December 2008 Archives

The Final Project

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For comments about Writing for the Internet class and what I learned, visit my latest portfolio.

I love to write stories and I've decided to be an author since I was in fourth grade so when the term project was announced as either an Interactive Fiction game, a hypertext fiction, or a business-style website, I chose the fiction.

Before college started, I'd been in the middle of writing a story called Rebellion Run for some friends of mine. They had been nagging me for ages to write something with them in it and now were nagging me to update, write more, finish the story.

I thought this website would be a great idea to continue the story, put it out there for the world to see, and credit my friends for their inspiration. The story takes place in a kind of alternate universe where children are not only being used as soldiers, but they are being genetically enhanced to be better soldiers. The children, for now, have lived in a laboratory all of their life and know little about their purpose or the outside world until a new "experiment" (as the children are called) is introduced. This new experiment tries several times and succeeds once to escape the lab and educate the other experiments about the outside world.

This idea was working well until I realized I was not going to be able to finish the story in time for term project. That was ok. I just added that problem to the About page of my site. I still plan to keep up with story even though the grading has been finished. I know at least my friends would read it.

As for the rest of the site, it includes links within the story to further information pages like details about the different rooms and characters. The characters page also links to the real people page where my friends names, pictures, and some information is presented. This is to provide extra information or explanation for the curious or new reader. But all the of the extra pages do not need to be clicked on to understand the plot.

I set the website up this way so that the reader will not be discouraged and leave the story. I also have two sets of navigation. On the home page and extra pages, there is horizontal navigation that links to all the extra pages and story page. The other navigation is within the story page (aside from the embedded links). There is vertical navigation on the left side that link to every chapter, the homepage, and the frequently visited characters page.

Changes that I have made since the Beta report:
  • Credited the picture of the background in about page
  • Credited my friends for their pictures and information
  • Upload chapter 6
  • Added contact information to the about page
  • Added blurbs to homepage and tops of extra pages for explanation and attraction
  • Add link to the characters page on the navigation bar of the different chapter pages
I did not have the time to find a way to track the number of people on the page or to add any more changes to the background.

Visit the Rebellion Run site
Visit others students' final blogs
 

Beta Report

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Things I want to still do:

  • Credit the picture of the background
  • Credit my friends for their pictures and information
  • Add more to the about page
  • Add more links to the about page
  • Find and erase noise
  • Upload the 6 and 7 chapter
  • Eye-catching homepage with more detail of what's beyond that page
  • Explanations at the top some internal pages OR change the placement of some links until after these people have been introduced like TOPS Story link
  • Fix the bullet-problem on the People page
  • Create way to track visitors
  • Add link to the characters page on the navigation bar of the different chapter pages

First, I took out the borders and changed the background to test tubes for the story, a white homepage, and left the other pages green. I then ask classmates what they thought of it and Jackie was especially helpful with the idea of a lighter shade of green and the graphic of tubes instead of as a background.

I remembered Kevin's response to the super green background so I toned down the shade, but I still wanted to separate the story from all the extra stuff. I made a graphic I'd found the background. Jessie helped me put the graphic in Photoshop and size it while Dr. Jerz helped me with the saturation. I made it a light enough that I think will attract people to the site without taking away from the dialogue. I am still not sure about, but I left another blog asking for more input on the background.

I linked all of my links to specific parts of inner pages like Number 21 in the story to Number 21 in the character page so people won't have to scroll through the page to find this character after clicking on the link. I did this for all links in the story.

I took the word "the" out of the top navigation bars so there was less noise on the page. On some pages, I feel there is still a lot of noise to cut down on, but I'm not sure where. I added more words to the homepage as well as a link to the about page.

The about page will be where I credit my work and the pictures. For now, it has information on the purpose/reason of the site, the story, and difficulties I had.

I was also having trouble with the bottom of one page, where a picture cut halfway across the page and messed up the borders. I took it to Dr. Jerz who found a missing closed <div>. On the same page, I interviewed my friends a little deeper and found more information. I may have to explain why the gymnastics is relevant because it tied us all together, but it is an "about the real people" page so the information is just to give the readers a little more about the real people.

In the meantime, I ran a couple of usability tests and let my friends look at the site. They liked it and had no trouble figuring it out, but they had already seen the site and the story before as well so they understood the pages.

Another friend of mine, who hadn't seen either, left me several ideas I wanted to add. She gave the site a brief look over and said to add pictures to the homepage to grab people's attention. This is a design issue, but something I do agree with and would like to do.

She wanted to add a link on navigation side of the chapter pages that would take the reader to see the character page whenever they wanted instead of getting the chance to only when I link a new character. This eliminates the times they would need to click in between the chapter to the homepage to the character page. It also means for me that I won't have to link every character that appears in every chapter. Good idea!

She also said to provide an explanation for one or two of the internal pages like The TOPS page and what the numbers mean to the characters on the Character page. (All this information is in the story, but for someone clicking around they may not know that and get discouraged. On the other hand, they may be more inclined to read and find out.) Her last comment was to add to the homepage an author's note that explained the story and background info. I guess she didn't see the about page, found there wasn't enough information on it, or wants that info quicker.

One Down Many To Go

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So I'm finished my first class Writing for the Internet with Dr. Jerz and it wasn't that bad. It was filled with a lot of work, exceptionally more than my other classes, but I feel that it wasn't as hard as everyone said it would be. I learned a lot of coding html and IF games. I found this part interesting because I love "doing." The first book, Creating a Web Page with HTML, really helped me as I was learning to code things and I still go back to use it as I am finishing the term project

I also loved the book Don't Make Me Think! It helped me to understand the practicality of usability testing not only in my website, but in other work. You can see this in my other blogs. The only thing I really had trouble with is the book Writing for the Web because I felt it was very tedious and outdated. I also do not like to write in a business manner although I do understand the value of learning to write professionally on the internet. It is very different from writing professional papers.

With the skills that I have gained, I think I will be more valuable than other candidates that do not have professional internet writing skills, know code, or know how to usability test. I do not plan to do these things in the future. I'd rather be an author or a magazine journalist, but if I don't/can't get my dream job right away (writing for National Geographic) I find that these skills will help me get a job similar to what I'd like to do.

For an extended example of what we did in this class you can view other classmate's portfolios (link at the bottom) or the second paragraph of Jackie's blog. For my term project, I chose a hypertext fiction and its not finished, but I hope to finish all the touch-ups over the weekend. It's called Rebellion Run and I created the story for my friends and the website for the project.

This is my fourth portfolio and I feel that it will focus on the work that I have done since my third portfolio including mostly blogs about my term project, feedback I recieved from others, and comments or help that I gave to other people for their projects. For progress there were several mandatory steps involved and a couple of blogs I did on my own. 

Here they are from oldest to newest:

Many of my peers and some even outside of class responded to blogs with helpful information. I mention most of my thanks to classmates and friends in my Beta report. They really helped me put the site together and gave me suggestions that I'm still working on.

Interaction:

Short Troubleshooting

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I have changed the backgrounds! If anyone would be so kind as to tell me how they think it looks, that would be wonderful. Thank you Aero and Jackie for commenting and helping last time.

Are the colors better?

Is there too much noise on the page?

Where can I take away from that would delete this noise, but not make the pages confusing?

If there is not a lot of noise, should I (and where) add graphics?

Background Blues

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I'm having problems with the background of Rebellion Run page. I think the pages themselves are fine in style and in writing (unless anyone finds anything).

But, I'd really like suggestions on the background because the green shows up differently on other people's screens and I think the testubes stand out too much, but I couldn't get it to edit on my computer.

Any suggestions?

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