Tag Archives: words

Week six: wireframes ummm what?

I don’t even want to get into how long it took me to realize what a wireframe was. Suffice to say that I did indeed figure it out in time to do the assignment, which was find examples of three different types of navigational layouts and then create a wireframe of one of them.

For anyone who is ignorant like me, a wireframe is a sketch of a website’s layout. Wireframe is a specialized technical word for web design, which sends me down another trip down memory lane back to undergrad linguistics. Specialized technical language helps create communities of expertise and helps people in the same field identify one another and keep non-experts at arms’ length.*

At any rate, I chose a couple of faves: Smitten Kitchen for vertical and Knitty for horizontal. What really struck me was that many websites now have multiple ways of navigation. Which can be useful as it offers the user multiple ways of exploring the site; however, having too many choices can be confusing and ultimately as frustrating as having too few. One more for keep it simple.

In terms of finding an experimental navigational website, I had to turn to my old friend Google because all of my favourite websites are pretty standard navigation.

I then used Gliffy to create a very, very basic wireframe of Smitten Kitchen that I will not add here; suffice to say that I would much rather have the logo guru’s little Moleskin journal to sketch in. And also it’s kind of interesting that you always have to start from a sketch. No one can just produce something fully formed without a rough draft (bar Zeus/Athena). No matter how well-developed it may be in the mind’s eye, there are always multiple attempts and do-overs before it’s just right.

*My definition may be somewhat coloured by my experience of the sociolinguistics class, which may or may not have involved dozing off in the back row/gossiping with a friend.

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Week two: can’t stop thinking about design

After flipping through (ahem, studying deeply) the Principles of Design book, I was taken back to the days of my youth in undergrad taking all manner of psychology classes. In particular, I remembered a class I took in semiotics, after which I regarded pretty much everything with a jaded and critical eye, trying to figure out the meaning.

Just like then, I am suddenly seeing these principles of design everywhere. One that is really standing out is the red effect. I read about it and it made me cross – women are viewed as more sexually attractive when wearing red and men are seen as more powerful. I get it, I get the reasoning behind it (even though it dates back to WHEN WE WERE MONKEYS, CAN WE GET OVER THAT ALREADY?) but I don’t care for it.

Because I see red as powerful, period. For either gender. Red is a statement, and while it can often be about sex it shouldn’t be limited to sex. And of course through serendipity came this gem about wearing red lipstick: http://thehairpin.com/2015/05/kiss-me-with-those-red-lips/

Which hearkened back to a previous Hairpin article where one of the editors asked contributors to comment on what makes you feel powerful. One of the contributors said that wearing red lipstick makes her feel powerful, and I agree. I’m a lipstick fiend and at least four of them are fairly bold reds, and I wear them when I need a boost, either at work or at play.

This then made me think of a line in one of my favourite books, Deathless by Catherynne Valente. One character is counselling another on the proper use of makeup: pink insists, coral coaxes, red compels.

Which brought me back to my semiotics class – what are we saying with red? Statements about power. Which brings me back to design – how are we using red? As a power colour.

So, yeah.

Week one: We begin at the very beginning

After my initial panic over needing to create a blog (!) and complete uncertainty as to what to do for said blog (!) I decided to take a deep breath and relax. So I don’t have anything that translates super-well into a blog. So my passions, which are largely tangible ones, are not sufficiently advanced or pretty enough to merit a blog. So what? This is what I have, and this is what I will use. I will use this space as a record of my crafting, and as a way of re-examining my various efforts (cooking, crafting, gardening) through the lens of design.

I realize that there is a certain amount of irony extolling the virtues of handmade tactile articles on a website, but it works just fine for Our Lady of Home-Made Martha Stewart so it will work just fine for me. I also realize that there is a certain amount of privilege happening here in that I have the time, funds, and access to material that allows these things to be hobbies rather than necessities of life; I do not intend to address this in any deep or meaningful way, but I did want to acknowledge it, and acknowledge that I am privileged to enjoy my crafts and indeed to be taking this class. (I have been reading Roxane Gay and she has made me think a little harder about things I take for granted.)

Thinking of handmade tactile things, I have a couple of favourite websites that I use for inspiration. If they were books, they would be all wrinkled and thumbprinted and dogeared; as they are websites they remain pristine to the naked eye but the very lightest of analytics would reveal my frequent perusal thereof.

Cooking: http://www.smittenkitchen.com I can’t get enough of Deb Perelman’s recipes, and her commentary makes it feel like having a chat with a good friend. The photography is beautiful and does a great job selling the recipe, even if it’s something that makes me wrinkle my nose at first (I still wrinkle my nose at quinoa).

Knitting: http://knitty.com There is always some pattern to drool over, and I appreciate that they sort both by type of project and by level of difficulty. I haven’t been brave enough to attempt anything beyond tangy, but that’s mostly laziness. Mostly.

Gardening: www.canadiangardening.com This one became a favourite once we moved into a house with a garden, both front and back, and I decided to try my hand at gardening. I hated it when I was a child, probably because it was something I was made to do, but now that I’m an adult and can choose what to do with my time, apparently I like pulling weeds. Who knew?  I’ve mostly been using it as a reference to find out what plants do well in the shade, since we face east/west and get varying amounts of sun, but again the pictures are stunning.

All-round: www.canadianliving.com The site is a little busy, but has recipes that pretty much always turn out and plenty of craft ideas, as well as household tips. I used to have a subscription to the physical magazine (it is dirt-cheap but has a nice layout and doesn’t go overboard on articles so you don’t end up spending too much time on it) but got tired of ripping out recipes. Paperless future, baby!