Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed how much I have improved in my knowledge and skills about design. The more tutorials I do and the more I spend time practicing in photoshop the faster I complete the projects I am working on. Although at this point in the game I haven’t decided on a specific focus inside the design world, I’m still soaking it all in and enjoying the ride.
Typography has become an interest to me in my design path and I was lucky enough to attend a Master Lecture on Typography this last week. It was interesting and reaffirming to know what I have been spending my time researching is really what others who have official training are learning.
Since my last post I have completed two projects one personal and one for work. Yay! I actually have gotten paid to do some designing! My supervisor came to me because she knew I was starting to work with design and asked me to create a promotional coupon for customers during our grad fair. My personal project was my own Christmas E-card to send out to friends. I am really excited about this one because it will show the important people in my life what I’ve been working on for the past couple of months.
I still have a bunch of ideas and projects I would love to start working on but doing too much will not increase the quality of my work or my knowledge of design. Its best right now to stick to one or two things a week. I look forward to another week full of learning and rich experiences.
“Life has no limitations, except the ones you make.” -Les Brown
Have you ever spent hours searching a website for that one page you happened upon weeks ago? However, you just can’t find it! This is a prime example of the creator of the website not paying attention to the user experience. Even as a beginning level web designer that I am I KNOW that I want users to come to my page and enjoy their time while there.
From my research there are lists and lists and opinions on top of opinions about user experience what are the most important concepts about it to remember when creating a site. Since I’m just a beginner so this is a short list of 3 things I find really important. These include:
I think the number one most important thing to remember when tackling usability is to not break the expectations of the user. In other words if the user expects the link to change colors when clicked on and it doesn’t change then their expectations were violated. This causes the user to be less likely to return to your site or at the very least become frustrated with having to visit your site because of poor usability.
The second thing on my list is a general awareness of current trends. When creating a website you also have to be aware of what users have come to experience on other websites like the placement of navigation bars and logos. If suddenly the logo appears down in the lower right hand corner of all the top webpages and that link takes you out to a the site map then you should think about adjusting your webpage to meet these trends.
The third and final point i would like to bring up about user experience is just a general good practice using tags effectively. HTML tags are organized specifically this way for a reason. They organize your webpage, make it easier to scan, and allow search engines to find and categorize the information on your webpage. Imagine looking at a newspaper where no headings appeared. How would you know what stories interested you the most or where to begin reading. Using the correct HTML tags to format your page is good coding practice, as well as, increases the ease with which a user can follow the flow of information on your site.
User experience should be a number one concern for designers creating a site and as this experience is an ever changing flow and exchange between the user and designer all that can should be done to create a positive user experience on your website.
This last week has offered several opportunities for me to gain some real world experience in the design realm! I am OFFICIALLY part of the design team for TAGA (Technical Association of Graphic Arts). For the journal that is published for the conference I’m going to have to dive back into bridges because bridges are the focus of the design. Maybe my previous experience with bridges will help me out! I also have a personal project I hope to be able to complete; Christmas card. I hope to be able to design and send out my own Christmas cards.
I found a book on typography this week that I was going to buy with some gift cards from last year but unfortunately the current edition is Out of Print and Out of Stock and the new edition isn’t being released for 3 more weeks… my timing couldn’t have been worse. I am now keeping my eyes peeled for a good book to replace it with but nothing has popped up yet. Although I should be kept pretty busy with the free ebooks on design I got from the following site: 10 Free Ebooks for Web Designers