October 2008 Archives

Find _________ , then prove it.

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"The point of testing is not to prove or disprove something. It's to inform your judgement." Steve Krug - Don't Make Me Think! pg. 135


As soon as I read this quote I heard a litany consisting of my various english professors telling me that I needed to find ______ first, and then search for ways to prove it. Not the other way around.

I remember in my newswriting class when my professor told us to search put the quotes from individuals. These quotes will most likely contain the angle on which you want to focus your news story. It doesn't help anyone if reporters only focus on what they perceive to be important versus what may actually be important. And this idea isn't just local to journalism.

In one of my current classes, we're writing longer research papers. My professor has told my class before that we need to discover/come up with a topic of our own for our paper, and then find sources that either prove/disprove this theory. There is very little use in writing something that has been written several times with few difference from time to time.

When it comes to trying to prove something, make sure you have that something in mind before you run off in search of facts that will only prove/disprove said something. You have to present both sides in an effort to be fair as well. just because you may not like that usability tests show that you've done really well on 7 out of 10 things doesn't mean that you can ignore the other 3 or only focus on those 3.

Just don't go through these in a backwards fashion and you'll be alright.

We don't mess with the Space/Time Continuum for a reason!

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It may have taken me a bit, but I was really interested when I got to the part concerning time and its subsequent distortion in the interactive fiction game Slouching Towards Bedlam, by Star Foster and Daniel Ravipinto.

I must admit that I am a Start-Trek fan through and through, so I was helplessly fascinated by the thought that the main problem in this game was to try and fix the space/time continuum. I'll also write that this concept will plain make your head hurt if not outright spin 360 degrees!

We perceive events in time in a linear fashion (probably because we couldn't keep everything straight if it was happening without any semblance of order). Distinguishing time in this simple way is also one of the reasons we are so quick to peg a person as crazy when they think things out of order (or outside the generally accepted order).

"A second, an hour, a year, an eternity. I cannot say how long it took, for the past and present and future were as one within it. The Logos had always been and would always be and my reaching out to it in this one moment was as a grain of sand on an infinite beach." ~ Slouching Towards Bedlam - Cleve's Diary


Even though the concept of Time absolutely makes my mind boggle, I love theorizing over its numerous aspects (no matter that I'm surely wrong - that's half the fun!). Can you simply imagine all the possibilities that would lie at your fingertips if you could travel, let alone control time? Endless! People often say that they wish that they might go back in time and rewrite a certain event, but then comes the Butterfly Effect. One little thing can end up garnering massive revisions that you may have never thought of. Indeed, I think it's impossible for us to compile a list of things that might change from tweaking one small event. The world runs on a bunch of small events that inevitably snowball into something large. Everything builds up in some way, even if it seems as if a big event's just come out of left field.

In the game, the character Cleve supposedly unraveled his own part in the grand scheme of Time though words. (Yet another poetic showing that words are more powerful than weapons in some cases, so be careful what you say/write.) So maybe we should just be happy with what we've got and just try our best to figure out the future instead of looking for a shortcut. There are somethings that Man was simply not meant to know, whether it's now or in the future. Just look at the ancient Greek myths, human's hubris was a hero's downfall, just as Cleve announced for his reason for no longer talking. Guess we've all gotta try and keep a weather eye out for the future!

Mythical Universal Idiosyncrasies

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"You can't trust your own judgement about this. You need to show the Home page to people from outside your organization to tell you whether the design is getting this job done because the "main point" is the one thing nobody inside the organization will notice is missing." ~ pg. 103: Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug


What is it? It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's...(I know you were expecting Superman!, but please.) This quote really focuses the entire bit about handing your pet project over to someone else to try out. You can pour your heart and soul into something and never want anyone to find fault with it. Unfortunately, Life's not that simple by any means. It's more than likely that there will be something amiss with our first, second, possibly even third drafts, we just won't see it until another points it out to us. Common sense seems to work along these lines too, sometimes.

So even though it may feel like you're only opening yourself up for ridicule and have called the emotional paramedics because you're sure that you're going to be shot in the foot (which is always a possibility), you really need to do it.


"In fact, all of the time I've spent watching people use the Web has led me to the opposite conclusion: all Web users are unique, and all Web use is basically idiosyncratic." ~ pg. 128

I loved reading this. You always here how every individual is unique, but we're all the same some how too? It's just a little confusing. It's true that everyone has qualities possessed by only them. It's also true that groups of us can be grouped together by loose, general standards. That being written, everyone has their little oddities that they use to traverse the Web. Some search all over, some browse, and some just travel along on the Winds of Fate (divine substances assist them).

All in all, we're just as much the same as we are different.

Users, Freakers, Losers, Drivers...

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All of the quotes used in this entry are from Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug.

"When I look at most Web pages, I'm struck by the fact that most of the words I see are just taking up space, because no one is ever going to read them." pg. 45

When I first read this line and its fellows, I thought, "Finally! Here's something I can use in my argument about differing writing styles and how it's hard to switch back and forth between them!" It's kind of sad how happy I was.

Cutting down on your verbosity is an awesome talent when writing for the Web, news writing, and for directions on websites, but it becomes difficult to step out of this way of thinking and writing when you have to write an eight page research paper in one night (oh yeah, you didn't start until 11:00pm the night before. Have fun!). But even when you manage to find sufficient time for longer papers, you need to realize that styles are truly different. I almost feel as if I can't sum everything up in a few sentences, make my point clearly and succinctly because I need more than two pages (maybe three if I have a big topic). There's actual pressure to have a lot of words = more pages = hopefully better grade! Put on your racing gloves, folks. This one's gonna be a hairpin!

"Some people (Jakob Nielson calls them "search-dominant" users) will almost always look for a search box as soon as they enter a site. (These may be the same people who look for the nearest clerk as soon as they enter a store.)" pg. 54

I completely realize that this is my own personal issue, but quite frankly, I'd rather look stupid standing stock still, staring at a store's aisle signs or wandering in and out of said aisles to find a product than to ask someone for help. I think that the search is half the adventure (barring my being in an extreme hurry and ready to snap at the first innocent bystander). So naturally, when I read this passage I thought, "I pray that I'm never in a situation where a person (possessing all of their faculties) continuously comes up to me visit after visit and wants to know where the same item is!" Here's a hint: It'll be bad.

Persistent Navigation = Good. Everyone likes to know where they are. And if you don't, then all the more power to ya. So, it's not hard to figure out that complete and user-friendly navigation bars will bring in more bees than that other guy's site that goes every which way. With great (clear) navigation, I think the user should want to say "Mommy, I'm home!" whenever they come back from another part of the site.

"Street signs are big. When you're stopped at an intersection, you can read the sign for the next cross street. They're in the right place--hanging over the street you're driving on, so all you have to do is look up." pg. 71


Now, it should be known that I love to drive. There's simply one problem: I hate city driving! I always feel as if I don't know where I'm going because the signs are small enough to be nonexistent; there never seems to be enough time before exits to move over to the correct lane; and don't even get me started on the buses/trollies ONLY streets! (Bad experience if ya catch my drift.) So what's all this blathering mean? Simply put, make your web site's signs big, easy to see, and high speed driver friendly!


ZOOM, ZOOM!

car.jpg

Billboard Drive-bys

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"Three things sell this newspaper: Tragedy, sex, and Superman. These people have had enough tragedy, and we all know you can't write worth a damn about sex." ~ Perry White in Superman Returns


"And of course, (c) the trigger words that are hardwired into our nervous systems, like "Free," "Sale," and "Sex," and our own name." ~ Krug 23, Don't Make Me Think


As soon as I read the Krug quote above, I immediately remembered the line from the movie Superman Returns. It's said when Perry White, the Editor in Chief of the Daily Planet, is explaining to Lois Lane why she must write an article about Superman being back on Earth.

When we initiate our scanning mode in order to learn new information, we only search for the important stuff, like those mentioned above. Krug relates this method to people driving past billboards, because unless you're sitting at a standstill in traffic, you're not going to dissect a billboard's information. So, the easiest way to get people their needed information is to write/design your website for drive-by users! This is one of those times when you've got to go with the ultimate flow.


"At some point in our youth, without ever being taught, we all learned to read a newspaper. Not the words, but the conventions." ~ Krug 34, Don't Make Me Think


I have to write though, that I rarely read newspapers when I was younger. I'd occasionally look over my dad's shoulder when he was reading the paper after getting home from work, but I mostly just sought out the comics. However, I quickly found a few magazines that held secrets within their pages and sat down to unconsciously learn the conventions of newsprint. One was actually foreign based and so I had to teach myself to read "backwards" from typical english conventions!

All in all though, Krug's right about people learning how to process print and online news without them even knowing it. Readers now look for differentiating headlines and such now without realizing it. Funny how the world works sometimes.

History's Flows of Buzzling Puzzling

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"If history has taught us anything, it's that Internet business models are like buses: If you miss one, all you have to do is wait a little while and another one will come along." ~ Krug 7, Don't Make Me Think


My professor Dr. Jerz has reiterated to my class several times before that there isn't really an immense tome that contains the exact formula on how to do something. Well, maybe there's a math book that does that, but not so for english!

When I was reading the Krug quote above, I couldn't help but think of him telling us that. It seems that even if you make a flop with a website, it only means that you can learn from your mistakes. The net is continuously changing every which way. You can jump on the bandwagon or make your own. Either way, you're going to get to where you need to be.

"The point is, when we're using the Web every question mark adds to our cognitive workload, distracting our attention from the task at hand. The destractions may be slight but they add up, and sometimes it doesn't take much to throw us." ~ Krug 15, Don't Make Me Think


Today's generation of internet users are practically plugged in 24/7. We've learned wicked multi-tasking skills and can juggle 4 or so open web pages, a word document, be listening to music, and cracking up over a funny video a friend sent us on youtube.com. We can handle it all! However, if we encounter too many websites that actually force us to commit a significant portion of brain power to figuring out what we want, our train can just derail at the most inopportune moment.

Verb + Noun = Scary Beary

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"If you don't [think you] know Scott Adams, you still do if you've [ever] looked at a computer game, because computer games and designers of computer games can't get away from the effect of people like Scott Adams." ~ Introduction of Storytelling and Computer Games


I happen to be an avid video gamer in my precious spare time. I've found I rather miss the story lines of RPGs, the mindless action games, and seeing just how much money I can get for racing on the edge. It's strange for me to think a few key people, like Scott Adams, actually laid the foundation for the very games that we enjoy today. A lot of little computer programming goes a long way after all.

Everything is based on the way in which we communicate, so why wouldn't games start out as text based? When I was a middle schooler, I took day-summer courses at IUP. I can still clearly remember the text based games that we played around with in a class. Technology continues to advance, but I still like those golden oldies.

"You have a puzzle-solving situation. You'll meet a lot of things you've got to deal with. That's what these early games were." ~ Scott Adams


I almost hate to type it, but I tend to become pretty addicted to problem solving games. I just have to go back again and again to see of I get different choices (or if I happen to die!). I greatly admire Adams though for his ability to recognize what the users were searching for or using and then incorporate it into the game. While it may be that your eyes can get screwy after staring at a computer screen for so long, games where you are given options and forced to make decisions can be a great allegory for life if need be.

We all have to walk some path that eventually forks and read signs that give us only what we need to know right now.

"There’s a section where there’s a bear on a ledge and you’ve got to get past this large bear and, being a pacifistic game, you’re not going to be able to kill the bear no matter which way you try...I wanted the player to do was to yell at the bear, to scare it off." ~ Scott Adams


No matter what you do, there are always somethings that are seem so simple that they're almost ingenious! This bear problem is a prime example. People are probably apt to take the most direct approach: kill the bear. However, by eliminating that as an option, Adams essentially forced the gamer to think outside the box. I mean, who in real life would start yelling or screaming at a bear to try and make it go away. Then again, some users tried plying this wild animal with honey and I know I wouldn't do that! I suppose the option "Play dead." wasn't on the menu. Anyways, this just goes to show that something doesn't have to have flashy graphics and be detached from a PC to make you boot up your brain (though they can certainly wow you).

Technological Jargon Builds...or crushes

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These various blogs were and are written for my EL 236: Writing for the Internet class. Throughout this class, my peers and I have been exposed to different online literature, ways of writing specifically for the net, and even the technical aspect of producing and publishing the code of websites. Hence the technical jargon that can sometimes be overwhelming.

My opinion of Writing for the Web 3.0:

Our principle text throughout this part of our internet education has been Writing for the Web 3.0 by Crawford Kilian. This book was extremely helpful in demonstrating to me the best way to attract a surfer's attention, how to revise text so as to make it more inviting and easier to read, as well as how to analyze not only my own website, but those of others in order to make them easier for web surfers.

There were parts in most every chapter where I felt that I already knew what Kilian was writing about. However, there will always be someone who knows more on a particular subject than another person. I would recommend that Kilian consider separating the book into sections concerning new website creators without general knowledge of the internet and those who have the background know how, but wish to improve their websites with further critiques.

Although, for every bit of information I felt that I already knew, there was either something new to learn or a new take on the known particulars. It never hurts to go over that which you've already learned in order to make yourself better at doing it.

Blog Portfolio:

Coverage: Coverage is the salve that I am in the habit of placing before each of my blogs so that readers know that the sources I'm quoting from are real and that I'm not just making all of this up. There are times however when sources are difficult, but I love to use quotes throughout my entries in order to make a point. Just take a gander at my blogs below and see what I mean:

Attention: Easy Site - This blog concerns the fact that websites are specifically geared toward being as easy for the use as possible.

Look In With New Eyes - A blog of both a personal reflection and an in-depth look at Shelley Jackson's The Body.


Timeliness: It seems that this is the semester is when everything I wish to accomplish needs to be written down in a planner in order to actually become reality. The best way to do that is to blog early and hope for comments. The entries below were either done the night the topic was given or written earlier if time allowed.

Standard Salivating Schnauzers Stunned Suddenly...or not.

Man vs. Woman or Writer vs. Editor


Interaction: Probably one of the greatest aspects of blogs is the fact that they so easily disseminate information and opinions with large groups of people and seamlessly filter in their conversations. In short, interaction as fast as our internet connection can run! These blogs received the most comments from my class peers or provide links back to their own blogs within their comments.

You go here, I go there, We go everywhere! - One of my takes on a hypertext novel when first introduced to it in class.

Painful Politics Persistently Present - This blog was written in response to the fact that politics aren't just for Washington!


Depth: Fortunately, I'm already more than a bit wordy in my usual writing, but we were specifically assigned a few essays in response to various literary works. I suggest you read them at your leisure. (Or at least skim over really fast. No one will know but you.)

Death of Man; Life of Nature; Free of Fences - This essay analyzes the sensory interactive hypertext poem Dawn by Alan Sondheim.

Just because it sounds intelligent, doesn't mean you should trust it. - Simply a few guidelines that you may wish to keep in mind when utilizing Wikipedia and other internet sources.


Discussion: Comments are more than likely only second to new interesting information to bloggers and I'm unashamed to write that I like knowing what other people think in response to my words. My classmate's blogs below will take you to where I sought to leave a valuable comment in returning the favor.

The surprisingly personal side of Writing for the Web by Jacquelyn Johns

Dichotomy of Sanity and Insanity by Kevin Hinton

Kilian Ch 5 by Michelle Polly


Note: The blogs above are by no means all of the many that I have written for this class and certainly not for all of my blogging history. I merely hope that these are the more interesting of the latest and whole-heartedly encourage you to look at their brethren. You should also look back at my classmates collection.

Death of Man; Life of Nature; Free of Fences

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The poem "Dawn," by Alan Sondheim, utilizes structure to loop the reader in a never ending rustic world while depicting such images along with the words of the poem to draw the reader into a solitary place to better focus on the speaker's words. Sondheim further makes the reader feel as if in such an environment by the crackling of a fire and the sound of wind blowing through the wilderness as the reader explores the poem. The appearance of the words in the poem play a significant role as well in that they seem to appear out of a heavy mist.

"to see this or this or this, i must record everything before my father is gone, before i am gone"

This sentence exemplifies the manner in which the text continuously presents itself throughout the video. The poem never stops once the reader begins watching the clip. There is no actual stop button, only two small twin lines that are capable of pausing the flowing images. These facts contribute greatly to the structure by revealing to the reader the idea that just as the pictures forever turn into each other, the phrases pertaining to life, death, and nature will eternally come to pass.

It is the pictures of different wildernesses in the poem's background that place the reader at tranquil places where they can reflect upon the poem's words. "...i will learn to listen to the beginnings and endings of the world..." Sondheim's structure virtually plops the reader down in a setting where they seem to stand alone, listening to the speaker's voice.

In order to help facilitate the idea of being isolated in a pastoral setting, Sondheim makes use of the sound of fire. It crackles throughout the length of the poem. The reader can visualize themselves sitting down by a warm fire in one of the multitude of settings on screen with a friend who is telling them this poem. There is also the sound of the wind winding its way past obstacles and over fields. Having the semi-regular sound of the wind represents the flow of the speaker's words or thoughts contained by the poem.

The way in which reader's first perceive the words of a work of literature contribute greatly to how the reader receives work. The words always appear as if arriving out of a heavy mist. They come in muted colors that quite often relate to the color of the background from whence they came. Even after they have appeared, they are often shadowed or seen just as the scenery changes. These facts force the reader to adopt a faster reading pace; a pace that may lead them to overlook nuances or yet miss the entirety of a sentence. There is perhaps no better way to hook the reader into reading more and more of the poem.

In keeping with the close, fire side companion tone of the poem, Sondheim never uses uppercase letters within this work.


By not using uppercase letters, not even when the speaker directly refers to themselves gives the reader the impression that the speaker's thoughts are simply pouring out of them in a child-like way. The speaker is not emphatically stating something, merely saying that which the speaker believes to be true to a friend over a campfire. The fact that the words appear as if shrouded in mist give the impression that the thoughts are rambling and independent of each other. The speaker says that which flows across his or her mind as each thought surfaces, but they will return time and time again as the speaker goes on.

Sondheim would also have the reader believe that the speaker is a philosopher or great thinker, despite the fact that the speaker never uses uppercase letters. "...my philosophy will teach me the unbearable..." Though the speaker's thoughts may seem young and unguided, they hold a profound view about the world of nature around the speaker. Life, death, and beauty will be ever present in the world, one must simply know when and how to look. "...cursed be the god that brings so much death and beauty..." The speaker may detest death and the great loss that it brings with loved ones, but the power that created death also created loveliness. Everything travels in an unending circle, just as the clip never definitively ends and it may only be paused in a delicate manner.

How many dawn's are left in you?

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The speaker of this poem eloquently ties together the themes of life, death, and the beauty of nature all in one piece. I read that it used to be separate pieces of text, pictures, and sound, but it is now integrated into a single Flash loop. If the significant sections of this work were disconnected, I don't believe that it would have the same effect.

The slowly changing pictures in the background give the reader a sense of wonder at the environment all around them. Sound also plays a strong part in transporting the reader to the desired location shown to them in the flowing scenes on the screen. Throughout the poem the sound of a fire crackling reinforces the idea that the reader/viewer is out in the wilderness alone and being told a part of a person's life, the poem's speaker. It is also possible to discern the wind swiftly threading its way between trees or over a field.

Then there are the almost fleeting words of the poem itself. At times the words seem difficult to read, just like the subject that they pertain to. This fact can lead one to infer that the words are coming into the speaker's mind slowly and disappearing almost as soon as they are voiced.

One of the most often seen pictures in the poem's background is of a field in which there is a single tree and a chain link fence running diagonally across the image. There are wild flowers on one side and an open field on the other as two trees tower over the fence. It is difficult to tell on which side the trees are, but if one were to fall it can be sure that there would be no more fence! Perhaps this picture truly emphasizes the quote above; the wild environments shown in the clip are slowly vanishing from the world.

It's also of importance that this work plays in an endless loop. The words are made to seem timeless in this way, along with the images that they accompany. Maybe not everyone can travel to a place like those depicted in the poem, but by reading and studying this poem, they can be anywhere.

Blue Thrones, Blue Deer, and a Color Blind David

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I probably would have liked this story if it were written in a linear fashion, or at least on a website that has text easier seen. I think I've got a headache now actually, from trying to read that one through. It's interesting well enough, I'd simply rather not read it. Besides, the characters don't exactly seem like I want to get to know them. I'm mad enough as it is!

My, my, my; Marsha sure seems to have some problems on her hands! This only goes to show that you shouldn't invite powerful entities to play on your website. Nothing like going mad and being shown the way by those that you used to adore.

"Mike & Bits: No! Marsha" - Guess everyone snaps sometime!

This poem struck me through and through, despite the fact that I don't feel as if I completely understand it. I connected to this work through the nature scenes that faded on the screen as the lines appeared as if out of a mist. With the sound of the wind blowing in the pines or over a field and the crackling of the fire, I was hopelessly enthralled.

I actually played this work a few times trying to see how many different ways, points of views, that I could access. Every little twitch of the mouse could produce something new, and you couldn't always get back to whatever you'd just passed over. It truly reflected life in that manner. You can make choices that are essentially carved in stone, making them irreversible.

The Lost Boys are both lucky and cursed in Never Never Land

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Note: The responses below are based off of Caroline E. White's "The University of Yellow Wallpaper."


Personal Thoughts:

When I first began reading through this text, I thought to myself that I had quite come across one of those individuals who use even bigger words than myself. And guess what, I was totally and completely right! I actually reveled in the fact that I had to look up a few words in my trusty Mac dictionary widget.

I must write though that the sudden jumping from topic to topic tended to catch me by surprise after I believed myself to already be acclimated to online reading. You learn something new everyday and today was no different than any other. Strange to wonder what one might come across tomorrow!

Close Reading:

"...you used to say to me that I am a great young girl, and though you left me here to perish, though you put beneath my feet a great howling pit of emptiness, the words that lie at the bottom of my soul leap forth and they light the shadows below me; I am the one who was lost in the crowd, whom the fizzing lights made dizzy, a subaltern who saw everything about her reduced to absurdity, for if I were truly a great young girl the specters would cease bellowing; I was a young child with a body and soul, I had a heart that was not protected by a steel vault, and when I had moments of ecstasy I would sing with burning sparks; for I sang of the Gnomes, their purple-feathered legs that would dance on the plums...but nobody heard...when my eyes turned to grief, sorrow spreading inward, flattening my nose against my spine, tongues pounding in my heart, blood turning to drool, and soon the weight of my sinking flooded my ears..."


White utilizes such graphic words in this passage alone that it enables the reader to perfectly see within the mind the happenings; combined with the long, seemingly unending sentence structure, and you have the memory of a child who didn't want to grow up, but inevitably had to.

White displays in this excerpt the age old dilemma of a child facing the great troubles of adulthood and the adult that still wished the inner child time to play. The continuing sentences, though correct, reflect both the continuity of time as well as the child-like desire to pour something out that either excites or sorrows in one mad long rush.

Look In With New Eyes

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This blog is is response to Shelley Jackson's "The Body."

Personal Reflection:


As I read through this hyperlink-rich text, I couldn't help but fall in love with the author's frank and fetching tone. It seemed to me as if she were writing to a dear friend. Her comments ranged from funny to thoughtful to philosophical to endearing. Reading this site was truly better spent than most anything else. Jackson is most certainly a person of another kind and I am in awe of such a personality as the one shown within her writing.


Close Reading:


Throughout the text, Jackson uses a plethora of descriptive words that draw the reader into the text in order for the reader to see through Jackson's own eyes. Combined with the tone of her writing and the structure of the text, Jackson conveys to the reader that it's possible to see the world in different ways.

The visionary words that Jackson uses compel the reader to re-evaluate how they see the world themselves. Everyone has the ability to choose for themselves the manner in which they view their surroundings; but not all can define that view without incorporating outside influences. Jackson's text exemplifies her own frank and perhaps curious look of the world while words like those used in the quote above keep the reader engaged in the text.

Even the homepage of the site represents Jackson's particular view in that the eyes look at you frankly as the body reveals itself without pause.


Another recurring theme I found that ties in with thinking/seeing things for yourself is that what is on the outside doesn't matter nearly so much as what lies within, whether you can draw it or not.

Little Things Go a Long Way...

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Note: This reflection is taken from text located in Crawford Kilian's, Writing for the Web.3.0.

I actually very much enjoyed the revision process needed in Exercise 4. I went over and simplified two of the essays, numbers one and three. The first essay was quite long, 500 words long, and the second was only about 300. I revised them to roughly half their length and in the process, I lowered their reading level.

I liked that these exercises gave us the chance to practice the wisdom gained from reading Kilian as well as the fact that I now have confidence in my ability to edit for the web, if nothing else!

I actually found three random sites to review for Exercise 5. (This is mostly because my Mac had difficulties with the CD.) I reviewed the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base: Air Force Research Laboratory website, the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District website, in addition to the Reading is Fundamental charity organization.


Wright-Patterson Air Force Base: Air Force Research Laboratory:

The purpose of this site was both informational. Though somewhat busy in its interface, this website achieved these purposes by providing the visitor with numerous links to specialized locations with key information. The audience of this website is most likely someone either already in the military or interested in a specific area of research that this base conducts; these people would be inclined to understand all of the technical terms used on the site.

The text is information-rich, but this fact can overwhelm the visitor. The print is largely small or hard to read on screen as well. The page does load quickly with its strategic use of pictures and graphic sense. Only a marginal amount of scrolling is needed and there are an abundance of links.


Blairsville-Saltsburg School District:

The general purpose of this website was educational with information playing a role as well. This purpose is achieved by several, though not overpowering links to additional websites. The audience of this website is probably geared toward the parents of students or students/families looking to enroll in this school district. However, the site also attempts to integrate teachers and administrators.

I believe this site to be clear, well organized, and easy to look at. The appearance of the site is very visually appealing to me in its clean cut distinctions and bit of moving text. The pictures are also well utilized in the layout of the page. The content of the page is helpful while not bombarding in amount. It could serve to be a little bigger though. The width of the page is uncomfortable for the average user. This could then lead to increased scrolling.


Reading is Fundamental:

The purpose of this site is to market the charity to potential investors as well as to educate. Simply by looking at the website, its audience seems to be oriented toward women, young parents, those looking to become involved, and perhaps young student educators. For the amount of content present on the site, it’s streamlined and well organized. The content is informative and welcoming. It’s written in short bursts as is preferable.

The appearance of the website is quite cute and amusing. In its bright contrasting yet complementing colors, the visitor is greeted with a happy theme. There is an equal amount of cartoon and real-life pictures that go together and are well placed. The page loads quickly with more than one navigational bar. There are also several links embedded within the short text.

Exercise 5 was easy as pie after the two essays and the website reviews!

Though people use the Web like a billboard, most Web surfers aren’t looking for long print documents and don’t bother to read them. Websites can be made for this, however.

Surfers like to screen text for key words and interesting links. They don’t like to scroll. So a “chunk” of text less than 100 words would be enough to fill a screen.

It’s better to cut long text by 50%. Then you should break it into two or three short paragraphs. A solid mass of text is hard to read and scan on a screen.

Webwriters have three jobs:


  1. Create easy sites to surf.

  2. Give information that’s easy to find and understand.

  3. Allow readers to act on that information. (buy things, subscribe to e-mail, join the club)

If webwriters don’t have these things, surfers will become frustrated, confused, and then go to another site. Simple navigation, useful information, and easy action will make any site worth visiting and revisiting.

P.S. I love making lists!