Week 4 – Project Site Info

August 6, 2009

The first site on my list is The Fine Art Of Coop. Ultimately this is a pretty lame site with misused repeated backgrounds, but the main thing I got from it was the splash page that is supposed to be old hat. Sure if it were any other kind of site I could see how a splash page would be obsolete, but with a portfolio site I don’t agree. The only people coming to my site will be those that found it on my business card or resume. I can’t imagine people looking for me in a search engine. Even if they did, so what if I have a splash page that they miss all together? If I provide my name, what I do and links to the rest of the site, I don’t see how I’ve wasted this “real estate.”

The next page on my list isn’t so much an example of code as it is a brief tutorial. Ruby Robot gives some pretty cool information about optimizing your sites for faster loading. It talks about the benefits of using one style sheet as opposed to multiple sheets.

“While up to four images are loaded in parallel in most browsers, stylesheets and javascripts are not. The browser waits until the first stylesheet has finished loading, then requests the second one and so on. In my tests, Firefox didn’t actually load any images before all stylesheets and javascripts were done loading. A test with a simple HTML page over a DSL connection shows that one big stylesheet of 50 KB can speed up load time by factor 2 compared to five stylesheets that are 10 KB each in size…”

Matthew James Taylor has a good page about keeping footers at the bottom of he page instead of clinging to the nearest div. I’m not entirely sure I’ll actually end up employing it, but It’s certainly something I’ll play around with in order to make my project site as nice as it can be.

Usable Type Style Guide has some great info about web typography. I’ll certainly be refering to this page for guidance with my typography. The typography class I’ve taken at AI was less than in-depth and I have little faith in my ability to knowledgebly make typographical decisions.

The previous page lead me to my next which covers a topic in which I am highly interested, replacing an h1 with an image. The Usabe type site linked to a site called Stop Design to further exlain this very concept. I do not yet fully unserstand it, however I will try hard to do so.

Lastly I offer unto you the I Hate Frames page. I seriously had a flashback to the nineties when I came across this page. I haven’t actually read more than five words from this deplorable page becasue it’s so bad. Common advice amongst musicians suffering from writer’s block is to start playing very bad music and you’ll eventually hate it so much that you’ll start coming up with quality material again.  This site is what I plan to look at if I ever get stuck on what to do with a sight. *vommiting now


Week 3 Assignment- Float Layouts

August 3, 2009


The first link is a very basic explanation of floated elements and how they work. Not really a whole lot of extra info here, but useful for those who might still be having trouble with the concept.


This is a more comprehensive tutorial with step by step instructions explaining the creation of a 3 column page.


Okay, my third link is 5 years old and I know we were’nt supposed to use something so old, but it is one of the most comprehensive articles I could find without any “hacks” to get around browser issues, though it does mention the hopelessness of designing for IE at the time the article was posted.

Ultimately I didn’t learn a whole lot from these articles, just a review and validation of what I already understood. I hope I’m not missing some important information.


Assignment – Week 1: Web design

July 20, 2009

Along with the usual stuff you hear/read about such as W3C validation, fast loading pages/images, and the ubiquitous minimal tables rule, I came across a few different bits of advice when it came to resolution. One web log gave me the standard rule of 800 x 600. I understand that if you’re building a site that is meant to attract many different users with many different (less awesome) computers that 800 x 600 is the safe choice. I’ve always kinda bent that rule, sometimes even by as much as 200px, which is exactly what another web log condoned. Of course I’m not necessarily designing conventional sites. My main project that I have going is my portfolio site which is far from complete. I’ve looked up other photographers websites and some are more traditional than others, but the ones I always like the best tend to bend or break a lot of the basic guidelines. For example, multiple sites I have liked have scrolled horizontally instead of vertically and they really pulled it off with well executed design… as far as I know with my limited design education. I suppose we can get away with that because we’re not necessarily trying to draw the average internet user to our portfolio site; that’s what flickr is for. My goal for my portfolio site is to attract potential employers and clients who will likely have high screen resolution and an appreciation for my (hopefully) refreshing take on web design.

Another interesting thing I kept coming across was the idea that the navigation should be intuitive and not alienate users. I couldn’t agree more and I’m always worried that menu ideas that I have will not make sense to someone else so that’s a topic I find interesting. It goes back to my DVD Studio Pro class where Dr. Holmes taught us about menus and usability for a DVD which has its parallels with web design. I’m dying to get to the point with my skills where I can conceptualize something so cool and different looking, but maintains a high degree of user-friendliness.

One more thing I came across that excites me (and this goes back to resolution) is the idea of designing with percentages instead of pixels. I don’t know that I’ve seen or at least noticed a site like that. I’m highly intrigued by the concept and hope to learn more in the coming weeks so I can incorporate it into my work.

20 ways to make your website crap
Community Success Factors 4: Design & Nurture
effective design principles followed by Agile Technosys

First post…

July 13, 2009

Okay universe, you win. I, Ross Mackey, have a web log. Yuck. As useful a communication tool it may be, why does it have to have such an unfortunate name. “Blog”. Such a dumb sounding word, but that’s the one the english speaking people gave it. Anywho, I suppose it’s a necessary nuscence as I will be able to connect with people in a new way… what in the fuck will we talk about? I never have been good at talking to people; not about anything important anyway. I never really got into AIM, I don’t talk to people on the phone, I haven’t started using email until just recently, but even still the messages are always brief and it’s ususally just for the purpose of sending links to my friends and communicating with clients.

Now don’t get the wrong idea about me, that I’m some stubborn old goat that refuses technology. I love technology, I just hate people that make it trendy… and that fucking blog word. The main problem is that I’m having a hard time see how this technology will benefit me. I don’t have anything to share, no one to share it with. Where is this going?

I have a similar problem with email. For years my mother has wanted to send me emails and has encouraged me to get an address so that she could yammer on about boring shit on my computer screen AND over the phone. I’ve been checking my email on a somewhat regular basis for over a year now and my own mother won’t even write to me. No one else does either for that matter. I rarely hear from my single client and it’s only when he wants his site updated and I rarely hear from just one of my friends who has something funny to show me. That’s it. The rest of my inbox is full of account confirmations, bank statements, crappy job ops from snagajob.com (shoot me) and other spam. That’s it. If I can’t even utilize email like normal people, what in the world am I gonna do with a web log?

I suppose I could hop on the whole sharing bandwagon and offer people a link to a site with a link to a summary of some article from an entirely different page with about 7 million ads in between, but then I would just become the part of the internet that I hate. I believe in writing or creating original content, art, ideas; not just recycling a bunch of pop culture and printing it onto an overpriced t-shirt… but that’s an entirely different disorganized rant. Basically, until I have some original to say, I’m not gonna want to type much of anything.

I’ve taken classes in which I have been encouraged to log my projects as I complete them so that other people can see what I’m doing as I do it… Does anyone actually do that? Follow them I mean? Who cares where I am in my project?

Ultimately, I hope to be proven wrong about all of this as I enter the professional world… as soon as I find the door because no (Dave Elias) is going to show me where it is.

…By the way, what the fuck is a trackback?