Technologically impaired, that’s how I would describe myself in terms of computer literacy. I can’t really explain why I’m so turned off by technology. It is all around us and its becoming more and more essential to our everyday lives with each passing day. I can’t really pinpoint why I despise it so much. Perhaps, it’s because you need to have constant training in order to stay up to date with all the latest upgrades. Or maybe it’s the fact that it can consume hours of your day; hours I do not have to spare. But, I think the real reason is that I just don’t know what to do in the internet. If I’m not on my Kean email, Facebook, paying bills or doing research for a project, I really don’t have the need or desire to be in front of a computer. These are some of the reason why this project was excruciating painful to me.
Since I knew I was at a disadvantage from the beginning, I decided to not work on anything right away. Rather, I began paying closer attention to the instructions in class. Things to look out for are, color schemes, typography, graphics, images, navigation bars, etc. With each class I came away with one or two things I would have liked to implement on my website. After I had decided on a topic for my essay, I was shown a restaurant website in class. This particular website was very minimal. One of the things that stood out to me was the simplicity of the background, which was white and how the large pictures on the home screen were proportionately balance to the page, but they also rotated. I was completely taken back by the straightforwardness and sophistication of this website. I was immediately inspired.
After I saw that website, I began to toy with the idea of creating my website from scratch. I failed miserably at this task. I had no idea where to place text boxes and pictures, how to arrange that information, what color scheme to use, what would be the appropriate font and so on. I quickly realized that if I was going to make this work I would have to use a template. This idea wasn’t very pleasing to me, because it wasn’t going to be my original work but I soon came to terms with it.
As the days went on and I explored Wix.com I realized that I had too many ideas floating in my head. I then decided to approach this assignment the same I would approach writing a paper. I began to construct my “Brazilian Food” website in my mind first. Then, just like I would write an outline before I would write a paper, I decided to draw a rough sketch of how I wanted my website to look before I began working on it. This decision was the pivotal point in my project were everything fell into place, because I no longer struggled with the guessing game of where things would go on a page.
After my rough sketch was complete, the first thing I choose was the HTML5 template. Second, I chose a template. This was not a tedious process, because I found a template that was very similar to the restaurant one shown in class previously. Then, since this was going to be a website about food, I decided to search for some images on the internet.
After I had gathered some images I had an idea of placing a recipe page on my website, even though it wasn’t included in my hypertext essay. As I thought about my audience, I felt that this would be something that they would be looking for after reading the information and looking at the pictures on my website. Audience awareness is extremely important to me, because this is how I measure my success. In this case my audiences would be anyone searching the internet for Brazilian food. Questions I asked myself when thinking about my audience were: Does it satisfy their needs? Is it up to their standards? Is it meeting the requirements for the class and for an interactive website? Would the color scheme give anyone a seizure? Would I spend time looking at this website myself? (Answer is YES) Is it easy to navigate? By keeping these questions in mind, it allowed me to remain focused.
Once I had all of these elements in place, I felt that I was ready to begin working on my website. I soon found out that I needed more help than I thought. I tried to work in class; however, Kean University computers are inoperable. They would not allow the new HTML5 system to run. I was unable to utilize many workshop classes for that reason. I needed someone else to provide me with some guidance outside of class. I decided to ask a friend of mine for help. He is really good with computers and if anything he would at least be able to help me with the computer terminology.
The first day we met, he gave a tutorial on how to change the format, add and delete pages, buttons, text boxes, pictures and some other minor stuff. After this I was ready to begin piecing my website together. This is a break down as to what I was thinking when I decided on each page.
First, as I began to change things around my home page, I immediately struggled with the idea of placing my entire hypertext essay within my website. That’s when I decided to only place some sentences from my conclusion and introduction on my home page. The home page in the template had a gallery of three pictures rotating. I decided to place one picture of feijoada in the center, because my audience would be able to immediately identify that as a food website. The picture was also carefully selected, because we all eat with our eyes first, before we eat with our mouth - meaning that we only eat things that look appealing to our taste buds. I also wanted the main page to somehow relate to all of the other pages in the toolbar. By utilizing Brazil’s national dish (feijoada) in the home page, I was linking the influence that the culture had on its cuisine. In addition, I also decided to add the name on the upper left corner of the website to Melting Pot. This title embodied the thesis of my hypertext essay. I also decided to have a clean and easy to navigate toolbar by only having four links at the top. The titles on these links are also a direct reflection of my hypertext essay information. Furthermore, at the bottom of the page one can also find an interactive toolbar that will direct them to the Recipes, Regions and Works Cited page.
The second page is called: Our Story. I didn’t change the original format on this page. I basically copied and pasted most of my introduction and resized the picture.
Next, the Regions page on the toolbar was by far the most time consuming and elaborate. The idea of only having a map of Brazil and interactive buttons identifying specific regions came to me when I realized that I didn’t want to have five extra pages on my toolbar. This page confused me a couple of times and I had to ask my friend for some assistance when deleting and adding subpages. When choosing the design of the subpages I paid close attention to not make every page the same and to make the pictures and the text balance the page out. For all of the pages I copied and pasted the information from the hypertext essay. I then choose a main dish from that region to display, as oppose to bombarding my audience with 3-4 different dishes. The dish given as an example in the written text is the same dish represented on the picture.
Once I had mastered the Regions page the Recipes one was not so challenging. I choose to have the recipes for every dish that was mentioned or that I had a picture of in the website. I wanted my audience to be able to click on the picture that looked appetizing to them and pull up that recipe. In order to have that affect, I once again created subpages with picture buttons. I found translated versions of the recipes online and copied and pasted them into the subpages. All of the subpages have the same design. It was a way that I thought made that particular section look cohesive.
Even though I had someone that I could ask questions and explain some foreign concepts to me, I still had some difficulties with the HTML5 program. For instance, there is no Undo button. This made my job much harder when I moved something by mistake and then had to realign it again. Another problem I had with HTML5 was that I was unable to edit any of my work in class. This made me fall behind in my schedule and did not allow me to make the time for the workshops productive. There was also no alignment feature. When constructing my Recipes page I had to get a horizontal line, place it on the page and align all of my text boxes according to that line. When done I delete the horizontal line. This method might seem pre-historic, but it was the only way I found to make the page look uniformed.
I also experienced some limitations when working with a template. I had already anticipated this; therefore I didn’t let some of the issues bother me too much. However, one of the things that did get to me was the fact that I only had a limited amount of sizes and fonts to choose from. This was a real damp in my creativity when it came to organizing my text within the website. Last but not least, one thing that didn’t interfere with my designing process, but it certainly annoyed me, was the fact that no matter where you click on the page when editing, a pop-up-box will always appear.
Overall, I can’t say that I loved this assignment. What I can say is that I learned a lot from it. Things like, how long it takes for someone to put a website together, all of the factors that goes into it, how you need to keep your targeted audience in mind at all times and how text, visuals, colors and animations can either break or make a website. It is definitely a lot of things to keep in mind. This assignment was a true reflection of my personality. Even though I might hate or dislike something, I will search for a way to get a done. I can honestly say that I’m proud of the amount of growth I had in this class. I’m also pleased with my final product. My website is a true reflection of my hard work and dedication. I hope everyone enjoyed it.