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Sounds, Screens and Videos. Wk 8

05 May

It is interesting to reflect on my website knowledge, prior to entering this course.   I am an avid user of a variety of websites on a day-to-day basis, however, I have never stopped to consider their mechanics.  My role has always been that of a user.  I like to navigate effectively within a site and am often annoyed by those that prevent me from a simple course of action.

Now I am learning how to design my own site and going behind the scenes has allowed me to identify the annoyances that were always on my superficial radar.  I am also having to consider the details of design that 

I simply took for granted.

I had never considered such elements as screen resolutions.  I read with interest that 57% of computer users have screens pixels above 1280.   I quickly latched on to this and thought, I must make mine to suit the majority of users.   Of course, I failed to consider that those with large screen resolutions often modify them to maximise their clarity for full potential.   Therefore, it is best to use 1024 x 768.

Again, another oversight on my behalf.   I thought popping video on a web page was as simple as hyperlinking a You Tube clip.   I had not considered the potential of streaming media, rather than storing it on my hard drive.  Streaming allows the media to play as it downloads. The media files are often huge and need to be compressed, so as to not take up too much room.  Sounds easy enough!   Not so!   There are many choices to consider in terms of operating platforms.  As an Apple user, my eyes were immediately drawn to Quicktime.  It is made by Apple and has some great compression capabilities that do not compromise too much on quality.   This seems to tick the boxes for me.  .WMV is the Windows version.  It is a whizz bang operator, that also has some great features and compression ability.

Sound is not just a technical consideration.  It can also have an enormous impact on a users interaction with a website.  Websites that automatically play music or sound is often a turn off. In fact, that is exactly what users want to do!   TURN it OFF.    If a designer does use sound, it is important to allow users control.  This can be done by putting “true” into the controls and ensuring that the auto play box is not activated.   Having said that, there are often times when sound can enhance a site.  For instance, clicking on a button and hearing a ‘click’ symbolises that the user has actioned the command.

So, back to the beginning, there is so much for me to learn.  I have to use a different perspective when creating my site.  I am looking to enhance the user’s experience and by doing this, I need to have great attention to even the smallest (Or in some cases, the largest.) details and sounds

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