James Bell | HND Interactive Media | Online Learning Journal Year 2

Updated portfolio deisgns

| Wednesday, 25 March 2009

After receiving some feedback on my initial designs I have made the following changes:

  • Overall increase of font size
  • Reduction of text on home page
  • I have decided not to include a photo of myself
  • I have added some shortcut links at the bottom of the page to some of my other work.
Home Page

Interior page

This is an example of how the interior pages will look.

Initial portfolio screen designs

| Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Screen design 1

Screen design 2

Screen design 2

Screen design 1

I will be posting my portfolio screen design on Das Forum, so if you are a member please comment on there instead.


Competitive analysis

| Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Student Portfolio - Ashley Morris [http://www.ashleymorris.co.uk]

Ashley Morris is a student at the University Of The West Of England. His website is uses to show his latest work. The website has a very dark theme which allows the splashes of colour within the header and navigation to stand out and grab the user’s attention.

The dark theme to website does allow his work to stand out but severely affects the contrast between the background and the text. This reduces the usability and in a can make the text difficult to read.

Another issue I had with the website was the use of scrollbars to allow access to most of the website content as they are unnecessary and detract from the overall design.

The website is well built using standards compliant CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) and XHTML (Exstensible Hypertext Markup) and validates to both the XHTML Strict and CSS version guidelines.

Professional Portfolio - TechnoPhobia [http://www.technophobia.com]

On first impression the TechnoPhobia website is bright and welcoming. Despite this it isn’t immediately obvious what the website is about and what service the company provides.

The layout is clean and mainly utilises a two column layout which uses generous spacing and large font sizes. This combined with the large amount of contrast between the page text and the background ensures a high level of usability and accessibility.

The website has a number of navigational options but the main navigation is the top to the page. This navigational style will be familiar to many users and allow them to find the majority of the websites content with relative ease.

Within the interior pages there is a large amount of information about both the company and the clients they have worked with. This is mainly evident within the case studies pages as many include an in-depth insight in the relationship they have with the client and the work they have done for them.

After spending some time using the site I found it easy to use and informative. One of the areas that I feel could be improved is the news area. Although this will probably expand in time I feel extra interaction with the user, such as: comments, would help them to build a strong user base and gain a stronger relationship with the websites visitors.

Delivery Requirements

| Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Adobe Photoshop CS2
I will use Adobe Photoshop CS2 to create the necessary graphics and ensure that they are optimised correctly for the web.

E-TextEditor (1.0.30)
E-texteditor will be use to create the XHTML (Extensible Hypertext) and CSS (Cascading Stylesheet) code.

To keep the website updated I will be using a CMS (Content System Management). As I will be using Textpattern for the A13 assignment I have decided to use this CMS for my portfolio.

XHTML 1.0 Strict
All of the XHTML code I will use for the website will conform to the XHTML 1.0 Strict. XHTML will only be used for the website content and to define its structure.

CSS version 2.1

With the XHTML code creating the structure the CSS will be to control the websites appearance. Using the XHTML and CSS combination will help to reduce the overall page weight and reduce loading time.

To receive email from my email account I will be using Mozilla Thunderbird 2 and the IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) protocol. To send emails I will use the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) protocol.

Target audience

| Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Primary audience - Employer

Neil owns a local design company based in Leeds which specialises in web design and development. Where possible they try to use new technologies to create innovative solutions which meet their client’s brief.

Neil I looking for a developer to a new developer to add to this team and has received a number of portfolio’s to asses. He is looking for both the basic XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) knowledge.

He is also looking to find someone who has additional knowledge such as: PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), MySQL and a passion to learn and use new technologies.

Both at work and at home Neil has access to a high speed internet connection and spends at least 9+ hours online a day. To browse the web he uses his Apple Mac laptop with the latest version of Mozilla Firefox installed.

Secondary audience - Client

Michael runs a small local business providing a range of services such as: building, carpentry, plumbing etc… Due to the credit crunch Michael is finding it increasingly more difficult to find and feels a small website would allow him to gain more work.

With relatively limited computer skills Michael can perform basic online tasks, such as: searching, buying products etc.., but finds more complicated tasks difficult.

After receiving a free laptop with his new broadband deal he is trying to improve his computing skills. Currently he spends around 2 hours a day on the internet using his laptop which runs Windows Vista. His broadband deal gives him access to a basic 1mbps connection which he used Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 to browse the internet.

Tertiary audience - Student

Lisa is a 20 year old student currently web design at her local university. During her time on the course she is always looking at various portfolios to gain inspiration and monitor the latest web technologies.

During college hours she has access to high speed wireless connection which she connects to with her laptop, which runs Microsoft XP. To use the internet she uses the latest version of Mozilla Firefox.

At home she uses her desktop computer, running Microsoft XP, and is connected to a 2 mbps internet connection. Most of her time online is spent visiting social networking sites and performing research for her university work.

Portfolio goals

| Monday, 2 February 2009

Validate to XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS Version 2.1 standards.
Meeting the standards put in place by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) for both XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) will help to:

  • Make my site more accessible
  • Help towards SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Reduce the overall loading time
  • Increase compatibility across both standard web browsers and also on mobile internet devices.
This will be fairly simple to measure as the W3c provides validation tools for both XHTML and CSS.

Create a portfolio that is easily updatable and flexible.
Having a portfolio that is adaptable to any situation and easy to update is essential as I will need to tailor my portfolio for specific instances such as: job interviews, presentations etc…

To measure this I could create two CSS style sheets which when individually applied to the same XHTML structure produce different layouts for my portfolio. With regards to how easy it is to update the website that will be firmly measured by my knowledge of the CMS (Content Management System) I choose to implement for the site.

Satisfy Priority 1 of the WAI guidelines 1.0
To ensure that my portfolio is accessible to as many people as possible I will ensure that it satisfies all of priority one of the WAI (Web Content Accessibility
) guidelines.

To measure this I will use the Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. By ensuring I meet each relevant point of the priority one guidelines on this list I will have met this target.

Improve the search engine performance of my portfolio
Although all the above goals are important they are will be largely irrelevant if no-one visits my portfolio. One way of increasing my web presence is through SEO (Search engine optimisation). This will increase my ranking with the major search engines such as: Google, Yahoo, Ask etc…

To measure this I will perform regular keyword searches, using various search engines, and record the results. I will also use the Google Analytics service to track the most popular keywords which have lead to users viewing my portfolio.

The Final Semester

| Thursday, 22 January 2009

The final semester is here and my time on HND Interactive Media course will be over in the blink of an eye. With only the final few assignments to complete my focus will now turn to future employment and gaining the skills which I will require for a career with the web industry.

The SMLP (Self Managed Learning Plan) is a very important part of the final semester. For this assignment I have chosen to learn PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) as I feel that this is a key employability skill.

Learning PHP will allow me to expand my search further as I seek employment and add another ‘string to my bow’. My previous experience with PHP is very limited but it has given me a thirst to learn more. Creating dynamic websites that are easy to maintain and are able to interact with the user are becoming commonplace, especially with the increasing popularity of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML).

The main aspect of the self managed learning plan is that it is ‘self managed’. Planning and executing an entire assignment with no outside help is a daunting prospect but something I am looking forward to.

Over the course my time management has increased dramatically but I feel that this assignment will have the most effect on it. During the assignment I will have to plan every detail to ensure that I don’t spend too much time on a single area as there will be no-one to ensure I don’t fall behind.

Designing my portfolio is going to be a very key task. My portfolio will need to be flexible and easy to adapt to any situation such as applying for a new job. I am looking forward to this project as it will allow me to create a professional portfolio and give me a place to showcase my work.

Final presentation
With the final presentation just around the corner I am both nervous and excited. The final presentation will be the last thing I do on this course and as presentations are not really my strong point it brings with a certain amount of stress.

With content of the presentation being the work I have created over the last two years on the course I plan to use my portfolio as my visual aids. Depending on the layout of my final portfolio I may decide to create a separate section of the website specifically designed for the presentation.

This will help me organise the presentation and help me with my timing as this has been one of my problems with previous presentations.

After this course I hope to gain employment as a web developer. Although I am aware that due to the current economic state it may be very difficult to find a full time job I feel that spending another two or more years in education will be of no real benefit to me as the thing I really need is real world experience.

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