The End

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Ahh the end of the takeaways… Tis a bittersweet moment….
Well this week we talked about browsers, html/css, web servers, and viral marketing strategies.

  1. We talked about WordPress this week and other CMS services, and Paul mentioned theming abilities and the abundance of themes available to users. In this article I learned some tips on designing themes for WordPress which is something I haven’t had any experience with yet. In the article the author gives some tips for not only creating a decent theme, but how to make it profitable as well. The first tip he gives is to find a niche which sounds familiar because its something that I have seen when it comes to selling apps successful but its still important. If you know your target audience then you can better design your app and in the end be more successful in terms of sales. Another great tip was that you should make it responsive, being responsive might as well be a standard at this point and people will look look past themes that aren’t responsive. As usual you should also make it intuitive and well documented so that the user can control it and use it with minimal assistance.
  2. In this article the author explains what viral marketing is and what you can do to actually make it work. The author says to think outside of the box when it comes to viral marketing strategies. He explains that using celebrities isn’t going to sell the product anymore, standing out and having a video getting spread around like crazy for being funny for example will do much better. The author does caution to not put the viral in front of the actual message you are trying to send, that is when the message can be misinterpreted and come around and bite you in the a**.
  3. This week we spoke about browsers and how far they have come, minus IE because in my opinion its crap but I digress. One of our classmates in the marketing program said with all the CMS out there are web developers and designers even needed anymore. It really got me thinking, because now everything is so automated compared to what developers in the past had. The article brings up a good point, we can’t just be good with HTML and CSS to be successful in this field anymore, just looking at job postings is enough to tell you that. We need to be extremely versatile, and well versed in a variety of programming languages, frameworks, and disciplines. The article says that through the advancement of browser technology and constant improvements that we wanted, it has in a way become a self fulfilling prophecy.
  4. This was an interesting article in that they talk about the origins of Facebook, Google, and Youtube and how they have become social media and marketing giants. They spoke of the “age of innocence” where these web technologies were just about connecting, finding, and sharing your videos with the world. Well that didn’t last long, money was to be made and now here we are, and as the article points out, we are all essentially marketers now, without even realizing it. The article goes into detail about an individual who took advantage of the internet in its early days because he realized the potential of the internet for marketing. Facebook for instance can be used to market anything to any demographic, and that in itself is amazing.
  5. We also talked about where technology is headed, and I was singled out because I am always on the cutting edge. Well not really but I am really geeky and I have a smart watch. Wearable tech is the future, and as this article points out it is still very much in its infancy but as technology progresses and time passes people will become more accustomed to wearable devices. From a developers standpoint it brings yet another form factor that we will potentially have to develop for and I am pretty excited for where it goes.
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Final Takeaways Before My Final Takaway’s Takaways

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This class we focused on the design of websites and user interfaces. We had some interesting discussions on what makes a good or bad website, and many things were agreed on while there were other design features that age groups disagreed on.

My takeaways from that class are:

  1. This article brought up some important things to think about in terms of the design of the site. Usability is a main factor when considering the final design but you also want to make it attractive to the user as well. The author wants you to approach it from the viewpoint of the user and try and see how they think. In the article you are shown some neat images where they did eye tracking on the users and you can see what looks like infrared heat signatures where they eyes focused on the most while visiting the site. Top left corner and left side in general had the most attention, primarily because we read from left to right, and as the author points out, we really don’t read the sites at all we just scan for words that are relavant to what we are looking for. The article also goes into detail on not making the user think, and to focus on being intuitive so there aren’t any questions on how to use the site. Also the design needs to be attractive in order to capture the attention of the users quickly because we are all becoming impatient monsters, incapable of paying any attention to anything that takes more than a few seconds of our time. The author actually brought up many topics that we as students thought of in the discussion so we are learning and making some progress as a group, not sure if society as a whole is even doing that.
  2. The topic of UX in class had me thinking alot, that is what that burning smell was in class if you’re wondering. I was looking into careers in design and UX was one of the fields that I found to be pretty interested in. I know good design, and I know that I’m pretty creative and this article was interesting because they are tips I may someday use to stand out while applying for a job. The article had some simple but great tips to consider when applying for a UX job. The first was all about connections which is a no brainer but it goes with the old saying “Its not what you know, its who you know.” Everyone is on Facebook and Twitter these days, and industry professionals are really beginning to use Twitter to stay connected, so that is something I am going to have to start doing because I personally don’t care for the Twitter thing. I don’t like limiting my brilliance to 140 characters, I can cram 20 more characters and information into a basic text message but I digress… The biggest point the author made for me though was that you need to have some real world experience, whether you volunteer or have an internship. They explain that you can use other skills from other fields which hit home for me, because I have a unique combination of skills that I have acquired throughout my short but interesting life. Seeing things from being trained as a carpenter, cnc machine operator, getting my previous degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement and graduating from the police academy I can use those experiences to put me ahead of others and demonstrate my problem solving skills. That is invaluable to recruiters, seeing someone who can be creative and solve problems for them.
  3. In this article the author explains how to construct a UX portfolio. The author says not to pretend to be a visual designer if you aren’t, which is great because I’m definitely no visual designer. While those skills are definitely a huge benefit the article explains that soft skills are also incredibly important as well. You need to be able to communicate your ideas, and display your capacity for analytical thinking, creative problem solving, and ability to plan. The article also brings up a good point when it comes to speaking to those who are interviewing you. Each person is going to be listening differently, when topics come up that they don’t understand or are not interested in they tend not to listen as well as they would have if they were interested. The author says to cater to each individual who is in the process, a programmer for example will understand things that a creative director will and vice versa. Something to keep in mind for an interview.
  4. This article is more about the design of apps before the user interface. It has some tips to keeping you on track in the design process like planning out the design before you start actually start coding the product and to consider the screen size of the devices you are developing your app for. It brought up a really good point that people seem to overlook in app design, how to display the fact that the program is doing something or loading. You need to design the app and any loading indication to mesh with the OS of the device. That also brings up another point that the article, you as a developer need to be familiar with the various operating systems you are developing for and the environments you need to use to develop them.
  5. This article is more about the visual design of apps, but it brings up man good points I wouldn’t have ever thought of. I like the tip that says to design the app or site with empty space. I was wondering why when I read it, but when the author explained that you need space for your finger on touch screens to swipe and move without accidentally activating anything I was amazed at the simplicity behind that idea. The other tips such as making it intuitive and pleasing to the eye weren’t really news to me but it was good to get it drilled in again.