March 19, 2010

I’ve changed my mind.



March 15, 2010

I was incredibly intimidated by Dreamweaver before today’s workshop. Now, I’m rather fascinated with the program, and much more confident in using it to manifest my design ideas on the screen.

Photoshop was another program that I loathed prior to this class. It took me a long time to get comfortable with it, but after the tutorials I’ve been provided with and the practice this class has given me, I successfully used Photoshop to ace a project in another class. Before, I could barely navigate the layers. Now I can stick my face on an image of a movie poster or other desired background downloaded from the web. I HEART ALL THINGS ADOBE.

What I’m Working on for Module 4

March 15, 2010

So today I learned how to operate Dreamweaver more in depth, and can now implement downloaded templates into the program and manipulate a current template to make it resemble my desired one. Yay!

For module 4, I’m finding templates that I like best and considering using them as inspiration to design my own. I wasn’t exactly clear on how to use Dreamweaver properly before now, so I couldn’t make any real tangible progress on my new site design. Now, however, I can make my own template inspired from current trends and designs in web layout, open a new page in Dreamweaver, and work through making the design in my head come to life on the screen. Very exciting indeed!

I think practicing a little more would be beneficial. I’m going to open free downloaded templates in Dreamweaver, and paste my blog content into them to get a better feel for the software and better see how my content will look redesigned.

Ideas for my blog

February 26, 2010

After playing around with font faces and layout in class, I realized that using my blog user-name was simply proving to be too ugly. So I changed the title to something a bit more catchy and created an elegant design for the words ‘The Blog of Brianna Marie’. The tone of the font and gray/black shades I chose kind of dictated the rest of the work thus far. Thin lines, slight shadows, less is more. Making my blog design work first in black and white and then incorporating color accents afterward is what I plan to do. Using red (but not too bold a shade, and not too much of it) with black and shades of gray is a classic combination in my opinion, and showing that I can use red without seeming too loud or desperate for attention would be a valuable skill that hopefully readers or designers looking to hire would notice and remember. Being that this is a blog though, and I’m not sure about exactly how much space I have to work with or what I can really do in terms of imagery, this is as far as I’ve come. I’d love to know more about images I can add or use and what exactly my limitations in terms of creating a layout for this thing is.

Class post: 2/20

February 20, 2010

Aside from Google docs and MSU webmail, a website I visit everyday is It amuses me to no end and passes the time. Truthfully, I can’t think of anything I really wish the website would do differently. I strongly dislike the color scheme, however. I would absolutely change it if I could. I don’t know, perhaps the website could offer a discussion forum for its visitors so they could toss around ideas, like publishing a book of the posts or making t-shirts? Just a thought.

Question: photoshop

February 17, 2010

I was extremely frustrated with Photoshop the other day, as is the pattern anytime I’ve ever tried to use it. But one task in particular that I was trying to perform was selecting something and then moving it. I tried the quickselect tool, the pen tool, the marquee tool, and I Google’d directions and tutorials on how to use these things. All were helpful, but nothing specified how to select and then move something. A block of text, a word, an image…nothing.

My question is not only how to do this, but also, is there a good website or book I can access that would give me full directions on how to use Photoshop and make it do all these supposed wonderful things it can? Help! ūüė¶

Kresge Art Museum site

February 15, 2010

Recently, I received an email asking for assistance helping to suggest redesigning the Kresge site.

Not only were the colors dull and mildly incompatible, but the logo was far too small. Also, there is far too much whitespace and miniscule, unreadable text.

Plan of action:

-Kill the drop down menus

-Punch up the logo

-Change the color scheme to compliment images

-…Change the images

-Decrease the amount of text and make the text present bigger

Depending on what image would be used on the main page, I would pick out colors and accent them on the site; text color, background colors, borders, shading, etc…

Class post: 2/9

February 10, 2010

One of the main tasks I use my computer for is email. I don’t have a facebook, I don’t load pictures onto my computer, I don’t have music on it, and I don’t ‘tweet’. That being said, I feel it’s obvious that I use my computer for academic purposes only. And this is entirely by choice; I simply don’t like facebook or twitter by principle, I lost my camera, and I don’t have an ipod so I don’t see the point in downloading music off the internet unless I can take it with me. And I can’t exactly work out with my laptop.

Being that my only real frame of reference is email, I’m going to praise MSU mail briefly for its infinitely better design than hotmail. Note: This is a personal preference, and readers are completely entitled to their respective opinions. If you prefer hotmail over MSU mail, then by all means, stop reading.

Problems I have with hotmail:

-Color. The blue at the top fades in and out from dark to light blue, and then to cream. It makes it difficult to read the text at the top of the page.

-The organization is scattered. I don’t understand why hotmail has random option boxes in the upper right hand corner right above the over-sized advertisement. I almost always forget those two option boxes exist.

-There is a distinct lack of icons typically used on other email sites when comparing to hotmail.

How to fix the problems:

-Make the color scheme more bold. The fading baby-blue thing is unappealing, and makes me feel like the site isnt really meant to be taken seriously. The small text on the blue background needs to be fixed; it’s hard to read to begin with because of its size, but adding the fading blue makes it harder for some reason. MSU mail has solid colors and black text. It’s easier to read, even though the text looks like it could be the same size as hotmail’s. It just doesn’t feel very reliable, and I feel like it’s partly because of it’s lack of solid colors.

-MSU mail has all its options and navigational tools grouped together on the left side or across the top of the page. It’s consistent and simple. Hotmail has advertisements and three different search/tool bars which produces an overwhelming effect. This aspect of the site definitely needs cleaning and eliminating.

-If the site had solid colors and better organized tool bars, it would be appropriate for it to incorporate more icons indicating folders, new message, trash, etc…As it is now, adding icons would simply add to the confusion. But after a good cleaning, the icons could certainly be appreciated. The site needs visual aids that guide the eye somewhere rather than bringing the viewing process to a crashing halt.

In conclusion, based on what I’ve learned about design and color, I’m grateful for having signed up for this course because otherwise, I never would have noticed how much work I believe needs to be done to improve the hotmail website.

Software Rot

January 28, 2010

I never would have guessed that the number one contributer to software rot was in fact neglect, as the article stated. And now that I think about it, I wasn’t actually aware of how badly broken a particular site I once navigated was until I read the article.

Last semester, I tutored high school math every Friday morning under the supervision of the math teacher, Mr. Brandon. One of the times I was scheduled to tutor, I became ill and consequently had to miss. I called the school so I could inform my supervisor, but he had already left for the day. I was told to visit the school website in order to email him concerning my anticipated absence.

I referred to the website and was completely lost at first glace. The front page directory was¬†very poorly designed.¬†The broken coding was evident¬†when I clicked on the link¬†labeled ‘teachers’, which took me to a blank¬†page¬†with another link,¬†which then took me to a page which had absolutely nothing helpful¬†or relevant to contact info, and was in desperate need of a redesign.

The homepage itself has almost no images whatsoever, and the ones it does contain are unable to be viewed. They’re blank boxes with an X in the corner. Also, there is no animation and there is far too much white space between¬†lines¬†and headings. There are random quotes that seem as though they were pasted on and the designer didn’t bother to consider the content on the actual page.¬† After I explored through a few of the navigation options the site offered, and I’d venture a guess and say that 90% took me to links on blank pages which then took me to irrelevant pages, I became increasingly disappionted. There were clubs listed and events posted that were clearly no longer active. Text had been modified in some places, but left to become obsolete in others. This page appears as though it has sat idle for many months, if not over a year. Simply put: it’s stale.

Because it has been left to sit for so long, the elements of design are now outdated and dysfunctional. The site has potential to become something great,  but it would take a considerable amount of time to identify, correct, and revamp the broken coding which was apparent through the design and then update the site to look more modern.

To summarize the above URL in one word, I’ll say: useless.

Class post: 1/15

January 15, 2010

As an aspiring professional writer, I am required to create a portfolio accessible and appealing  to companies that will consider me a potential editor/publisher in collaboration with its goals and ideals. Unfortunately, my experience with coding and websites is strictly superficial and consequently  in dire need of some serious improvement. The main skill I hope to possess after this class has run its course is having the ability to create a website that expresses my individuality and intellect as a writer, yet is still functional and maintains a professional sense of propriety that is catered to my audience.