Bringing Things Together

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When I heard about this project, at the beginning of the semester, I had that same feeling inside that you get when you know there's something overwhelming ahead in your future. However, during the semester, we completed a progression of work that empowered us with important skills and when we reached the term project, it no longer seemed impossible. However, I can truly say that after work on The Write Direction, I have never felt so accomplished. In three months, I went from an individual that disliked computers and the internet, and couldn't do anything but instant message, check his email, and blog (because I had to), and was able to create an entire website, about an interesting subject that I think will help people, on my own. It is an amazing feeling and I honestly have gotten more satisfaction from this project than any final I have ever taken.

We began this journey on Nov. 12 with our term proposals, and I am now finally bringing things together. Initially I had a few ideas: a coaching website, a website that would combine aspects of coaching and academics, specifically writing, and a website for writing. I finally decided on the third and refined the idea to be a website with basic, easy-to-find information about writing for those who need to access it for a quick question. I went to Kim Pennesi and received permission to use many of SHU's Writing Center handouts and information, which, I believe, gives my site more credit. I've been working with writing now for four years and found it enjoyable to have somewhere to share my knowledge for those who may need it.

Creating the site was the most fun aspect of the project for me. I took my idea, and basically jumped right into it, pulling things I've learned and applied from Krug, Castro, and Dr. Jerz. It's really interesting to think back to what my site looked like in the first few stages of development. It was bland, unfocused, and dry. Now, after working on it bit by bit, I'm proud of what it has turned into and excited moreso that I was able to accomplish this project.

User-testing changes:

  1. Appearance: I've changed a lot with the appearance of my site. I knew I wanted a basic site with easy access to internal pages so I had the idea of a basic navigation bar to the left with links on the homepage to all the internal pages. I started out with a plain yellow background and maroon letters and a strange font. I gradually changed it to an interesting background that I found online and black letters in a more easy-to-read font. These were the easiest changes I made because they were simply about style and I got the most feedback on issues like these.
  2. Formatting: Also from feedback given by my classmates, I saw that the text on my site needed to be formatted into a more easily-readable way. Since it is a site about writing, it's difficult to explain the information without using a lot of words. However, some techniques that my peers discussed with me were
    • using bold keywords, making the margins larger, and using bulleted lists. I combined all these techniques and think it much improved the set up of the information on my site.
    • indenting was another key. I learned how to use and play with "div" tags in order to make information more presentable. Before, it was all in the same column, flushed left, which made it difficult to read. But different margins help readers easily decipher information.

Post beta-testing changes:

  1. Image detail: I wanted to include a quote and image from Bob Costas on my site. Initally, I had a large picture and quote on the homepage, but with the help and feedback from Dr. Jerz, I saw that the picture was actually too large and made the site look as if it was "by Bob Costas." So I worked on making it "less noticable" with some techniques such as relocating the picture in relationship of the quote and putting a box around it.
  2. Content issues: There were a few classmates who gave me some important feedback regarding the content of my site.
    • All said it was good content, but Alex helped me use a more direct voice in the writing of my site. I think I was overexplaining things to a degree and she pointed out that it gets confusing. She said to let the information speak for itself and simply introduce it.
    • Also, Dani had a great idea that I should include some examples of MLA and APA styles instead of simply linking to PDF handouts.
    • Jackie helped me cut out needless words such as "Includes..." at the beginning of my bulleted lists. This was redundant and simply took away from the information of the site.
  3. Other appearance issues: Aja pointed out a few problems I didn't catch, like there weren't spaces between the bold headings and sentences on my getting started page. All of these helped me refine my site into a more readable and interesting site and I am very appreciative of all of your suggestions. Also she noticed that when you scrolled over my links they turned to bold print. However, this didn't take place when the text was already bold. This was annoying to me so I made sure I changed that as well. 

I really appreciate this class pushing me from the nest in a sense, and making me step out from my comfort zone because I was able to reach satisfaction in an area I never thought I would. It's been an awesome journey and I feel that I've learned much about writing for the internet. 

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This page contains a single entry by Andy published on December 8, 2008 8:04 AM.

As it comes to a close: Portfolio 4 was the previous entry in this blog.

Full Circle is the next entry in this blog.

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