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Web design as a career…

If I were to continue a path in web design for my education here at MSU (which I’m not – I’m doing PW to go into editing), I would definitely have to rethink the classes I would take.  For me, I would want to take at least some CompSci classes so I could understand programming a little bit.  Even if I didn’t have to do any programming myself, I think it would be really beneficial to understand the language and how it works.  I would also want to take more classes focused more on web design.  I would definitely need more knowledge of HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, Javascript, etc. to become a web designer and those classes could provide me with that foundation.  Other than that, I would want to take some basic art or graphic design classes.  These would just be to help me hone my aesthetic skills; they would help me better understand what looks good and what doesn’t – a key skill that I would need.  I think a good mixture of some of these classes, along with some writing classes and some other classes I may have not thought of, would give me a really good base set of skills for continuing into a career in web design.

Navigation bars…

So some of the feedback I got from the usability test was that I might want to think about adjusting the colors on my websites.  They said I had a lot of blue.  So for this blog, I’m going to post pictures of different themed nav bars.  The first is the original, and what I have on the site currently.  The next few are the same color theme with a different accent color.  The ones after that are complete different color schemes.  If I chose a different nav bar, I will adjust the colors of the fonts and headers accordingly.

Original scheme

Original scheme, new accent, take 1

Original scheme, new accent, take 2

Original scheme, new accent, take 3

New scheme 1

New scheme 2

I think I’m going to stick with the original theme, but I do really like the other ones, too if for some reason I have to change it.  My least favorite is the original scheme with the green accent.  I don’t think it works well enough as an accent because it’s also a cool color.  I really like new scheme 2, except for the light pink for the background of the site.  The yellow accent looks good against the purple and fuchsia, but not the light pink.  If I chose this design, I would definitely change the background color.

Pizza Hut logo…

I think Pizza Hut has a really good logo.  If you haven’t seen it, it looks like this:

For the longest time, I just sat looking at the logo trying to figure out what I liked about it.  Nothing really jumped out at me, I just knew that I liked it.  When I think about it, though, I think I like it because it’s so stylized.  It looks like someone drew the logo with a fat Sharpie or something.  I think that’s really cool because it gives it a friendlier feel.  It doesn’t seem so uptight and commercialized.  That’s really why I like it so much.

As for effectiveness, I think the stylization works for that, too.  It probably gives other people the sense of friendliness that it gives me.  Also, the logo includes their very distinctive, signature red roof.  This is really effective because if someone can’t remember the actual name of the pizza place but they remember the logo has a red roof, they’ll be able to figure out which pizza place it is they want to go to because of the red roof.  I think it’s a really good marketing tool to put the red roof on their building and on their their logo.

Mod 4 Difficulties…

The first major difficulty I ran into was how to make my navigation bar stationary while the rest of the site scrolled.  I looked up how to do this, but I’m not very good with code, so I didn’t really understand it.  I finally was able to do it, with much help from someone, by creating the page in Dreamweaver and using a frame for the navigation bar.  Now that I’ve done that, the navigation bar is locked and wont scroll.  The rest of the site, however, is still able to scroll.

Now that that’s fixed, though, I’ve run into another problem with the navigation bar.  It’s an image of set size that I created in Photoshop.  The problem is that this size doesn’t match up with the size of the browser window.  This results in the image either “going off” the end of the page so there isn’t a border at the bottom like at the top and left, or “stopping short” so there is too much of a border at the bottom.  I don’t know how to fix this, though.  With a table, you could set the dimensions of the table to certain percents, so it would look right on multiple computers and with multiple browsers.  I don’t think I can do this with an image though, especially if it’s in a frame.  I’ll have to look into this more, though, because I feel like there must be some way to have the image look good on any computer and in any browser.

There are many things that can define the success of a website, depending on what its purpose is.  For some websites, success means having lots of visitors.  Such sites would include sites that want to sell things, sites that want to spread a message, and sites that want to reach a lot of people.  Other sites are considered successful if they provide pertinent and quality information for its audience.  These sites may or may not get a lot of visitors.  Wikipedia, for instance, provides high quality reference information to millions, while is also very informative but has a significantly small audience.  Another way a site can be measured as successful is if it has a lot of content uploaded to it.  This would make sites like youtube, flikr, facebook, and twitter all really successful.

As you can see, there can be a huge variety of things that make a website successful.  How the success is measured directly depends on the nature of the site.  If I had to boil it down to one thing, I would say that a successful site has a well defined purpose and achieves that purpose to a high degree.

Mod 4 Ideas…

So I was going to do a bookcase themed layout for my blog, but I decided against it because I want to be able to use the layout for my portfolio also and I don’t think it would be professional enough.  I would have had a picture of a book case as the main page.  On top the the bookcase would be a picture frame with the logo I made in class and also “Cat’s Blog” in 3-d letters.  The first shelf would have had a stack of books laying on their side for the navigation bar.  Each of the titles would have been link to different pages on the site.  There would also have been a spiral notebook standing up on the first shelf, which is where the content of the blog would go (the post).  I would have had to tweak the layout so that it only showed one post at a time and so that it cut the posts to a set length so it would fit in the spiral notebook image.

My new idea is a lot less awesome, a lot less complicated, and a lot more professional looking.  I’m going to tweak one of the design themes from PowerPoint.  This is basically what it will look like:

The blue and black side bar would be fixed and it would be where the navigation would be.  The rest of the page wouldn’t be fixed, it would have a banner and the content.  I would use navy text for the main page, white text for the sidebar, and orange yellow or bright green text for emphasis (links and such).

General class question

The only question I can think of relates to the content we’ve been learning and reading about.  We’ve mostly been focusing on the actual design part of websites and the visual aspects of them.  I wanted to know what kinds of jobs there are that focus more on the content and writing on a website.  I’m interested in editing, so personally I’d like to learn more about these kinds of jobs.

Okay, so ANGEL is a pretty crappy website, as we all know, so I could pick any number of things I wish it had.

For me, though, what I could really benefit from would be an interactive, integrated calendar.  I have four classes that use ANGEL, one of which uses it fairly regularly and uses it to post assignments.  I know there are, or rather, can be calendars for each individual class, but I think there should be a calendar on the main page so you can see the assignments of all your classes.  (Or at least all the ones that use ANGEL.)  This would be especially helpful to me because I’m scatter-brained and forgetful.  It would be really nice to be able to see exactly everything I have to do and when it’s due.  With that, I think it would be a good idea to be able to rate assignments by priority.  You could either prioritize them by how big of an assignment they are, or by when they are due, or both.  This would help me because it would let me see visually what needs to get done first.

Pizza House and color

I’m not entirely sure (not being color blind myself) , but I think the Pizza House website might cause a color blind person some difficulties.  The main colors are red and green, so this would obviously be troublesome for red-green color blind people.  Some of the contrast wouldn’t be that bad because it’s light green on dark red, but there is also dark green on dark red.  I think this would cause some problems because the shades probably don’t contrast that much.  I think a simple fix to this would be to change the color scheme completely or make all of the green light green.

Annoying web design trend

I have to say, when I first read this blog assignment, nothing really came to mind.  I don’t go to that many sites; I mainly use the same few over and over, and they don’t have anything particularly annoying.  I’d also have to say that there isn’t really anything out there on the web that really, really gets on my nerves.  After some thinking, though, I did come up with something to write about.  I do occasionally go to all-purpose sites, whose homepages have a little bit everything (RoadRunner, AOL, etc.)  and I don’t really like the little boxes that scroll through stories.  The idea is great, but they cram so many links to related stories that you just don’t have time to read before it goes to the next slide.  Part of the problem is that the box doesn’t really catch your attention until it moves to the next slide.  When it loads, it’s just a stationary picture.  Until it starts moving, it doesn’t really catch your eye all that much.  The problem I have with them can easily be fixed.  The only think the site designer would have to do would be to have the box stay on each story/images for a longer amount of time, or have less related links to read through.