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Category Archives: Week By Week Reflections

Intellectual Property and Copyright….. WK 10

This weeks readings were of particular interest to me.   Although I had some knowledge of the stringent issues surrounding copyright, I had not stopped to consider them in my every day interaction with the web.

My children are always going to the Web to copy photos and diagrams to assist them in various projects.   Of course these violations of the copyright laws seem small-scale and insignificant, however, they are in fact often breeches of the law. I have  made a mental note to discuss this issue with them.

The notion of intellectual property has become apparent to me over the last few weeks.  I have been constructing my website and spending hours creating content.  The ownership I feel in relation to this website, is enormous.   I would be very disappointed to see a copy of my site being used by another student for a similar project.   I fell that it is a little protected, due to my copyright notices pasted to each footer, however in reality, if it was an active site I do not have the means for recourse.

On the other hand, corporations and companies, have reserves for legal action and need to protect their intellectual property with the full force of the law.   Even the little fish need to be aware!

From now on, when i am in doubt of IP, I intend to check it out or leave it out.  

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2368045,00.asp

The above link is an article that looks at net neutrality and copyright issues.  It outlines the concerns that the record companies have in relation to pirating of music and the implications of this on-line.   There is a huge conflict of interest involving the freedom of web surfers to download copyrighted music and the music corporations that lose money as a result of this.  

We certainly live in fast-moving, ever-changing, technical times.

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Net Neutrality……..WK 9

If some of the major telephone companies got their way, we would not be able to scan the web to find out about net neutrality.  I have taken it for granted that the web is an open forum of free speech, expression and creativity.   I enjoy the fact that much of what is posted, is posted by people, not corporations.  The individuality of this, ensures that i can examine a range of issues, topics and media from several angles.  It allows me to use critical thinking skills to ascertain my own ideologies, thoughts and beliefs.

So……..what if this is restricted or in the worst case scenario, removed completely.   The idea of tele-communication companies having control of the content that I view is horrifying to me.   This is web dictatorship and means that such corporations will only release information that benefits them.   Freedom of speech and the web allows us to expose  injustices, rather than covering them up.

Where does Australia sit in all this.  Well at this point in time, if you pay for access to the web, regardless of your download restrictions, you have access to all of the web.  There are no restrictions.  Using the Optus plan guide as an example, no matter your plan, consumers can currently access all web content.

In 2009 the Internet Freedom Preservation act was introduced to congress.  It has been criticised on the basis of its many loopholes, however, I can’t help but think that it is a sign of hope that we are travelling in the right direction and our basic liberty of free speech, will be upheld.

 
 

Sounds, Screens and Videos. Wk 8

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

 
 

Planning for my Website Project (Eeeek) WK 7

So, after considerable deliberation and scratching of the head, I have finalised my idea for my website.  The web page is primarily designed for pre service teachers, heading into schools.  It will provide them with resources to assist with lesson planning, classroom management strategies and information to help accommodate students with different learning intelligences and needs.

I thought that such a webpage would be extremely beneficial to PS teachers, as during this time in schools, they have little contact with university staff to help scaffold their learning/ teaching experiences..

Many of the resources would be acquired from university course work and adapted to become less theoretical and more user-friendly.  The website would also provide instant links to other beneficial sites, such as the Victorian Education Learning Standards and helpful teaching resources like, Free Stuff For Teachers.

It could also be used for ps teachers to leave helpful comments for each other, or to ask questions.

In planning for this project, I need to learn to use Fireworks, as I feel that it is important to make this site as visually appealing as possible. (If teachers are engaged and stimulated, this then will transcend into their lesson planning and execution.) I will need to transport images from Fireworks to Dreamweaver.  Such sites as Fireworks Guru Forum, will hopefully assist me in my endeavours.

I will also need to make sure that the information on the site is fairly streamlined and easy to use and understand.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Week By Week Reflections

 

I’ll tell you a story about storyboards….WK 6

 

 

Storyboards are an essential component of a well oiled and attention grabbing blog.  When the idea or need for a website is born, there is a

n immense amount of planning involved in bringing it to life.  The designer needs to examine the users, the objectives and gather relevant information to ascertain what is needed.

The planning is then used as the backdrop for the storyboard.  The storyboard enables the designer to examine the working mechanisms of the proposed site .  It is a quick, yet effective way of determining that the website will achieve its desired outcomes.

The designer can simply and quickly change necessary elements of the design.  It provides a visual overview and makes it possible to view in a non linear fashion.  It can also be used as a template for the end result.  It is possible to interact with the board and ascertain its effectiveness.  The designer is able to get a potential user to walk through the structure, testing for ease of use, conveyance of the desired information and achievable outcomes.  A website needs to attract potential clients quickly and the storyboard provides an ideal way of checking that this will occur.

It also enables the designer to make sure that common themes, such as contact details appear on parent and child pages.  The logo, images and text can be viewed with the end result in mind.  Again, these components can quickly be changed or altered for successful publication.

The storyboard can be constructed with paper and pens or organised in such programs as Microsoft word.  Either way, it is an essential component needed to produce the best possible outcome, reach target audiences and ultimately attract desired users to your site.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Week By Week Reflections

 

Week 5…… Personas.

This week I will reflect on the use of personas, during the construction stage of the web page.

I do think they are an important component of the design process.  The articles that I read, point out that personas are an excellent tool in design, however they must be addressed in the right way.

The amount of personas needed in helping create a well oiled design, needs to be considered.   Too many personas can leed to confusion and poor design.   They must be created with a specific purpose in mind.  In most cases this is to sell a product and to create a page that is simple to navigate and one that will provide the user with the necessary tools required.

The best personas to use may not always be the most obvious.   Sometimes a persona may not be based around frequent users or purchasers of a product.  Often they already have the necessary skills to navigate the site quickly and competently.  It may be better to create a persona around a person that has no prior experience with the product.  With such a person in mind, the designers are forced to simplify and create a more user-friendly site.

A good persona will look at the person and what they do on a day-to-day basis.   It will also examine how they may feel whilst interacting with the site.   Will they feel inept?  Does the site scaffold their learning gaps?

Market segmentation coexists with personas.  Such segmentation explores the attitudes and spending trends of potential users.  This is distinctively different to personas.  They focus on percentages of people and for example, how they spend, rather that specifics and how a site can be designed to assist.  Segmentation is a helpful marketing tool, that helps shed light on to specific demographics.  Personas, however, help designers to create context specific web designs.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in Week By Week Reflections

 

Week 4 The Good and the Bad!

Our task for this week was to find a good and bad example of a website.

I thought I’d start with the bad!!

http://www.astrology.com.au/tarot/

This is an astrology website.   It also has an added capability that allows users to have readings.

The first issue that I have with this site, is its lack of ‘white pages’   The front page is very busy.  It has an enormous amount of text that is presented as a block and is confusing. There are paragraphs, rather than concise instructions.

My eyes were not focused in a clear direction.  It did not follow the F pattern.   A potential reader would quickly lose interest in such a labour intensive site.

There are too many question marks.  I did not know what to do, where to click.

The functions that are there, are displayed next to adds, which places many barriers in ones attempt to access information.  I had to carefully read the site, to understand what to do.

The audience is not catered for in a clear and concise manner.  The navigational functions are confusing and visually unappealing.  The colours chosen do not provide the reader with ease of reading, the contrasting colours are not visually appealing and the font is often too small and the lines are too close together.

The site also uses images that add to its confusion.   They are scattered around and provide a distraction to the text.

http://www.kmart.com.au/

I found it easier to find bad examples of websites, than good.

I chose this Kmart page, primarily because of its layout and its easiness to navigate.

The logo is well recognised and placed strategically in the top left hand corner.

The navigation panel is on the left hand side of the page, where the eye is drawn to and contains  clear links to services, store hours and contact details.  The page is simply designed and not confusing.  A potential client could quickly locate their desired need and instantly have access to correct information.

The text size and contrasts were clear and the spacing made it easy to comprehend.

The text was kept simple and the images added to the telling of the story.  The company’s business was clearly defined.

The footer was used for copyright information and disclaimers, which covers them but is not obtrusive to the client and their day-to-day needs.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Week By Week Reflections