Reading Response 4: Usability & Accessibility

PROMPT: What is usability? What is accessibility? Have you ever considered the usability of the websites you visit? Why is it important for web designers/writers to consider the usability of their sites? What design principles or general information did you learn about from the Universal Usability chapter and the w3 website that you found most useful or applicable to Project 2? What strategies did you learn about for testing the usability of a site that you might use as you work on Project 2?


Reading Response 3: Ethics to Personal Site

PROMPT: How did this week’s readings change, complicate, and/or complement your existing knowledge or thoughts on ethics and copyright in regard to text and image use online? Spend your (minimum 200-word) response this week highlighting what you found most important about the “Image Manipulation” and “Copyright” readings for this week. Some possible questions you could consider: Is seeing believing? What are minor or “acceptable” alterations for images? What’s “OK” in regard to borrowing, using, repurposing, etc. text/content online? You might even consider: What about the ethics of borrowing others’ coding? How is that the same and/or different from writing? (We realize, of course, that there may not be straightforward or clear-cut “right” and “wrong” answers to these questions. But what would you do if you were faced with a decision about what is OK or not in a given situation?)

Yes, yes, I’ll get to it.

South Pacific Website Prototype

I’ve thrown together this website concept for the musical South Pacific using the InVision platform, which my autocorrect would have you believe is called invasion.

Invision Live Prototype

So the first step of mounting an invasion – I mean building with InVision, is knocking out their communication – I mean… drawing up our main page in Photoshop.

I’ve taken a stock image of a bay, presumably somewhere in the pacific since that was my search term. It wasn’t quite the relative height and width that I needed so I added on some 150px to the right side, and used the clone tool and the spot healing brush to continue the image and mend the break. Then I brought my new, slightly wider bay image into Illustrator and applied an Image Trace to make it cartoony / vectory.

The design concept is alright, but it doesn’t function really in InVision like it would be able to in html. I’d like the bay image to be a fixed height but expand with screen width. The text of the navigation bar would be fixed at the top – but only the text, not what’s behind it. And the secondary pages (history & lyrics) would have the vectory bay image fixed in the background, filling up the entire page, and only the grey overlay box and text would scroll.


Web Writing

The reading contained some good tips and general information about how writing for users on the internet is different than writing for printed publications. I found the reading enjoyable if not slightly repetitive, outdated but mostly still relevant, with just a pinch of black peppercorn – I mean monotony.

The tips were good but the main thing I feel I need to learn is where to place information to achieve the most efficient search results listings, knowledge I will neither be able to ascertain from the reading nor put into action in WordPress.

Writing for a Web Audience by Constance J. Petersen

I’d have to disagree with the forgoing of italics; they’re always rendered perfectly legibly when I come across them! Then again this retina display is something like 220 dpi and I’m in disagreeance with an article about website conventions from 2001.

I’ve also failed to reach the conclusion that you should abstain from idioms, metaphors, and puns when web writing. They add flavor and dimension. If they are too obscure or nonsensical to a reader they will likely pass over them and think very little of it. But if the reader does understand they will feel as though we are alike and they will become beholden to their amazing new internet friend.

Thusly, I do intend to continue peppering my writings with references of various obscurity and puns of questionable merit while retaining adequate accessibility. Oh and I will use a lot of non-words that sound like real words; not to be derisive or tongue in cheeky, but because of lethargy and ignorance.

Effective Web Writing by Crawford Kilian

My favorite line from Kilian is “The Web is a pretty lousy way to transmit information” which may make sense contextually, but by itself is about as ludicrous as Bill France saying “the automobile is a pretty lousy way to transmit people”. I do though like the part near the end about egalitarianism and the internet being a free market of information. A little too free market, if you ask the music industry I’d wager.

*discourages reading long texts on computer screens. *is a long text on a computer screen

Writing for the Web by Lynda Felder

This week’s response is all about audience. Why does audience matter so much when it comes to web writing? What did you learn about strategies for effectively writing to meet the needs of your audience from this week’s reading assignments? Spend your (minimum 200-word) response this week digging into the fundamentals you found most interesting and important. Which aspects of writing for the web come easily to you? Which do you know you need to work on this semester? Any (or all) of these questions are fair game for this week’s response.

Psychological research and trend analysis and good intuition all indicate that writing on the web should be treated as a different animal than writing for print or traditional media. There are fundamental differences in the way readers consume information on the internet, much due to the side effects computers have on our reward systems. This is an odd problem to have.

The information age brought us access to limitless information nearly instantly. Verbose comprehension has become obsolete. Will our’s or any future generation ever attain equilibrium with our informatically and socially spoiled intellects? Have we stunted our own emotional maturity and willpower by developing the end-all for instant gratification? Are an endless supply of cat videos the apex or the nadir of human existence?

Hopefully neither. Luckily for us the problems of our century are “uh oh, I’m addicted to a worldwide network of information; the virtual entirety of human knowledge.”, rather than “uh oh, I’ve got polio.”

The point is, people are fickle on the web. They’re distractable and primal and lazy. And who can blame them? With everything else removed from the equation, time is the internet users most scarce resource. They haven’t invested in a carefully chosen book with their hard-earned capital, they’ve moved their hand ever so slightly to call a webpage and they’re gonna give it about 6 seconds before they decide it’s not exactly what they’re after.

Web writers need to be more concise and strategic with their writings. There is not much room for fluff or beating around the bush (though this very writing may defy that). And websites must strive to build rapport, credibility, and trust (though I know several users whose radar on such things need some serious calibrating, which is nearly as reprehensible as using too many parentheses).

I’m not quite sure which aspects of web writing (if any) come easily to me. However I am aware that I’d like to improve my wordiness, coherence, and speed. I’ll attempt to pay attention to those things and actively work on them, but I assume they will improve with practice and patience when I forget. I wonder if this constructive outlet is to be nothing more than a drop of tap water in an ever-expanding ocean of subjective ventilation with a net PH of mediocre and some pretty serious pollution. Too bad there’s no EPA for web content. (I’m looking at you Buzzfeed)

Anyway, be this site a weblog about weblogging, a reference for wandering creators, a stockpile of Beyoncé lyrics, some sort of cryptic scavenger hunt, or just a personal astral roadmap written by and for myself, I will continue to write for it, and I look forward to seeing the site and hopefully my skills grow.


HTML Dog Review

PROMPT: Read the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced HTML articles on Write a minimum of 200 words that describes a concept that you found easy and at least one concept that you found more challenging to understand for each of the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced sections. Following the conventions of web writing, your response should be written written clearly, concisely, and conversationally to an audience of your peers. Your response should be proofread prior to posting to ensure it is free of basic spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage errors.


I certainly don’t know enough to talk down on HTML dog from a skill / best methodology standpoint.

Digital Rhetoric

PROMPT: This week’s readings brought together notions of rhetoric and writing with coding and digital media. Prior to these readings, how did you think about these areas (if at all)? Did you initially see the connections between them? How has your conception of rhetoric, writing, coding, and/or web design/digital media and the intersections of these different areas changed as a result of what you read? Reference specific aspects of your readings in your discussion, where applicable. This response should be a minimum of 200 words and should be written following the conventions of web writing, with clear, concise, conversational prose. You are writing to an audience of your peers and should proofread prior to posting to ensure your post is free of basic spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage errors.