Monday, April 4, 2011

Problem-solving: An Assignment

This week you'll continue to push forward on your websites. We'll start a short Flash project next week -- as well as taking some time for you to show your current designs and get feedback.

Also next week -- due Thursday the 14th -- I want the first draft of a document that lists out the problems you have encountered and solved in the course of your website project. I'm not looking for a full academic paper, with full sentences, and so on -- but I do want you to make a list of the technical and design issues that have presented themselves to you, and the solutions you found for them. Start your document with an opening paragraph explaining what your site is, who the intended audience is, and then list out the various problems you have encountered and solved.

For instance, I know when Ethan was first using Wix, there was a white halo around some of the graphics he uploaded to his site -- and I believe fixing it was a matter of saving his images in the PNG 24 format. And another issue was the long load-time for his shopping gallery -- fixing that meant finding out what the maximum display size was for the gallery pics, and scaling his images down to that size before uploading them, drastically reducing their file sizes. So a "Problem-Solving" list could simply go:

Problem: uploaded graphics have white halo.
Solution: Used PNG 24 format with transparency for images with a transparent background.

Problem: Long load-time for shopping gallery.
Solution: Found out pixel dimensions of the gallery windows, and downsized gallery pictures to that size before uploading.

If there are helpful links for any of your solutions, include them as well. For instance, I know Nick Cahill looked at a few options for javascript slideshows -- a list item with a link could go:

Problem: Wanted a slideshow with thumbnails, not flash-driven, so it would show on iPads.
Solution: galleria slideshow:; found out it can be modified by changing options in the code (see this page:; if there is more than one option used, use a comma between options to separate them.

I'm interested in having you go through this process for a number of reasons -- one, to develop some documentation on your own problem-solving process, and two, to build up a sort of database of helpful hints that can be posted to the blog -- and which you (and other students) can refer to if you encounter any similar web design problems.

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