Wednesday, October 21, 2009
This is URI's main websites and probably one of my most commonly visited websites. I have always felt that for such a massive, complex site, it is extremely well organized and easy to use. Due to its size, I believe it employs the style of Combined Organizational Structure and it works very well. The site is very easy to naviage and also works well aesthetically.
2) A Website that needs Work: http://urisec.tripod.com/
This is the Website for University of Rhode Island's Student Entertainment Commitee. I think this website could definitely be better, especially because the SEC is such a great committee that brings so much great talent to URI. The website is simple and easy to naviagate, but is very tacky looking and is overall extremely aesthetically unpleasing. I think this site has potential but could use alot of improvement.
The first main concept introduced by Palmquest are the 4 primary characteristics of websites: Purpose, Audience, Design, and Style. As he expanded upon these four characteristics, he makes clear why each is critically important in creating a good, well-functioning website. I felt the best point that he made in this section was about Style and Audience, which I actually found to be interconnected ideas. He states that in designing your webpage your style "must reflect standards of the sponsoring organization and the characteristics of the target auidience. Voice and tone range from informal to formal." I felt this a valuable piece of information, as I feel that in designing a web page, the writer must always write in a style that is in complete coordination with their target audience at all times.
Next Palmquist discusses in detail the primary elements of digital design that set digital design documents apart from print documents. These key elements he lists are: -Links - Informational Flags -Pop-Up Windows -Digital Illustrations. I agreed with alot of what Palmquist was saying in his discussion of the function/proper usage of these four elements in web design. One point he made that I agree is a critically important component of any web page are pop-up windows. One of my biggest pet peeves web visiting a particular website is when I click on a link on the main page, and it navigates me away from the original page completly. I agree with Palmquist that Pop-up windows are important. I also agree with him that informational flags are extremely helpful too. I have always really liked websites that offer a preview of any parituclar part of the page by simply scrolling over it with the mouse. I feel this contributes to the overall efficency and ease of use of any website.
Next Palmquist discusses at length the three main organizational structures used in web design: 1)Liner, which is similar to a series of pages in a book 2)Hierarchal, where pages are linked together according to their hierarchy 3)Interlinked structure- Page is linked to most/all pages in the site. Palmquist makes a good point in stating that "each organizational pattern offers advantages for writers, depending on their specific purposes and their readers needs or interests." He also states that there is a fourth structure that is commonly used in web design, which is the Combined Organizational Stucture, which is essentially a combination of the first three structures mentioned. I feel that most major, complex websites employ this style.
What I found to be the best part of Palmquists article was the checklist at the very end. Here he essentially tied together everything he stated in his article and provides the reader with a clear-cut, easy to read checklist that outlines what are the essentials in creating a good,functional web site. I know for a fact that during project three my group and I will be referring to the checklist asd a guide.
Monday, October 12, 2009
As we begin our second class project of creating our own "WikiTravel" page, I believe that the WikiTravel Manual of Style is a critical, useful, and highly necessary resource that I know I will use as a guide for creating a properly formatted article that works in accordance with the overall governing principles of WikiTravel as a whole. While I found the Manual of Style to be incredibly useful in all of its facets, I picked three tips for the Manual that I find is particularly important for Wikitravel writers.
1) Structural Style: In this section of the manual, aspiring Wikitravel writers can learn the rules and guidelines that are in place for the overall structure of Wikitravel as a site and travel resource. While I found all the tips in this section to be useful and important, one section that I think is crucial for all writers looking to create a Wikitravel page to view before starting their project is the section of this part of the manual titled: "What is an article?" This section guides writers on how and when to start new articles, and what constitutes material/information/locations that should and should not have their own articles. This part of the manual begins by laying out the 2 "competing principles" that dictate when a subject deserves its own article:
1) Articles should be relatively self-sufficient so that travelers can print them out, put them in their back pocket, and use for traveling around.
2) At the same time, articles should not be so long that they're impossible to read, print, and use.
While these principles alone are too vague to educate an aspiring Wikitravel writer on what exactly deserves its own article, this section of the Manual continues to expand in further detail upon this matter, explaining clearly what does/should get its own article (Geographical units on the geographical hierarchy, ex: continents, cities, districts, etc.) and what does not/should not get its own article (Individual attractions).
I find that this section of the Manual is particularly important for Wikitravel writers to carefully read as it provides very important tips and guidelines for writers in the earliest stage of development of a Wikitravel page. In order to get started on the right foot in creating a page that works smoothly as part of Wikitravel as a whole, the tips provided in this section are very important.
2) Formatting Style>Use of External Links: The "Formatting Style" is the next major section of the Wikitravel Manual of Style. This section provides a multitude of important tips concerning rules/guidelines in place for laying our and creating individual articles. This section provides the process through which Wikitravel works to take information and put it in a format that is readable and easy to use. One tip of this section that I found to be important for Wikitravel writers is the section that works to inform writers on appropriate and sensible usage of external links, and how/when they should be used. This part of the manual states, "In general the Wikitravel policy is that external links should be kept to a bare minimum, and only links to primary sources should be used." I think this is an important tip because Wikitravel writers who were not familiar with the Wikitravel policy towards external links may be inclined to use lots of external links, which they may think will bolster the quality of their page as a travel guide. In fact, this is far from the truth, and it is important for Wikitravel writers to know that anything more than minimal usage of external links (to primary sources strictly) is discouraged within the realm of Wikitravel as a whole.
3) Writing Style> "Don’t Tout": The third major section of the Wikitravel Manual of Style is comprised of a plethora of information/guidelines concerning the intended Writing style that Wikitravel writers should aim to practice. One tip from this section that I found to be important is the idea that Wikitravel writers should avoid "touting" their location they are writing about in describing/discussing it. By this Wikitravel means that in writing about a given place, writers should avoid being an "advertising brochure." The tone of the writing should reflect this. More specifically, this section states that writers should 'Try to avoid language that urges or pushes the traveler to do this or that. Instead, give the traveler the information they need to decide on their own."
I found this to be a particularly important tip because I know without reading this, I would have definitely written about my place (Back Bay Boston) in a tone that indicates how much I like this place, and even if I did not intend on it, I would have "touted" Back Bay in my writing to some degree. This policy of strictly informative writing is in accordance with the policy of writing for Wikipedia, which aims for complete neutrality and a continuous striving for an unbiased tone throughout the website.