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Castro Introduction, Ch 1, 2 Read Article 1: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Beaird Chapter 1 Layout and Composition


The Design Process
Discovery Meet with clients nad learn what they do, information gathering Research their business before you start, google them; if you cant find any info about them personally, read about their industry At the meeting you want to find out what the client wants.

Exploration Analyse the information you gathered, try to understand all the products and services they offer and how they can be arranged Use scrap paper and sticky notes to mock up all the bits and pieces of the website before you start arranging them into groups and subgroups; this way you can start thinking about how the navigation should work;

Implementation Start the design process by creating a layout Use a blank sheet of paper; allows you to focus on how the site will look instead of on any technical limitations;

Defining Good Design


Two main views to determine whether or not a design is good: o Usability: focus on functionality, effective presentation of information and efficiency Aesthetic: artistic value and visual appeal

To reach people and maintain their interest you need both; Most important: it is about communication

Users are pleased by the design but drawn to the content Design should help users find the info they need

Users can move about easily via intuitive navigation Main navigation block should be easy to see, each link should be descriptively titled Nav that allows users to see where they are and changes its appearance when the cursor is over it Secondary nav features should not be dominant page features, need to make them easy to find but still allow users to focus on content

Users recognize each page as belonging to the same site Even if the layout is different from page to page there should be something that ties all pages of the site together, such as a theme or style Could use the same navigation blocks and colour palette across pages

Web Page Anatomy


A design that satisfies all requirements is not as hard as it seems There are only a few layouts that make sense, and most pages have the same elements: o Containing Block: a container to put page contents; can be fluid to fit different browser widths Logo: designers call this an identity; it is the logo and colors that a company uses throughout their marketing tools, ie letterhead, business cards, brochures; on a website the identity block should contain the companys logo or name and be located at the top of each page; Navigation: a sites navigation should be easy to find and use; users expect it across the top of the page; Content: content is king; typically, website users will enter and leave a site in just seconds; keep the main content block the focal point of the design to allow visitors to scan for what they are looking for;

Whitespace: aka negative space; any area of the page w/out type or pictures; it is as important to plan whitespace as content;

Grid Theory
About proportion; Golden mean; compositions that use the golden mean are more aesthetically pleasing;

Rule of Thirds Simplified version of rule of thirds; a line bisected by the golden ratio is divided into two sections, one of which is approximately twice the size of the other; using this allows you to more easily decide proportions;

960 Grid System Three layouts: 12-column, 16-column, 24-column; Use the columns of the grid as alignment guides for identity, navigation, content, and footer Avoid putting all content in the same one or two blocks since it is not visually interesting; When a layout is not working move elements around and resize them on the grid until they click together

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Is Google Making Us Stupid?


Cannot read for as long, difficult to immerse himself in long stretches of text Deep reading used to come naturally, now it is a struggle Deep reading used to come naturally, now it is a struggle For more than 10 years has spent a lot of time online Researching something in a library used to take days, now it can be done much more quickly on the web Even after work is over he uses it for personal things like email or reading news, watching videos

universal medium that gives us access to most of the information that we receive

Media, however, also shape the process of thought and for author this means loss of concentration and thinking, instead of delving deeply and slowly through information he is now just skimming vast amounts of it Talking to others he finds they are having similar issues A friend of authors who was an avid reader questions whether surfring has changed the way he thinks A blogger postulates that he too has lost the ability to read long articles regardless of whether it is in print or online; now he quickly scans short passages from many sources; These are anecdotes, however, a study done shows that we may be changing the way we read and think; they found that people using a database of journal articles would not read the entire article, but rather would skim the material, usually reading no more than one or two pages before skipping to the next source. There are new ways of reading; the power browse looks horizontally through titles, contents pages, and abstracts looking for a quick win; a way of avoiding reading. Due to the web and text messagein we may be reading more than we did in the 70s or 80s when tv was the most popurlar medium, but it is a different kind of reading and behind it a different type of thinking ; we may be losing the ability to read deeply, that means that we are not able to interpret text we are simply decoding it instead of making connections while we read deeply without distraction; Reading is not instinctive; we have to learn how to doe it; the media we use in learning and practicing ready shape our brains; The brain is plastic and routinely discards old connections and forms new ones The tools we use shape our brains so that our brains come to resemble the tools we use Note that when the clock was invented we stopped listening to our senses about when to eat and sleep and deferred to the clock to make those decisions The computer is able to do what any other information-processing machine is, this means it can be a clock, a radio, a television, a book, a typewriter, a telephone among other things; but, when the net absorbs a medium it remakes it into the image of itself; therefore, it has the ability to scatter our

senses; while reading email we are also seeing headlines, the time, that our friends are online, etc. Once people are accustomed to the way the internet works other mediums start to mimic them, ie screens with text scrawls, print media with shorter articles, use of easy to browse information Frederick Winslow Taylor introduced his system to ensure that no one in a factory was wasting time/movement to increase efficiency; it is still part of industrial manufacturing; this is beginning to take over how we think, too through the computer; The internet is designed for the efficient collection, transmission and manipulation of information Google uses the information it gathers about how people use internet to develop algorithms that control how people find information and get meaning from it; the same thing Taylor did for factories Google is doing for the work of the mind; Google sees information as a commodity; the more information we can access and get the gist of the more productive we become; Googles founders want to create a search engine that is as smart as people artificial intelligence; The idea that we could be improved by adding artificial intelligence to our minds is disturbing, because behind that is the idea that thinking is simply a mechanical process with steps that can be isolated and optimized; there is no place for thinking or ambiguity; The ideas that we should work as high-speed processing data machines is the business model for the web; the faster we surf t the more opportunities Google has to collect information about us that they can then sell to advertisers; They have no interest in promoting slow reading, concentration, it is in their economic interest to keep us moving