Web Designer Employment

The only reason I might consider a career as a web designer, would be to work from my home or for a company in Evansville.  Since I am not experienced enough to consider a job in Web Design, researching out of state jobs was interesting to me.

I found listings for Graphic Designers and a Graphic Artist-Web Designers. These jobs required Bachelor Degree’s in Graphic Design with 1-2 years experience. They didn’t mention the salary, but their benefits were excellent.  Bachelor of Science, full-time, 2-5 years experience positions had listings for pay from $40,000-$50,000 up to $66,880-$78,000 salaries.

These were not local business’ looking for Graphic Artists, but were located in Texas, Iowa, California, and Minnesota where the cost of living can be much higher than Evansville.

I’m not seeking a career in Web Design. My goal for attending Web Design at IVY Tech was to make a website for me, my husband, and my church. Also, I was challenged by learning a new skill.

Each available job, required a college degree and 2-5 years experience.  As challenging as this class was for me, I can thoroughly understand the experience requirement.  As for the degree, I think if a person wanted a career in Web Design, they should continue their education after graduating from IVY Tech. Acquiring as much book knowledge, experience, and instructor help they can, will help them to be a successful competitor in this market.

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SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of web design, because helping search engines find your sight directs the user where they want to be. The easier it is for them to find you on the web, the better experience they will have arriving to your site.

I was told in the year 2000, if I wanted my site to come up first in a web search, my site should have keywords at the very top above the header. These keywords should be the same color as the site background as to not be seen, but would be secretly “heard” by search engines. Now I find this practice to have the opposite effect. “Today, the overuse of keywords, a practice called keyword stuffing will cause a web page to be penalized.” Wikipedia. “Keyword density.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyword_density. Nov. 13, 2010.

From the Google article, Webmaster Guidelines¹, I found loads of helpful information to incorporate into writing code. This is an excellent resource for learning how to help Google find and rank my site. The section, “Design and content guidelines” included a link to a video on how to save images and graphics for the web in Photoshop®, followed by written instructions and screen shots. For a photographers site, saving to the correct file extension for quick loading time is essential to the end users experience.

¹ http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769#1

Information on Search Engine Optimization obtained from a Wikipedia entry, “Search engine optimization”.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization

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Defining design, usability, and accessibility on the web

To design an effective website, web designers communicate in ways other than visual.

In his article from the web magazine,  A List Apart- “Understanding Web Design”, Jeffrey Zeldman uses the word Barnumesque when describing those who “get it wrong”. This creates a visual for me of those famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus advertising banners.  Those print ads were so creative and powerful. Using the viewers’ imagination Barnum created a fantasy out of human abnormalities.  Today, websites communicate in ways far more sophisticated than design in print ever could.

Derek Powazek, A List Apart-“Where Am I?”, gives us questions we can ask ourselves when navigating deep into any given site. Where am I? Where can Igo? Where have I been? This is one way of testing our design to see what the navigation within our site is communicating to the viewer. Are we building trust, or creating confusion?

Usability communicates without saying anything about the product or service being offered. Through proper navigation and ease of use, web design creates trust with the client, and that trust flows to the product or services themselves. If a site has broken links, or links that lead us nowhere, we will leave and search for another business offering the same product or service.

It was interesting to watch the videos of people with disabilities using the web, and I’m happy to see those technologies being developed. Now that I know, I don’t see how I can make a website that is not accessible to everyone no matter what their abilities or disabilities.

Zeldman, Jeffery “Understanding Web Design.” A List Apart Magazine No. 249, 20 November 2007. http://www.alistapart.com/articles/understandingwebdesign

Powazek, Derek “Where Am I?” A List Apart Magazine No. 221, 8 August 2006. http://www.alistapart.com/articles/whereami/

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27 Best Photoshop® Web Layouts Design Tutorials to Design Decent Web Layouts

I enjoyed perusing http://www.dzineblog.com. The first tutorial I followed was HV Designs’, “Learn To Create A Photography Style Web Layout” by Richard Carpenter. It was a lengthy process. I liked the header, yet noticed there are parts of the site I won’t need to use. Eliminating “log in for registered users” will give the header a cleaner look.

I liked Mr. Carpenters cut and dry approach to directions. He didn’t tell me unnecessary details along the way. Commands told me precisely what to do, I followed, and was rewarded with the site quickly taking form. I wouldn’t have understood this tutorial as a Photoshop® beginner several years ago.

I’m impressed with the HV Design Photoshop® tutorial I used, and will return to refresh my memory of techniques learned, and look for more tutorials from Richard Carpenter.

The second tutorial I tried was Photo Portfolio Web Page Layout by ART-D. After creating a new file, the next  direction was “use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to paint the new layer with #… color” instead of “Fill the layer with #… color” so instantly thought this was not the tutorial for me, but continued anyway. Next, “Find in Internet a kind of pattern, like this one:”. Even more doubts formed in my mind, but I just filled with any pattern so I could continue. I gave up at the fourth part, “Make a mouse click on the same layer on Add a Mask option”. This tutorial was not for me. (How did ART_D get to be one of the “Best 27…”?

I guess I was lucky on the first tutorial, because my third one sent me in a maze of advertising, and I did not get to do the tutorial. Clicking on my design choice took me to “Talk Mania”. I found the tutorial, but the first direction after beginning with  “New” was to download free brushes. This was where the real trouble began. Click, click, click, did not reveal the free brushes, and now I can’t seem to get back to the actual tutorial.

These Photoshop® tutorials are a great way to stay in practice, learn new ways for creating effects, and learn various website layouts all at the same time. It’s fortunate designers share their creations and techniques on the web, yet I’ll need to allow more time for finding and using the tutorials. I will definitely use this site in the future.

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The site develomment process/My goal in the process

Whether for profit or to inform, sharing information on the web begins with this thought process.  What’s my message? How will I make delivery of my message interesting enough for viewers to “stay tuned”, and receive my message?

Once you have the content necessary to deliver your message, drawing a diagram is a helpful aid for visualizing how the site will be organized, so the pages flow together. Then the idea can be sketched out with pens and markers on paper, or in Photoshop or Illustrator. Deciding the look and feel of the site may require creating several concepts, before one is locked in. Then production can begin.

Whether the web site is the creation of a solo production process, or the work of a web team, all the elements of design (Photographs, illustrations, mark ups to content with (X)HTML, text formatting with style sheets), are brought together creating a “alpha” release for inspection. After final changes are made, a “beta” can be released for the client to approve or make their changes. Just when you think the site is ready to be “live”, testing begins.

Testing is done from many perspectives. How well can a novice navigate the site? Is the site interesting for the experienced web surfer? Does the web site perform on various browsers and platforms? Are any links broken? Is the site optimized for quick loading? These are just a few tests a site must pass, before it can be “live”.

Web sites are growing into complex communication resources. With the use of video and animation, I see so many interesting possibilities for creating web sites. Not just to inform, but entertain the viewer as well. I’m enthusiastic about becoming a part of this creative force, and hope to create what my mind envisions.

“Learning Web Design”, 3rd Edition. O’Rielly®. Jennifer Niederst Robbins

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History of the Internet-WWW in my words

In the 1960’s, the USA Department of Defense created ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). This non-centralized network designed to survive outages in case of nuclear war, could provide communications for organizations involved in research related to defense.

Internet Protocol (IP) was developed to define the packaging for how electronic messages were to be sent over the network.  The standard protocol invented in 1977 was called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), which allowed users link to ARPANet, and is now called the Internet.

In 1980, Tim Berners-Lee played with the concept of programs storing information and linking computers together, so the information they held could be shared between computers. By 1989, Lee proposed that a global hypertext space could be created so a single “Universal Document Identifier” (UDI) could serve the information from computer to computer.

By 1990, Lee wrote a program called “WorldWideWeb”. In 1991, Lee released the specifications of URL’s (Formerly UDI’s), HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and HyperTextTransfer Protocol (HTTP) to the office of High Energy Physics (U. S. Department Defense) on the first server, to promote discussion and encourage wide adoption of this information sharing technology.

As the load for servers increase steadily between 1991 and 1994, Lee formed the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in September of 1994. With bases in the USA, France, and Japan the W3C’s open forum keeps the web from becoming a tangled mess, by discussions leading to agreements on computer protocols, and various issues that may arise.

For us to be able to access information on this sophisticated highway of webbing technology, we need a client application (Running on my computer) and a server application (Running on the server computer), a numeric address (IP) disguised in a catch phrase of choice words (Made possible by a DSN- Domain Name System)

Web Developer’s Virtual Library: http://WDVL.com/Internet/History

Berners-Lee, Tim. “ The World Wide Web: A very short personal history”. http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/ShortHistory

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Goals for Web Design 1

My immediate goal for attending IVY Tech, Web Design I is to create a website for my church, and a website for me personally.

Creating a website for Christ Lutheran Church, Evansville came about when our pastor left the church, and I assumed the roll of computer operations. As I visualized my church through surfing our website, the site didn’t portray our church as warm and inviting. I think I can fix that! I want the church’s website to be simple and to the point, and for this reason hope to use it’s creation while learning web design.

A site for Kim Weber will allow me creativity with web design, because I only need to please myself. I plan sharing my interest of photography, video, music & sound through video presentations, and a blog within my website will be a place to share my experience with computer technology, and photography as a hobby.

Tools I have for web design are 17″ Mac Book Pro with Adobe® CS4 Master Suite installed. I think learning web design will be a challenge. I tried to make websites in the past only to quit in frustration, but I’m here to learn and happy to be learning. I’m gonna get it this time!

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