Typography

I want to start out first saying how much I hate having to blog. I understand the need for them, just hate writing them myself. With that said, on to typography.

I searched around and found some interesting things on typography. The first site I found was http://spyrestudios.com/blog-designs-with-killer-typography/ . It’s not a blog itself, but instead linked me to its 30 top typography blogs. This was a really nice start. Even though the blogs it linked me to were not about typography, the examples of each style were really cool.

The second site I found was http://designreviver.com/inspiration/15-inspiring-typography-based-blog-designs/ . It had a few tips about balancing you type, so that nothing overpowered the site or went unnoticed. I really liked this quote: “Good typography should not dominate a page, it should highlight certain areas as well as allowing readers to subconsciously scan the rest of the page and take in the information with ease.” This might simple like a simple comment, but its what you need to keep in mind when starting a site.

The third site I found was http://ilovetypography.com/2008/02/28/a-guide-to-web-typography/ . This was a very cool, very indepth site all about type fonts and Typography. Along with exapmles and advice, it broke balanced typography into for basic guidlines. First is contrast. Balanced contrast lets text and images stand apart and not become a jumble of clutter. Second is imply the size of your font. Balancing the size with the impotence of the content is very important. You never want body font to small to read, or headlines so big they overpower everything. Third was hierchy. This referes to a differnece in the size and font of your headlines , sub heads, and content to distinguish each. And last is Space. Try not to leave too much wasted, or empty, space as well as not overcrowding the site. This was by far the best site that I found.

Web Standards

There are as you know many different ways to accomplish the same task on a computer. The same goes for the way web sites are programed and designed. However with all this freedom came a problem, not all browsers and computers support all types of markup languages. Top programers came together to create what is known as Web Standards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_standards). Web Standards are a set of rules that decide which markup languages are used, and what tags are assigned to what commands.

W3C

The front leader in this is W3C, or World-Wide Web consortium ( http://www.w3.org/ ).  W3C is an organization dedicated to maintaining Web Standards so that all information is in the same format and accessible to everyone. The W3C is a world-wide organization led by MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) (in Sophia AntipolisFrance), and Keio University (in Japan). All these people work together to offer a common computer language that offers the information to everyone.

ISO

Another lead company in Web Standards is ISO, or Internation Organization of Standardization (http://www.iso.org/iso/home.html) . ISO is a non-government organization located in Geneva, Switzerland that includes 163 countries world wide. Like W3C, ISO is dedicated to regulating HTML and similar mark-up languages to offer the full web to everyone.

Without Web standards in place, the web would be a chaotic place with no organization what so ever. This would create numerous problems between the user and the host site. Many people would be unable to access information written in a way that is incompatible with their bowser or computer, along with a number of other compatibility issues.

Design & Content Layout

Today im here to talk about a few sample sites of known working web designers. I will briefly talk about what I like, and dont like, about three different web sites.

The first is http://stopdesign.com/ . The homepage feeds you directly into his blog. It is a very simple very clean layout with very minimal design involved. I think this works really well for his blog. He has one simple image of a pencil transferring you from his branding straight into the content. Next I moved to the portfolio page. This was my favorite part. The neatly arranged and grouped thumbnails all open up it a larger picture, as well as give you information about each. I think this all works very well, and I really like this site.

The second was http://www.zeldman.com/ . I was not a big fan of this site at all. The bright orange background drew my eyes like a bug zapper. Thats all I find myself taring at. Other than that, the site was organized well and he incorporated some nice type fonts to relay his message. Over all I did not like this site.

My third site was http://larissameek.com/ . Besides the girl theme with the butterfly at the top, lol, I really like this site as well. It is very clear and neat with its own design for the blog site. There is also a cool site info section at the bottom  that carries over with every page that contains links to each page as well as page specific information. Over all I think this was a great site.

CSS & XHTML WEB STANDARDS

I am going to upfront with you guy first. I know only a little on the programming side of webdesign. Most of my experience in this field came in high school, and we focused more on the media aspects. We were taught to build our sites using programs such as Dreamweaver. Although these programs are easy to use and create very good sites, they have a lot of limitations. I’m excited to start learning how to use CSS and XHTML to better myself and my work.

Luckily i found a dummy-proof site http://htmldog.com/articles/atmedia2005/, that breaks it down slow and simple. It shows you what each looks like and how it’s written, then shows you how they are used together.

There are many different languages that a program or web site can be written in. The newer of them being CSS and HTML 5, however there are numerous others still in use today. I started my search at the FAQ section of webstandards.org (http://www.webstandards.org/learn/faq/) which answered many of my questions.
An organization called the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium ) is dedicated to creating standards for exceptable languages that may be used. I then decided to go to their site (http://www.w3.org/) to read a little more. The more i read the more i realize how useful web standards are when dealing with programing and coding. Without standards the web would be chaos written in all sorts of jumbled languages, and would be very hard to navigate.

Pod Casting

Podcasting sounds like a very fun and exciting way to share information and ideas with a large group of people. Although I am very uninformed in this area, the more research that i do the more I become interested. I started my research where i normally do at Wiki. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcast ) Surprisingly besides a definition of what a Podcast accually is, Wiki was very little help. Although it did clarify the a Pocast was a series of auio/video files released to display information I had to keep searching for more information.

I decided to see what apple had to offer. I found http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/ to be very helpful. This site had a number of links from how to make a podcast, to most popular existing podcasts, and both audio and video tutorials. Not only do they offer all of these tools, but also a number of tips for creating your own, searching through existing podcasts, and managing your existing ones. I also found a podcast archive site with many different things to offer. http://www.podbean.com/podcasts has a number of different podcasts available for your use, as well as a free membership to post your own. This free trade of information and ideas is what makes these ground breaking leaps in technology. When everyone can share all knowledge, everyone will be a genius. ( well maybe thats a stretch)

I really look forward to making my own podcast, and regret not being able to be in class to do so. I will be making my own podcast, although im not sure what the content will be. Maybe one on the Denver Broncos. When I do finish it I will be happy to add it to my site to share with you all. Thanks for listening.

Communities of Practice

Regardless of how educated you might become in a particular subject, you will always run across a problem or situation that you have never seen before. This is when we must use our resources to overcome this obstacle. One of the many useful tools to accomplish this are our Communities of Practice. These are simply groups of people with similar problems, or similar education that might help you solve the issue at hand. Theses groups vary from the students in our classroom, to individuals in our related fields, or even a group of interested people who wish to learn more. These new tools available to us make research and collaboration much easier and faster.

There are many different levels of Social Communities available to you that cater to your specific interests. These communitites range from a vary of subjects and include everything from Denver Broncos Fanclub ( http://www.fannation.com/groups/show/184 ), which is directed solely for entertainment and to connect to people around you, to much more technical sites s which were designed to educate people and help them communicate easily. I have been having trouble finding a specific community sites that is really relevant to what we are dealing with, but this site ( http://www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com/blog/category/learning-tools/ ) has links to many good examples. I am honestly just learning about online communities so sorry if i wasnt the most helpful place. I’m looking forward to learning more, and finding one of my own.

Cloud Computing

All of us are very aware of the traditional style of software downloads. You stick in your disc and download all the necessary information to run the desired program. Which worked wonderfully for years, but still had very many problems. Even the disc was badly scratched , or simply corrupted, your information would not be available. Even still if your information was successfully installed and worked fine for years ther were many roadblock to overcome. If you wished to reinstall the software the disc wa needed again. An lets face it, the odds of us till having a mint condition dsoftware disc is highky unlikely.

Then Cloud Computing was introduced. Instead of storing all this information on discs for you, all the information is kept online. Putting this information online helps us in many ways. The most convenient  of these ways is simply eliminating the discs. With all of your information in one place online, installation and re-installation are very easy and quick. Just go to the desired site and download any software needed. Payment is also taken by credit card over the internet as needed, eliminating the need to go store to store searching for your software. There are also a number of free sites that offer this information streamed to you, so there is no need to download them as well. http://pixlr.com/ is a fun photo editor site that is streamed to you online and completely free.

I myself buy all computer games online, and download them straight to my computer http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/index.xml. Not only is this easier and faster, but many times it is cheaper as well. Eliminating boxes and instructions, not to mention the discs themselves is not only a time saver but also very eco-friendly as well. This is not only available to games. Companies such as Adobe ( http://www.adobe.com/ ) , Microsoft ( http://www.microsoft.com/en/us/default.aspx ) , and many other companies now allow you to download and install programs and system software. Adobe offers their full programs, from Flash to Dreamweaver to Photoshop, online and easily downloadable. Microsoft now also offers software such as Windows 7 and older versions online as well. From time, to convenience,  to recycling cloud computing has helped our search for software in many ways.

Social Bookmarking

Bookmarks are a wonderful way to save and recall your favorite web sites, without having to remember a number of long URLs. Before Social Bookmarking, however, these bookmarks were assigned only to your personal computer and couldd not be recalled for anywhere else. Now days we are able to bookmark our favorite sites to online databases that keep them not only available to ourselves, but also made public for anyone to view. This breakthrough not only gave the user freedom to recall their information from anywhere, but also brose through other users bookmarks to find useful information we might have never found.

There are a few very useful Social Bookmarking tools available to us today. The most widely known would be http://delicious.com/ . Delicious is a very user friendly site with a very easy interface allowing ez navigation between your bookmarks, and other peoples, using tags to group relevant information. Another popular bookmarking site is http://www.diigo.com/ . This site is much more complex and in depth. It still offers the bookmarking, as well as a number of new features. Diigo allows you to create online reminders in the form of sticky notes, as well as offering group forums and sessions. Using these research tools, a team could research and work on a project from anywhere and work together as if in the same room. Another popular bookmarking site is http://digg.com/. This site is very similar to delicious in the sense that it bookmarks and categorizes all your sites. However dig breaks them up further into categories like entertainment, news, sports, etc. I believe this allows even faster searching and allows you to access only the information that you choose.

“Professional Bloggers”

Blogging has expanded from a way for friends and family to keep in touch, to a world wide form of communication and information sharing. Blogging has become so popular it spawned what we call “Professional Bloggers”. These are people who found an interest in blogging and decided to take it to next stepand make a hobby or career out of it. These people are dedicated to the communication and interaction between many different people to accomplish a number of goals. Stephen Downe’s is a well know example. I found his personal site http://www.downes.ca/ which not only contained “How to be heard’, but a nmber of his articles. Within these articles is a number or tips on how keep your blogs interesting and updated to keep your readers coming back.

Before you even start on your blog you need to brainstorm. Plan out what information you want to display, then think about what market of people will be interested in this topic. Then design your site to be appealing and manageable to your market. I also found a good article called 6 Steps to Get a Professional Blogging Job at weblogs.about.com. It tells you to first decide your area of expertise. The more knowledgeable you are about your topic, the more information you can give your readers. once you establish a successful blog you can start searching for a job and apply using your own blog as reference. i also found a great blog site called http://www.bloggersforhire.com/. It is a blog where many diferent people and companies go to give tipe on how to become a blogger, and adds for a job in blogging. I found these site very helpful and cant wait to see what ya’ll found.

http://www.downes.ca/

http://weblogs.about.com/od/professionalblogging/tp/5TipsforProfessionalBloggers.htm

http://www.bloggersforhire.com/

RSS

Really Simple Syndication aka a “FEED”

An RSS is defined as a family of we feed formats used to publish frequently updated works in a standardized format. RSS documents are most commonly called a “feed”. A feed is a line  of code that allows a user to import multiple websites into one big online pool. To obtain a feed you can either look for the icon, or got into the feed URL and locate the RSS feed from there. You will also need a program called a Feed reader which stores and displays your selected feeds. Once your feeds are entered they are bundled together into a convenient interface allowing you to quickly browse through and find specific information.

A RSS feed is a very big tool in today’s social networking. Allowing users to import their own choice of web sites not only helps realize “Web 2.0”, but allows exposes to people to new information they may have never seen. simple things such as customizing your own startup page, gives users the freedom to filter whatever information they wish. By being able to filter the information we receive we are much more likely to take and interest and read more about it. Using sites like delicious and other that allow a person to make their feeds public also opens many doors to file sharing and information exchange. By bringing all similar or relevant information to one central place it makes it faster and easier for people around the world the see what others may know or say on a number of topics. Spreading this information easily around the world will help educate many people on a number of new and changing topics and technology.

http://www.whatisrss.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS/

http://www.contentious.com/2003/10/18/what-are-webfeeds-rss-and-why-should-you-care-2/