Author Archives: sthomas391

My Website Build Experience

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1. Is building your site harder, easier or as expected in terms of getting what you want. Why? Give specific examples to explain your point.

The point of Simone Media was to promote my media work. I wanted to have a portfolio site for myself especially since I am going out to find work. In building this site, it was much harder than I thought it would be. I have always heard that coding is extremely hard. It has always been noted that platform sites are easier to deal with. However, Pagelines showed me that it wasn’t all that easy.

In the past three months of building this site, I have experienced many challenges. The first challenge was just learning how to work these templates the right way and just making sure that things were where you wanted them to be. There would be times when I would make a change to the Homepage, go back to see that the change that I implemented wasn’t made. Instead, something else that I wanted to keep was moved instead. It was extremely frustrating.

Unfortunately, it took me a long time to learn the feature slider. I had an idea for my original page, only to realize that it was extremely difficult to orchestrate. The carousel for the work page did not come out the way I wanted it to. When I added the plug in that I needed for the carousel to work, my work page got messed up. Eventually, the rest of my pages ended up getting messed up causing me to trash everything that I originally put in the website. I had to rebuild, but while rebuilding, I found ways to enhance my site.

2. What do you intend to do with your site from this point on? Will you keep it, trash it, or improve it? Explain in detail.

As an upcoming graduate of the University of Bridgeport, I am now looking for work in the media. Many companies are actually looking for something digital to display prior work, campaigns, and media collateral. I intend to improve upon this MUCH more. I feel like a lot of work has to be contributed to the website. I really want to keep it because I want to be a step ahead of my competitors. This can be done with a site. Not many people will have a web page designed nicely with a well thought out portfolio of work. I want to make sure that I use this site to make myself look good. There is a lot that I learned and that I actually can do now. I want to be sure that digitally companies that hire me can see what I have to offer. They will not only judge the work on my site, but also judge the fact that I took the time and effort to orchestrate a webpage that sells my work and myself.

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3. What three things did you learn in class that you can walk away with a good feeling about learning and experiencing?

On Pagelines, in order for the banner to show fully across the page on top, it has to be put in at 100 percent in order to be shown. This is something that I struggled with in the beginning. I would question why does it not show up in full. I didn’t understand why it would only cover half of the top of the page.

Template setup has to match the page that you want to change. A slight mistake with this can end up messing up your whole site. I experienced this when I didn’t realize that I was changing things in the wrong template, yet grew so frustrated when I saw different things changing.

Everything in websites/web pages depends on dimensions. For example, the size for the favicon would have to be equivalent 16px by 16px. If there was any variation in this size when we were uploading our favicon, it would not show the way we want it to. There is a lot to uploading photos and media to a site. It has to fit within a certain context or the work will not look its best.

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4.One of the main reasons in using the PageLines framework was to give us all a blog-powered site. Why is this important?

A blog-powered site is something that is up and coming. It wasn’t as popular before. Nowadays, many companies use blog-powered sites because it allows customers to connect with companies on a personal level. With a blog-powered site, it’s also easy to build networks and connect with others that are doing the same as you. Blogs on sites increases the search visibility of a website. It is actually easier to find your site via search engine optimization with a blog-powered site due to tags and categories.

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5. Other Comments

Pagelines platform as I stated before was not as easy as it looked. However,  I must say when I contacted the with problems, they tried to help me the best they can and I appreciated it.

I’m so thankful that I didn’t use a coding site because if this had me all over the place, imagine what coding would have done.

Finally, I don’t regret taking this class despite the challenges that I had because I wouldn’t have simonemedia.com. It may not be exactly what I want it to be now, but I can fix it in months to come, and I definitely can say  “I HAVE MY OWN WEBSITE THAT ISN’T FACEBOOK.”

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Categories and Tags

Introduction  

What is the importance of tags and categories in WordPress? As website and blog owners, it is important to know how organized and easy flowing categories and tags can be for your viewers. Nowadays, people want answers “now for now.” They want to see what they are looking for right away. Viewers don’t want to go through complications just to find one thing that they are looking for. Website and blog owners often overlook this fact, and don’t realize that they can actually minimize the amount of traffic by not simplifying the navigation experience for viewers. Tags and categories cut through the annoying hassle for viewers and makes navigation simpler and enjoyable for them.

What are categories and tags?

Although both categories and tags are essential to a website for the viewer usability, it is important that the difference between the two are understood. Categories can be viewed from the plural sense (more than one). Tags can be viewed in the single sense. Both, categories and tags direct traffic and simplify searches, making usability easy for website searchers and viewers. According to Categories vs. Tags, an article by Liz Jostes, categories are allowed for a broad grouping of post topics. In other words, when a word is typed in, and it is the title of the category, it can bring you to any thing that is listed in a category. Categories are much broader. Tags are much more specific. When a tag is typed in, it takes you to exactly what you are looking for. Tags describe one’s post in much more detail.

What are good practices to follow when you use categories and tags?

When using categories and tags, it is important to know exactly when to use them. The usages of both of these have to be used with exceptional practices. For example, since tags are precise, and categories are broader, it would be smart to include more tags in your posts. The amount of tags you use should surpass the amount of categories you have. Categories should be limited to 5-7. Keep it to a small amount. Tags are often referred to as “tweak categories.” In other words, by using a tag, you are narrowing down the category, Because of this, it is essential that the category names are different from the tag names. Viewers will be able to find what they are looking for easier.

What is search engine optimization? 

According to The Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization, search engine optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or web page in a search engine’s natural” search results. With search engine optimization traffic comes from “natural” listings on search engines. This means that results from search don’t form right away, but they actually need something to transform the information into search results. With having to do with tags, search results are easier to be found when information is concise and precise. When people type your tags in to search for your results this can boost your traffic, which is very important for the ranking of your site.

How do categories and tags affect search engine optimization?

Categories and tags affect search engine optimization with dealing with search results. Pages are indexed and categorized. Every time someone searches for your tag or category, it creates more traffic for one’s site. Categories and tags organize everything on websites, making it easier search engine optimization.

Website Usage

http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/categories-vs-tags/

http://www.elirose.com/2011/10/how-to-use-categories-and-tags-in-wordpress/

http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo

http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291

http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2005/09/09/categories-versus-tags-whats-the-difference-and-which-one/

“My PageLines Experience”

1)  What is working for you in your Pagelines site design?

I never thought that I would be designing a site. I always thought that it would be extremely difficult because I would have to use so many codes. Throughout my undergraduate career, I was made to believe that the only beautiful sites are those made using HTML. The only sites that are officially your own without HTML, are those like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. This is what I like about Pagelines. It changed my whole perception of what can make a site. This is one of the first sites that I know of that I can actually create a well-designed site without knowing any codes.

Right now, I would have to say that the feature slider is working very well for me. I do not have a lot of art work. However, the little bit of art work that I have done throughout my undergraduate career can be seen through the feature slider. I like that I can load all my pictures and it can be displayed on my home page. Because I have such a minimal amount of art work from my Media Aesthetics and other Mass Communication classes, they can be shown in the display without it getting out of control or becoming boring.

 

2)    What specific things are you still trying to work out?

Although I have figured some of Pagelines out, there is still a lot that I would like to work on. With my feature slider, there are other pictures that I would like to show, for instance my banners. But I have tried for weeks to adjust images, and it still just doesn’t show up right. They either show up to big, they may not show up at all, or they may be so tiny. I need to figure out how to get all my pictures to show up perfectly.

I had a huge problem with my nav bar. At first, it wasn’t showing up. Then, it would show up at strange places that I didn’t even click for it to show up on. I had to actually delete everything that I put originally and start over again and again until I finally got it a little right. Now my problem is the pages. Some of my work that should be in home are clouding my about page.  I now have to figure out what I did wrong there.

Some of my links are not clickable. It would be so much better for me to put pictures and have them leading to what I want to put up. For example, I want my resume to be part of website, as this is a digital portfolio. However, I don’t want people that visit my site to click on about and they just see my resume. I want it to be a link that is clickable, and then it goes straight into my resume.

I would like to add a fun page to my site, but I haven’t figured out exactly where I want to put it. I want it to be an open blog on different topics. Although it’s a digital portfolio, I also want this site to be interactive. Again, I will have to see how this will best suit me.

 3) Research PageLines on the web. Find reviews, articles, interviews. Offer a reflection on what you read. Give the URL for these articles.

http://managewp.com/pagelines-wordpress-framework

 In the review, “Pagelines: The Best Premium Theme Framework for WordPress?”, Tom Ewer talks about why Pagelines is the best way to go. He talks about the fact that there is no coding and it is an easy framework to maneuver. As part of his review of Pagelines, he has an open question that asks, “Does Pagelines Fulfill its Promise.”  Many people that are users of Pagelines had mixed responses.

 One complaint was that Pagelines is good, helpful, and useful. However, they concentrate on the lack of support. They claim that although coding isn’t involved, it is very difficult at times, and might as well have codes. They also talk about how they dedicate much time to using Pagelines, but when they update their site, they lose the majority of their work. It is a very discouraging factor.

After reading this, it confirmed my doubts with Pagelines. Everyone always wants to turn to a non- code site. However, I always think about whether that is always the way to go. No matter what you do, there will always be glitz and problems that come along with what you are creating. Even if it may seem to be easier, time and effort still needs to be dedicated if you want your material to be stunning.

 http://www.pagelinescouponcodes.com/pagelines-review/

In the review, “Crisp and Classy WordPress Website designing”, there are mentions of many positive attributes of Pagelines. People discuss the usefulness of Pagelines and how convenient its use is. As a beginner in Pagelines, I would happen to agree that Pagelines is useful and convenient. The pricing, for one, is convenient.  There are so many people that pay an extremely high price just to have a website. I think it’s convenient and affordable for me to be able to create a digital portfolio for myself for less than $100.

How I am Approaching My Site Design

1. What is your purpose and what are you trying to accomplish with your site?

The purpose of simonemedia.com is to promote myself for future careers. I’m using this to sell myself digitally. With this site, I will incorporate a mixture of videos, my writing, and some design work that deals with my undergraduate career in media.

2. Who is the audience for your site?

The audience for my website would be colleagues and people that I have to work with. Most importantly, the site will be geared towards future employees in several media companies.

3. In reviewing Pagelines showcase, videos and documentation which sites or which sections meet what you’re trying to accomplish?

In Pagelines, the feature and quick sliders will help me showcase media from aesthetics and other art classes. Using the free blog spaces will help me distribute all feature stories, pitch letters, and press releases I have performed during my undergraduate career.

4. Have you watch all the Pagelines video? Are you ready for the task at hand?

I watched most of the Pagelines videos. I also had to google a couple of things as well. As for the task at hand, I am ready for it. It will definitely be a challenge for me, but it will be a fun learning experience.

 

My Experience with Cacoo

As a frequent user of the Internet, I have great experience online. I have been acquainted with many websites. Some of these websites are just for fun. Others are those that help me with written work, reports, and even art.

Are you new to Cacoo?

After such a long time of exploring the Internet and doing new things, I was finally introduced to Cacoo by Professor Katz. I thought that I knew about most of the helpful sites since my time in the Introduction to New Media Class. I am now a new user of Cacoo, and this site has now been added to my list of websites that can help me build many first drafts.

How did you find the interface and usability to be?

While using Cacoo, I realized that it was easy to use. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to maneuver things on the site. Everything was straight- forward. I actually had fun using Cacoo. It wasn’t only about the first experience that I was  having, but it was about the interface and how fun it was creating my sitemap in Cacoo. Most first time things usually give you a challenge. Challenges are fun at times, but when you just want to get in something and start working on it, you really don’t have time to figure a challenge out. That’s what Cacoo wasn’t. I didn’t have to figure it out before I started working on my map. As I visualized something that I wanted to put on paper, I saw a helpful tool staring me right in the face on Cacoo’s site.

Would you use it for other applications, if so, when might you use it?

In the future, Cacoo will be used to help me build diagrams. For example, aside from my sitemap, I have used Cacoo to build diagrams for other classes already. A person like me that has difficulty with writing neatly and drawing can benefit a lot from a site like Cacoo. I now have a better way to communicate my work clearly to professors, classmates, and colleagues.

Please include any other thoughts or comments you have about web-diagram tool.

After using Cacoo, I realize how convenient many of these web-diagram tools are. When I finished building my sitemaps, and my two other diagrams that I needed for classes, it was really helpful to see how neat, clear, and concise my work came out to be. As a Mass Communications major, Cacoo will cut down a lot of time when it comes to drafting things. Other people that work with me may even find it easier to understand the vision that I may have for a future project, campaign, or even another website.

This web-diagram tool shows how updated the Internet is becoming. There is so much help provided on the web, and I’m actually thankful that I have had experience with Cacoo, which will be a huge help to me.

 

USER-FRIENDLY VS. NON USER-FRIENDLY

Prior to reading Jakob Nielsen’s Usability and the Top 10 Design Web Mistakes, I had similar ideas to what makes sites User-Friendly and what makes sites completely unbearable for online users. After reading his excerpt, I took what he said into consideration whenever I searched websites. The first website that I would definitely call User-Friendly would be http://www.nailpro.com/. This site first offers a search engine that makes it easy to search for something that you want to see right away, rather than searching through the whole page.According to Jakob Nielsen, “Search is the most important way users discover websites. Search is also one of the most important ways users find their way around individual websites.” Secondly, there is a variety of pictures and not blocks of words that will confuse the reader. Again Nielsen tells us that “A wall of text is deadly for an interactive experience. Intimidating. Boring. Painful to read.” It’s a very equal combination of words and pictures that will not automatically give the user a headache. They also have separate tabs, subheads, and everything is well-organized. When links on the site are clicked, the colors are changed as well. This site makes it extremely easy for a user to find exactly what they are looking for.

The foodnetwork.com is also a user friendly site. It includes a search engine, which I consider one of the most important things on a site because it allows for the user to search for what they want in a reasonable time frame.There are separations of tabs, subheads, headings, and links that change color when they are clicked on. The page has a large amount of space and pictures that are not only consumed with words. It is very inviting for outside users.“A wall of text is deadly for an interactive experience. Intimidating. Boring. Painful to read,” according to Nielsen. With this site, they did the opposite of the “boring, intimidating, painful to read site.

A non user-friendly website would be http://www.rainbowshops.com. Fortunately Rainbow is a clothing store, that is very successful. Although the website is not clustered with words,it doesn’t have enough available to provide what people may need to know. Their links are within their text, but there is no contrast to show that they are links.Jakob Nielsen tells us that “When visited links don’t change color, users exhibit more navigational disorientation in usability testing and unintentionally revisit the same pages repeatedly.” This can make searching and visiting a site annoying and less  enjoyable.There is also no search engine site provided for one to go look up information quickly if they weren’t interested in carefully scrolling through the site.“Search is the most important way users discover websites. Search is also one of the most important ways users find their way around individual websites.” Because there isn’t a search engine available, it makes searching and exploring a taunting experience.

Another non user-friendly website is http://www.foresitetech.com/. This site is basically a synopsis on web development. It has a search engine and different tabs, however, a big thing that people look for is graphics on a website. This website has a lot of notes written throughout the whole site. It is too much for a user to read. It will make them uninterested in what the site is about, or they may even miss the point. The links that are within the text is also looks like its the same as the text, so there is really no contrast. It would not be easy for someone to tell that there are click-able links.