This Learning Activity is about creating a website wireframe. For that, I first have to answer the 10 essential questions from my previous post.
The client I chose is Little Explorers, the same I worked with on my Semester Project.
What kind of visitors are you expecting on your website? Parents with children under the age of 12 that want to buy handmade, ethical- and sustainably produced clothes that allow their kids for free movement and autonomy. Who are your competitors and how do you differ from them? There are a few online stores that sell similar clothing, using organic cotton. Even though most of these stores offer sustainable designs that can be considered comfortable in most cases, it is not one of their central claims. Little Explorers differentiate themselves by focusing on children’s clothes only, with a broader size range and putting stress on the functionality and durability of their garments.
What actions do you want visitors to take on the site? I want them to make a purchase.
What is your deadline for completing the site? How big is the budget? The business is not established yet, so the deadline could be something like two months. It is a very small business and so is the budget.
Please list the names of three sites that you like and explain what you like about them. 1. Lucía Be 2. Little Adventurers 3. Små Spor What I like about all of them is their use of image, the structure and organisation of the web and how easy it is to find the information you are looking for. They use the right amount of information and focus on showing what they are selling with high-quality images.
Do you have any colour preferences? What should the look and feel for the website be? The colours should be a light grey for the background, with copy in dark grey and headers and accents in green and turquoise. Same shades as in the products previously designed. What is the main goal behind building the website? The main goal is to sell the products that my client makes.
Do you have a style guide or any existing images? The brand has a style guide, logo, clothing tags, packaging design, business card and brochure. You can see them here.
What is the most important information your site must relay to the user, especially on the home page? A description of the brand values and photos of the products they sell.
Do you have the content for the website or will content creation be a part of the scope of work? The client will create the content.
Little Explorers is located in Spain, and so their website should be in Spanish. For the sake of this learning activity, I will use English.
I have chosen a lo-tech architecture because Little Explorers is a small, new business with low budget. Besides, drawing the wireframe by hand allows me more creativity and it’s easier to adjust and update.
On the first week of the second semester we are learning about web design. As an introduction, we have to explain the following terms in our own words:
The Internet It’s a worldwide network of computers. Within this network you’ll find everything from personal computers, mainframes, cell phones and any other device that has an Internet connection. Every machine on the Internet has a unique identifying number, called an IP Address.
Browser A web browser is a software application for accessing information on the World Wide Web. Whe a user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves an HTML document from a web server and then displays the page on the user’s device.
Search engine Internet search engines are special sites on the Web that are designed to help people find information stored on other sites. There are differences in the ways various search engines work, but they all perform three basic tasks: – They search the Internet based on important words. – They keep an index of the words they find, and where they find them. – They allow users to look for words or combinations of words found in that index.They search the Internet – or select pieces of the Internet – based on important words.
In this lesson, we were provided with the following 10 essential questions to ask your client before starting a web design:
1 – What kind of visitors are you expecting on your website? 2 – Who are your competitors and how do you differ from them? 3 – What actions do you want visitors to take on the site? 4 – What is your deadline for completing the site? How big is the budget? 5 – What features should be used on your website? (This includes things like contact forms, pictures, videos, etc.) 6 – Please list the names of three sites that you like and explain what you like about them. 7 – Do you have any colour preferences? What should the look and feel for the website be? 8 – Who will be the contact person for this project? 9 – What do you NOT want on your site in terms of text, content, colour and graphic elements? 10 – Who will be responsible for maintaining the website? Will the person have the time and skills to do so?
I have to add 10 more questions and, from this list of 20 questions, create the ultimate list of 10 questions that I would use for clients.
11 – Describe your business in a few sentences. 12 – Do you currently have a website? If so, what is/isn’t working for you? 13 – What is the main goal behind building the website? 14 – Do you have a style guide or any existing images? 15 – How much traffic are you anticipating? 16 – What is the most important information your site must relay to the user, especially on the home page? 17 – Do you have a logo you plan to use or will one need to be created? 18 – Do you have the content for the website or will content creation be a part of the scope of work? 19 – Do You Have Current Analytics? 20 – Do you have a domain name (and hosting) in place yet?
For the last part of this learning activity I have to pick 10 sites that I consider to be great websites and 10 that I find to be bad websites, and explain why.
Good websites 1 – https://www.bloganaalbiol.com It is a webpage of a makeup artist that sells their services and courses. The design is clean and beautiful with plenty of white space; there is consistency in the colours throughout the site. The information is well organised, and it’s easy to navigate.
2 – https://www.icelandair.com/is/ Icelandair is the flag carrier airline of Iceland. Their website is neat, elegant and properly structured. The amount of information is enough and well distributed, which makes it easy to navigate. As this is an airline site, one would assume their main goal is for their audience to book a flight, and that is why the first thing we see on the homepage is a flight search box, and an offer section.
3 – https://www.maquillalia.com Maquillalia is an online beauty shop. The menu bar separates the products in categories for straightforward navigation. They include pictures to show the things they sell, and some looks achieved using their makeup. If you were to purchase an item in this shop, it would be simple to find your way through the site and see the options in that category. Besides, the home is not cluttered with information so we can focus on the products.
4 – https://www.yr.no Yr is the joint online weather service from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). At the first look, it might seem as the website has a lot of information, but that is normal for a weather forecast service since it is a complex topic. The user can search for a specific location and save it as a favourite. Next time they access the web, they will see their favourite places first. Easy to navigate.
5 – https://www.pickuplimes.com In Pick Up Limes, we find plant-based recipes -both written and in video format-, cooking tips and informative health articles. The web design is fresh and clean, with beautiful images that show the colourful food they teach you to make in their videos. The site is clearly divided into categories, so the user can find the information they are looking for with no trouble. There is a direct link on the homepage to their YouTube channel where they share their recipe videos.
6 – http://www.nimuazotea.com NiMÚ Azotea is a restaurant established in the town of León, Spain. Azotea is the Spanish word for a rooftop terrace, and that is exactly where the restaurant is located, overlooking León’s old town. Their website is simple and effective. They display only the necessary information: physical address, phone number, a link to book a table and their menu. Besides, a slideshow gives the potential customer a peek at the food they serve and the stunning views from the restaurant.
7 – https://avinor.no Avinor is a state-owned limited company that operates most of the civil airports in Norway. Their web page is useful for travellers as they can find live information about current flights for a particular airport. They also offer practical information about parking, shopping, assistance, etc. All the necessary links one would want are shown right up front in an organised manner. The design uses well known international icons to represent some of their services, which is how important information is marked at airports as well.
8 – https://gadja.no Gådjå is an Ethiopian restaurant in Stavanger. The first thing that catches my eye when accessing their web is the bright colours of their banner and photos that remind me of the Ethiopian flag. The fonts used are easy to read and work well with the colourful images used. The web includes only necessary information about their menu, order options and a brief introduction to the country’s cuisine for those not familiar with it—well-organised page.
9 – https://www.luciabe.com Lucía Be is an online shop that sells items designed for and by women. There is a consistent use in colours that the brand uses in their packaging, Instagram feed and stories and overall designs. They combine sans-serif typefaces with their trademark handwritten text. On the menu bar, the user can navigate through the different product sections. There are plenty of images that show the items, so the customer has a good idea of what they are purchasing.
10 – https://www.zalando.no Zalando is an online fashion platform which carries clothes, shoes and accessories of multiple brands. Their website’s design is modern and well organised. They use large areas of bright colours together with empty spaces making a clear separation of their product categories. Once the user accesses one section, it’s easy to filter to find the right item.
Bad websites 1 – http://www.alovelyworld.com/index.html All the content on this website is aligned left, leaving half of the screen empty. There is no description of what the page is about, showing only a long gallery of photos of the world. Once you click on one of these photos, you land on another page which has a menu bar with some options, but still, it’s not clear what the purpose of A lovely world is.
2 – https://www.grannen.no The homepage of Naboen Pub and Restaurant is an empty page with only a logo. It is not evident that the user needs to click on it to access the information. After clicking on the logo, the design doesn’t get much better: there are three tiny, unrelated and unrecognisable pictures and a few lines of text, where each word has a different, random size. At the bottom, four buttons lead to their menus, photos and bookings. The user has to dig to find useful information. Also, the url has nothing to do with the pub’s name, which make it difficult to remember.
3 – http://ve.no/Index_henrik.html The headings and body copy are too small and difficult to read. The website has a menu sidebar, but the design is not great, it’s just a list of names. The pictures they use are very small, have no caption and seem unrelated to what a bar has to offer. If looking for a bar in Bergen and based only on their web, I would never pick Henrik Øl & Vinstove.
4 – http://www.petersbuss.se The name of this company is Peters Buss (bus in Swedish), but the images on their web show a cruise and a spa, so it is not clear what they offer. There are too many colours that clash with each other; it is evident that little thought went into the design. There is too much information, and it seems unrelated. There is no consistency in typography, the endless list of links on the left use different sizes and colours without an apparent reason.
5 – http://www.gatesnfences.com Gate N Fences’ web is cluttered with information and links; it’s not easy to find your way around this site. The colour choices are not working, especially the red text over a grey or green background, which is very difficult to read. The buttons on the left side look out of style and unattractive. The background image doesn’t make sense with the rest of the page. There seems to have no organisation whatsoever; it’s a random placement of photos and text. Overall, it’s an unpleasant design.
6 – https://mednat.news The top part of this homepage has an unattractive logo and a cyan background. The text on the bar menu is too small. Besides, moving text makes it look old-fashioned. It seems to be a natural medicine guide, but the overall look of the web is a bunch of quotes and links, all in too small size to be comfortable to read. Scrolling down, we can see a couple of videos and some images with yet more quotes. It is not easy to follow and find your way around this website.
7 – http://www.irishwrecksonline.net The homepage has four images; three of the links do not work. To enter the web, the user needs to click on the fourth image, and it’s so unclear that a message with instructions is necessary. Once you enter, the design is like a mixed colour palette, which contains plenty of conflicting colours, including the background pattern. The text is small and not easy to read. Also, the navigation is quite complicated.
8 – https://www.lingscars.com There is so much going on on this site that it’s difficult to even look at it. There are moving images all over the place, a loud video that automatically plays when you access the web and a very colourful, demanding background pattern.
9 – https://www.art.yale.edu Even though the website belongs to Yale School of Art, it has quite an unappealing design. This web page is a collaborative project, and all member of the school can add content to it; this might explain the wrong choices made: all the text is aligned to the left, the background is too busy and distracting and the copy size too small in many cases. The colours do not work together either, and the yellow gradient in the text boxes makes it look outdated.
10 – http://www.arngren.net/ Again, another overwhelming website that could not fit one more piece of information. It has a random selection of colours, image and text sizes. It’s not user friendly or pleasant to look at.
Compare the design (in terms of pace and contrast) of an online magazine, blog or website to that of a printed magazine, book or journal. What differences can you see between the kinds of design strategies used in the two formats?
For this Learning activity, I’m going to compare the Spanish edition of Elle magazine, March 2020, both their printed and online versions.
Cover of the printed magazine
Home page of the online version
The cover of the printed version uses one big photo that can also be seen on the homepage header of the online magazine. The logo is present in both versions as well. On the printed cover, the designer has used a combination of typefaces -serif and sans-serif- to catch the attention of the reader. The online magazine also uses a mix of serif and sans-serif typefaces and similar colors as the printed one. The difference is, of course, that the web version is interactive, and the information can be presented differently. There is a menu just below the header with some fixed categories that the reader can click to get to the desired information. If we scroll down the main page, we see the same categories with some of their content, showed in a grid design with pictures and the title of the article they link to.
The design for the printed magazine has a lot of pictures to make the read easier and more dynamic, and so does the online one. The difference lies in the way the text and photos are distributed in the article. In the images above, I show the same story in both paper and online. In the printed one, the designer uses a 3-column grid where they add large pictures, some even taking a whole page. The web article, on the other hand, has a unique column, and the photos are inserted in between the lines, more like a blog post, since the reader will scroll down to read the piece rather than turn the pages on a more traditional magazine.
The way a reader navigates a magazine is very different for printed and web, and it is essential, as a designer, to consider that aspect when designing the layout and the way the information will be presented.
Take a magazine, newspaper or book that includes images and text. Lay tracing paper over the top of three spreads (both left-hand and right-hand pages). Using a pencil and ruler, carefully trace the grid underlying the page layouts. Remember to remove specific text elements or images, and to only draw the grid lines. Note column widths and margin sizes at the top, bottom, and to the left and right of the main body of text. Is your document based on a two-column, three-column, or another type of grid? Which elements stay the same on each page, and which change?
I decided to use the magazine Hus & Bolig. The three spreads I chose are based on a three-column grid, like most of the pages in the magazine. All the pages selected have a mid-range amount of text, which works well with this type of grid. All three spreads have large images/graphics; the first and the last one have an asymmetric distribution between picture and text, while the second one is symmetrically divided.
Column width: 5,7 cm Column hight: 25,4 cm Top margin: 2,2 cm Bottom margin: 2 cm Left margin: 1,5 cm Right margin: 1,5 cm Gutter: 0,4 cm
On five A4 landscape pages, I had to draw four equal squares in each. Then, I draw one or two squares or rectangles in each of the empty squares to achieve the following visual effects:
Movement to the right
Movement to the left
Entering left The rectangles placed close to the left end of the square gives the impression that they are entering the page on the left side. The fact that the rectangle closest to the edge is only partially shown helps enforce that effect.
Movement to the right Placing both pieces on the right side of the square gives the impression that they are moving to the right. It doesn’t affect if I use squares or rectangles.
Movement to the left In the same way, placing the squares or rectangles on the left side of the page suggests movement to the left.
Movement downwards In order to show the effect of movement downwards, I decided to place the squares and/or rectangles close to the bottom of the big square.
Movement upwards Placing two rectangles on the top of the square gives the illusion that they are moving upwards. It works if the blocks are in line or in parallel paths.
Balance Two squares with the same size placed in opposite corners of the page suggest balance. The same happens with two equally sized rectangles on each side of the square.
Tension In the first drawing, the small rectangle is place in such a manner that seems as it was about to fall, creating tension. In the second example, the contrast of shape, color and orientation, as well as the fact that one is place on top of the other also creates tension.
Symmetry Two equally large shapes mirrored to each other create symmetry.
Asymmetry The different sizes and shapes in the first example create asymmetry. In the second drawing, even though the squares are the same size, they are not mirrored to each other, which makes them asymmetric.
For this Learning Activity, I had to cut several shapes from black paper in a variety of sizes and place them into a square piece of white paper, one at a time, and move them around to try and find the point where the distinction between figure and ground becomes unclear.
As shown in the pictures above, it doesn’t matter whether the dominant space is black or white. In all of them, it’s easy to differentiate between figure and ground.
The placement of the shape within the space doesn’t seem to have an important role when it comes to separate the figure from the ground.
In the first of these two series, I decided to place the black shapes in an ordered manner. This way, I think the eye can always see what the figure is and what the ground. In the second one, however, I randomly placed the paper cuts. The look of the composition is disorganized and strange. At some point, around picture number six, the piece is too cluttered to distinguish a figure.
In conclusion, I don’t think the distinction between figure and ground is highly affected by the position of the shape, or if the white or black is the dominant part of the space. The most important is the way we place the different elements on the composition and their position respect to each other. We must include enough negative spaces between the positives for the eye to be able to differentiate the shapes and interpret the whole piece.
A – Infrared Receiver B – Shutter Release C – Exposure Compensation/Aperture Adjustment D – Info Button E – Movie Record Button F – AF-Assist Illuminator G – Live View Switch H – Mode Dial I – Flash Mode Button J – Function Button K – Lens Release Button
L – Infrared Receiver M – Menu N – Information Edit O – AutoExposure/AutoFocus Lock Button P – Command Dial Q – Playback Button R – Multi-Selector S – OK Button T – Playback Zoom In U – Delete Button V – Thumbnail/Playback Zoom Out
How to set the correct ISO
To adjust the ISO on my camera, I press the Information edit button, with the Multi-Selector I navigate to the ISO sensitivity settings and press OK. Once I have chosen the desired value, I press OK again to select it.
It is also possible to change the ISO on the fly by pressing and holding the Function button while turning the Command dial. The ISO value change will show on the viewfinder display.
The higher the ISO, the greater the amount of noise in the image. For that reason, it is advisable to use the lowest ISO possible in each situation.
How to change the aperture
When the camera is set to “Aperture Priority Mode”, I can change the aperture by turning the Command dial. If the camera is on “Manual Mode”, I need to press and hold the Aperture adjustment button while turning said dial.
How to change the shutter speed
Both in “Shutter Priority Mode” and “Manual Mode”, I can change the shutter speed on my camera by rotating the Command dial.
Part of the Learning activity was to take several photos a day applying manual settings and experimenting with different lighting, subjects or landscapes. These are the six pictures I chose from all the ones I took during the week.
I learned a lot with this assignment, and I also realised how much more I still need to practice and experiment with the different setting of my camera to become a better photographer and take advantage of all the possibilities a DSLR offers.
Pick three events in the timeline from this week’s lesson History of Photography: An Introduction, and find photographs of the event on the Internet or in the library and write a paragraph explaining the event in more detail. Include your photographs in the description.
The oldest surviving camera photograph
View from the Window at Le Gras is a heliographic image and the oldest surviving camera photograph. It was created by French inventor Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827 at Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France, and shows parts of the buildings and surrounding countryside of his estate, Le Gras, as seen from a high window. Niépce captured the scene with a camera obscura focused onto a pewter plate thinly coated with Bitumen of Judea, a naturally occurring asphalt. The bitumen hardened in the brightly lit areas, but in the dimly lit areas it remained soluble and could be washed away with a mixture of oil of lavender and white petroleum. A very long exposure in the camera was required, traditionally said to be eight hours, but now believed to be several days.
Introduction of Daguerreotype
In 1839, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre publicly introduces his daguerreotype process, which produces highly detailed permanent photographs on silver-plated sheets of copper. At first, it requires several minutes of exposure in the camera, but later improvements reduce the exposure time to a few seconds. The daguerreotype was the first commercially successful photographic process in the history of photography. A great number of daguerreotypes, especially portraits, were made in the mid-19th century; the technique was supplanted by the wet collodion process.
First photographically illustrated book to be commercially published
The Pencil of Nature (1844–46), written by William Henry Fox, was the first book with photographic illustrations. The book detailed Talbot’s development of the calotype process and included 24 calotype prints, each one pasted in by hand, illustrating some of the possible applications of the new technology. They include a variety of architectural studies, scenes, still-lifes, and closeups, as well as facsimiles of prints, sketches, and text. Due to the long exposure times involved, however, Talbot included only one portrait, The Ladder. Though he was no artist, Talbot also attempted to illustrate how photography could become a new form of art with images like The Open Door.
Throughout this lesson you’ve learnt about the various techniques used and inventors that contributed to the art form that is Photography. Choose only one, do some additional research and in your own words write a report on why you think the chosen technique contributed to what we are able to do today through photography.
I grew up using a Kodak roll film camera. I remember the excitement of taking the roll to the shop to be developed and, a few days later, open the envelop and see all those pictures I took weeks (or months) prior. I was surprised to learn in this week’s lesson that this was already possible a century before, thanks to George Eastman’s invention of the roll film and the first Kodak camera.
Before that, photography was only available for the few who could afford it. The cameras and gear at the time were large, heavy and cumbersome, and the wet place processes used back then required the photographer to do the development. This added to the time, expense, and skill level needed to make a photograph. It was 1888 when the American entrepreneur invented a game-changing dry and flexible photographic film that came in a roll. Besides, the film was designed for use in Eastman’s newly designed, user-friendly Kodak cameras. This innovative camera and film combination represents a turning point in photography, when the industry began shifting from expensive, time-consuming processes enjoyed by the few, to cheaper and easier snapshots that can be done by the many.
The Kodak camera was a box-style camera requiring no adjustments or prior photographic knowledge. To use the camera, the photographer simply armed the shutter by pulling up on the string (located on the front right of the camera), pointed the camera at the subject, and then pressed the shutter release. After taking a photograph, a key on top of the camera was used to wind the film onto the next frame. There is no viewfinder on the camera; instead, two V-shaped lines on the top of the camera leather are intended to aid aiming the camera at the subject. These steps were clearly explained in the camera’s instruction manual and were used to promote the ease of the camera along with the slogan, “You press the button, we do the rest”.
For $25 at the time (around $625 in today’s money), anyone could purchase the device, preloaded with enough film for 100 pictures. After finishing the roll, the camera could be sent to the Kodak factory for developing and printing at a cost of $10. The camera, loaded with a fresh roll of film, was returned with the negatives and mounted prints. Although the price was still high, the Kodak camera was accessible for far more people than before. Amateur photography grew significantly, which lead to an enormous demand for new rollable film.
It is difficult to imagine how photography would be today without the invention of the roll film or the Kodak camera at the end of the 19th century. Even though digital photography is the most popular choice nowadays, it is obvious the essential role film photography played in the development of modern photography. Besides that, and thanks to portable cameras such as the one created by George Eastman, we were able to document important events in history in a much easier and cheaper way than ever before.