TC 448, how much apple rules, and a myraid of other useless knowledge to try and help you understand your purpose.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Post Mortem

I feel that this was a very important class for me here at msu. Web design may not be my sole form of nourishment; however I feel that it will play a big part of my success in the future. So polishing my skills in the area is of up most importance. And understanding the need and the techniques for a usability conscious site is a very important aspect of web design. Although I had a basic understanding of the need for accessibility the depth of its reach was unknown. I now understand the need for usability testing on a regular basis I no longer think about accessibility as only being needed for the old, decrepit and handicapped. However having a usable website is a key feature and testing should be done for every design, to be tailored to the specific intended audience. One of the most important myths dispelled in this class was that "A useable website not only means that it is accessible to the broadest variety of users, but that the site works the way a persons mind believes it should." Meaning that links go where the users think that they will take them, a paragraph of text is titled to give an appropriate understanding of what will follow, and that a user will be able to navigate and find information quickly and easily. I feel like this class was very successful in emphasizing the importance of accessibility. My only improvement to the class would be to add a bit more of on hands instruction, to allow for the students to stretch their legs... and expand their skills on implementing theory.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Yahoo domains

It has been brought to my attention that the keywords domain Yahoo and Yahoo domain names are the highest paying keywords for adsense... followed by domain Yahoo, Yahoo web hosting, Google affiliate

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


This type of template is quickly becoming one of the most favorable for me lately. I really enjoy the creativity put into this site. It is carried out to the fullest extent. All the writing is based upon fish, and fishing vocabulary. The background image... can not even be regarded as a background image, it is a gorgeous piece of artwork, it adds a sense of placement for the site... it does not just float out in cyberspace, it is memorable. I love the image... it is extremely high quality... uses extremely attractive color combinations, and adds just that touch of detail, the sprig of parsley, the wedge of lemon... its wonderful.

This page also uses the single page format... to cut down on navigational failure. Thus allowing the user to foucs on the content... and not be distracted by any potential problems with branding, location, or useablilty. However this design idea, does make a potentially extremely long load time on dial up... however, once the page is loaded... you can access all information instantly.

I really like the way the gallery is displayed... The page is broken up nicely by the use of the book, used to signify the gallery section. I also really enjoy the screenshots being displayed with a wooden dock type background image. Once again that little spice of detail that just adds that extra touch.

However I do have a few complaints with the gallery itself. First of All this company seems as though it has been around for quite awhile. And they boast about their clients... however, there is a very sparse selection of works to view. I would really like to see a broader range, of projects. Also there really is no expanded view of these projects available. No link to a website, no "click to enlarge" nothing you are stuck with the two or three small thumbnail sized images to get an idea of what they do.

And in recap, I would just like to emphasize the extent of the creativity gone into the design, and copy of this website. Starting with the giant dead fish used for the header, all the way down through the witty fish inspired titles to the shipping label at the bottom, displaying the brick and mortar contact information. This site does have its small problems... but overall I think it is a great approach to catching the viewers attention... (no pun intended), and displaying their ability to think different.

Monday, March 07, 2005 review TC 448

This review is not due for another week and a half, but Im my new goal is to keep working, nonstop, make every deadline, early if at all possible, and don't rest until everything is done. So far the past few weeks i have been doing amazing. So keeping with this new me, here goes the review.

I type in the address, not exactly realizing why the name sounds familiar. The main page, splash page opens. The first thing I see is "text only" version, I am on dial up at home, so I think to myself "Oh great what I have I gotten myself into. Im going to be here all night." But I stuck with it as a small screen pops up below and a signature is scrawled across the page I still have no idea what type of site I am going to.

Then at the bottom six flags pop up, and I recognize Japans Immediately... the big red dot, who can miss it. But as I quickly scan for the USA flag, I am lost, and confused its not there... and being the typical American that I am, I am instantly upset, "why have they not catered to ME" I mumble under my breath. So I scroll through the flags reading the different languages, that I suppose are displaying "enter" just above, and finally fall upon a flag that after looking at, I realize is the U.K which would mean English.

But the point was already driven so deeply into my head, that even the smallest deviations from normalcy can confuse the hell out of someone browsing the internet. I know what the U.K flag looks like, I mean come on BILLY IDOL was the man, and I know that they speak english... regardless for those few quick moments, I was confused.

So I finally enter the site, the page opens up full screen. I hate that idea, I do not see the reasoning behind it, what could possibly be so harmful to the design if you can read the url at the top. I like to use tabbed browsing, and this just wreaks havoc on that process. Moving along I am again greeted with a "loading" prompt only this one is not as kind as the last one, after sitting contently for several minutes I realized that I should have just chose the "text only" option that seemed so intriguing to begin with, I now understand why the designer decided to present the option. So after a few strings of explicits, and deciding that I had come so far, it would be pointless to turn back now, I watched an overhead view of an animated desk full of trash, bugs, food wrappers, and a myriad of other crap load up on my screen. If I wanted to see that, I could have just stood up slowly and look down upon my own desk, I would have saved five minutes of my life.

But needless to say it is an interesting way to go about navigation, and I am sure that her intended audience, little kids, love it. As long as they can afford high speed, or do not have an extreme case of ADD and can sit patiently in front of the computer screen while the page loads, (HIGHLY DOUBT IT) So I perused the site a little bit, hovering over objects that would seem appropriate become links, and a nice little cursor prompt gives a title for each of the links, however it took about three passes to find all of them, (adding to the mystery and fun of Harry Potter im sure) but I just wasn't in the mood for the searching. It was all very professional, the animation was very precise, smooth, and obviously someone put many many hours into creating it.

The first link I clicked was the small Bio "portfolio" on the desk, another loading symbol, this time it was fairly short, I'm sure it would be almost unnoticeable on high speed, but nonetheless. I was now viewing a book, that again had great animation a little age curl at the bottom when you hovered, showing you that the page could be turned, however the book was tabbed at the top, as though these were the important pages, so I tried to click on them, nothing. The way that many websites display navigation, and it doesn't actually do anything, weird.

So after about 30 minutes spent on this site, I have only viewed 3 pages, much too long, for a topic that I do not quite care for. I suppose if I had the devotion to Harry Potter and the series I would have thought otherwise. But I decided to just check out the "text only" version that I had commented on earlier.

HIDEOUS, absolutely hideous, is all that I can say to describe it. First things first aside from all of the beautiful animation, nice usage of color, and creative design theory on the main pages, you would think that the text only version would at least carry some of these "professional" characteristics along with it. But the page is a black background, with yellow text, pale green/blue links. It is like puke in website form. Some links are complete sentences, and others that are obviously supposed to be links, are not. This was obviously an afterthought, did not have anywhere near the thought time, or effort put into it as the main, which is understandable... but some continuity throughout would be nice.

Aside from all of my other boggles with the site, I was able to put up with it, and I actually had some respect for it, it was obviously well cared for, and was a piece of art. However it was this text only page that finally broke the camels back, it looked like no pun intended, "the blind leading the blind" like someone just randomly chose hexcode, to represent color for the various objects, and then copied and pasted some text in original form into the files. All in all the site has potential to appeal to the truly hardcore, but I believe anyone else will be scared away, and not receive the information they were looking for.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

448 Blog Post Weightshift

Todays Post comes from

I have actually been to this site many many times over the history of my web browsing days.

I really love the color scheme of this website, Brown is the new Black, Brown is hot. It is very difficult to employ a great monochromatic color scheme and Weightshift does a very good job creating a design that looks appealing with only slight variations in the hue and intensity, however Weightshift pulls it off nicely. I also really enjoy the "floating" window... with the static background image behind... it gives the site a different feel... something differnet a stride away from normality, it adds a nice touch.

The website is extremely straight forward, its goals are clearly defined and I feel that it does a very good job. The navigation is very easy, and only the bare essentials are left at the top for the main navigation. This is the way it should be, I hate to see the main navigation cluttered up with erroneous links that just make moving around the site more difficult. Another key aspect of the navigation is that it only uses a single rollover, on the "memo" heading, most people understand that a memo is a series of short notes on a certain subject, but when you mouse over the link it turns up a short description of what is on the memo page "a design blog", which is nice, because it clarifies a possibly slightly "cutsy" heading, but it does not get in the way.

Another nice subtle feature is the random image rotator, in place on the main page, that will reload a new image everytime you refresh the page, and it will rotate through those images while viewing as well. Its a very nice feature to constantly add a slight refreshment to the page.

Moving on to the Work Catalogue they display there pieces very nicely, it looks almost like a group of slides, it is a familiar site, carried over from the non digital world, into the web, providing a quick familiar feeling. The Catalogue also does a great job of placing the projects in separate categories, by dividing up the images and text links into different sub categories. Providing for easy access to a specific type of work that you are interested in. There are about five different ways to access a particular piece of work, which maybe slight overkill, however it uses very different ways of doing so, catering to the different ways users, prefer to access information.

All in all a great site, good design from the ground up, obviously a lot of thought was put into the sites design in terms of usability and function as well as creative display. This site is a great example of how the two very differnet design features can be brought together into one harmonious design.

Reason Number 1 Not To Use Windows

I was just casually surfing the internet this morning... and figured I would do a side to side comparison of Apple's homepage and Microsoft's homepage. And I think I found the first reason not to use windows...

When I open Apple's page I see beautiful new products on display,, however Microsoft right dead center and Bold "HELP PROTECT YOUR PC, AGAINST VIRUS'S HACKERS, AND WORMS."

I think that if you have to make an announcement in such a valuable piece of real estate on your homepage. There is a problem. On top of that... there is nothing on the homepage that is inviting... saying "come look at me, Im new and improved, I am going to work well, look at my new product line!" Just a bunch of text... and big bold "WARNING SIGNS"

Friday, February 25, 2005

Website Review Jason Santa Maria

Todays review is on

I think that this is one of the better "personal/portfolio" sites that I have been to in quite awhile. It has a very defined theme, a great color scheme, and a very useable navigation.

I like the usage of the home page as a "blog" it contains all the recent news and happenings relevant to the site as well as other random personal "bloggy" type things. But it is a great combination of the new web medium, blogging, and traditional webpage.

The navigation is clearly labeled, and easy to understand... there is no weird popups, no lines to follow, no un labeled buttons, its very simple, and easy to use. Each page has the navigation in the same spot, and highlights the page that you are on, like tabbed navigation to allow for easy awareness of where you are in the sight.

The content on the site is also very fitting, and is very focused. All content is about Jason, or deals with Jason, and does a great job of selling him. It is his personal sight, there is no added BS, nothing else but what pertains to him. I think that the focused content does a very good job of portraying him, helping sell him to potential clients.

I am a photographer, and many times when you see a fellow photographer display their work online it is very cluttered and filled with a lot of unneeded content. Jason however uses a straightforward clean and simple display type... that comments his photography style, perhaps my favorite part of the site if it were not for the Bbne. Which is kind of random, however the Best Brand Name Ever section of his site, is a humorous addition that I liked perusing, and added a little spice to the oh so regular personal page.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Robots and Monkeys Website Critique

This weeks website critique is of

This is sort of a weird site to critique in my opinion. Because comes off as more of a fun, playful, filled with flash movies, and animation, waste your time, site. (pwwwhuuee thats a long web site genre) I am not really sure as to what function this site is trying to fulfill.

The home page is a large flash movie of a robot and a monkey, as the name implies, and it has a large "navigational wheel of fortune" that I would have to say is not the most recognizable form of navigation but I figured it out quite quickly, by use of the arrows on the "thumbnail" by image of the wheel.

Moving deeper into the site the navigation changes... there is no consistency throughout so the user must now move down to the bottom of the page to get back to the home page navigation. This page acts as a jumping off point for half of the content within the site... meaning you can not navigate directly from one part to the next, you must click back to "main" using the bottom nav, in order to view many of the pages. There are also many instances where the animation just seems to stop, but the music keeps going, so A you are not sure if the animation has completed, and you are unable to turn off the music.

So now the second portion of the website is viewed by navigating through the bottom links, that are common throughout all pages in the site. Which actually separates its self further by opening up in a new window... It is a complete separate entity from the rest of the site... there is nothing tying the two pieces together, no navigation no logo nothing. However I feel it is an interesting approach to the display and navigation of a portfolio, one that would not be duplicated anywhere... reverberating the complete random, and oddity of the site echoed throughout, such as the domain name, the odd animations, and its unusual choice of navigational schemes...

I believe this is a good "waste your time trying to figure out what the heck the designer was thinking flash animated" websites. Not so good on the portfolio, display of works end.