Sunday, December 9, 2007

In Review

So yesterday concluded a semester's worth of work in Visual Aesthetics with the final group of student presentations, including my own. Looking back, I personally have come a long way in my appreciation for a great website and an understanding for how they are constructed. It was no easy task completing my own design however, it was fun. The principles outlined in the Nielsen reading were easily defined and examples were paired quite nicely with both in-class assignments and homework.

This course has also given be a discerning eye for what works and what doesn't work in webpage design and I believe I have learned to become more critical. I find myself looking at webpages from an academic point-of-view rather than a casual standpoint. Things that I might have ignored or paid little attention to in the past now move into the foreground of my attention and in all honesty have made some of my searches quite intolerable. Perhaps the designer needs a quick refresher course?

Overall, I was inspired by what both myself and my classmates were able to construct using only Photoshop, some of us having never tinkered with the program until September of this year. I hope next semester's classes are just as fulfilling.

And, just a quick reminder that Saturday was far superior to anything produced/discussed/debated in on Friday's. That's not speculation. It's well researched fact!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


I thought that everyone's website looked amazing. All of you inspired me to edit my webpage more to make it more unique and to have more style. I can't wait to have class with most people in the class next semester. Have a great winter break and a happy holiday!

Practical Usability Testing

Good article, try to read it;

Final Presentations

Our final class ended today and I'm a little sad that I won't see everyone next week. Although it will be nice to sleep in for a change. I was so impressed with the sites. Everyone did such a great job and all of the hard work definitely showed through during the presentations. Alot of you have inspired me to keep plugging along with photoshop to make my site better.

Good luck to you all.

I have been meaning to post about this site for a while since I frequently view it but final projects and presentations took precedence. I like this site ( but unfortunately I feel like there's too much going on with it. There's so many links and the home page looks too busy. For the most part I can find what I am looking. But sometimes when I am searching for something new, I have trouble locating it. The one feature that I enjoy about the site is that you can listen live to the radio station. You just click on the home page under listen live and the video player pops up and connects to the station.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Nielsen Books

I was looking on and come to find out there are a series of books that Neilsen has written. I am kind've thinking of buying the series. Since, I enjoyed the book a lot. It was very beneficial when making the website. Plus, the books are under forty dollars. The URL is:

Thoughts on the Presentation

I think the best way to end this class was to have our presentations done in front of the class. I found for myself that it really made me feel embedded in my design and glad that it has enough meaning that I could explain it to a group of people.

As I stated in class, the coolest part of my presentation was explaining the weird mistakes I made that resulted in something awesome, like my glow effect contact us page. I didn't intend when I first saw the picture to make it into that; the picture made itself more than I made the picture.

I think one of the coolest aspects of the presentation is the "How did you do this?" question. When asked that question, I always want to explain how easy it was to do whatever I did because most of the stuff everyone has done was on the same realm of ability, mostly because of the inherent limitations of Photoshop to make a website.

How did I do it? I just messed around with Photoshop enough to make something cool and unique. :)

Nielsen in Conclusion

I found it really interesting today how most people, well all people in my section of the class who presented today said that they disagreed with Nielsen. It isn't that I am surprised that people disagreed with him; I am surprised basically everyone disagreed.

It's a funny thing when one starts to think about what usability actually is. Nielsen bases his standards on experience and usability testing, but it's clear that even that doesn't satisfy some people. For example, Nielsen talks about scrolling as if it's the devil, but sometimes one just has to scroll, or wants to scroll, or does not think about minding that one is scrolling.

I thought about what Nielsen would have thought if he saw a lot of our website presentations. He may have thought that some were good, even if they broke his standards.

Perhaps the the issue is what the word "standard" actually implies. If by standard one means something that one adheres to always, then the standards are broken everyday. I think Nielsen and all of us need to think of standards even moreso as guidelines than we already do.

The good thing about guidelines is they are so vague that it will mold to basically any situation. If that's the case, then why even bother writing a book on what should be done on a webpage?

Website Help

Here is a website that helps you build a website from scratch using Photoshop and Dreamweaver. Try it out. It was very helpful.

Photoshop News

Check out the latest news from here...

OpenSocial from Google

Probably we are going to hear more about it...

Thursday, December 6, 2007


This is a website I would suggest using for future projects in Photoshop. It has a ton of great ideas that you can use in the future. The URL is: I would suggest using this website as a guideline for future projects in the program Photoshop.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Your Wake Up Call

As things wind down, I wanted to share a link that is just for fun at My cat and I like watching this one together. If you're not a cat person, don't bother. The animator is Simon Tofield of London-based Tandem Films. I couldn' t find much else on him even at their web site at, which is an interesting site in itself for its minimalist design approach.

Usability issues

No need to worry about usability of your web site, maybe it just doesn`t fit to screen. You have other choices;

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Photoshop Tips and Tricks

This is an interesting website that helps you understand Photoshop and gives you some ideas to help you improve your website. The URL is:

Monday, December 3, 2007

Multiple Slideshows

As you may remeber from my oral presentation, I was having some trouble with getting more than one slideshow into my site. Well Prof. C figured it out!

I thought I would pass along the following:

In the final folder create a set of new folders (as many as the number of slides you want to have) and name them 1, 2,3 ,4, etc. Make a first web gallery, and select the folder 1 as a destination folder. Repeat for the second, third, and so on, so each of the galleries is in their own directory.

Slice the page. When you are writing URLs, write 1/index.html, 2/index.html, etc. and save it in the final directory.

Should work. Just make sure that it also work after you copy the whole site on the CD.

Good luck!


Travelocity is also a really good travel plans web site. I like it because even though it is a lot more creative than, it is still simple and user friendly. The blue background and white writing make a nice contrast.

Technology Review

This webpage has just to much stuff going on. It has to much information on one page and their isn't even any advertisements. They picked good colors black and white that are very legible and easy to read. What is your opinion of this website? Here is the URL:

Tis the season for....."Cyber Monday"

We’ve all heard of “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving which is to many is considered the busiest shopping day of the year, but what about “Cyber Monday?” I had never heard of this term before today and stumbled upon the article while I was searching through stories about Christmas shopping online. I was initially curious to see if there is any increase in online shopping this Christmas season as opposed to years past. I personally don’t make it a point to shop online. I’ll only buy something online if I can’t get it anywhere else. Other than that, I don’t mind fighting the crowds during the holiday season to find the right gift. Of course, according to guy code my Christmas shopping doesn’t start until a few days to Christmas and usually concludes on Christmas Eve, hours before the first holiday party. For those who have never been to the mall on Christmas Eve this is the most efficient shopping period of the season. You get in, don’t have to fight with the crowds (because there aren’t any, just a bunch of guys running around trying to buy gifts that they’ve waited to the last minute to purchase) and you leave.
Back to online shopping. According to an article written by Jayne O’Donnell and Jon Swartz that appeared in USA Today on November 27, titled, “Online shoppers click up a storm on Cyber Monday,” the term was first used in 2005 as, “the ceremonial kickoff to the online shopping season.” The article further states that the busiest day for online shopping was Dec. 13th last year. The busiest day in 2005 was Dec. 12th. This year there is a 37% increase in online traffic on Cyber Monday from 2006. The National Retail Foundation even set up a website for Cyber Monday shoppers, conveniently located at, where else, Does anyone do their Christmas shopping online, and if so, what percentage of it would you say you complete online? Do you think this is a trend we will see continue to grow in the future?

My Photoshop Bible

This magazine has been a big help thoughout making the webpage and helping me prepare for my capstone project. If you have the time, please read it. It is a great help to all. The URL is: The webpage is not that flashy and is very plain and to the point. It is very easy to sign up as a member it is kind've on the high price side. So, if you have the money, got for it. It is a very good investment.

Don`t worry about friday and saturday...

Web Pages That Suck -- Worst Web Site of 2006

Video (You can also find the video on the site too):

A late inspiration...

Jakob Nielsen's Website

Here is the author of our book's website: I found it very interesting that his website is very plain and has a ton of lists. It is not really a type of eye-catching website. What is your opinion? It definately does not have a lot of people wanting to come back for more.

The Internet Singularity, Delayed

If you have time check out the research;


This website uses very good complementary colors that make the users come back for more. It has everything the user is looking for at the top of the screen, and they do not need to scramble for information. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Saturday, December 1, 2007


This website only has two colors on its site but has just enough to grab a user’s attention. The user has what they are looking for when they go through the tabs at the top of the screen. This is very useful because the user does not have to scramble for information that they are looking for. The URL is:

Everybody is interactive

Check out how to drag the navigation.....

Animator vs animation

You shouldn`t miss this...

Just for LOST lovers...

This is what you can do after ICM502:

Microsoft Surface

I know most of you know about this but we got new friends and also as all you know the reason why some of us become a blog post freak...:P
For whom who asked the question; "What is next for design?". This will be the new platform so lets start to think about the design part.

HTML help

The future of internet

Of course, it is going to be updated someway but how it is going to change is an important question. Here is a link if anyone wants to go further;

Friday, November 30, 2007

Color and Layout

I would like to share two web sites that I found helpful as I experimented with the color scheme and various layouts for my web site. All you have to do is walk into a Chinese restaurant and step onto the ubiquitous red carpet to know that red is an important color in the culture of China. I knew that different colors imply different meaning in different cultures, but this web site lists color symbolism by culture, which was fun to review. See So the purple of the energetic Team in Training web site in this country would have a completely different meaning, should one of the runners hail from Thailand (mourning).

I had a field day scrolling through dozens of web layouts at Many of them are designs for blogs, but others are simple web designs that different people have shared. I found this a good tool for generating ideas. Even when we see a layout we don't like, it prompts us to think about what we don't like about it, which is revealing in itself.

A kind of Search Engine

I know that we have discussed about the new versions of search engines in other classes. I read about this one and found it interesting. When thinking about the increase of WWW, this can be counted as one of the first trials for the next generation of search engines. Try it if you have time...

Flash CS3 Professional site

This is a site that is made by Flash CS3 Professional. I tested CS3 flash and I find it better than previous one; easier and you can also do more complicated things with that. As an example in this web site, the navigation bar is not hard to do.

Traveling is awesome because it is so simple. This is where I usually search for my flight arrangements when I am traveling. It is simply a search engine for flights. After you enter your departure and destination details it gives you all the prices starting from cheapest to more expensive. It embodies everything a search engine should; simplicity, convenience and reliability.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


This website has just enough color the user is looking for. It has everything the user is looking for right in front of them and at the top of the page. The only thing that is not clear is the fact of where to sign in. It is very small at the top of the page. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Guys please help! (This is not about our website)

My friend is launching a fantasy soccer it tips for fantasy owners.

Can the layout be improved, so maybe it's less confusing or keeps users coming back??

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pay Pal

I thought this website was very useful for its users and has everything that they are looking for in a website. What I do not like about this site is the fact that it does not really attract the users by using more color or pizzazz. What is your opinion? The website is:

How am I going to get paid?

At my job, we are each responsible for entering our time on our intranet site. As long as I can remember the tab to do this was located under one name. After returning from thanksgiving vacation, I went to enter my time and realized I could no longer find the tab to do this. Two days went by and I scrolled down and saw that the link name had been changed and was now called the hub.

Luckily, this wasn't a huge issue for me since we just got paid. It would have been helpful if on the intranet site's main page a note was posted informing us of the change.

Future of web design

You may want to listen the podcasts from;

Good For Design, Not For Publishing

I may be the only one, but I have come to hate trying to connect and publish webpages using photoshop alone. Dont get me wrong, I love the tool as a design medium to create the layouts and make the pages look exaclty as you want them, but connecting pages and content is a nightmare. I dislike the web galleries and hate the zoomify feature even more. I do not think they are aesthetically pleasing or very useful. Attatching videos has been a struggle as well.

All in all, I do not hate photoshop as a program because of this, as I know this is not what it was made for, but it is just frustrating spending so much time slicing and saving tediously over and over. Ill take photoshop to start the designs, but give me Dreamweaver or Flash for the rest.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Egg

I really enjoyed this website. It had a lot of good color and just enough white and orange for the user to come back for more. It has a very nice use of white space and just enough links to cover the page for what the user is looking for. The URL is:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Newspapers on the Web

I know we have talked a lot about layout and design of content and daily I go to

To get the latest stories from the philly paper on my teams ill also check out the main page as well just to see what else is going on near my home. I wonder how effective people find newspapers on the web? I rarely read a hard paper anymore but a couple times recently around work I picked up a USA Today and realised I actually missed it.


So this past summer I moved into Newington CT and granted there isnt much to do in Newington but I wanted to see if they had a home page and to find out some info about parks the town pool etc....their home page is awful not only cause it doesnt work but also because aesthetically it is tough to look at... here it is


I meant World of Warcraft. This site is very eye pleasing and makes users come back for more. It has just enough animation and colors to have the user come back. It has the information that a user wants to look at, which is located at the top of the screen so it is easy to find. The URL is:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blackboard Color Reading

While starting to study for the exam on December 1st, I read through the reading that was posted on blackboard. I found the reading very interesting because it discussed what designers need to know when using/developing colors for websites. Now, reading these articles it makes me understand why Professor Callahan told me to change the colors I was using for my final project/website. Please read this article it is very informative and helpful when designing your website.


This reminds me of YouTube a little bit. It has enough color to make the user come back for more but the problem with this site is that it is not pleasing for all types of viewers. It seems it is only for people from Asian countries. What is your opinion? The URL is:

The Barbican

The Barbican is an arts venue in London, and I absolutely love their website. Not many sites make me say "WOW", but this one does. It is so simple to navigate with a minimum of scrolling, and the Flash animation is not at all overdone. The white space on the page balances out the bright colors, which I find to be very attractive. If you navigate to other pages, you'll find that the color scheme changes as well as the content. I just can't say enough about this page - it just knocked me out visually. This is one of the best I've seen in a long time. Any thoughts? Agree or disagree?

The Barbican

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


This website has just enough animation to make the page pop. It has a nice contrast of colors and white space to make the page easy to read and understandable. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Redesigns can be frustrating...

At work, we're finally hammering out a redesign for our current music program, and having the tech out-sourced so we can build the site faster. We have a new design guy who is working fast to help us get a totally new look and feel to our site. The current design (which was never officially launched) can be seen here. The reason why it looks TERRIBLE and has such shoddy design is because the original creators of the site made a really sketchy back-end. Meaning...the html and entire behind the scenes simply would not allow for a better redesign. We had to stick to strict guidelines and we couldn't even move any of the charts or features.

Finally, we've been allowed to break those constraints, and open ourselves up a little more. The picture attached to this post is the first draft of our *new* ListenerStation homepage.

It's not perfect, but its DEFINITELY better than what we had. A little more cutting edge, better coloration, different sized features and areas to promote our different artists. It's extremely frustrating to articulate ideas to a 3rd party designer though. I find that at times, I wish I could just do it myself (hence, my enrollment in this program). I hope to be the designer for our company someday. I find I'm told to "document my thoughts" about every single day. Then, designers come and go, and I re-document the same ideas over and over again. It's like I've been walking in circles for the past 2 years. The communication and energy consumed between thought generation and articulation to someone else is definitely starting to wane on me. I wish I could create pages that are this dynamic, but since it's only my first semester in the program, I'll have to wait and learn as I go!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wow, this is pretty scary!

We should have seen it coming, though. People are already addicted to cell phones, iPods and the like, but those are just accessories. When people start believing that their "cyber lives" are more exciting or fulfilling than their real lives, that's just plain scary. How long will it be before the APA declares "pathological computer use" to be a bonafide psychiatric disorder?

In Korea, a Boot Camp Cure for Web Obsession

Stat Counter

This website is way too wordy for me. It has too much stuff going on the page with too much information. The last thing this page needs is an advertisement. Plus, the website is too plain for my liking. What are other people’s opinions? Here is the URL:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Blog #10 (Second)

While working on my final project I never realized how easy it is to link pages together with the slice tool. I finally realized after looking at the menu for the slice tool for a few minutes that all you had to do was to decide was name you wanted to call the slice, if you would rather open the link in the same page or on another page, and what URL you are using to link. This became very addictive when making my rough draft pages for my homepage. At the beginning of the semester, when our professor mentioned making a webpage for the final project, I got scared since I never really had a grasp of Photoshop before. Now I am realizing how easy it is to be creative and express your talents in many ways while making a webpage. This course has helped a ton and will help me when I work on my Capstone project this summer.

Blog #10

I love chapter 7! This is my favorite chapter of the whole book because I will get to use this section so I can edit all of the pictures that I take. I really like how this section shows you how to sharpen the pictures in the areas that need to be sharpened. Also, being able to change and highlight certain features on the pictures is great feature to be able to do. I guess I do not need to go to CVS anymore to get this done. Do I?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Eat, Drink, Be Merry and watch streaming video..

Last week in the Saturday class we talked about video on the Internet and what is a tolerable TRT. Most of us agreed that an acceptable length is between two and three minutes. This allows for enough time to get the main idea of the video without getting lost or bored. The beauty of short video clips on the Internet is that you can hop around and in a short amount of time watch a number of videos. But are we ready to use the Internet to sit down and watch longer forms of video such as lengthly features or concerts? As part of AT&T's promotion for the "Loudest Pep Rally," they offered a webcast of the West Point shows this week. I was unable to watch either of these (because I was doing homework of course!), but if I had the time I would have checked it out. But it got me thinking about the questions of web usability and are we ready to use the Internet as a source for longer forms of video entertainment, or are we stuck in youtube mode with short clips?


I think this website is straight to the point. It has what the user is looking for in the “New this week section”. Plus, it only has two colors, which makes a nice contrast on the screen to give the website just enough pizzazz. Here is the website: Check it out.

Check this out!

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Join the Team

I work for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, an organization that has recently begun an effort to raise funds for seriously ill children through sports events at which athletes commit to raise a significant donation in return for receiving a runner number or spot in a race. Two of our most successful competitors are Team in Training (Leukemia-Lymphoma Society) at and Team Fox (Michael J. Fox Foundation for parkinson's research) at Our current web home page is We are overhauling the current site to achieve a look more in keeping with our new brand and marketing focus, which I have been privileged to help with. The new site should be viewable next month.

A glance at our two competitors' home pages reveals a number of unfortunate attributes: both have considerable text and visuals below the fold, use color in ways that is somewhat limited and use photos that are less inspiring than they might be.

Team in Training is immensely successful with raising funds for leukemia/lymphoma research. The color purple is an important part of their brand. Against the white background, it is appealing, but this morning, when I opened the site, it looked completely different. It was a dense purple throughout with reverse type. Not so easy to read.

The photos at the top take too long to load. Some of the photos in the header video are not as inspiring as the first one in the line-up. The challenge is finding images that work well in the small horizontal space at the top. A better solution might be to place a vertical photo at the top and one side -- especially if it allows the use of a more inspiring photo. A series of photos that change could work well here, if they didn't take quite so long to get started. The initial animation takes too long and doesn't really say anything.

The Team Fox home page contains a huge amount of verbal information that could be better shortened. Buttons with fly-outs could replace some of the text and less text could go below the fold. I like the white background of the site, but the blue is a lackluster shade. The header visual does not change and the photo that has been chosen has a fuzzy look to it and is not very appealing. A larger photo with a sharp image that shows runners having a good time would be a better choice.

Clearly, the sites of our competitors have some things to teach us as we forge ahead with our own redesign.


I visit the web site,, often to get weather forecasts and conditions. It is my favorite weather site because it is easy to use. The homepage is very organized with the button for local weather at the very top and again a little bit below. Since this is a weather web site it is convenient that it is located where the user does not have to search for it. It is designed so that the user can get the forecast then visit the other sections if they choose to.

Type Pad

I think this website is too wordy. It has too much on the page. The noticeable things are the sign up section and the information about a free trial. I think people would be drawn away from this site because it looks too wordy. The URL is

I'm not sure I understand this, but I thought I'd post it anyway...

NPR article

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This website is very basic. It is pleasing to the user because it has the information the user is looking for in the top right hand corner. It is a user friendly website. What is your opinion about this site? The URL is:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Okay, don't make fun of me but I watch the Real World. I went on tonight to watch last week's episode. I had no problems watching the show but there were several things that annoyed me. The show was broken up in to 5 clips. Right before each clip aired, the same :15 second commercial ran. I got tired of watching this commercial over and over again. Another thing that bothered me was how distracting some of the ads were on the site. On the right hand side of the screen, next to the video player, were flashing ads. I noticed that I kept looking away from the show to see what obnoxious ad was popping up on the screen. Overall, I like having the option to catch my shows online after I have missed them on television. I think it's a smart tool for websites to post full episodes online for their users to watch.

Rotten Tomatoes

I was wondering what everyone thought about the site Rotten Tomatoes. It's a movie website that compiles the reviews of movies from critics everywhere and combines them to create a "Fresh Score". The higher the score...the better. Example...Fred Clause is only 27% Fresh (well, that figures..). You can also get any sort of information on a movie: trailers, posters, cast information, release dates, box office earnings, you name it. Between Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, my movie needs are totally covered.

The design of the site is a little overwhelming at first, as there seems to be a lot to click on and many choices. However, spending a few minutes with the site, you can see that the information is strictly on a "want to know" basis, and that you can easily skip ahead and search for a movie coming out, read reviews, check out trailers, and more!

I recently used RT to check out the reviews for Southland Tales, which have definitely been mixed (it's the second film from the Donnie Darko director, Richard Kelly). The link I provided is a good example because you can see the layout of the reviews and how its handled (an excerpt of the review up front, with links to the full reviews provided). Full tomatoes = good. Splattered tomatoes = bad.

Check it out. I love the site.

I used this website as my personal diary in high school. Now, I am critiquing the website. Times have changed. This website is very straight to the point. It has two shades of color and is not to plain. It has the information that the user is looking for (for e.g. where to sign in and how to post information to their journal). I really like this website. What are other people’s opinions about this site? The URL is:

Monday, November 12, 2007


Dig this! Ha-ha. This website I think needs to be more organized. I understand the concept of the site, which is to find the most popular website and tell why it is the most popular but I do not think it should be shown in list form. Any opinions? The URL is:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

All that work for nothing.

I tried to stay on top of our final project and work on two of my pages. Unfortunately, I saved the files as jpegs and didn't also save a copy as a psd file. I realized I couldn't make any changes after I found something that I wanted to alter on one of the pages I had created. On the bright side, at least I have these pages as reference points. In class yesterday, we talked about the importance of saving two files of our work and the fact that once the file is saved as a jpeg, the layers are flattened and nothing else can be done with it.

Here's hoping I can recreate those pages again.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

venting about MyHate...sorry, I meant MySpace.

I have a MySpace account like most of the rest of the world. I have had the page for about 2 years now and I use it to advertise and promote my career as a musician. I HATE MySpace. It seems so easy (since I’ve witnessed 7 year old know how to use the set up functions of the page), however, I have still yet to find time or the patience to understand all the ways to manipulate and change the look and information placement in my profile. I even had a friend set it up initially because it annoys me so much to have to try and figure out how to change settings on it. Although I have become a bit more skillful over the past 2 years, recently, MySpace threw another curve my way…for no apparent reason, after 2 years of everyone seeing my page as intended, suddenly my page does not fit the screen quite right on every computer monitor. THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME!!! This issue never occurred before and out of nowhere, I have to reformat, reset-up and oh yeah, SPEND TIME online trying to make my page standard and fit to all screens. WHAT THE HELL? I’m only this angry now because now this change is directly affecting me, but I have noticed this change on some other websites as well. I don’t know whether it is a change that the host site makes (like the MySpace site as a whole) or if it is an issue with new browsers. This type of issue makes me realize how often we all need to update everything about our online lives web presence and how attentive we need to be to the way our information is presented. ..Great, just what I needed…another thing to have to be responsible for…wasn’t MySpace designed for fun????...

Blog #9

When working in chapter 11, I got stuck on the part about “snapping images into position”. I never really knew about snapping images until I was in this course. I did not realize that there needed to be a quadrant for each of the images that you would want to use, and then you had to select what quadrant you wanted the image to be in. This will be useful when I want to put certain type of jpeg’s on my website. I now know how to combine the pictures to make a four box design.

Friday, November 9, 2007

"Let's talk about this off-line"..."After our morning download"..."PC load letter!"

It never ceases to amaze me how much the Internet has impacted every aspect of our daily lives. The Internet has not only changed the way we work but also the way we learn, live and communicate with each other. The perfect examples of this are the phrases, "let's chat off-line," or, "we'll download this information later." Tonight I saw another example of the influence of the Internet when I was watching the news. Yes, sorry to say this was the 10 p.m. news on a Friday night, but when times are tough you spend your Friday nights rubbing your two pennies together for heat and watching the news. I saw this newer segment on Fox called, "Rick's RSS," where Rick Hancock highlights a few websites and reports on the latest trends in technology. I think this is great idea to add a specific element in the newscast for technology and web related stories. I found it to be very informative and a refreshing change of pace from the standard segments and flow of the show. Check out the link for more information:

Adobe Dayz

This week some Adobe software guys came Bristol and did a demo of there latest software, including Photoshop and Illistrator. It was pretty cool seeing the new features of CS3, and how each of the programs can be used independantly or in conjunction on design, video and animation projects.

Anyway the coolest part was when they talked about the Vanishing Point filter, and showed an example of how you can turn a 2D picture of a building into a 3D animation. They also talked about how Martin Scorsese was so impressed with it that he used the vanishing point filter in "The departed" to trace the inside of a set and add movement to an otherwise static camera shot, pretty cool stuff.

Any way here's a link to their blogs, which they update often and has some pretty cool stuff on it. See ya in class,

Subjectivity and Aesthetics:Where is the line drawn?

It is clear from reading Nielsen that he ascribes to a set of standards. It is also clear that Nielsen feels he is right about these standards he sets forth. However, I and many disagree based on our own opinion based on some facts. My question to all is: Where is the line drawn on whether something is right when aesthetics is such a subjective subject?

Artwork is a perfect place to start this argument. Michaelangelo's David is considered to be beautiful by many people. There are people who think the David isn't beautiful; they think it is just a statue of a man. Where does one draw the line on what is aesthetically pleasing?

This class talks about websites and how things are usable and not usable. It has been established that it is the designers fault when the user doesn't understand what the designer designed. What if the user is having a bad day and decides during a usability test that the site is garbage because really he is mad since his sandwich from Subway was soggy today? The response has nothing to do with the website, but instead with the fact the tester is having a bad day. Where does one draw the line between actual fact and subjectivity?

One can say with enough objective proof that good aesthetics is something symmetrical. No one likes something disjointed. That is something most can agree on. Wait.. most.. that means not everyone agrees on what is aesthetically pleasing, even with something as simple as symmetry! I know plenty of individuals who think artists who paint with their buttcheeks randomly on the canvas are artists. That has no specific point other than "artistic expression", which is really someone painting their buttcheeks on a paint canvas. I don't think it's art, I think its buttcheeks on a canvas, but that is my subjective opinion based on the facts of what I think art is, which is different than what someone else obviously thinks art is.

As this class progresses, I am starting to believe this idea of "give the user what he/she wants" is really dulling down the very idea of aesthetics itself. As it stands, aesthetic judgment is completely subjective, which makes it immeasurable. Thus, the designer no longer has the license to create something better, since risk isn't rewarded. Risk holds little inherent value when one is banking on the subjective appeal one can create. The artist or designer is banking on creating something that appeals to something immeasurable, which is completely determined at the moment of apprehension by the user who may for whatever reason decide something stinks for no reason other than they "feel" like it.

No wonder artists are mostly starving. Notice how I said most..


This site is an example of too much stuff going on at one time on its page. It has too many links on the side for you to check out. Plus, it has an advertisement smack in the middle of the page. I would only go to this webpage if I wanted to find information about a movie but nothing else. Who agrees with me? The URL is:

Cell Phone Usability

In our 501 class we have been talking about ubiquitous media with a focus on cell phones being our primary web source in the near future. I think that Nielsen should start to step out of the box and talk about web usability of the future. Things like IPTV and internet over the cell phone need to be looked at. There will be a whole new standard and I'm sure many usability issues that will follow. Designing web for mobile devices is a difficult task and I know that some phones that i've seen with the internet are extremely difficult to navigate through the internet. If we had usability standards for web sites on cell phones, the quality would increase and also the amount of people willing to use the web via mobile devices.

The Power of the Internet, and the Lack of Nielson Techniques!

I was checking out MSN today to see what is going on in the world around me when I cames across the story of love. Apparently, a guy saw a girl on a subway (so romantic) in NYC and in an attempt to find her, created a website. He had no information about her, didn't speak to her...simply gawked at her the entire ride (long enough to draw a picture of her). You can view the entire story here: NYCROMEO.

His website, which you can find here: CHEESYSITE engaged hundreds of New Yorkers in his search for "love at first sight". He posted his number and email address (which is now blanked in the lower left of the site) and had hundreds of responses in minutes about this particular girl. He has since, found is love.

As you will see, the website is very simplistic. For a man who is a Web Designer it seems like he missed a few Visual Aesthetics classes! Even though he does not utilize Nielson's (absurd) techniques to create his site, he is able to get the information across and did so in a manner which appears to have worked. As I have said before, I believe it is the unique-ness of the site that works rather than the hum-drum, textbook "technique".

In conclusion, next time you find yourself on a NYC subway, pay close attention because you never know when you may find your true love (probably sitting next to a drunk bum and a loud person on a cell phone) or help someone else find their true love. And that is the power of the Internet...thanks Al Gore!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

H20 Plus

I love because it is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. The green and ocean colored homepage gives it a refreshing and natural look. There are also no busy flash or video players clogging up the site. It is a quick, easy and beautiful experience.


This website is too busy and plain for my liking. Yes, I can say that it has all the links that the users want like Food and Music some of the information that the user would be looking for (Gossip and Entertainment) is at the top of the page. What do other people think of this page? Leave your input. The URL is:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Elegance and Simplicity

Jacob Neilsen warns against animations that flash and pop, something that I too find tremendously annoying. The web site of the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City at offers a sophisticated example of animation that adds appeal without being overbearing.

The homepage links are simple (just eight of them and no repeats) and feature fly-outs that are clear and easy to read. The color scheme is a rich red, yellow and gold, colors in keeping with the Victorian flair of the museum collection's founder. The only drawback I could find is that the user does not necessarily know how to get back to the homepage from interior pages. The way back is to click on the museum name/logo, but nothing points you in the direction; you have to figure it out.

The entire site is appealing, requires very little scrolling, and is extremely easy to navigate. The site design is a good example of the saying that "less is more," and gave me some ideas for my final project.


This webpage has too much stuff going on. It has to many advertisements, and this is one of the reasons why users would not want to come back. It says to the users I just love pop-ups and advertisements and want to give you more of them. The plus side to this website is that the top menus are easy for the user to understand so you can find the information you need to find. The URL is:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"Take a hit...pass it on" is promoting their new "Hoooka", a player that users can create to embed into any other website to promote and sell music. Artists can create their own hoooka for self-promotion or an average Joe can create a page, add music, and earn a slice of the pie for mp3s purchased
directly from his/her individual hoooka. Then users can do as their tagline says..."Take a hit...pass it on".

The neat part of Hoooka is that you can customize your Hoooka to look exactly how you want it using your own photos, videos, music, color schemes, etc, to truly personalize the experience your users and listeners will have. Check out the Hoooka for HelloGoodbye here.

At work, we're trying to come up with ideas for customization for our own artists and Hoooka is something we reference daily. The site does a great job at presenting artists and music, and makes it really easy for anyone to embed their hoooka onto any other site, blog, MySpace, whatever. We really feel that customization is key for us to fully engage our users with our website. We don't want to force them upon any sort of design or layout. We want to pull elements we like from other sites and combine them to give our users a unique experience. Maybe hoooka's customization elements mixed with Facebook's ability to click and drag features around? Could make for some cool Artist Page creations! We havn't made any solid decisions yet, but hoooka's direction will most definitely influence our own website as we'll be allowing for the maximum amount of customization possible.

Here is a site that has a lot of links that will help people know where to find the information that they are looking for. The menus at the top of the page are very legible and very easy for the user to comprehend. . The URL is:

Museum of Bad Art

I love this site! Great design, easy to use, truly bad art! And don't forget to read the descriptions of each work - they're hilarious!

Museum of Bad Art

Monday, November 5, 2007

Award winning websites

Hey guys I was surfing around and found this site, some cool links for inspiration!

I can haz cheeseburger?

I just always seem to stumble on examples oh websites that are designed poorly...but are wildly popular.

Check out it is the #1 blog on Wordpress.

I don't even know where to vote, but I find myself routinely checking the updated pictures.

Why doesn't the content trump the confusing web design?

I found this website to be very plain and very straight to the point. It did not have much pizzazz. It had a picture, a background color, and scroll menus for users to choose from. My suggestion would that they should add more color to the homepage so more users would attracted to it. What do other people think of this? The URL is:

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Blog #8

I am getting excited about getting started on working on the webpage for the final project. While working in class on chapter 12, I am very excited about everything you can do in Photoshop. Now I know how to use the slice tool to make tabs on the left hand side of the page, and it was easy to do. The difficult part of getting this done was when you had to label each of the slices to an html file so they could work. This was a little bit complicated because you had to remember what you named each of the slices. This will be very beneficial for me when I make my webpage so I will practice with this tool so I can make perfect tabs.

poor mix of multimeida

This website that I found has a multimedia element that really bothers me.


There are a few reasons, but the main two reasons being that 1) the beginning page and intro takes far too long to load, even with a fast connection. And 2) once it is loaded and plays through the intro the actual site seems like they are designed by completely different designers. The intro is extremely well done and graphically advanced, while the site itself has a very basic set up that seems incomparable to the intro of the site. If you enter the 'services' area of the page and scroll down, you will even find graphics that are improperly stretched and modified. Looking at the differences throughout this site made me feel, as a prospective consumer, that this company could not be consistent in their product promotion and presentation..A reason why I veered away from using this company and they lost a potential client. Multimedia use should be consistent in quality and use throughout an individual site!

Friday, November 2, 2007

sensible guy

"Creating mulitmedia is far more costly and time-consuming than creating static illustrations, so when you're choosing between the two , opt for the most time-and cost-efficient format...." This statement is very practical and very sensible and I get it. I think he makes a good point and this is definetely a good guide for making a website for the most part. But sometimes I wonder is this Nielsen guy completely void of emotion. It seems as though everything he talks about is straightforward but where is the fun in designing a site. I understand that too much mulitmedia is not good but I think websites need a little bit of excitment to them, I just hope that there is a chapter on creating a fun website. lol

Nielsen Annoys Me...

I am so sick of this man, can we please find another book? How about the last Harry Potter book?

In all seriousness, Nielsen's complaints have been getting to me. It might be because I am (self proclaimed) good with computers and technology, but the only reason why I know so much is because I realized early on that the computer will not explode when you press the wrong button. I don't give everyone the credit of being able to teach themselves how to use new technology, but when it comes to websites, its simply about exploring the site. However; Nielsen seems to think if a websites doesn't follow a traditional method, it's useless.

If we are to believe Nielsen's findings then we all need to create the most uninteresting and simplistic web sites on the internet. Granted, I believe people need hand-holding techniques even to get through their everyday lives, but must we cater to them? Do we have to stifle our creativity because someone is using a dial-up connection? I do agree with some of what he said about flash intro and repeating music, but to say "stick with familiar conventions" and "detect user bandwidth" doesn't work for me.

As designers, we have to find a niche in the world by displaying our work in a useful and interesting way. Compare web design to architecture; there are methods to built it but our design is the way to make it stand out.

You Caught Me

Lately, I have been spending a lot of time during lunch working on some of my homework. When I go on certain websites, music automatically starts playing. I try to always have the volume down on my computer while I am at work. Unfortunately our phone system has changed over and voice mail messages now go in to our outlook box. In order to listen to them, we have to adjust the volume on our computer.Nothing is more embarrassing then hearing theme song music, or a jingle playing loudly in front of your co-workers. "If your site has sound, make sure it starts softly and gradually gets louder, and give your users way to adjust the sound" (Nielson, Loranger pg 377).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Soft Spot for Nielsen

Finally I can totally understand Nielsens practice of beating things into our heads. My parents have had dial up forever and still are using it today. The only use there computer gets is my mother checking her yahoo mail once a day. I am convinced this has been the slowest computer in Connecticut for the last 8 years, but it was my only internet access throughout middle school and high school. Getting my own PC my senior year of high school was like an epiphany for me. The speed and ease of everything was amazing, until some sites started loading up with multimedia and my 400$ Dell couldn't handle it. I know what it is like to try to get one piece of information on a site and have to wait 20 minutes for it.

I do think that there should be options for the people with dial up and low speed connections, but I also believe that in a couple of years, everyone will have service that will be able to support streaming media. The price of high speed service will be widely affordable, and the sites will be able to pack on the content. I think that the points Neilsen makes in Chapter 11 are definitley valid, but I think that if someone has high hopes for a website, than multimedia needs to be present. The way we look at the Internet is changing and dial up users are going to get left in the dust.

You know I love you, but your just too slow...

Remember, that jingle for cable company promoting high speed Internet?

Chapter 11 gives the example of, which doesn't have an indicator to show how quickly the page is loading. I often used to book flights, and the indicator isn't really helpful, it looks as if it is constantly searching. This site is so slow I find myself minimizing it and working on something else...

Which sites are "worth the wait" and how long will you wait for a page to load before abort quest for more knowledge? (scandalous celebrity pictures)

Too much of a good thing is bad

Nielsen is right when he says too much multimedia and flash videos are bad. Not only can it be annoying, but it can also confuse the user, making it harder to reach his or her goal. One web site that uses just enough multimedia to attract the user and keep them interested is Because there are pictures and no moving or noisy videos, the site can get away with more. It is also good that the user has the option of clicking the link of the clip he or she wants to see, instead of having all of them going at once like some other sites. The homepage is attractive and eye catching without being busy and annoying for the user.

Too much multimedia = bad

I wish I could've come up with a snazzier title, but honestly, after reading Neilsen's sometimes simplistic, and sometimes repetitive work, that's all the creativity I can put forth.

It makes sense. Too much video/multimedia/sound/flash can be annoying. Over-doing a website, and having it muddled with flashing objects or blaring video can turn users away. I also understand him when he says that some users don't have machines that are hi-tech enough to handle running that level of multimedia. Yes, it makes sense. After the 2nd page.

I think that's the main problem I have with Neilsen. Sometimes I get it after page 5, yet continue to read through entire chapters only to re-read the same thing or have him hammer the same point over and over again. I don't feel this way about all his chapters, though. There have been some that I've found very informative and effective; however, when I do get to some of the chapters that seemingly have little to say, I just get frustrated that they are so long and provide so many examples when really the point is simple: too much multimedia = bad.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Since it is the baseball season, I say, “Go Red Sox!” Hmmm…excuse me. This site uses up all of it its white space for advertisements and multimedia presentation for its users. It has ways for the user to be interactive with the site by using the pull down menus to find the team that they are looking for and for the information about the team and how they are doing. What is your opinion of this website? Let me know who your favorite team is. The URL is:


Happy Halloween Everyone!

Ready for a frightful web experience?

Check out the layout on!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


This website has just enough color for the user to come back for more. The downside of this website is that it does not have that much interaction between the website and the user. It uses its white space well, and it makes users coming back for more because of the up to date articles. The URL is

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bit OOT, but i couldn't resist ....

Best wishes to those on tutorial island. You are not alone:


This website is very plain but it has a lot of links. It uses up the white space quite well by adding advertisements and information on the side of the website. I think this website should have more color on it and be more interactive so the user will be coming back for more. What is your opinion? The URL is

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Visual Clutter

I'm a lousy housekeeper, but I get it honestly. My mom was a lousy housekeeper before me and my grandmother before her. I come from a line of women who would rather paint a picture than a bathroom wall, or write a poem instead of do the dishes. I fervently hope my daughter (who is good at math) will prefer doing algorithms to dusting. In my case, I'll take any excuse not to clear up the clutter, carrying the issue so far as to go to graduate school, so I have homework to do instead of tidying. But now, it appears the clutter has migrated as far as my television screen. It seems there is no escape.

Last month, an article appeared in The New York Times about how television screens are taking on more of the look of computer screens. (See .)Networks are cramming promotions, news crawls, and other streams of information both wanted and unwanted into our tv viewing experience. The impression that many viewers are left with is that tv screens are far more "cluttered," states the author, than they were until recently, and the experience of watching television more closely resembles that of using a computer.

It is interesting that the clutter is what is related to the computer screen experience. A good computer web page should theoretically not be any more cluttered than a good television screen. But that's not how the users or apparently the networks that are defining our content see it. Whether it is truly an advantage to clutter our television screens in order to make them more appealing to a computer-saavy audience is by no means clear.

In the case of someone trying to read subtitles (one example that opens the article), the added clutter can be entirely maddening. Being a pretty hopelessly linear thinker, I personally find subtitled films a little tedious between trying to follow the plot, take in the lighting and other visual film effects and reading the dialogue. But when the words are obscured by some piece of information I am not focused on at the moment, I am not pleased.

When I watch a program, I do not want to buy the character's shoes. But that is what snipes are for -- to make the most money out of each viewer in this media or the next. An icon will direct viewers of tv shows to places where they can purchase related items.

Screen clutter can be "extremely eye-catching" according to UPENN sociologist David Grazian, despite the research that suggests it impedes comprehension. But the comprehension issue does not deter network moguls who see each iota of screen clutter as money in the bank. So it appears that television screen clutter is here to stay. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go do some vacuuming.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thinking with Type

During class today while we were talking about typography I was reminded of a great book that I read in undergrad in my Typography class. Below is a link to the book's website which has exercises and other useful information. It is a great resource for anyone interested in typography.

Provide a Simple and Accurate Loading-Status: Blog #7

On page 361 in the book, “Prioritizing Web Usability” by Jakob Neilson, it talks about how to minimize people’s impatience by having an indicator to tell when the downloading is done. I really like this idea because sometimes you think the site is down because it takes so long to load.

Body Text: The Ten-Point Rule: Blog #6

On page 221, in the book, “Prioritizing Web Usuability” by Jakob Neilson, he talks about the fact that there not one text size for all audiences. Some people prefer big fonts and some people prefer small fonts. For instance, senior citizens need a larger font then a teenager. It also says that a small font size is not the solution to fit more information on a page. This I totally agree with because even though there are different text sizes and styles to choose from bigger does not mean better.

Use Simple Language: Blog #6 more to add...

In the book, “Prioritizing Web Usability” by Jakob Neilson, it mentions on page 262 about how to use simple language on a webpage. I thought this was interesting because it talked about how to keep your writing simple and concise. I also think that you need to get right to the point. I agree that you do not want to appear smarter than the user because people do not want that. They want to have a conversation with you and be direct and to the point.

Age Is Not the Issue

While reading this section I took this into consideration when I was doing my rough draft for my website. I want all users to read my website either if they are young children or senior citizens so I chose I larger font so everyone can read it. Did anyone else do this or was it just me?

Using Simple Language: Blog #6

While reading Jakob Neilsen's book "Prioritizing Web Usability" the section "Using Simple Language" on page 262 caught my eye when doing my rough draft of my web site because I wanted to get more technical with my writing but I knew I had to dumb my language down for my users. Did any one else feel this way or was it just me?

Blog #7

While reading Jakob Neilsen's book "Prioritizing Web Usability" the section "Using Simple Language" on page 262 caught my eye when doing my rough draft of my web site because I wanted to get more technical with my writing but I knew I had to dumb my language down for my users. Did any one else feel this way or was it just me?

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Aesthetics of a Brand Name

The concensus is that a news site like the or is too you argree?

D. Norman author of Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things (The article we read the second week), speaks of devices that seem easier to use, because the user finds the design aestitically pleasing.

Do you think a brand name can evoke the same emotion? Does recieve millions of hits per day, because people trust this source, despite web design that is a bit cluttered?

Easy Read is a good web site with easy readability. The site's simple blue and white color scheme (which of course is the school colors) gives it a nice contrast. Although the words are not that big, the dark background and white letters make them stand out enough for quick and easy run through. The blue writing on the bottom of the page is also light enough to stand out.

Second Life

I wonder what Neilsen and Loranger would think of Second Life. I like most of us went on this week and got completely lost. When you arrive at the tutorial island, a million things come at you at once. I ended up somewhere completely different and couldn't figure out how to get help, or maybe I just gave up on it. If the web does start to become more like second life in which people create avatars and walk around , there will be a whole new set of usability issues. Will websites even exist or will we have to walk in to stores and libraries to find the information we need? is a site that I used a lot when I was looking for production jobs in New York and I also used it to find people to use on our productions. I like this site a lot because first of all its free and you don't have to sign up, although it is better if you sign up because you can save your resume but you don't have to. I think that it is simple to use and it is easy to find what you're looking for, it's very user friendly. I have noticed that some jobs sites are not as easy to use and you never know what kind of jobs will come up but with mandy you always know what to expect. The design of the site is simple and it really serves its purpose. Through using this site I have gotten interviews, jobs, I have hired people, and I have gotten equipment. I would recommend this site to everyone looking for production jobs.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Writing for the Web

In chapter 8, Writing for the Web, the authors reiterate how important it is to write for your audience and to be aware of spelling and grammar in your content.

One of the things that stood out to me while I was reading was the section on why users scan. Whether I am doing research for school or work, I feel that there is not enough time in the day to find everything that I need. Scanning is the perfect option for me. It helps you decipher between what's a good article and what's something that isn't exactly what you need. "Scanning is an efficient method to hone in on useful content. It takes less cognitive effort, so users can focus attention on fruitful areas" (Nielson, Loranger pg 259).


I thought this website was very interesting since it had upcoming information about video games. I thought there was too much on this website for the viewer’s eye. There were too many videos and too many links on the side. I think the links should have been in a different color. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Web Pages that Suck

For anyone looking for inspiration for their home page design, or just looking for what not to do, check out This site provides a ton of great examples of what not to do. And then after you look at all the bad sites, you can read the checklists that the site provides as to what makes your web page suck. This site is not only informative, but also entertaining if you need a break from hacking out your home page design.


This website is straight to the point. Visual aesthetically it does not have that much pizzazz but it has what the user is looking for, which is to find directions from one place to the other. The one thing I would change is to have more options at the top for the user. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Interesting Article

This is an interesting article about the future of news on the Internet. It's a bit long, but if you can stay with it, it's worth it.

Is This the End of News?

'Tis the Season...

I'm a huge fan of horror movies, and one of my favorites series is Halloween. The series has its own website which can be found here. There's really no reason to visit this site unless you're an uber-fan like I am, but its great for fans like myself. Bonus features, clips of the month, insider news, message board, etc., it really is a haven for Halloween fandom. Anyways...I really like the design and functionality of the site.

Each page has a center dial, of sorts, which displays the navigation of the site. Clicking "movies" will bring you to another dial-like nav displaying links to individual sites for each movie or sequel. The other pages also follow suit. The black background and orange font work (obviously), and along with silver text for the nav, its always easy to read and follow.

The only problem I have with the site is that as you browse, the huge "Halloween Movies" logo at the top does not bring you back to Home. There is a (too) small button on the bottom of each page that says "Home". I always forget its there, and even knowing that I have to find it to go home, I always click the huge logo on the top multiple times.

Overall though, I'd say the Halloween site isn't the best I've ever seen, but it's good enough to get this Halloween junkie his Michael Myers fix.

Monday, October 22, 2007

SBD....the website silly!

One of my favorite websites, and a must read for anyone in the sports industry, is The site functions like a blog in the sense that it takes the top sports stories from the country and condenses them into readable nuggets. The site is updated at least twice daily with the publishing of the “Morning Buzz” and “Closing Bell” at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. respectively. These sections update the top stories of the day, while also feeding your appetite for pop culture.
This site fits in nicely with this week’s readings because the writing is clear and concise, but clever at the same time. The front page contains snappy headlines with no more than a one sentence summary of the story. If you are interested in reading more, just follow the links, if not, at the least you have been entertained and informed. The approach on this site follows the suggestions laid out by Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger in chapter 8 of “Prioritizing Web Usability” when they state, “write for the way people read on the Web. Design your content to match human behavior and tailor it for optimum scannability and comprehension.” This site definitely capitalizes on it’s scannability with its short, crisp writing.

The Supreme Story Program

This is an interesting website that I found yesterday. It's Megan Mullally's official website, and I like it not only because of the great design, but also because it's kind of a "multipurpose" website. It's got information about her and her latest projects, but it's also a storytelling website. She poses a question, posts her own answer, and then encourages people to post their own answers (which are usually in the form of a very short story or narrative). I thought it was an interesting twist on the everyday blog or My Space page.

The Supreme Story Program


This website is very plain and straight to the point. When a user uses this site, they will be able to find what they need right away if it is looking for a job or trying to sell something. I really like how it separates listings into cities so people can find what they are looking for in the area they are located in. I think this website should have more color because I do not think that people would want to be on a site like this for a long period of time because I think they would get bored. The URL is: What is your opinion?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I was just checking out Ruby as a friend and I were thinking about going there to eat and I though the new look was interesting...its calming colors and aesthetically pleasing....very easy to use...and doesnt make me think which would make krug happy....I thought for a food website it was well put together and most importantly easy to use and follow to find what i want

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Become Inspired...

WARNING!! This may help get your ideas flowing for the final project!!

I am a big fan of Communication Arts Magazine, it can be a bit expensive but it has great articles and displays many examples of new and upcoming designers and their work. Below is a link to the magazine where you can buy the Interactive Design Annual which is also on sale at your local Borders.

Current Issue: 2007 September/October Interactive Annual 13 $16
In addition to showcasing the winners of our thirteenth Interactive Competition, the September/October issue includes feature articles on the innovative work of Boston-based agency Modernista!, Shino Arihara's narrative illustration, the powerful imagery of photographer Marcus Swanson and Robert L. Peters's in-depth look at graphic design in Australia. You'll also find insightful columns covering design, culture, creativity and marketing.

This is my favorite website in the whole entire world. You can get software (freeware) at no cost but the catch is sometimes you can only use it for up to 30 days. Then you need to buy it. It is a type of website where users will keep on coming back because it shows you how many people downloaded that software, what the ratings are for each software, and what is the newest trend in software to download. What could be better? Check it out and let me know what you think. The URL is:

Friday, October 19, 2007

My favorite art site

My favorite art site online far and away is . Its a collection of user's art, and is always full of new and creative stuff. Check it out, I find it easy to use, and enjoy browsing different categories. Its a cool place to get ideas or just view what other people are making and posting online.


I have never heard of this website before until I found it in a search engine. It is a website that has a lot of videos and music that you can choose to listen too and watch at your leisure. I think this website is simple and straight to the point for the user so they know where to go to find what they are looking for. Scope it out yourself and let me know what you think. The URL is:

Thursday, October 18, 2007 has always managed to stay interactive. There are options to watch full episodes of popular shows, chat with people about similar interests and blog about whatever is on your mind. The site may come off as busy at first glance but when you consider all the things MTV has to offer, you see that it is quite amazing that they can include all that they have into a Web site. It is always nice to know that if I miss an episode of "The Real World," I can visit the Web site and with a quick click of the mouse, watch it online.

Something funny for everyone...

I am a proud alumni from Salisbury University in MD and I thought id pass this story along....

SALISBURY, Md.- The president of Salisbury University faces questions after posting photographs on a social networking Web site.

SU President Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach posted several pictures on her Facebook profile.

Among those was a picture of Dudley-Eshbach pointing a stick toward her daughter and a Hispanic man.

The caption underneath the picture reads that Eshbach had to,"beat off the Mexicans because they were constantly flirting with my daughter."

Another picture shows an animal, a tapir, and has a caption referring to the large size of the animal's genitalia.

WBOC recently found out about the photos, and after asking the president about her profile and the pictures, she took down her profile.

After making calls about the story on Monday at 3:45 p.m., Dudley-Eshbach removed the two controversial pictures by 5 p.m.

By the end of the day, she had removed the entire profile, but only after leaving them up and open to the public for more than eight months. makes an automatic time stamp when a user posts a picture. Dudley-Eshbach put her albums up on Feb. 3, 2007.

They were available for anyone in "The Salisbury Maryland Network" to look at, including people who have nothing to do with the university.

Many students say even though the president deleted the profile, they are still upset.

Freshman Jovan Turner said, "Personally I'm offended and I'm not even that nationality. It's not something I would expect the university president to say."

Melissa Holt, also a student, said, "I don't think it's very professional of her. She's representing Salisbury and by going out and having a Facebook, she's known as the Salisbury [University] president. She needs to be respectful as of everybody's opinions and backgrounds."

What all those students want to know now is why she posted the pictures in the first place.

The president refused to talk to WBOC on camera but issued a statement through the SU media relations department.

In part, it reads, "Many of us are learning about the positives and negatives of public networking sites such as Facebook. I regret that some of these family vacation photos, with captions that were only intended to be humorous, were included on Facebook."

You can read the president's full statement on our Web site.

Dudley-Eschbach is accountable to the University System of Maryland's Board of Regents.

WBOC requested to speak with the board's chancellor.

Anne Moultrie, the associate vice chancellor for communications, sent an e-mail late Monday afternoon that read "Still no availability at this time," but WBOC will continue to seek comment from both the chancellor and from Dudley-Eshbach.

Dudley-Eshbach has been the university's president since 2000. The school had 7,581 registered students in the fall of 2006.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This website took a long time to load but once I got to it, it had very interesting news and gossip that is in the news today. I do not know if I would totally trust this site all the time to get my news but that is just my opinion. The is not very eye pleasing. It has a lot of advertisements, photographs, and videos. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog #5- Typography

Some of the concepts that the authors are describing should be common sense but as they point out numerous examples of web sites that aren't easy to read or the font size is too small, I understand why they have to dedicate an entire chapter to their findings. I started to work on our critical evaluation paper last night and I came across several web pages that had too much information listed on their home page. "Cramming more content on a page by shrinking the text size backfires because it makes the page busy and difficult to read." (Nielson & Loranger pg 218). I find it also distracting. The user doesn't know where to focus their attention.

Another example that was given was I have noticed that their font is small but I guess I have grown accustomed to their site and no longer flinch when I look at the page layout.

Monday, October 15, 2007


This website is sort of like youtube. It has the same exact lay out as youtube just different colors. I am very bothered when I get to the webpage. It has a huge video play and all you can do is just pause the video. It bothers me a ton. Besides that I love the site. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The "Three-Click Rule" - Fact or Fiction?

Is this really true? Are there people out there who will leave a site if they don’t find what they want in three clicks? After reading about the “Three-Click Rule” in chapter 10 of Nielsen’s book I began to wonder if people like this really exist? Does the average web user have the attention span of a goldfish or are we more tolerable in our searching and navigation? I think that the majority of users have enough patience to pursue the right information for more than three clicks and I think this comes through experience since some sites require more work than others to get to the right information. Nielsen also down-plays the notion of the three click rule by noting that users’ ability to find products on a e-commerce site actually increased after the design was changed to place the products four clicks from the homepage. I think just human nature alone drives us to continue our search even when we may be turning in circles. Is there anyone that agrees with the three-click rule, or do we all disagree with the rule? If you disagree with the rule, do you have a limit on the amount of clicks before you leave a site because you can’t find the information you’re looking for?

Chapters 7 & 8 - Typography and Writing For the Web

Chapter 7 of Nielsen was kind of common sense. Don't choose text that's hard to read, so that people can read your site and not get frustrated. Check. Though the serif and sans serif types were interesting to read about because I didn't know much regarding specific types, most of the chapter just seemed pretty obvious to me.

I thought Chapter 8 was of much more importance and interest to me, especially since I come from a background in Journalism. Nielsen recommended writing for the web using the inverted pyramid style, a method journalists use to get the Five W's right up front in the lead of a story. It makes sense that writing for the web should be the same way. Many of the examples provided showed flaws that are definitely worth mentioning to ensure we avoid doing the same.

I was shocked to read that 43% of Americans aged 16 and older are only at the literacy level similar to an eight grader (Nielsen, Page 265). Even more sad, on Page 268, Nielsen uses an example of the HealthLink site, but writes "It is written at about a grade 12 reading level, which sadly, is beyond the capabilities of many high school graduates in the U.S." That makes me feel really, really bad for our country, though, puts a damp perspective on writing for the web. If that is the type of audience we have to cater our designs and writing toward, its good knowledge to know.

Journalism is extremely similar to writing for the web. You learn how to write concisely. You learn how to organize information and write so that everyone in your audience will be able to read and understand the material, all qualities that Nielsen suggests are key for web writing. Hopefully my studies in Journalism will aid me as I progress in the world of online content production.


I love this website. It is plain but to the point. It is very easy for the user to search for what they are looking for. Also, you get to show the photos that you want anywhere and at any time only at a click of a mouse. If I had a lot of pictures to give out, I would use this website. What is your opinion? The website is:

Can I Click on it?: Blog #5: #2

On page 205, in the book called “Prioritizing Web Usability” by Jakob Neilson, it talks about how users are unsure of what is clickable on a website. The user must work hard and guess where to actually find the information they are looking for. What was interesting is that the book mentioned “blue is not always the desired color for links” “bolded text also indicates clickability”. I never would have thought that bold words would be a link. I thought this was interesting because whenever I make a hyperlink for a website it is always colored blue because that is what I had previously learned the color should be. I now realize that I can also I bold the information for a hyperlink.

Keep Like with like: Blog #5: #1

In the book, “Prioritizing Web Usability” by Jakob Neilson, it talks about on p, 333 about how information gets noticed on a website and how people think that related objects should be placed in the same area on a website. I totally agree because I get upset when information to link to other pages that I think should be on the left side column is not there and is instead found on the top of the webpage. Another thing that annoys me is when you are trying to find information about a company and you look at the bottom of the webpage and find that link that says, contact us, but does not give any information about the company. I makes me very aggravated. I wish there was only one template that most companies would use to set up their webpages. This would make it easier for their users.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

blog #4

The readings discussed how scrolling can be a detriment to page design but also how NOT having a scroll option can be negative as well. While I understand both views, it was a perfect example to me of how confusing keeping it simple can be. The basic message that has been reiterated through all these readings is that web designers cannot make assumptions about their audience and users. Now, the book points out that companies cannot make assumptions about their own customers familiarity with their specific brands. I think this was one of the most relevant points. Companies treat online on-line marketing and selling the same way as they would if a customer were to walk on to a lot to buy peruse and purchase a car, to buy a new pair of pants and even to fill out private, secure information files. Just because a user has found their way to your personally title .com doesn’t mean they are a faithful and returning customer. The companies and designers must remember that even though we are fortunate to have the internet as an additional tool, it IS NOT the same as having a live, physical customer in front of you that feels comfortable because of you presence. When someone walks onto a car lot, they can find assistance and discuss cars and options. Online, the shopper is left to their own destiny depending on their navigational skills, site familiarity and ability to intercept information from various sources, spots and formats. That small description of what a user feels like alone is the number one reason that web designers should pay extra special attention to the flow, format and ease of the site design. We are not asking potential customers to merely com visit our company’s site, we are also asking them to work for what they want to find.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blog #4 Chp 10

Chapter 10 focused on the page layouts and navigation. One of the examples given was of a website called I have never heard of the site but found it interesting how difficult it was for users to find the sign up icon on the page. I had a 6 month trial membership for aol. When I got charged a fee for using it this month, I went on the site to find out how I could contact someone or get help in resolving the issue. I had so much trouble finding a phone number on the web page. Once you clicked contact us, it had the commonly asked questions page. I became frustrated and ended up calling my computer company to get the phone number.

Adobe Color Swatch Website

Navigating through Beauty

One of my favorite web sites is the American Orchid Society at It features a striking orchid visual that clearly illustrates what the site is all about. The links are simple and open in the same window, so there is no confusion about how to navigate from one to another. The photographs of beautiful orchids in bloom change with each link, making navigating the site an appealing, rather than a frustrating exercise. Although the home page features many links, they are easy to understand. They do not feature fly-outs, which is a device that I personally find annoying and Nielson suggests should be kept to a minimum. There is minimal redundancy in the links, i.e. membership and Join AOS. But overall, it is a great example of successful usability.

I'm very passionate about music. I love to be able to find whatever information I can about musicians, songs, albums, and styles. was introduced to me about five years ago and next to, it is one of the sites that I often go to.

The site has changed over the past few years, but I still find it fairly simple to use and search for information, and sometimes sampling. I most love the histories that have been written and the influences and genres of music that are tied to the musician. It's an appealing and user friendly site.


This website is very distracting to me because it just shows lists of games that users can play and does not help the user know how to play them or give a description of what the game is about. All it says is how many players are actually playing that game, which I think is not descriptive enough for the user. The website does have a help link at the top of the page to help users who are confused about how to use the site like I was. Let me know your opinion about this site. The URL is:

Virtual Flea Market

I pulled the same points from the article as Jen. If a web sites mission is to be painfully simple then why does craigs list get bashed. It is one of the easiest sites that I use. Everything is laid out for you and it doesn't take much thinking. As for the aesthetics the design leaves something to be desired, but I think that there is beauty in the simplicity, and it fits the audience.

I would like to see what Nielsen and Co. think is the perfect website, or if they even have one. I think that the major point that is being missed by these two chapters is the target audience. If people are coming to these sites, they at least have a little background information and can adjust to the different design styles. I understand that they are trying to make it very simple, but I think that they are taking some creativity away with these strict rules and standards.


Virtual Flea Market


So what I have gathered from this chapter is that simplicity and consistency are key elements to navigation. Navigation can not be too complicated because it is essentially the way people travel on your site. It is sort of like giving directions if you make them too complicated with too many turns people are bound to get lost. The same goes for navigation simple is better.

Also I think being consistent with your navigation throughout the whole page is essential. It can not switch from one type of navigation to the next because it gets too confusing And people get lost. I was trying to think of a site that I use that does this and I couldn't think of any so either I have been to other sites that do this and have never gone back or no one really switches up navigation. If anyone has a good example for that let me know.

I think that for me simplicity in sites is important and I think that this chapter reiterates that. I like sites that are simple with a minimal amount of clutter. I think for me the apple site does this, there is minimal clutter, the navigation is simple, and you can find things easily.

Visiting the Natural World

After reading chapter 6 of Neilson and Loranger's Prioritizing Web Usability, I thought it might be productive to compare a few web sites of natural history museums from different countries, several of which I have had the opportunity to visit in person. We tend to think of museums generally as trendy facilities that focus heavily on design, but I was surprised to find that some of the web sites were not as successful as they might have been.

The home page of the Osaka Museum of Natural History at took too long to download (nearly a minute). Most of the relevant information is below the fold. Links are confusing because it appears that the user can click on the green box in front of each link but that does not navigate anywhere. Links do not open in the same window, so it is hard to know how to get back to the home page. On the plus side, there is extensive and well-organized information on what specimens are contained in the collection so that if a curator or naturalist from another English-speaking country wanted to visit, they would know the major points of interest in the collection.

The home page of the National Museum of Nature and Science (Tokyo) at has a sophisticated and understated color scheme in shades of gray, beige and black with subdued accents of red and yellow. The site is organized in a way that is clear and understandable in a three column design. Only limited information appears below the fold, including links to related facilities.The design of the home page is, however, very boxy, not fluid, a approach which I personally find somewhat unappealing. Each of the major topic areas branch to a separate window, where a fly-out or pull-down menu might provide more detailed information leading the user to decide if they really wanted to navigate there.

The Beijing Museum of Natural History at features too much content on its home page, much of it below the fold. It features a main photograph and several smaller photos that illustrate different departments. The small photos are way too small to really communicate or enhance the information provided. The large photo took an inordinate amount of time to download (more than 2 minutes). But aside from too much copy and the small, unappealing photos, the home page is not terribly cluttered. There is a gray bar at the top that seems like it should contain a visual of some sort, but doesn't. The menu across the top is clear and simple to understand. I have personally visited this museum and the web content doesn't really do it justice. It has some nice, thoughtful exhibits.

The Natural History Museum of Crete features an appealing green background in keeping with its nature theme. The home page is uncluttered, features a range of attractive visuals. The links are organized in a way that is easy to understand and navigate. The english version of the site, however, is challenging to locate. You have to click on a tiny british flag in the upper right corner, without any textual clues to identify its purpose. The links open in the same window, further assisting navigation. Both a Search button and site map are prominent and enhance useability.

The Royal Ontario Museum (Canada's largest natural history museum) at organizes a wide range of links in an understandable way. All the links open in the same window, which makes it easy to figure out how to get back to where one has been. But the small square pictures next to the links suggest clickability when, in fact, only the text links navigate. The site could benefit from using video or some alternative way to share more visuals. All of the links to exhibitions are presented with the same visual, which is not very engaging.The use of complementary colors blue and orange, paired with maroon is understated, although I did not feel they were as appealingly sophisticated as the use of colors closer to one another on the color spectrum like that used in the Tokyo Museum web site.

I readily admit to a local bias, but the Yale Peabody Museum web site at is one of my favorites. The home page is clear and simple with the signature "leaping" dinosaur fossil Deinonycus is an effective brand for the museum (hanging as it does in one of the hallways). The links are easy to understand and colorful. The clean white background makes the colorful visuals stand out. The Search button is prominent and very clickable. The interior pages are where the bulk of the content lies, keeping the home page simple and uncluttered. Both the web site and the museum are worth a visit. (Don't miss the colorful poison dart frog exhibit in the Discovery Room and keep an eye out for leaf-cutter ants. They're on their way.)