Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Questions from Week 10

1) In the reading, "Design Decisions vs. Audience Considerations," Ragle - Davis states that, "If you know who your target audience is, you can tailor your site’s look and feel, content, and action areas to appeal to your audience and draw them in. If you know what your site visitors want, you can use that information to mutual benefit." She then proceeds to walk through an example of a site for a political candidate by illustrating her knowledge of who the audience is and what they want. How would you answer this for your final project site?
I would answer this by considering my audience throughout my site's development process. I think it's important to focus each page within my website so that it contains only the necessary information that a user would need to know or they would be interested in -- there should be no overload and the best info should come "above the fold."

2) How would you chart out your audience as Ragle - Davis did?
All Spartans: SIP Members, Current/Past MSU Students and MSU Faculty/Staff.
I might then break it down further into those Spartans who are involved in divisions within the OCAT department or organizations like SCOUT BANANA (or are similar).

3) How would you categorize your content based on audience (as the Ragle - Davis example had action items and regular content)?
I think that the Action Items and Regular Content can be my main categorizations and I would divide them as follows: Action items -- Mission Statement/Video (Home page), contact information and a "How to Join" section, containing requirements and application; Regular content -- news and events page as well as photo galleries from past events.

4) In looking over the other readings for today, what suggestions did Verba, Rester, and Boulton provide you with that might assist you with your work on Module 4 and, potentially, your final site?
Well, the readings definitely encouraged me to map out my plans in a tangible way first. Although I don't know that I will necessarily use prototyping because I'm not quite sure how to do that. They also helped to reassure me that the more I work on it, the better it will become because good ideas don't just magically appear out of thin air.

5) The readings for today all dealt with various aspects, including design implications, of usability and accessibility. How do you see yourself addressing these within your final project site?
One of the main things I learned from the readings in regards to usability and accessibility is the importance of being smart with CSS. It is important that the terms I use are simple and direct so that whenever I am working within my pages I am able to find what I need without difficulty. My plan is to keep my site simple and straight forward so that the user knows exactly what to do and there are no vague areas. That way most people will find access easy and will be able to learn what they want from it.

6) Now that we are two-thirds of the way done with the semester (time is FLYING by) what are your thoughts on the definition and role of web authors? Are they the same as coders, or "code monkeys"? Why or why not? Is your definition of web authors the same as your initial thoughts when you signed up for or started this class? Why or why not? Use evidence not just from this week's readings, but from previous readings we have had in the course including Zeldman.
I believe that my definition of web authors has remained pretty much the same as what I thought upon entering and beginning this course. What has changed, however, is how I relate to the idea of web authoring. I realize now how complex and inherently difficult it can be to have to deal with so many different elements when putting together something that appears the same as if it were drawn. Making things work so that they are easily usable is quite hard. Many of the writings on web authoring that we have read relate to audience and targeting sites to the audience, so that aspect is quite similar to my advertising major.

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