Final Exit

At long last, I am writing my final post for this class. It has been challenging and fun. The best parts of the class for me were interacting with my classmates and learning to write code in the context of history and scholarship. Everyone in class has such great ideas, and it is great to see those ideas form and change as things progressed. Great job, everyone.

I cannot help making a final comparison between the two classes I took this semester: our class and the history of books. I liked the history of books. Intellectual history is a great topic, and I love learning about old books. Reading about the way the production of books influenced history is endlessly interesting. I wish, however, that history of books would have had a class blog, not so we could post our weekly papers there, which is a great paper-saving option. I would have liked to have continued some conversations in class further into the blog. It would be great to have posted an extra comment or two on something I found on the web or in everyday life that is relevant to the class. This means, I suppose, I now perfer class blogs to writing paper papers. Of course, I think what students post on blogs need to have the same level of quality as what they print out.

The biggest surprise about this class was that it rekindled, to an extent, my old love of coding. Back in highschool, I used to do some programming, about which I was planning to post in this class but missed my chance. There is something satisfying about looking at a complicated mess of code, such as the jumble I had to deal with in Omeka, and slowly work through it and build something on a screen. To be honest, I did not get as far as I would have liked, and my programming skills are pretty bad at the moment, but at least this class sparked my interest. I will be continuing with my project into the summer and hopefully past that, so I will have plenty of more time to add to and improve what I have already started.

I do have one comment about Omeka and programming in general I want to make before coming to the end of this post. My experience with Omeka in the last few weeks (months?!) has been difficult and rewarding. I would not recommend it for the faint of heart. I feel like each step I took took a great deal of effort. For example, after a few days of work, I thought I had figured out how to change the area between the header and the footer. Then, I discovered what I had done is just extend the header further down, so it took a few more days to figure out how to modify what was actually under the footer. I believe that was just over two weeks ago. How far I have come! Regardless of my difficulties, I learned so much with Omeka — even more, I believe, than when I built the portfolio site.

On reflection, I believe Omeka is a good example of one of the drawbacks of coding and webdesign that our readings did not address. As much as I agree with Steve Krug’s suggestions in Don’t Make Me Think, sometimes coding makes creating the kind of typography we want difficult. I would love to arrange the interface of my site so that users would not have to stop and think about how to use the site at any point. Unfortunately, code does not always behave. There are plenty of distracting glitches left on my final project, but, with most of them, I only have a general idea of where to go to fix them. Moreover, once I try to fix those, new glitches will appear most likely.

I can imagine someone commenting or thinking that my menu on the Revolutionary Stories site, with its left-right orientation, was a poor choice with respect to typography. I would answer that I am not completely sure how to change it. With time, I suppose I could, but for the moment, I am not sure. I suppose the conclusion to draw is that the books we read about usability need to be considered carefully and adopted as best as they can be adopted.

What conclusions do I draw about this class? It was fun, difficult, and I learned a great deal about what I did not expect. I am more interested in new media and am looking forward to more classes in it, especially the cartography class in fall. Even though we will be learning new things, I hope Dr. Petrik will continue to let me continue with what I started this spring.

Explore posts in the same categories: Code, Design, Final Project, Helpful Tricks, Magyar Stories

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