Monday, February 8, 2016

Work for today (Tuesday, 2/9)

There are a couple things I'd like you to do for today's class. Each of you has, at this point, picked out a website in the same "genre" of site you want to make for this class.

Before this coming Thursday, I'd like you to do three things. You should be able to get them done during this class period. They are:

1Write and print out a list: what were the elements you liked about the site you picked? What are the elements you disliked about the site? What elements would you like to incorporate into your own site?

2. Create a wireframe for the homepage of the site you picked, as well as a wireframe for one of the "second level" pages (that is, one of the pages you get to by clicking on the nav bar), and a flowchart for the site (refer to this previous blog post for visual references).
I usually use illustrator for doing up wireframes and flowcharts -- if you have any familiarity with Illustrator, it's a good tool for dealing with text, lines, and boxes.

Photoshop would be fine too -- though if you're unfamiliar with both Photoshop and Illustrator, I'd recommend just drawing these out by hand. Pencil or ballpoint pen on unlined paper would be great (and if you need to, you can steal some unlined paper from the copier on the second floor). Just make sure the names for all the navigation and content are legible.

The wireframe is to give an idea of all the pieces of content you need on a particular page. There might be some layout information in it, but it's far more about content than design. The rationale for asking for two wireframes stems from most sites having homepages that function differently than their "interior" pages, so it's necessary to have at least two wireframes (for first and second tier page functionality) to give an idea of what's going on.

A flowchart, on the other hand, doesn't give an idea of everything that's on a page, but rather gives an idea of how the site as a whole is organized -- how the menu breaks the site into various sections, that may or may not have subsections. You don't need to draw out every single page, but you do need to draw out each section or subsection of your site.

The reasoning behind this exercise is to get you to dig deeply into the site architecture of a site that is trying to solve the same sorts of problems you'll want to solve for your own website. It will hopefully give you some ideas on how to organize your own site (or how not to organize it, as the case may be).

3. Gather and write elements for the homepage of the site you'll be creating for this class. Don't worry about designing it and laying it out – but what text and images do you need for your home page? Thinking of how "reading for the internet" is easier when the information is broken up into short chunks, what do you need to efficiently tell the story of what your site is "about?" Think of:

A. The name for your site.

B. A "tagline" or "headline" that lays out the purpose of the site.

C. One or two paragraphs that expand on the purpose of the site, and give a sense of the "voice" of the site.

D. Some images that support and tell the story of what the site is about. For many of you, you might not have the images shot yet – in that case, google some images that have the look and feel of the images you ultimately want for the site.

We'll look over all this material in Thursday's class.

No comments: