Monday, June 29, 2009

Week 4- Gettin' Down and Dirty!

Homework, that pretty much sums up the week in review. I loved it all though! I finally downloaded the free trial of Photoshop and was so glad I did! That program is amazing; endless possibilities as to what can be done with a photo or from even a blank canvas. My only complaint about it though would be that it takes away from just being a good photographer because of all the things that can be added or removed from any picture. So back to the homework, had some minimal reading this week, a bit from our Non-Designer's Web Book and some online sites to check out. But the fun part was our graphic lab! One part of the assignment was to add a picture to our blog, now I have added a few but to be safe I thought I'd show two shots of my weekend with the boys in a posted blog.

Busy weekend of firsts for them both! I took Branson my oldest to his first professional baseball game in Baltimore on Friday night and the other pic would be Emerson my youngest getting his first experience with dirt! I'm building a deck at my house and just couldn't resist setting him in a wheel-barrel full of dirt and he loved it!

OK back to school, the other part of homework was a couple projects using Photoshop. These were a blast to do. I really could have spent my whole weekend "tweekin" each one but as you can tell from my pics, I don't have a lot of extra free-time. I certainly won't go into detail on the "how-to" aspect of the project, but I transformed a photo of a house taken during the day and changed it to look like the photo was taken at night! The other one that I did was changing a picture of just an open hand to a hand holding fire! Crazy what can be done with Photoshop; if I ever get extra money that I don't know what to do with, or should I say extra money that my wife doesn't know what to do with, I'd certainly buy the program.

Our reading homework for this week that I had mentioned earlier was based around what web pages are and things to know before designing a site. Pretty cool information, a lot of the nitty-gritty technical stuff defining what things do and how they all work together when creating a web page. It is amazing how anyone can create a web site; there are even free programs to do so, yeah free. Computers are a wonderful tool, almost a necessity in today's world but I don't think it is a good idea for everyone to have a web site nor do I think it is necessary. I do enjoy the blog pages and I think they are great for keeping friends and family "in the loop" but to me if you don't have a business or information that people need to access then I think Grandma can move her web page of her Grandchildren and cats to a blog as to her own page on the web!

If you are going to create you're own web page, doing it yourself has obvious advantages. Like I had mentioned already, free programs. Why pay someone that can't physically see the vision you have for you're site when you can do it for free? That alone is reason enough for creating you're own page as to hiring someone but as it seems with everything, there are drawbacks to just jumping into web design. First off, it is a very technical process and quite time-consuming. So you have the free time you say? Well another downfall is the know-how. You may be able to navigate through a web design program and post a site on the Internet but there are a lot of little things that can change a good web site to a great one and that takes practice and know-how which obviously you wouldn't have on you're first at bat, sorry still on the baseball mind-frame.

All in all web design comes down to usability and accessibility. Usability is when the site comes together properly and is easy to navigate and understand. A lot of sites have all the information to make it a good site but if a person can't navigate through it with ease chances are they will close out of it and go to another site that they can understand and quickly get what they wanted. Accessibility is just as important but with different reason. If you make a page for deck building but name you're page "chillin and grillin" chances are no one will find you're how-to page on deck building when they run a search. Although it is fairly simple to make you're own web page, if it isn't accessible or user-friendly you'll just end up striking out!

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