My idea for the KC Star website revolves around users being able to have control over what they see on the front page and where they see their favorite categories. In the header is a weather indicator, where users can get a basic weather report at a glance. The site would match the conditions outside, perhaps even with a darker night mode. If that kind of thing is too annoying, there could be an “on/off switch” for that level of information.
Round one of my digital wireframes:
I learned from these wireframes that I didn’t quite understand what I was supposed to do. But I think I remedied that with my new wireframes below.
Digital wireframes, round 2:
I think I’m finally getting the hang of this. After years of making websites without real wireframes or deep consideration of usability, I’ve developed some bad habits. It’s gonna take some work, but I think I can switch out my bad habits for some good ones in this class.
The big point in this A List Apart post that I really find interesting and exciting is that web design is no longer just print design made digital. It’s become its own medium.
Pages are becoming less static. In fact, users can move things around now! That’s a far cry from the ’90s internet I grew up with. You had a page with text. Maybe some images. Frames were innovative. That was the web for me.
I first learned HTML in the ’90s. And as a result, sometimes, I still get stuck in that static mode. I have to remind myself that I don’t have to design in rectangles and think in static blocks of links, images, and text.
Now, the web “page” is starting to become a looser term. It’s possible to have an entire website on one “page” but that “page” is a dynamic, ever-changing, customizable, growing, evolving space. And that’s really cool.
Mobile media is the new big thing. Smartphones, app integration, and lack of Flash make the mobile web a unique place. The web is no longer just for computers. Screens of all sizes must be taken into consideration. As a coder, I no longer just have to worry about Internet Explorer compatibility; I have a whole entire new platform to worry about. Mobile screens can be both vertical and horizontal, are touch-sensitive, and usually don’t have Flash players or GIF support. That’s a huge deal. The web is different for every screen. No more static, one-note websites!
This article made me feel like I should adopt this list as my own personal roadmap as a designer. I should make it my mission to always push myself further. This isn’t just a goal for college; this is a goal for life. I’ve found that I make almost all of the mistakes mentioned in this article. And I’m proud of that. Because I’m learning from it.
The one that really hit close to home was number four. “Stop being your own obstacle.” This is basically what I was doing sophomore year. I designed the way I thought was “right” or what I thought the teachers and my classmates wanted. I also got really depressed. Go figure.
Stop designing the compromises you expect to have to make. Your fear of being wrong wins out over your fear of having to convince someone you’re right. Your client is in your head with you. Telling you to make the photo smaller, the logo bigger, paginating the multi-page article. You’re choosing the typeface you think your client will like, not the one that solves the problem best.
I’m happy to say I’ve pretty much tackled number four. Since last summer, I’ve been designing for the situation; not the client/boss/teacher. And my work has gotten a lot better. And so have my grades. And my mood, as well.
Number six was pretty much how I tackled last semester. And I felt like a BAMF.
Don’t be the designer who gets proficient and then stops. It’s easy to make a steady living doing that one thing you’re really good at. Until something comes along and obliterates it. Aim higher. Remember those guys who were really good at Debabelizer? (Ask your parents.) Don’t spend your career satisfied with doing things you’re good at – try to do things you’re not good at. You’ll eventually be good at more things, and you’ll know what you honestly suck at. And you’ll have a longer career.
There’s a ton of great shit coming down the pike this year, including stuff that’s gonna surprise us. Not to mention the stuff we’re still getting used to from last year. The future’s not only fun, it’s messy. Welcome it with open arms.
I talked specifically about getting messy with experimentation last semester. And it really did pay off. I’m learning who I am as a designer and as a person. I’m aware of my own growth now. It’s pretty sweet.
Moral of the story: Do lots of things. Do them wholeheartedly. Read, write, articulate. Stand up for your work. It’ll stand up for you. Design with passion. Design with balls. Good things will come.
The title of this article was the first thing to get me thinking. Because it’s true. The vast majority of the web is text. And that text is how information is spread. And how that text is designed can influence the interpretation and even the perceived credibility of the source.
And that’s what I gathered before I even read the thing.
When I started paying more attention, more nuggets of knowledge started to emerge.
The typographer shouldn’t care too much what kind of fonts he has at his disposal. Actually the choice of fonts shouldn’t be his major concern. He should use what is available at the time and use it the best he can.
This implies that, CSS3 font hacks aside, because the web and its users may be limited in the way of typefaces, web designers must use what they have to their best potential. Hierarchy and contrast come to mind. Use those header tags!
Also, treating “text as a user interface” is a really brilliant way of describing the content-user relationship when it comes to typography. When a person reads, they need to be able to navigate throughout the article/website with the same ease as an intuitive GUI. It’s all about putting things in easy-to-find places, with easy-to-recognize hierarchy. I’m not saying users should be treated as though they’re stupid; they should be treated as though they are human. People recognize patterns. Use that to your advantage.
It’s true: Most people still do not understand the medium. Clients with random Internet experience often have the misconception that a website is like a cheap TV-ad that leads their customers directly into the store. All I have to say here: Explain to them what the medium is about. It’s about information. It’s not about shopping, it’s not about advertisement, it’s not linear. It’s about communication in one of its most competitive forms. Communication and not effects – that is what we should be concerned about as designers.
This is exactly the problem with the web. While the experience of reading text is usually linear, the internet medium itself is not. At all. So, the big design problem is: how do we fit a square peg into a shapeless hole?
Our job as designers is to shape that hole. Build a plan, a system, a structure. We are information architects.