Friday, November 28, 2008


Since we are all interested and practicing usability concepts, for those of us who want to learn more and become more adept at it, I recommend the usability first website. It is actually produced by a design firm, but is useful for anyone concerned about maximizing the usability of their website.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Color and your mind

Remember many moons ago, well only a couple of months, during the color section of the class where we had to find the color with the word of another color written on it? I found a game that highlights this notion of confusing your mind to get to different levels using a variety of color schemes. Try it out but I must warn you, it's both very addicting and very frustrating.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Golden Eyes on Television

Television is killing the minds of our youth!!!

Television is the cause of the rise in Violence in America!!

These are some of the complaints that most of us have heard about television over the years. To some extent their can be some truth behind these allegations and but for a group of young economist this is only a piece of the puzzle behind the "tube." These economist are compiling data showing that watching television is not all bad and that is more cases it is leading to higher test scores.

Most doctors will advise that children not watch more than two hours of television per day. Since the 1960's television has made drastic changes to more of an edgy style of programing thus effecting how our children are raised and how they will be viewing the world. at one point television served as an important tool for immigrant's children to America. This was a toll that was teaching the Non-native children not only how to speak English but it was also teaching these raw minds what it was to be American (in both a positive and negative light).

In todays society the new style of programing will be making the same influence on todays youths that it did on yeaster-years. Bu will this impact be positive or negative?

What this group has been leaning towards is that with proper programing and monitoring of television the impacts can be astronomical in a positive way.(Duhh!!) But how can this be possible in a society that has become so distant between each other that interaction has become a barrier?

I guess we will see America.

The thoughts from this story have been sparked by the article titled "A new View on TV" published in the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 6, 2008

Thanksgiving Flash

Here is a little Flash design that I found just in time for Thanksgiving. It demonstrates how to make a pumpkin pie. One day I would like to re-create not in the kitchen but in the ICM program! Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gmail disappoints

So Gmail has the new "Themes" tab. When you get to the login screen, the mountains loom majestically in the background. When I saw that, I had these great templates in my mind. I went to the themes tab, and was very disappointed. Google has its own image search tab for the search engine, and occasionally changes its cute Google logo. However, the choices within the Themes tab to personalize your webmail is surprisingly small. There are 31 templates, including the default setting. I feel like there should be more templates... maybe it's just a bias due to the vastness that is Google.

I did, however, change my theme to "Summer Ocean." Did anyone else change their theme? Was anyone else disappointed?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Put to the test

Creating this website for our final project as well as designing the assignments this entire semester has put my creativity to the test more than ever before. As this semester is slowly coming to a close, it was funny to see how Photoshop (one visual design program) that we solely used every class, can take our creative ideas and put them on a virtual canvas. It's uniquely funny how each person has their own style. Maybe I'm getting too sentimental but this was my moment of reflection. We will mix well in the design world!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Keep it Simple

As I continue to develop my website project for the class, I continually run into the issue of trying to include too much. I think it's part of my personality to share and and give alot of information. If I'm going to design websites, I need to grow past that. So, I'm trying to keep this website design simple and functional as an exercise in simplification and clarity. I like to be more decorative and feature-rich, but I'll save that for another project. I really think this exercise will help me break free from making a cluttered site. In the future, I will hopefully learn to include only what is needed first, then maybe dress it up a little for the sake of visual interest.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adding a Web Gallery

I found this tutorial and this site that explain how to make a gallery in photoshop. I thought they do a good job of refreshing what we learned in class. There's even a few things we didn't talk about included in the tutorial.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Business Cards

So at my totally awesome job, note the sarcasm, I had to update some contacts which meant going through hundreds of business cards. Considering that earlier in the semester we designed our own business card, I was paying attention to some of the designs.

One thing I noticed was that on a lot of the business cards, the person's name was very difficult to find. I feel like that is kind of an important part of a business card, and that you should design yours so your name and other pertinent information is clearly vi sable.

The point of design should be to impart the information you want to get across in a visually pleasing way. But if the information is hard to see or understand, the design might look cool but the point of the design is a failure.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


In our Friday night Class (ICM 506) we broke up into groups and chose an interactive site to "pitch" to the rest of the class on its merit. Some of the sites presented were very Flash heavy, which some saw as a pro, and some saw as a con. I was watching SpongeBob SquarePants - yeah, I watch Nickelodeon, do you want to fight about it? - and there was an advertisement for a robotic T-Rex, called D-Rex. The toy itself is pretty sweet, and the accompanied website is one of those that is a little bit Flashed-out, but given the "To Flash or Not to Flash" article, it would be very popular with the demographic that it is being marketed to.
And if anyone's looking for a Christmas gift for me, this would definitely make me happy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Interactive Websites

I have been doing some research lately on websites, studying their layout, text amount, graphics, and interactive elements. Simple is good, for certain subjects. With my topic being a beginner's guide, I realized simple is the way to go. If I was an amazing design person and able to do a site like this, I would. The site is about an old man and is so simple but beautifully put together. I aspire to be able to do something like this someday. 

Aesthetic disasters

Try to recreate these monstrosities in architecture in Photoshop. I recently came across this article on AOL about the top 10 ugliest buildings in the world. The award for the #1 building that is not aesthetically pleasing to the eye is Boston City Hall in none other than Boston, Mass. From the planning to the actual completion of the construction, the design flaws managed to make it to the end. I would like to see a list of the top 10 worst designed websites. I think we all have come across some from time to time especially when we wrote our papers for ICM 502.
Since most of these buildings were designed and constructed many years ago before a lot of web design programs came into the picture, they would most likely not be approved in today's standards.


Ever since last Saturdays class I want to animate everything I do. When I got home from class on Saturday, I immediately showed everyone who would pay attention what I had learned. I am somewhat concerned that my entire final will be animation overload, I will however try not to do so, for that sake of viewers. The point here is that animation is really cool. I have a three year old niece who watches every Disney Pixar film available probably every time she sits down to watch a movie. Nemo is one of my all time favorites. I also love the Bee Movie and Wall-E. All of these movies are animation overload which makes them so much fun to watch. Animation has been around for quite some time, however, has really stepped it up a notch in terms of the films we see today. In terms of animation, it actually goes back to much earlier examples. An early example of attempts to capture motion drawing was paleolithic cave paintings. Animation goes back as early as cave paintings, that is pretty cool stuff. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Font Heaven!

Even though there are about 42 million font options in Photoshop, or so it seems, I sometimes could not find the font I'd envisioned in my project. If font styles help set the mood of your pieces, try out A very 'net savvy co-worker of mine showed me this site over the summer. There are genres and several options within those genres, so if you don't see the font you're looking for, it just may not exist :) Good luck!

New York Times

Photo Design programs are becoming limitless. Users are able to design pieces that are incredibly inspiring and at times frightening. Recently two gentleman forged a false copy of the "New York Times" that contained drastic left wing media and views. The most influential headline on the paper was found front and center the front page of the paper stating the the Iraq war has ended. This stunt threw many new yorkers into a disillusionment about the workings of the government and certainly stirred the public pot of knowledge about the government.

Their was more than 1 million copies produced and handed out around the city. The target areas of distribution were M.T.A areas. The reason for the stunt was to open our societies eyes to what is still going on over seas and to send a message to the incoming president and his cabinet.

I think that we often "drool" over the applications of technology and we as Americans are always wanting to push limits, which is a great attribute to contain. But we also need to realize that with all good technology can bring their is equally if not more bad that the technology is capable of.

Photoshop Tips in 5 Min.

This is 101 Photoshop tips in 5 quick minutes. I found these tips to be very interesting and helpful. I hope that this can help you also.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

10 things you could be using Photoshop for

Most of us know these and most of us do use Photoshop for these reasons; but its a good blog entry to check out. There are some good pictures too. What did people every do without Photoshop? I remember using a camera with film back in photography class in high school. Now no picture is what it appears- in magazines, on television, billboards or on the Internet. Is organic photography a thing of the past?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

rollover navigation

I'm planning to have rollover navigation for my final project and I found this explanation on the adobe site. I thought it might be helpful to others trying to integrate rollover functions into the slicing we learned last Saturday. It is a few extra steps, but it's a nice feature.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Real or fake? You decide 2008

When the new president's podium doesn't look like what it should, bring in the Photoshop to make a nice replacement or a little re-touch! I don't know if it's my eyes playing tricks on me once again but when searching through Yahoo! Sports this sign right below Obama seemed to look a little fake. Maybe I'm the only one and used to studying photos now through the introduction of complex visual aesthetics.

With new design products available like Photoshop, you can change just about anything published on the web and make it seem that it was actually taken with the photo and not added in after.

Is there anything believable through web photos these days?

Aiming high!

With all of the creativity and awesome designs floating around the ICM program, maybe you should think about submitting your best design to the Webby Awards. This year's deadline is in December and categories for entries include website/mobile, interactive design and online film and video. There is a special category designed specifically for works by students "who have designed web sites for academic purposes or as part of developing a portfolio."
The site explains it all and if you win, then look at all of the many reasons it can boost your career! With this years crazy moments primarily focused on the elections, I bet there will be a lot of entries focused on that. I wish the main site would display the works of past winners so that groups or individuals who are new to the entry process can see what they have to follow or don't replicate something that has been submitted in the past. If you google for past winners you'll see some notable achievements:

Breakout of the Year:
Entrepreneur of the Year: Mark Cuban (
Lifetime Achievement Award: Robert Kahn (inventor of TCP/IP protocol)
Best Copy/Writing:
Best Navigation:
Best Visual Design: Google Earth
People’s Choice for Best Blog Culture/Personal:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Flash / HTML experiment

The article Flash or Not to Flash was interesting: the idea that different demographics responded to different formats should not have surprised me, but it did. But I found the article rather distracting in that I had already read how other people responded to the versions of the site in question - the Renaissance site. Thus when I went to the site, all my thoughts went back to the readings, and clouded my personal reaction to the site. Ironically enough, while Googling potential project ideas for another class, I stumbled across a site with both a Flash and HTML entrance, and thought maybe others might want to check them out without a biased context. The site is for Reality Check, an organization of New York teenagers who are against Big Tobacco targeting youth. Should you choose to check them out, let me know which you preferred. Please.

More Photoshop Help

I don't know if anyone is looking for some more help with Photoshop with the semester ending so soon, but then again, final projects are coming up and I know I could use all the help I can get!

If you have iTunes (which, believe it or not, some people I know still don't), there are some free podcasts about Photoshop, and in iTunesU some free tutorials as well!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

funny tutorials

I came across these photoshop tutorials, You Suck at Photoshop. They are really funny and they have some learning value as well. Check them out, you won't be sorry.

Keep it Simple...

While working on our current project, I was reminded about one of the cardinal rules of web design, which is to keep it simple. I originally included alot of information and pictures (it's a photo website), but decided it was looking visually complicated and messy. It didn't flow well. So I began the clean-up, elimination process, which ended up looking simple and straighforward. My homepage only has elements it needs to find further information on the site. The area I cleaned up the most was text. I had included far too much information. It's one of those areas where you write what you want, then get rid of half of it, then get rid of half again. After I whittled it down, it was much more readable and interesting. I know I'm picky and critical about websites I use, so it's helpful to look at my own site as if I was going afresh to someone else's. I definitely don't like reading alot of text online. It's better as a visual medium. 
I am listing my personal, communications blog which I hope people will find interesting, and/or useful.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Inspiration for Web Site Design

You all may have your web design ideas set, but in case you don't, I found a site of 25 site layouts that are meant to be inspirational. (Found them through Delicious...hooray for ICM 501 assignments helping us in 502 as well!) My favorite one is GoMediaZine because it looks like a Kandinsky-inspired design. The Loria Family is pretty cool because it's futuristic. The other designs did not catch my attention as much. Do any of these appeal to you?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I am going to try and make something blink. I believe it works, but only on Firefox.