Access key

June 9, 2009

Accessability is a key factor in all kinds of technological development. One could see it as an equity issue ensuring every person regardless of disability has equal access to the internet.

However there are other issues such as:

  • the definition of disability…we each have unique abilities
  • economic..a website designed without accessability in mind limits its customer base
  • internet uptake…if websites relied on the interests and creativity of their inventors they may have not developed mainstream following
  • personalization…personalization (e.g.facebook, blogs etc) is a highly attractive quality attracting new clients. from the ornate mobile phone ‘skin’ to the use of a screen wallpaper the innate attractiveness of the site to an individual or targeted group is very useful.
  • interaction…we should remember that access involves accessability in terms of interaction as well as ‘readability.’
  • target market…one is able to target a specific market with key accessability features.


There is a wider discussion to be held about accessability. having a link to one or two features (such as font size) may be considered a token gesture. Considering usability in all its forms it is a more rigourous, valid and professional a design the more accissability factors are taken into account which address the needs of the client. obviously the larger the number of users the wider one must set their accessability function.

Search engines

June 9, 2009

If you used the google search engine to find a webpage, if the links were always blue, Would this bother you?

It would bother me from the perspective that without a change in colour there is no indication I have already visited a site. A change in colour is very useful for both identifying useful sites I have visited before and avoiding sites I have visited but which have fruitless.

Internet safety

June 9, 2009

3. How can you ensure that you have minimised your security risks while using the Internet?
Issues with regard to security include such as privacy, use of computers to spread viruses and identity theft. Importantly one should have high quality security programmes downloaded onto the computer. They should include;
• Anti Spam
Spam is junk mail sent electronically. Aside from blocking software one can take action under the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act (2007) to make complaint, monitor and otherwise assist in enforcing the act.
• Anti Virus
Anti virus ware looks for known and unknown viruses accessing ones computer. They do this by having the capability to discern ‘patterns’ associated with viruses. Since there are new viruses being developed all the time its important to update this software (many do online) so as to block any known viruses or emerging patterns. (From Cert)
• Anti Spyware
Again designated (or combined with other programmes) anti spyware can be engaged to increase the possibility of controlling who can ‘see’ into your computer.
• Firewall
A firewall acts much as it seems it may. It attempts to control the access between your computer and outside world. Importantly it controls what can access your computer and what you can access. (From Cert)
Cert© advise home computer users to;
1. ‘Consult your system support personnel if you work from home
2. Use virus protection software
3. Use a firewall
4. Don’t open unknown email attachments
5. Don’t run programs of unknown origin
6. Disable hidden filename extensions
7. Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched
8. Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use
9. Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible
10. Disable scripting features in email programs
11. Make regular backups of critical data
12. Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised.

One should also be vigalent about making contacts with unknown people on the net especially when meeting them (take a phone, tell someone and meet in public in the light).
Also being careful about using sites or links which either indicate or prove to have pornography, violent or other equally disturbing material.

CSS box model

June 9, 2009

One could percieve of the box model in a similar way to that of a page in a book. there is a center (and changable) body of text. Around the outside is a clear frame which amongst other things helps us to focus on the text.
In terms of a style sheet where borders, backgrounds, headings and other features are fixed, the box model enables us to insert material (text or otherwise) so that it fits comfortably within the frame that css creates.
In terms of word processing or publishing practice one could see it as a textbox within a text box.

What is the purpose of a cookie in a web browser?

June 9, 2009

A cookie is a storage facility. This capability enables a browser to collect information rather in the manner of a profile about your use of the Internet. They are not malicious however they are often unseen. It gives the browser a kind of intelligence which uses the pattern of your use to guide you quickly to well used or appropriate sites.

Qualitative research v Qualtitative research

May 20, 2009

Comment on this in your blogs

How do I reference a website?

How do I know its a reputable resource?

Quantitative research results in figures of some sort. It is measurable against strictly devised criteria and can go on to contribute to the development of other equally quantifiable data. It can also be used as the basis of qualifiable data/research.

Qualitative research can best be described as that which relates to ‘quality’ although it can appear to be less rigorous than quantifiable research benefits include its holistic nature, reliance on quantifiable research, access to more ephemeral ‘human’ experiences and measure them against criteria which can best be considered ‘qualities’ rather than ‘quantities’ but are none the less rigorous.

APA Referencing

The American Psychological Association is one of many groups which set standards of referencing for using other peoples work that has been referred to or quoted in their work.

In terms of digital referencing there are a range of specified layouts according to the origin of the information. However key components are name and URL of website or webpage and date (if not time too) that it has been downloaded. Further information can be gained from

Tools for discerning the reliability of a website include

  • checking the source documents
  • cross-referencing (are there other mentions of the site or author on other sites, in books or by word of mouth)
  • auditing the site over a period of time to see if it is kept up todate

Navigation methods

May 8, 2009


Find an example of each of the navigation systems discussed. Place in blog. (an on-going project)

Hierachical site maps;

Menu tree

Tab navigation

Index navigation (primarily)

Pulldown/drop down menu

Page turning (or icons/metaphors, not sure)


Icons (amongst others)                  ”  ” (?)

Combination (complex navigation but no real branding)

May 6, 2009

Come up with the following

  • a list of tasks for things that can be done online now.

What can be done now;

  • view movies
  • listen to music
  • buy and sell
  • contact people
  • collaborate
  • advertise
  • develop small interest groups (community)
  • play games
  • download new tools and software
  • vent!
  • inform
  • make friends
  • learn
  • practice physical skills
  • use it ‘on the run’ and using different tools

Come up with the following

  • a wish list for the internet ( What would you like to be able to do?)

What I would like to be able to do;

Mostly my interest would be to have higher specifications and more combined tools. For example although a phone can take a picture…to my understanding I cannot yet manipulate the function sufficent to create advanced photography.

In general the internet reflects my world…I see no personal need for more…so its very hard to identify anything new I would like for it to do.  However there are things I would like people to do with it;

  • make it freely and internationally available
  • de mystify it so all people use it as easily as they might speak…so it is arguably their first port of call.
  • develop a sense of ethic about how and why it is used (people say and do things using the internet they may not even do or say in the privacy of their own home or face to face)
  • develop a culture of discerning use of the internet

May 6, 2009

What makes a bad website?

I have added this site because it has certain elements closely related to Karim Rashad’s site. It is for a design company, has a lot of white space and monochromatic colour scheme. There is also sound and movement used to add interest…I suppose…

Sadly it is unusable on many levels. It is not intuitive in fact once one has finished playing with the ‘pencil’ it is hard to figure out how to get rid of it. The links are hard to find and I have still been unable to get past the third level…is there one?

It is possible that the ‘secrets’ of this site are designed to pique the interest of fellow designers and possible clients. While it is clever, it seems to be too clever for its own good for the casual observer.

Sadly our own Whitireia is one of my least liked sites. However there are many with similar design issues, however this is one I have come to know well.

Design wise there is no cohesion. There are a number of styles on one page and no real uniformity to even provide the background for ambiguity. However for me the worst issue is in the content. There are no staff contacts in the subject or course links.

This is absurd to me. I am a tertiary student and a researcher. The first thing I do when I am contemplating taking a new paper is to call or e-mail the tutor to establish contact and to find out if it is likely to be a good fit for my career. I also use the staff contacts on other sites to contact other professionals for information, collaboration and to initiate new research.


May 6, 2009

What makes a good website?

Provide links to two website you like and a paragraph on why you like them.

Favourite sites:

This site is attractive fun and easy to use. The use of sound actually assists in the usability (although they probably use Flash which could be an issue for some computers) because it helps delineate between the topics, adds interest to very minimalist design and identifies new pages in the website.

This site is more useful because of its content than its graphic. Having said that it is easy to use and the use of images together with their attendant name is very useful.

Most importantly for me it is a sort of ‘one stop shop’ for me teaching senior students. Although, having said that, it really only caters to the needs of very high functioning students but is very helpful for teachers.

The information is robust but rather tedious. I think they need more designers on their team because some parts are not easily read and not uniform enough. I have watched this site build up over a number of years and the organization does keep adding new information. It’s just poorly presented.

The site has a lot of whitespace and although there is a very colourful palette in the icons the rest is black and white making it crisp and clear.