How Grids Support Us

Grids help web designers not to have to reinvent the wheel every time they start creating a layout. From watching videos and reading articles, the grid is simply a tool to help you keep a clean layout for better design. The grid has been utilized by many top websites and you can see how well laid out they all are.  The point to grids is that it creates a unified connection of design which results in better content flow.  This makes the user experience readable and enjoyable. Examples are on the 960.gs website.

Grids will help me in the future when it’s time to create my first paid website! How exciting to know that there is great tool out in the world wide web that will help me  design in a professional manner and has been proven to be a best practice!  Thanks to this assignment, I’ll know where to start!

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Why is Responsive Web Design Important?

I’ve heard about responsive web design (RWD) for the previous year and I’ve heard nothing but positive things.  When my employer decided to redesign our website, I immediately recommended creating a responsive web design and we’re now in the process of getting proposals.  Upon searching through articles, I came up with a top ten list of why RWD is so popular:

  1. For the first time since 2001, PC sales are projected to be lower than they were in the previous year.
  2. The majority of U.S mobile users now own smartphones, not feature phones.
  3. Tablet sales are expected to exceed 100 million this year.
  4. The benefits are obvious: A company only has to build a website once and it works seamlessly across thousands of different screens.
  5. For publishers, it offers the simplest way to reach readers across multiple devices. For users, it ensures a great experience on every screen.
  6. Mobile sales have overtaken desktop sales & mobile internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop internet usage by 2014.
  7. Google advises that RWD & its recommended mobile configuration & even goes so far as to refer to RWD as the INDUSTRY BEST PRACTICE.
  8. RWD is easier to manage: Having a separate desktop and mobile site requires separate SEO campaigns. Managing one site & one SEO campaign is far easier than managing 2 sites and 2 SEO campaigns.
  9. In 2012, Google published a study about smartphone users. The results showed: 1) 75% of users prefer a mobile friendly site, 2) 61% will turn to another site if they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly, 3) 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service, 4) 48% said that if a site didn’t work will on their smartphones, it made them feel the camp didn’t care about their business.
  10. Google recommends RWD over dedicated mobile sites: 1) Having a single, dynamic site is a preferred best practice for SEO, 2) RWD ensures all backlinks will lead to a properly rendered site, which improves user experience & site engagement, 3) Provides a consistently optimal user experience that renders correctly for mobile & desktop users, 4) RWD eliminates the need to maintain & monitor several versions of the site & consolidates all traffic and link value.

This list just summarizes how popular and how beneficial RWD has become.  It’s just the way to go.

Sources:

  1. The Truth about Responsive Web Design: It’s Important
  2. 3 Reasons Why Responsive Web Design is the Best Option for your Mobile SEO Strategy
  3. Why 2013 is the Year of Responsive Web Design

My Favorite Web Designers

Upon researching famous web designers, I came across Marco Dugonjic from Croatia.  Marco is the designer and founder of TypeTester.org which is a website that tests type side-by-side in a browser along with offering other features that have proved invaluable to other web designers.  Marco is know to others as a “CSS guru.” Examples of his work can found at http://www.creativenights.com/portfolio/

Next on my list is Fabio Sasso.  Mr. Sasso is Brazilian graphic and web designer who currently works for google.  He is the founder of Abduzeedo which he started as a personal project and has become what he is most known for.  Abduzeedo is a blog that educates others on his self-taught skills and tutorials on Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, CSS.  He’s had clients such as MSNBC, Wired UK, Adobe, Digital Arts Magazine, Abril and others. Examples of his work can be found at http://fabiosasso.com/

Last but not least, Veerle Pieters, Belgian born and the owner of Duoh!. Ms. Pieters idease are chosen randomly and come from ads, illustrations, books and my personal favorite, Adobe Kuler.  Upon viewing her website, you are enriched with her wonderful sense for color and design.  Her blog is very eye-catching and attractive.  Her blog includes information about graphic and web design and modern home design. Examples of her work can be found at http://veerle.duoh.com/

 

Ideal Workplace

 

 

 

 

Geographical Areas:

  • Las Vegas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Dallas
  • Austin

Specific Work Conditions:

  • Room to grown
  • Feixibility with schedules
  • Few meetings
  • Busy environment
  • Little Supervision involved
  • Allow working from home

Characteristics I Look for:

  • Good place to raise a family
  • good benefits
  • Colorful working environment
  • A lot of space to move around
  • non-traditional decor
  • Allow for personal business
  • No micro-management
  • Ability to work on my own

Learning Environment Tools

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The following are a listing of tools that are designed to facilitate my learning environment:

  1. Adobe Connect Pro – assembling, managing, creating, reading, presenting, changing & adding, collaborating & communicating, sharing, exchanging, collecting, storing, refecting and arguments.
  2. WebEx – assembling, managing, creating, reading, presenting, changing & adding, collaborating & communicating, sharing, exchanging, collecting, storing, refecting and arguments.
  3. Telehealth – assembling, managing, creating, reading, presenting, changing & adding, collaborating & communicating, sharing, exchanging, collecting, storing, refecting and arguments.
  4. Project ECHO – assembling, managing, creating, reading, presenting, changing & adding, collaborating & communicating, sharing, exchanging, collecting, storing, refecting and arguments.
  5. Facebook – assembling, managing, reading, collaborating & communicating, sharing, exchanging, searching, collecting, reflecting and arguments.
  6. Twitter – assembling, managing, creating, reading, sharing, searching
  7. Microsoft OneNote – assembling, managing, creating, reading, changing & adding, hsaring, exchanging, searching, collecting, storing, reflecting and arguments, tagging.
  8. Evernote – assembling, managing, creating, reading, changing & adding, hsaring, exchanging, searching, collecting, storing, reflecting and arguments, presenting
  9. Instagram – assembling, managing, creating, reading, changing and adding, sharing, searching
  10. Google Reader – assembling info, managing info, sharing, echanging, filtering,collecting
  11. Zite/Instapaper/Pocket – assembling info, managing info, sharing, echanging, filtering,collecting
  12. Netvibes – assembling info, managing info, sharing, echanging, filtering,collecting

Responsive Web Design

ImageResponsive Web Design (RWD) is a fairly new development in web design.  It is not a new technology rather a collection of techniques and ideas, fluid grids and media queries.  RWD was created by Ethan Marcotte in 2011.  Responsive web design eliminates the need for mobile websites and desktop websites.  Responsive web design is a much more efficient way to design a website in that the website adapts to the size of the device that the user is viewing it on.

Resources:

  1. Beginners Guide to Responsive Web Design
  2. Responsive Web Design
  3. Responsive Web Design: What it is & How to Use it

Online Collaborations

For this assignment, we were asked to find 3 online collaborations and write about them  The collaborations that I found have a lot to do with my career.  I work for a non-profit organization that is grant funded to provided HIV educational trainings to providers who serve HIV patients in TX & OK.  We are one of eleven centers across the country.  In 2009, AETC staff members from each of the eleven centers collaborated on a set of guidelines, entitled Network Orientation Guide – A Resource for Getting to Know the AETCs” detailing what AETCs do. This guide is a collection of tools, resources, and program descriptions developed by the network to help AETC staff better understand the network, their roles, and how to navigate useful resources. These guidelines benefits from being spread across all eleven centers because each workgroup member provided information from their center that they faced upon entering an AETC for the first time.  Since then many new employees have taken advantage of reading these guidelines upon entering the center and have stated that the guidelines were very helpful in providing the history and future goals of AETCs around the country. 

The next great online collaboration has to be when Microsoft decided to help and digitize the AIDS Memorial Quiltto offer close and personal access to the 48,000 panels.  Twenty-five years ago a group of friends gathered in a San Francisco apartment to memorialize companions who had died of AIDS. They used one of the oldest techniques around to honor their loved ones: they made a quilt, the now-famous AIDS Memorial Quilt, with unique panels for each person felled by the disease. Now including some 48,000 panels, the quilt has grown into a massive, public expression of grief. Its panels come from around the world. It was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

This collaboration has benefited from being spread across a more diverse group of participants because even though it didn’t start online, it has grown and become more useful for people who are trying to remember those they have lost.  Uses can now can zoom in to read the thousands of names—some in block letters, others stitched in cursive. You can count the rainbows, as well. You can also search the quilt by name or, if you know it, by the block number of a particular panel through the AIDS Quilt Touch interface. The site allows unique searches for each time the quilt has been displayed.This is important because the quilt is so massive that the Mall in Washington can’t hold it all. It’s always displayed in sections, so if you want to know where a special panel has been on view, recently, it’s now possible to find out. 

The third and final collaboration that I find very helpful is a blog entitled, ShareSpot that our national center hosts.  All of the AETCs are asked to input their personal stories/articles that have helped them become more efficient and help HIV/AIDS patients either directly or indirectly.  This blog has helped me tremendously in finding references, referrals, and solutions to the issues that my other AETC colleagues face in their centers around the country. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find Information via the Web

ImageFinding information on the internet can be tedious if you don’t know how to find it.  Finding information on the internet is essential for various things such as school, work, your personal life, hobbies, etc….  I understand that knowing how to find something is extremely important.  The journey to the answer can be short or long depending on your skills and how much time you’re willing to devote to it.  In my work, I had to learn how implement web-based educational trainings.  I researched a lot of different tools that we could use, narrowed the software/web applications down, and chose the best option for my team.  Then I had to learn how to use the software appropriately which took more research.  It took hours and hours to learn how to use the system but once I did, I could do much more than I had ever imagined!  If I hadn’t put in the time, I wouldn’t have received two promotions in two years.  Learning how to find information will affect my career as a web designer.  I will have to research my clients, their company needs, their customers, as well as continuously learn updates and trends within the industry.  Knowing how to find that information and knowing how to find it efficiently is the key to success!

I found three articles that gave great tips on how to find information via the web fast and effeiciently.

  1. Search Engines:
    1. First you have to figure out what you are looking for.  Be precise in the keywords that you type into the search engine. Keywords need to be as specific as possible.
    2. Use words likely to appear on a site with the information you’re looking for.
    3. Search engines put the most relevant results first.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for, try again with more specific words or narrow the search by adding more keywords.
    4. Surround searches in quotes in order to refine results
    5. Be aware of stop words: May search will strip out common words called stop words such as “not” in “why does my computer not boot”.  The search engine will only search for “computer” and “boot”.  To help prevent this, surround the search with quotes.
    6. Know what features are available: Many search engines allow for additional syntax to help limit your search strings.  Google enable users to search for links to a particular page by typing “link:” and may other keywords at the beginning of the search query.
    7. Try alternative search engines
  2. Discussion Forums:
    1. These places are where people with similar interests communicate with each other, post questions and answers so that everyone in the group can read them.  The advantage of these sites is that you can check to see if your question has already been answered.  If no, you can post your own question and wait for other to contribute answers or suggestions.
  3. Newsletters:
    1. Organizations sometimes offer a subscription to their free newsletter.  Newsletters are great for getting updated information on the topic of your interest.
  4. Alerting Services:
    1. Alerting services like “google alerts” is a great tool in order to get information emailed to you.  You simple subscribe, type in the topics of interest and have it update you as often as you want.  Google goes out and finds new articles and posts to blogs about that topic and emails them directly to you.
  5. Paying for Information:
    1. Sometime the only way of getting information you want is to pay for it.  Publishers can charge customers for information by subscription so that you can access the website via username and password.

References:

  1. http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000082.htm
  2. http://www.homecomingrevolution.co.za/index.php/business/guides/207-how-to-find-information-on-the-internet
  3. http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en/us/pdf/GoogleSearchGuide-front.pdf

Personal Learning Environment

When I first heard the words, “personal learning environment” (PLE) I had no idea what they meant.  The Thesis Whisperer defines PLE as “… tools, communities, and services that constitute individual educational platforms that learners use to direct their own learning and pursue their educational goals” in it is blog entitled, “Personal Learning Net(WORKS).”  This blog describes that PLE includes things like books, papers, social media, library resources, people, etc… It oversets conventional ideas about learning where the instructor is the ‘center of knowing.’  I like the comparison that it makes about students being like animals ‘foraging’ through a forest looking for food except students are looking for information to learn new material or skills.  The Thesis Whisperer goes on to explain invisible work or articulation which can be thinking or reading.  Articulation work is important in order to understand and find information that you need.  It’s about hunting and gathering information needed to get to the goal.  Articulation work may well be physical and have effects, but it still becomes invisible. If work is invisible, it can come to be de-valued. 

                       

ImageSam’s Antics has a blog post on “My Personal Learning Environment” where Sam describes his the different ways that he collects information. I really enjoyed the illustration in this blog.  Although it looks complicated, it makes a lot of sense!  Nowadays, this is how people learn; through different technology and many devices!  Sam describes himself as a “mobile learner,” meaning learning via smartphone, kindle, datastick, and by using the conventional pen and paper.  He describes learning best while he’s on the go, while on train, bus, car, etc… I think it’s very important to learn where you learn best.  It’s important to be able to read information and be able to let it sink in your brain like a sponge so that you’ll remember it later when you really need it.  I really liked and appreciated that Sam broke down PLE into 3 categories: Collecting, Reflecting, and Connecting.  Once I read the 3 categories, I immediately grasped what PLE is and how to do it!

Unreasonable by Design had a great post on “5 Steps to Designing a Personal Learning Environment” on one’s struggles to find information due to concentration issues, stress, prioritizing, etc….  Unreasonable by Design offers their own definition of PLE, “simply a way to manage my informal learning process, whether through software or other means. Expectantly, this structure will provide a catalyst for future creativity and innovation.” This blogger has constructed their own PLE and shares tips on how to help readers design their very own PLE:

  1. Understand your roles & responsibilities
  2. Brainstorm & document your resources
  3. Map out your system
  4. Schedule informal learning time for collecting and processing information
  5. Continually evaluate approach

The tips helped me understand how to go begin the process and that everyone has different learning styles and techniques. 

REFLECTIVE RESPONSE: In reading these blogs, I’ve come to understand what PLE is, its benefits, its efficiency and its worth.   I think it will help me in the future as a web designer to gather feedback and knowledge from professionals in the field who will be dealing with the same type of experiences as I will.  Someone who has already dealt with the same situation has a much better understanding and can guide me to a better, more efficient solution.  I’m glad that I learned what PLE is and how it will be useful to me in my future endeavors.