doing it again in the next couple weeks. It's an interesting way of displaying because it invites the viewer to interact with it by walking around it and looking at the other sides. Most of the time that is asking a lot of a viewer, however, because most people won't want to take the time just to walk around the kiosk and see what else it has to offer. It is a good way to grab people's attention from all sides though. People are entering and exiting the lobby from all directions, so it is a really good location for a 3-sided kiosk. It is very large though, so it is kept off to one side of the lobby. I think that if it was a smaller, possibly 4-sided kiosk, it could be placed in the center of the lobby and it would receive more interaction from viewers. I think that a digital kiosk, like the one in the Campus Center, would be really cool too. It wouldn't necessarily have to be digitally interactive. It could simply show various pictures of different RSOP and athletic activities on two sides and have static displays on the other 2 sides. If it was a digitally interactive kiosk it would be really cool, but then again, it's asking a lot of the viewer to take time out of their busy schedule to interact with a kiosk.

January 31, 2007

Gen & Ryan's web site analysis

Download file

Second Life

I had never heard of Second Life before class yesterday. It's kind of a hard concept to grasp. A virtual world where you can pretty much do anything you can do in real life plus more? Very strange. The strangest part, I think, is that it uses real money. You can buy plots of land, and even "skin" to change the appearance of your virtual character. Apparently, you can even go to a restaurant to "eat" and you have to pay for it. I wonder how much the hookers charge...

I think it's a really interesting new form of world-wide communication and way to sell products. You can browse stores and purchase items, test drive cars, and all sorts of stuff. People from all over the world can come together in the same place at the same time without even leaving their homes or offices.

It also seems sick and twisted. I'm sure there are people out there that will become so absorbed in their second life that they will end up ruining their actual lives. I guess people's characters have gotten married in Second Life, which is scary for those who are married to these people in real life.

The possibilities for this virtual world are endless. I'm scared!

January 29, 2007

Poppit!

I played the game Poppit at pogo.com. It's a simple game of popping groups of colored balloons that takes a little strategy to win tokens. Since the game is so simple, the surrounding interface doesn't interfere too much with usability. I like the brightly colored balloons, and the weird cactus guy on the left side that gives you information when you find a bonus surprise or whatever. I also like that when you mouse over a group of balloons that are poppable, they turn translucent and move around. It's cute how the balloons explode into little stars when you pop them, and how prizes parachute to the ground when they are released from balloons.

However, there are a few things about the game, and the site in general, that bother me. Since I'm not a member and I play these games for free, I get bombarded with ads. Before you play, they show you an ad while your game "loads." Then if you play the game for a while, every so often you have to take an "intermission" where they show you an ad for about 40 seconds. This is annoying.

The game has its own smaller window which is not resizable. It is a little bit cluttered, especially on the right side where there are game option buttons and an area for chatting with other players. A mix of fonts is used as well, which adds to the clutter. It would be nice if the number of tokens I currently have stood out more, so that I would be able to keep track of my progress easier.

Advertising is also crammed into the interface. They have the sponsoring business' logo built into the game at the bottom. They also have a large image of their product behind the playing area. Then there is an additional banner advertisement across the top of the window for a separate sponsor. Way too much!

Aside from these things, I like pogo's games in general and they have nice graphics, so I'm gonna keep playing!

January 21, 2007

Definitions

Internet
An interconnected system of networks that connects computers around the world via the TCP/IP protocol.

World Wide Web
A system of extensively interlinked hypertext documents: a branch of the Internet.

Web Server
A server process running at a website which sends out web pages in response to HTTP requests from remote browsers.

Host
A computer containing data or programs that another computer can access by means of a network or modem.

Web site
A set of interconnected webpages, usually including a homepage, generally located on the same server, and prepared and maintained as a collection of information by a person, group, or organization.

Web page
A document on the World Wide Web, consisting of an HTML file and any related files for scripts and graphics, and often hyperlinked to other documents on the Web.

Web browser
A program used to view HTML documents.

Podcast
A Web-based audio broadcast via an RSS feed, accessed by subscription over the Internet.

Cache
An area of computer memory devoted to the high-speed retrieval of frequently used or requested data.

HTML
HyperText Markup Language: A markup language used to structure text and multimedia documents and to set up hypertext links between documents, used extensively on the World Wide Web.

XHTML
A reformulation of HTML 4.01 in XML. Being XML means that XHTML can be viewed, edited, and validated with standard XML tools. At the same time, it operates as well as or better than HTML 4 in existing HTML 4 conforming user agents. The most important change is that all elements must be terminated, either with a closing tag or using the shorthand.

XML
Short for extensible markup language. A version of SGML that allows one to design a customized markup language, used to allow for the easy interchange of documents and data on the World Wide Web or between software components.

JavaScript
Netscape's simple, cross-platform, World-Wide Web scripting language, only very vaguely related to Java (which is a Sun trademark). 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: The numerical sequence that serves as an identifier for an Internet server. An IP address appears as a series of four groups of numbers separated by dots. The first group is a number between 1 and 255 and the other groups are a number between 0 and 255, such as 192.135.174.1. Every server has its own unique address.

URL
Uniform Resource Locater: a protocol for specifying addresses on the Internet. Also, an Internet address (for example, http://www.hmco.com/trade/), usually consisting of the access protocol (http), the domain name (www.hmco.com), and optionally the path to a file or resource residing on that server (trade).

Domain name
A series of alphanumeric strings separated by periods, such as www.hmco.com, that is an address of a computer network connection and that identifies the owner of the address.

HTTP
Hypertext Transfer Protocol: A protocol for transferring hypertext documents, the standard protocol for the World Wide Web.

FTP
File Transfer Protocol: A software protocol for exchanging information between computers over a network.

ISP
Internet Service Provider: A company that furnishes corporations and individual consumers with various services, mainly access to the Internet.

IPP (or IPPP)
An IPPP (Internet presence provider and promoter) is a company that helps an enterprise create a Web site, arrange for hosting (housing, maintaining, and providing Internet access) for the Web site, and promote an audience for it. Many Internet service providers (ISPs) are also IPPPs, but some ISPs simply offer users access to the Internet.

Modem
A device for transmitting usually digital data over telephone wires by modulating the data into an audio signal to send it and demodulating an audio signal into data to receive it.

Cable modem
A type of modem that allows people to access the Internet via their cable television service.

Ethernet
A type of networking technology for local area networks; coaxial cable carries radio frequency signals between computers at a rate of 10 megabits per second.

Wireless
Any system or device, as a cellular phone, for transmitting messages or signals by electromagnetic waves.

CSS
Cascading Style Sheets: An extension to HTML to allow styles, e.g. color, font, size to be specified for certain elements of a hypertext document. Style information can be included in-line in the HTML file or in a separate CSS file (which can then be easily shared by multiple HTML files). Multiple levels of CSS can be used to allow selective overriding of styles.

Blog
A shared online journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies.

MP3
An MPEG standard used especially for digitally transmitting music over the Internet.

JPEG
A standard algorithm for the compression of digital images, making it easier to store and transmit them.

GIF
Graphics interchange format: A service mark used for a raster-based format for storing files of color graphics.

GUI
Graphical user interface: A software interface designed to standardize and simplify the use of computer programs, as by using a mouse to manipulate text and images on a display screen featuring icons, windows, and menus.

PHP
Hypertext Preprocessor: A reflective programming language originally designed for producing dynamic Web pages.


Sources
Dictionary.com
Wikipedia

January 16, 2007

Q&A

What is Interactive Design?

I think that interactive design is design that involves the viewer. It is more than something for the audience to simply look at. I don't think that the piece has to be digital or online to be interactive design, but I think that digital and online interactive design is the future. It invites viewers to engage with the piece by touching, clicking, listening, watching, and thinking. Websites are one common example of interactive design. When the audience goes to a website, they must click on certain things and process the results in order to eventually obtain the information they are looking for.


What do you want to learn in the course?

I was hoping to learn more about Flash and how to use it, but it doesn't sound like we're going to be doing that so much. I think it will be interesting to learn about CSS, whatever that is, and about the other technical stuff behind websites that I really know nothing about. I want to learn more about making websites in general so that if a friend or a business asked me to make a website for them, that I would feel knowledgable about and comfortable with the entire process.


What applications / programming languages do you know or want to learn?

Well, I know barely any html...about enough to make these question headings bold. So basically I want to learn any programming languages that will help me make cool, useable websites. I would also like to learn more about Dreamweaver and Flash.