Where to Go From Here

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Goals for the Final Release:
  • fix the faulty links that are bold and mess up the page
  • fix the positioning of my side navigation bar
  • adjust the positioning of the heading of the individual pages
  • put credit information for the pictures I used on the site
  • combine my last two inner information pages into one
  • conduct another usability test before release to check if I missed anything
  • fix the errors found in the final test
For my term project, I am creating a website dedicated to educating visitors on what Click to Give sites are. My hope is that after browsing my site, users will come away with an understanding of what Click to Give sites are. I am aiming to gain more users of Click to Give sites because these sites are set up for donations to reputable charities.

After the alpha testing, I realized many things could be changed about my site. Many of the issues were with the links on my page. The heading for my navigation bar was underlined, leading users to believe that it may be a link to a separate page. I was trying to set the heading apart not thinking about how the links within the navigation bar would also be underlined. One of my testers requested that the explanations of the inner pages on the home page be links to those particular pages. It was an idea that I had thought of but had not gotten around to. My testers also pointed out that some of my links were broken.

The main point of the page is the information it contains. While I had not added any information to a few of my pages, I knew that I had to edit the writing I had completed. Some of my writing was not in the right format for the internet. I had to cut down on the amount of writing and add bullets that made the text easier to read.

Finally, the last thing I had to focus on concerning my page was the design. Most of the page is in black and white, so I wanted to add backgrounds that would add color to the page. The titles themselves were pretty boring. I decided that I would add a border to each heading.

Between the alpha release and the beta release, I changed a few things. Andy critiqued my site as part of class. From his comments, I was able to better a few things on my site. I changed the headings, so that the largest heading on the page stayed the same. I then added a smaller heading exclusively for each individual page. I changed the navigation bar so that the link to the page the user was currently on would be inactive and bold.

After I changed all of these things, I conducted a beta test. The version I released for the beta testing was pretty close to being done. The results I got from the beta testing were taken from two students in class and two people outside of class. I received many of the same comments from the four individuals. The most common thing I heard was that all of the links were messing up the page when hovered over. I have the links set to become bold when hovered over. When this happens, the rest of the font on the page can flicker and change position. All of my testers thought that it should be changed. Another problem my testers found was that the side navigation bar is vertically centered. This becomes a problem when the page is longer because the navigation bar seems to disappear when it has really only moved down the page. The testers thought my content was good though because it was short and to the point. They also liked the overall design of the site.

So far, I am pleased with how my site is coming along. I think I have enough time to make the changes I would like to.

More Than I Hoped For

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It's over. Those two simple words now describe my Writing for the Internet class. This class was much more than I was expecting and hoping for. When I walked in to sign up for classes on my orientation day, they sat me down at Dr. Jerz's table. He walked me through choosing a few classes I had to take, and then he introduced me to a class of his, Writing for the Internet. I decided to take the class. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but it definitely was not what I got.

These are some of the main things I got out of this class.
  • Blogging - I was not expecting blogging. I'm not sure if it was mentioned, or if I chose just to ignore it, but I don't remember having to blog being in the description of this class. At times it frustrated me, but I really did enjoy the blogging. It was such a great way to respond to the reading and assignments. I felt that I could say what I wanted, how I wanted to. It felt much more personal than writing a three page essay response.
  • Web Design - I didn't think we would be designing and uploading websites. I've had a bit of previous experience with HTML, but nothing like this. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that HTML really is writing for the web in it's basest form. If I can't code a page, there's no way I can put my writing on the web without using someone else's coding. Writing code is what writing for the internet is.
  • Web Appropriate Text - This is all that I thought the class would cover. The tips and corrections I received in this section of class were great. Reading on the computer is much different than reading an essay, a magazine, or a book. There are so many different techniques that people use when reading something on the Internet. Knowing that most people don't scroll unless forced to, that they don't read huge chunks of text, and that they find bulleted lists helpful are all things that I did not realize about writing specifically for the internet.
  • Usability Testing - I never knew what usability testing was, and now I realize that it is a vital part of designing a website. Without this testing, no website is ready to be published on the web. Knowing how to conduct usability testing really helped me in my final project.
  • Creative Hypertexts - This was such an interesting part of the class. I've never encountered stories on the web in this format or interactive fiction. While I got frustrated with both quite easily, it was interesting to have the chance to code something I'd never even heard of before.
This final portfolio covers my work for my term project. For my term project I chose to write a website that explores Click to Give sites. These blog entries covered my progress through my project.
Through this project, I also helped with the projects of others.
I gave suggestions and encouragement to
I was a tester for
  • Jessie - I tested her game for the alpha testing.
  • Andy - I looked at his site and then gave him individual suggestions.
  • Aero - I looked at his site after he e-mailed me the link and sent him my critique.
  • Jed - I played his game for beta testing.
  • Dani - I used her site for alpha testing.
  • Denamarie - I did the same for her site that I did for Andy's.
I think I liked this section of the class best. We each chose what we wanted to work on. Then we all helped each other to come up with the best final project possible. I thought it was a great display of classmates helping each other and working to our potential.

Other's final thoughts on the class.

Term Project ... A Final Look

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After completing my
  • alpha testing
  • Andy testing
  • beta testing
  • and what I would like to call my brutal friend testing
I feel that I've truly completed a good website. Each step of my testing and editing brought new aspects to my site that enhanced it in some way.

After my presentation I realized that I had forgotten to mention a few things about my site. Overall, this is what I worked on.
  • My side navigation bar. I had to adjust different things about the links and I had to move it to the top.
  • The writing. I worked on keeping my descriptions and explanations short and to the point so that each page was not filled with text.
  • Choosing the right font. At the beginning of the process, I had a lot of difficulty with this because I like fonts that look different. Finally, I settled on using Arial for the body. It is a common font because it is easy to read. I chose a more interesting font for the headings and titles.
  • Tables. Because I had lost all of my coding for previous sites on my flash drive, I had to start from scratch. I had not used tables before in making a website, but I chose to employ that technique for this site. At first, it was hard to understand, but once I got the hang of things it made my site easier to edit in the long run.
  • Research. I had to do a bit of research on Click to Give sites so I could understand how they worked. I knew of a few sites that I used, but I wanted to find more to recommend to my readers.
  • Color. The main design of my site is black and white, so I wanted to add some color in somewhere. I attempted to used light colored backgrounds, but it didn't look right. Finally, I settled on adding color to the main and individual headings.
My final project. Enjoy.

Click to Give Update

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After last class, Monday November 24, I got a lot of help to better my website. Because Andy reviewed my website for class, he gave me a lot of tips to make my website better.

After hearing Andy's critiques, I changed:
  • the navigation bar
  • the headings
  • the links
Reviewing Dena's and Andy's sites also gave me more ideas for mine.

I know there are more changes that would improve the site.
Suggestions?

My Term Project

Alpha Test Results

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Having classmates test my website in class was intimidating at first, but beneficial for helping me figure out what to do next. So thank you to Jessie and Aja for looking at my site.

After looking at my site, Aja and Jessie provided mostly the same comments:

  • Don't underline the word "Navigation." It leads users to believe it might be a link. I was trying to set apart the word so it did not blend it. I didn't even think about it looking like a link. So I'm going to italicize it, make it bold, or change the font size for that word.

  • My front page explains everything that I plan to do within the inside pages. These goals are shown in a list. Jessie said she would like the list to be links on the main page, instead of having to go to the side navigation.

  • Aja and Jessie both wondered where to find out what a Click to Give site is. I have a page for that, but my link is not working. They pointed this out for me.

  • Jessie said she liked the background and overall style of my page.

  • Besides these changes, I know I need to add more information to each page.

  • While the pages have style, I wanted to add more color. Everything I have is in black and white, so I wanted to add some color somewhere, probably to the background.

  • I also want to add more interest to the titles. Because the title is in a separate table cell in my coding, I will be able to change things such as borders on the heading.
The alpha testing was very helpful and I've already made some changes to my coding. This is  my page in it's alpha form. Any other suggestions or comments are welcome.

Classmates' Alpha Testing

Clickable!

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One of my guilty pleasures (it's helpful!) is click-to-give sites. These sites are dedicated to a cause and by clicking a certain button, you help to donate to that cause. The donations come from other sponsor sites. For my term project, I plan on making a website that explores these websites, informs more people about them, and explores the real use of the sites.

I've started to design a basic plan for my site. I know that it will include:

  • an introduction page.
  • a page explaining what click-to-give sites are and how they work.
  • a page that explains how much good the sites do.
  • a page to link to the various sites.
  • a page crediting my sources.

My target audience is every single person that uses the web. If they already use the web almost daily, it won't take much of out their schedule to visit a website to click a button.

The sites I'm looking at are:

  • The Hunger Site which includes The Breast Cancer Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site, The Rainforest Site, and The Animal Rescue Site.
  • FreeRice.com
  • Care2

Any ideas and feedback are great!!

 

assignmentpost...go!

Concentrate and Keep Moving Along

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Third portfolio! Well ... not really. This happens to be my second and third portfolio for the class Writing for the Internet taught by Dr. Jerz at Seton Hill University. I'm combining them for certain reasons. Moving on...

I really feel that, all things considered, I'm learning a lot in this class. This section of class, I learned a lot about websites and what is useful and what is not. Creative hypertext and interactive fiction games are both things I have never encountered before. It was interesting to interact with these types of internet writing and learn more about them.

Want to know more about what I've been doing? Read on. Because of the large amount of blogs that will have to be covered in this portfolio, I will try not to reference each of them more than once.

Books

There were two different books that we took a look at in this section of the class. These are my overall reviews for each book.

Coverage

These blogs demonstrate my ability to include quotes from the reading, the source of the reading, and a post back to the assignment page.

Timeliness

These blogs were posted on time! Being sick, my timeliness slipped around a bit, but there is certainly some work that was submitted on time! YAY!

Interaction

These blogs prove my ability to interact with the others in the classroom by attracting comments from them.

Depth

Want me to write in depth? Go a little bit further than I had to? Since I missed a bit of the blogging on time, I chose to make up for that by writing some more indepth blogs!

Discussion

These are blog entries belonging to my classmates where I added to their blog by making a comment. Enjoy!

Others

Blogs that were written during this time period but really didn't fit into a category.

 

Assignment Post

 

Hypertext Fiction is Possible.

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Furthermore, Aristotle concludes, "a well-constructed Plot, therefore, cannot either begin or end at any point one likes; beginning and end in it must be of the forms just described. Again: to be beautiful, a living creature, and every whole made up of parts, must not only present a certain order in its arrangement of parts, but also be of a certain definite magnitude" (1462).
Hypertext and the Aristotelian Conception of Plot

Within "Is Hypertext Fiction Possible?" by George P. Landow, this page about Hypertext, Aristotle, and plot can be found. Because Aristotle says that a plot must have a beginning, middle, and end that are all well-formed, what happens to hypertext? Most hypertexts do not have a definitive beginning, middle, or end. Do they not have a plot?

I believe that they do. Hypertext is not written in the same way that published books and poetry are. It is allowable, normal, acceptable for a reader to start anywhere within the text and finish anywhere. Unlike in a book, one reader's concept of the plot within the hypertext may be completely different from the plot found by another reader.

Hypertext is interesting because of it's ability to be a completely different experience for every reader. It can even be a different experience for the same reader. The same path does not have to be chosen everytime. It is new, exciting, different... and definitely possible.

Hypertext therefore calls into question qualities associated with all these other concepts.

  • fixed sequence
  • definite beginning and ending
  • a story's "certain definite magnitude" and
  • the conception of unity or wholeness

Hypertext and the Aristotelian Conception of Plot 

The article brings up the point that hypertext calls certain qualities of plot "into question." I examined these qualities within the context of the hypertext I spent the most time with.

I examined a creative hypertext called Stir Fry Texts which is talked about more in depth in my blog I, You, We Stir Fry! The authors of the different Stir Fry Texts defy all of what Aristotle says while still creating effective hypertext that is also fiction.

There is no fixed sequence. By rolling the mouse over the text, anything can happen. The words do not change in a certain order. A slight movement of the mouse can change a word, a phrase. Moving the mouse over everything can change almost everything within the paragraph. Changes can happen in any order possible. While there is no specific order for the text to be experienced, a fixed sequence still occurs for the reader. One page is text is viewed, changes are made with the mouse, and then a whole new page can be viewed. The reader still experiences text within an order, just not a predetermined one. 

There may be a definite beginning to Stir Fry Texts, but there is certainly no definite ending. The reader is provided with a place to start reading but after anything can happen within the text. The reader is free to stop at any point without feeling like he or she is missing any of the story. But isn't that the definite end for the reader? When the reader decided that he or she is done with the story, they walk away. And it's finished. 

There is no "certain definite magnitude." It seems that the story can be as big or as small as the reader wishes. The reader could spend hours with this hypertext, just as one could spend hours with a book. The reader could also choose to be done with the hypertext after just a minute or two, all the time it takes to read some poems. 

The concept of unity or wholeness is left up to the reader. The text can be seen as a whole story or not.

Despite the hypertext's ability to live up to what Aristotle says constitutes a good piece of fiction with a solid plot, the readers can still walk away from Stir Fry Texts with the sense that a story happened. They can feel connected with the characters and also feel that something was resolved within the 'story' being told on screen. I did.

After all this investigation on hypertexts themselves and reading about hypertext, I have a new respect for this writing form. The first creative hypertext I read was The Heist by Walter Sorrells. My reaction to the piece was not altogether pleasant. I was confused by the constant jumping around from one section to another within the writing. After exploring many other hypertexts, which include different forms of hypertext besides pure writing, I found different sites that I really enjoyed. While not all hold to Aristotle's conventions of what constitutes good plot, I found that some of them could still hold the form of a story. Others, such as Stud Poetry, were not similar to a story.

In the end, I really do not think that hypertext can be compared to books because it is an entirely different way of storytelling. I believe it holds true, though, that it is a form of storytelling, no matter what Aristotle said thousands of years ago.

Assignment Post

I, You, We Stir Fry!

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Now that I had perused five different texts for at least 5 minutes each, I chose two to look at in more depth.

The first one I investigated was Stir Fy Text. Because there were five different sections within this game. There was a lot to explore.

The first, Log, was interesting because it had a strong connection to self. It starts with five different times. Under each time is a short description, five sentences each, about what is happening to the person. These short descriptions do not reveal big details, but instead are able in invoke emotion within the reader. The writer seems to be searching for something, possibly finds it, and loses. He seems to be in a perpetual state of waiting, no matter what is happening. Running my mouse over the text, some of the original writing is preserved, and new things are added. Each time, different words seem to convey the same emotions, despair and waiting.

The second text, Spastext, starts with a description of writing. It does not matter who does the work, who gets credit for the work. It matters that extraordinary writing is done and made available to everyone. As I ran the mouse over the text and read other sections, it seemed that this ever changing paragraph really deals with individuality. While it may not matter who did that wonderful piece of writing, the writer wants credit. A part of the writer is in that work. We each, just as writers and artists, have the ability to 'create' part of our own individuality.

The third text, Blue Hyacinth, seems to deal with a woman. This woman is dealing with the pain of not meaning to the man she wants/has what he means to her. I truly did not understand this one at all. I spent a bit of time with it, but the descriptions of music recording, nightclubs, and fire alarms did not fit together for me.

The fourth text, Correspondence, was interesting because there was more than one text to change within this individual site. By clicking the icon at the bottom, I rotated through out five different 'e-mail letters' sent by different individuals. By rolling over these e-mails, the sender would change, as would the content.

The fifth text, Divine Mind Fragment Theater, was really interesting because, just like Correspondence, there were different texts to start with that could be rotated through. It was really interesting because the text started as a paragraph from a published work. There were three different paragraphs. By rolling over the text and changing it, what happened was that different parts of each paragraph were merged into the one. You could start with any of the three paragraphs you liked, but soon, you would be looking at parts of all three, merged into one.

I really like the idea of Stir Fry Text. I was able to create many different stories and paragraphs just by moving my mouse.

The second game I looked at with more depth was I, You, We. This game rotated around the word, or letter if you prefer, I. The words you and we were thrown throughout the space along with a mish mash of many other words. I spent a lot of time looking at all the different words. I actually tried to write a lot of them down:

impair, nobble, contrive, consult, drool, flake, rejuvinate, turnover, splice, employ, glimpse, bedeck, purify, suggest, sponge, reoffend, pontificate, elope, remind, adjourn, permeate, psych, squish, unfasten, bargain, vent, rumble, cripple, picket, dismantle, reunify, stomach, reject, tempt, slag, manufacture, fudge, gatecrash, waft, pilot, rationalize, benchmark, evangelize, prick, farm, reconvene, befoul, rehearse, edit, dispossess, juxtapose, evaporate, prevent, deviate, engender, reinterpret, limber, spoon, replicate, propound, outwit, backtrack, censor, spurn, expend, amuse, torpedo, rage, boot, riffle, dominate, flash, rescind, suffice, overdose, superimpose, preside, devalue, gloss, disown, gush, promote, pillage, resubmit, claw, chuck, misbehave, photocopy, paralyse, lip, seal, revert, excavate

There were a lot more words within this site than I even realized. What I liked best were the emotions that can be invoked by words. Just by looking at all of these words on the screen, I could feel many different things. Memories were brought up, feelings I have past experienced. I loved the simplicity, but intensity, of this site.

Assignment Post

HyperText ... Not all what I thought.

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Because the creative hypertext we have been dealing with in class is all similar to story form, that is what I was expecting within the sites I chose from the Electronic Literature Collection Volume One site. That was not at all the case. The different creative sites I visited were all very different. They all involved different sorts of creative ideas using text and the web.

Stud Poetry
Stud Poetry, by Marko Niemi, is an interesting take on poker. Words take the place of numbers on the cards. Words such as nature, infinite, and balsam can now be found on the cards. You play just as you would play poke, betting, calling, raising, and folding, hoping to win the hand. The people you play with can include Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Paul Verlaine.

I found this game really interesting because it emphasizes the importance of words. Words hold the power that numbers often do.

Carving in Possibilities
This site focuses on the face of Michaelangelo's David. The interaction starts with the introduction "Mouse slowly to carve out your existence ... and remember where you put your ghosts." The player is to slowly move the mouse over the blurry face of David to find new phrases and to slowly reveal David's sculpted face.

I liked this creative hypertext because of the phrasing used: 
"Did they keep you company in polyphonic harmony?"
"ancient bodies compressed in calcite structures"
"How do you know this David did not lie?"

The wording seemed so poetic and striking.

Inanimate Alice, Episode 1: China
This site was a pretty straight-forward story. After a few sentences, a button would appear to click through to the next part of the story. It told the story of a little girl who lived with her parents in China. She and her mother go to look for the father when he gets lost.

I didn't much like this because there was not much interaction. The user clicks to go on to the next page and that is pretty much it. At one point, the user cannot move on until he or she "takes a picture" of each flower that Alice wants to. After images of the four flowers are captured on Alice's little communication device/game player, the user is able to click to the next part of the story. 

I, You, We
I loved this site. While very simple, this page could be explore for a long time. The user of the site seems to be in an infinite cube in which there are many, many words. The words I, you, and we randomly fill the space. The rest of the space is filled with other words. All of these words are striking because they seem to be able to describe the user.

Stir Fry Texts
The idea of this site is very interesting. As you move the mouse over the words, the words seem to spasm, and then they change. A new piece of writing is created with each move of the mouse. There are five different stir fry texts, Log, Spastext, Blue Hyacinth, Correspondence, and Divine Mind Fragment Theater. Each seperate page contains the same idea with different writings.

I really liked this page and I'd like to spend more time with it. It was fun to roll my mouse quickly over the entire text, read what appeared, and repeat.

 

Overall, I found some of these to be really interesting. Of the five I looked at, only two were interesting enough to play for more than a few minutes. More on that in my next blog =]

Back to the original assignment. 

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