Grapplin´ with Code and Design

I haven’t had much time to check out other peoples’ comments about week one’s readings, but I am a little pleasantly surprised by the readings themselves. I wouldn’t say that XHTML is easy, but at least I seemed to be able to follow Stylin’ with CSS. I am pretty confident that I can get a good handle on code after some review. I certainly intend to scour the web for alternative explanations, especially for the chapter on the interface. I will also take everything a bit at a time. I will note exactly what I need for my project and really learn to implement that. I guess a criticism that I could apply to Stylin’, then, is that it covers too much too quickly at the end. Again, I have to remind myself that, if I take my time, I can understand XHTML.

The rest of the readings were interesting. The one that was most helpful was the Wroblewski reading. Ever since I first started to think about Web design in Clio Wired, I wondered if there are articles that are a good start for the range of issues that that article introduces. I am talking about choosing and matching colors, a concise organization of typefaces, and so on. Without some starting point, choosing one font from the sea of fonts available in Word is daunting, as I discovered last semester.

Of course, the evaluation of website credibility in Fogg’s study is important and interesting, too. I was surprised at how much people focused on the “look” of a site over its accuracy, by which I mean a site referring back to some known and trustworthy source. Still, when we design our projects in our class, it seems important to consider what the general public thinks is credible, even if we would not be quite happy with their criteria. Needless to say, I will be coming back to this study as go through this class.

The article on attractive things by Norman did not seem so useful. It seemed to underline the basic point I think we all understand intuitively: websites can tap into deeper levels of their users. Maybe a better way to restate that is that with good design a website can tap into the emotions of a user, which can lead to very loyal visitors to one´s site. I would add that that does not make scholarly websites necessarily worse than other forms of scholarship. Even the most abstract piece of scholarship can evoke emotional responses from supposed disinterested, objective scholars.

Well, at this point I will end by going back to Stylin’. I hope in the course of this class we can help each other get a grasp of the big challenges in design such as drop-down menus. It looks like we’ll be able to accomplish difficult tasks by shuffling around already written code, so I am a little optimistic.

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5 Comments on “Grapplin´ with Code and Design”

  1. Chris James Says:

    Your post has me wondering if there any one thing at all we should draw from Norman’s piece. After all, he doesn’t even explicitly discuss web design. We are drawing conclusions about his article because we’ve already read the other weekly assignments. Is it possible that we can overstate Norman’s psychological study’s applicability to web pages? Should it suffice to say that “attractive” things are good? Or does web design really, as you say, tap into deeper emotional levels of the user?

    Your comment that abstract scholarship can draw strong responses from disinterested audiences recalls, to me, the Consumer Reports study. The general public might not be attracted to such a site if it were blandly designed but smaller user groups (scholars, in this instance) might focus squarely on content regardless of its form.

  2. jcassara Says:

    I agree with your assessment of Stylin’ with CSS. I thought the amount of information it presented was almost overwhelming (especially at the end), but at the same time, I found the book to be surprisingly readable.

  3. laszlotaba Says:

    This week so far, I´ve commented on Dan Luddington´s (http://digitaliconoclasm.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/first-impressions-last-a-lifetime/#comment-5) blog, John Lemza´s (http://johnlemza.typepad.com/blog/2010/01/preparing-the-pallet.html) blog, and Rachel Pooley´s (http://digitalcolonial.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/hello-world/#comment-8) blog.

    I´ll hyperlink those comments in a few days, when I get to a browser that is in English.

  4. rpooley Says:

    Laszlo,
    Just wanted to say that I appreciate how you make it so easy to subscribe to your blog!


  5. […] My Comments, Week 1 January 27, 2010 Posted by jcassara in Comments, HIST 697. trackback Quick comments on Dan L’s blog, Rwany’s blog, and Lazlo’s blog. […]


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