Sunday, July 19, 2009

"With great power, comes great responsibility!"

For those few that have followed this blog, you will understand that our Web design class is now over but that life in Blog-world has just begun. For others, you will go back to your typical lives; but STOP, ask yourself . . . "Who are the people in your neighborhood?" Times have changed. Those people used to be the guy or gal next door and now it can be the guy or gal in Japan for all we know.

The Internet has made our world that much smaller. In many ways, it's a good thing . . . in some ways, it has become our demise. So what should we take away from a service that connects billions of people with a click of a button? RESPONSIBILITY! Just because we have the power does not always mean we need to yield for our own benefit. If you stop and think about it, we use the Internet or the World Wide Web as a means to make our lives easier . . . but is easier always better?

Follow this one thought . . . if man didn't take the time to work hard, we couldn't make things easier. There are very few people that really appreciate hard work unless it benefits themselves, but for those who understand that hard work should be used to benefit others, they reap the benefit of their labor to the fullest.

My point? Work smarter, not harder but WORK . . . LEARN, SERVE, EDUCATE . . . stop and smell the roses now that you have the extra time. Don't become lazy because of the Internet or other modern technologies, become educated and serve others with the power that you have been given. Take the extra time to serve others now that you have instead of trying to cram more into your already busy lives.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Expressions of a Road Trip Website

Well, where do I begin . . . it's been an exhausting week on the open road. This includes trying to complete our website project while spending time with family I haven't seen in months. I now understand why and how website designers can spend months on a website . . . sorry to say, I am not completely satisfied with my website despite the countless hours I put into creating it. I won't bore you with my insanity to over analyze my work, instead I will just get right to the point.

Using the free web site, Webnode, I created my Web 2.0 website; It was pretty straight forward compared to creating a new website in Microsoft Expressions. Microsoft Expressions is like Frontpage on steroids. When comparing the two, Webnode has many limitations if you are an experienced web designer or are looking to put your website on the map. For the amateur web designer, Webnode is a great tool to get started. The website allows you to pick from several creative templates and modify the templates as necessary. Keep in mind, there are limitations to Webnode. If you are looking for specific fonts, be prepared to make adjustments. I used Papyrus for the titles and Palatino Linotype for the text in MS Expressions. Neither was available using Webnode so I selected Georgia for both the text and titles. I opted to use a template in Webnode that was designed using a better color scheme and layout than the one I created in Microsoft Expressions. The problem I ran into using Webnode was formatting the layout to match the one I created in Expressions. Some of my photos had to be redesigned to use them in Webnode. Though I used the same photos, not all of the photos are exactly the same size or layout.

Microsoft Expressions allowed me to create a website from scratch but time and patience along with a little experience (which never hurt) would have helped critique this project. I started creating the website in Expressions by creating my own buttons. After further investigation, I decided to use template buttons instead. Trying to create the color scheme I was looking for was taking more time than I anticipated because I was over analyzing the entire project from the beginning. I was struggling with the tables in the beginning but started to get the hang of it as I moved through the project. In Webnode, the layout was rigid and straight forward which made my decision making simpler.

Two entirely different websites were created although the theme was the same. I liked how the Webnode site turned out but didn't like the limiting factors for fonts, sizes, page layouts and resizing & laying out photos. With more time, I am sure that my website in Microsoft Expressions could have much more flash. I did reference the Frontpage book on several occasions which helped me work through Expressions.

I have learned so much using Photoshop, Expressions, Frontpage and reading through the course books provided by the college. I am definitely interested in purchasing Photoshop and MS Expressions so that I can critique my current skill set. Tomorrow night, don't be disappointed with the presentation, I believe I have the basic concepts down, just need to refine my skill set.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

ROAD TRIP: A Father and Son Adventure

For those of you who are wondering about this weeks blog title, you will understand better if you continue to read this blog. We have been assigned to create a website for our DIG 315 class and I have decided to use my road trip as my theme. Tomorrow morning, my son and I will be leaving on a 36 hour, 2200 mile round trip from Manheim, PA to Plymouth, MN. "WHY?!", you exclaim . . . it's simple, because I couldn't figure out what to make my website about . . . . just kidding.

See, several months ago, the economy started to take a nose dive which affected many people through out the world. Due to the economy my company has shut down for a weeks furlough from July 3 until July 10. This being said, I figured I would take the opportunity to go out to Plymouth, MN to visit my sister and family who I haven't seen in 5 years. Over the past 5 years, my sister has had 2 additional children and her oldest is now 6. "So why a road trip?", you so intently ask. Flying seemed the simplest means of getting from point A to point B but where's the fun in that? I guess you have to know me better to understand but its time that my son and I will have to create an adventure.

So now that I have your attention, I am sure you are looking for a little more of the details. I could ruin the surprise and spill my guts on this blog or you can visit my website when it is complete. The beauty of this project is that it will evolve over the next week depending on our adventure on the road trip. My website will explain how to turn a road trip into an adventure. There will be 5 web pages of information: the home page, a who's who page, travel facts, the trip itself and our destination (Plymouth, Minnesota). The 'Home' page will have a quick overview of the theme along with a collage of pics of what I call home. The 'Who's Who' page will cover a short description of the main people who are involved in this road trip. 'Travel Facts', will be the planning part of my trip. You will be able to view some of the sites we found interesting on 'The Trip' page. Finally, the last page will be about our 'Destination'. "Sounds boring!" Wow! Don't be so judgemental, I've seen some bad websites out there, I don't think mine will be in the top 10 worst (got to love the confidence or just wishful thinking).

Since I will not be able to join everyone in class Monday night (which I really, really wish the timing was different), I will be using Microsoft Expression Web 2 to complete my project. This is the newest web page software that Microsoft has introduced since Frontpage when discontinued. I have created my storyboard using Microsoft Excel, so the professor will be able to review my progress so far and get a pretty good understanding of my website. The text that I will be using throughout the website is Palatino Linotype with the titles in Papyrus. Each of the internal link buttons will be shaped like the states we will travel through. The external links will include,, and Photos will be taken by myself or my son along the way and my theme colors will be a green & navy blue (colors are subject to change). More details will be present on my storyboard and my concept paper so if you want to know, just check out my website when it is completed.