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Archive for March, 2010

A thing or two about GIMP

March 31st, 2010 Comments off

Handy Tweaks To Make GIMP Replace Photoshop:

GIMP is the favorite graphics editing program of many designers and graphic artists. It is free and compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux (the two big reasons for its popularity). It has a wide array of features, as well as plug-ins, filters and brushes. Documentation is primarily available in online communities, as well as through extensive add-ons.”

I took some photography courses in high school that I absolutely loved. Photography has been one of my favorite hobbies since. In digital photography course that I took in high school, we used Photoshop to edit the images. I found Photoshop interesting and fun to play with. Now that I’m in college, I haven’t had much time to take a photography class or to even just continue it as a hobby. But out of the pictures I do manage to take here and there, I’m always thinking of ways to edit them but I don’t have the money to buy Photoshop, especially because all my money has gone to tuition alone. Luckily, I recently discovered GIMP which is a free photo editor that works a lot like Photoshop but is not as complex. It is missing a few things, but then again, it continues to be upgraded, as most things do. I found this article on Smashing Magazine, however, that tells you how to add certain elements to GIMP that will make it even more similar to Photoshop. I think GIMP is especially handy with building websites because sometimes you can’t find the perfect picture online to use in a web site so it is definitely a plus to have the option of creating your own perfect picture. It’s also handy for everyday uses like editing a picture that you want to print out and frame for someone. It makes it pictures look more professional. It’s also just fun to play around with. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn about a program. I know that I’ve learned a few things that way. Although I don’t have my edited GIMP image on my laptop, I did a pretty impressive job (for a beginner) of merging two pictures into looking like it was one single picture that was taken. I have yet to add any of the elements from the article but thought it would be a good article to post. So take a look! And if you are interested in downloading GIMP for free, click on this: GIMP .

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The Importance of Creativity in Web Development

March 31st, 2010 Comments off

One aspect of the web design process that has remained problematic for me, moreso than finding useful web widgets or figuring out difficult coding, has been creativity. Making a successful website does not simply require technical know-how or a good eye; it has to be clever, original, and memorable. There are millions and millions of websites in existence. If your site has nothing to distinguish it from millions of others, it will be completely lost in the shuffle. Because I had no need for a personal web portfolio and had no groups or events to promote, I had to come up with an idea for a web site for my CS103 project that was completely original. Here are some things that I realized I needed to consider in creating a memorable site that people would want to visit over and over.

1. Think About YOUR Web Experience

What kind of sites do you frequently visit? How do those sites service your needs as a web surfer? How could these sites be improved upon – what’s missing? Considering these questions will help you make a site that is not only personally interesting and fulfilling, but will also help other web users who may be having the same feelings as you. Websites have to have a purpose to attract visitors; determining a legitimate goal for your site is the first step to making it a success.

2. Do your research!

So you’ve come up with an incredible idea for this brand new humor site. You’re going to take funny pictures of cats and write captions on them in chatspeak. Great, sounds hilarious. But http://icanhascheezburger.com/ already exists for that same purpose! While it can be advantageous to consider trends and internet fads when creating a site, it’s important to have a site that adds something new to the web. If users can get the information they’re searching for elsewhere already, there’s no reason for them to visit a site that reiterates the content of a previously existing possible site. Make sure you so adequate research to make sure the site you’re creating is actually an original!

3. Create a Memorable Design

Design is one of the most important aspects in attracting repeat visitors to a site. If a website is disorganized, unappealing, or unoriginal, chances are a user won’t return. One thing we have frequently discussed in CS103 is the importance of using white space and guiding the eye around the page. But it is also important that design reflects the page’s content. If the site’s subject is not particularly unique, it’s important to have a particularly unique layout. Memorable images or an unconventional layout might help distinguish your sites from others that are similar, offering something new and interesting to attract the viewer. Or, if the content of your site is more revolutionary, it’s important that the layout doesn’t distract the viewer from the creativity of the site’s new content or technology. Even template designs can be tweaked to work creatively with the site’s message.

4. Creative Use of Tech Elements

Technology such as Flash allows for almost unlimited creativity in web design. Music, animation, pop-outs, roll-overs, and more can all be used to create a memorable experience for a web user. Use this technology to your advantage! A clever idea can go a long way, even if it’s simple. Humor sites, travel guides, fashion blogs, and the like are all a dime-a-dozen on the internet. But creative use of new features can help the site go from everyday to interesting.

Taking it one Step at a Time – Building the Design of your Web Site

March 28th, 2010 Comments off

While my site is not yet complete, just getting to the point it is now a great ordeal. Building a web site is not easy. Sure, most of it may be made up of code — code that you could learn over time and adapt to. However, in order to build a site that truly functions, one has to look past that.

First off, the web builder must design a site that can clearly get across what he or she is trying to convey. In my case, I decided to go for simplicity. There is one basic color palette across the entire web site that I found to be easy on the eyes. Also, every page (once all are complete) will have the exact same design. Therefore, when a user visits my site, he or she will know exactly where to go to find what they are looking for.

A site should reflect its content. If you plan on using a CSS template as I did, find one that suites your website. There are thousands upon thousands of templates out there; I guarantee that you will find one that fits what you are looking for.

Getting to this point in the web building process isn’t easy. It requires a lot of deep thinking about your web site as a whole. After you get to this point, all it is about is filling in the empty spaces. In reality, creating the design of the web site is my far the most difficult part of it all. As a lesson, one that I have learned well, don’t rush the design-making process in building your web site. If you do, then all of the content that you want to show off the world will become null.