Advanced New Media

Designing and building websites at the University of Wyoming

Week 1: Design Principles to Showcase Your Work

Why You’ll Thank Yourself for Knowing HTML & CSS

(1) You can now showcase your own material and skills: If you’re headed for a media or communication career that involves new media and social media, it’s a great idea to have your own website. You can post and host all of your journalism and communication material–print stories, audio stories, photography, video stories, slideshows, interactive graphics, artwork, etc. This effort will help you “brand” yourself. There is a lot of competition out there.

(2) You can now work with a content management system: Most large companies have a CMS (content management system) that is like a standard “shell” where you insert the content. You have little control over the layout and design, rather, you merely insert the content into the shell. With advanced knowledge of HTML and CSS, you will understand the CMS and you may even be able to make or suggest improvements.

(3) You can now design websites for others: Once word gets out that you can design websites, don’t be surprised if your friends, family, acquaintances, organizations, companies, etc., start asking you to design their website. You can make some money out of this skill!

Let’s read an article about getting a job in journalism code.

Inspiration and Reflection: Examples of Portfolio Websites

Next, let’s examine examples of portfolio websites. Think about what these students and young professionals are communicating through their website. In particular, concentrate on the:

  • Domain Name
  • Typography (text)
  • Color
  • Navigation
  • Layout
  • Links
  • Work Examples

Student Example 1 | Student Example 2 | Student Example 3 | Student Example 4 | Student Example 5 | Student Example 6 | Student Example 7

Design Principles for Creating a Clean, Professional Website

Emphasis

Definition: Highlights the importance of the site’s content. Also relates to hierarchy.

  • When creating a draft of your site, list all of the information that needs to appear on the page.
  • Then, number the information by order of importance.
  • Design the visual hierarchy so the page reflects the determined importance.
  • Avoid emphasizing everything and avoid emphasizing nothing.

Good example.

Balance

Definition: How the elements in a design are distributed and how they relate to the overall distribution of visual weight within the page. As elements are grouped together in a page, visual weight is created. You want to balance the visual weight so as to create stability. Two kinds exist:
1. Symmetrical Balance: Equal visual weight is given to elements so that two halves mirror one another. Example.
2. Asymmetrical Balance: Visual weight is distributed equally, but elements do not mirror one another. Example.

Websites can mix the two types as well. Example.

Alignment

Definition: The arrangement of elements in such a way that the natural lines (or borders) created by them match up as closely as possible.

  • Don’t mix alignments. Choose one alignment and use it on the entire page. Not-so-hot example.
  • Break this rule for creating contrast and focus. Like this.
  • Do not center everything.

Proximity

Definition: The relationships that items develop when they are close together. When items are close, ensure you want the relationship to exist. When items are far apart, relationships are less likely to exist.
Example of proximity creating relationships.
Example of potentially confusing proximity.

Repetition

Definition: Throughout the website, there are certain elements that are common and unify the disparate parts together.

  • Each page should look like it belongs to the same website.
  • Color, shape, line, fonts, spacing, layout, typography, and imagery are some examples of potential repetitive elements.
  • A benefit of repetition is predictability. Users will better understand the design, navigation, and hierarchy.

Good Examples: Color repetition. Font repetition. Layout repetition. Imagery repetition.

Poor Examples: Lack of color repetition. Lack of font repetition. Lack of layout repetition. Lack of imagery repetition.

Contrast

Definition: The visual differentiation of two or more elements. Contrast creates emphasis and focus toward the distinct elements, and can create a visual hierarchy as well.

  • Elements that have strong contrast appear distinct and unique. Elements that have weak contrast appear unified.
  • If you want elements to appear separate, use strong contrast. Go all the way. Don’t make them almost the same.
  • Ensure that some elements of your website have contrast, which subsequently creates focus. You don’t want everything to have the same visual priority.
  • Create contrast with color, size, position, and font.

Examples: Color contrast. Font contrast. Poor use of contrast. Another poor use of contrast.

Background Images

Related to contrast is the background image. Should you have one on your website? The answer: it depends. If there is enough contrast and the image is repeated in a seamless manner, then it is OK: Example 1 | Example 2.

Do not use a background image if the image if the contrast is too weak or the image is not seamlessly repeated: Example 1 | Example 2.

What are your thoughts on these examples? Example 1 | Example 2 | Example 3

Flow

Definition: The path the users’ eyes follow as they examine a website. Flow results from the execution of the design principles explained above.

  • Consider that our eyes typically examine webpages from left to right and top to bottom.
  • Ensure our eyes do not bounce around the page, darting from right to bottom and back up.

Example of smooth flow. Another example of smooth flow. Example of poor flow.

Typography on the Web

This refers to the use of fonts, font size, and font style on the web.

  1. Text is appropriate size.
  2. Hierarchy of information is clear.
  3. Lines of text are not too long to read.
  4. Background does not compete with text.
  5. There is enough contrast between background and text color.
  6. Uses sans serif fonts for long portions of text.
  7. No large blocks of text in bold, italic, all caps, or small caps.

What do you think about these examples in terms of typography? Example 1 | Example 2 | Example 3

Color Schemes

There are several types of color schemes to choose from when designing your website. Let’s familiarize ourselves with these terms and the color wheel.

  1. Monochromatic: Only one color is used, with varying values. Example 1.
  2. Analogous: Several colors that sit next to one another on the color wheel are used. Example 1. Example 2.
  3. Complementary: Joins colors that sit across from one another on the color wheel. Example 1. Example 2.
  4. Triadic: Three colors that are equally spaced on the color wheel are used. Example 1.
  5. Color Discord: Color discord can be visually disturbing, attract interest, relay ideas or themes, and create surprise. Example 1.

You want to pick one color strategy and stick to it in order to create a visually appealing website.

Layout and Themes

There are many options when it comes to the overall layout and theme of your website. Here are some ideas:

  1. Ultra clean designs lean toward minimalism, but emphasize the crystal clearness of the design. Example 1.
  2. Minimalist designs are timeless and are easier to build and maintain. They offer professionalism as well. Example 1. Example 2.
  3. Type-focused designs use the text as a dominant element and use text in an elegant way. Example 1.
  4. Visual-oriented designs use images, graphics, or multimedia in an elegant way. Example 1. Example 2. Other examples of visual-oriented websites.

Note: Definitions and listed material are adapted from The Web Designer’s Idea Book, Vol. 2 as well as The Non-Designer’s Web Book, 3rd ed..

If you want to examine even more examples of websites, check out these student websites. Note that some websites are great and some are a throwback to poor web design principles from the 1990s.

Week 1: First Law of Usability and How to Learn HTML

Krug Introduction

What is a usability consultant? What do they do?

Krug outlines seven key words that define usability:

  1. Useful: Does it do something people need done?
  2. Learnable: Can people figure out how to use it?
  3. Memorable: Do they have to relearn it each time they use it?
  4. Effective: Does it get the job done?
  5. Efficient: Does it do it with a reasonable amount of time and effort?
  6. Desirable: Do people want it?
  7. Delightful: Is using it enjoyable, or even fun?

Krug Chapter 1: Basic Usability

Most important usability concept: “Don’t make me think!”

You want to build a website that is OBVIOUS and SELF-EVIDENT to the user and does not require thought.

For example:

  1. Navigation is easy to find, understand, and use.
  2. Web pages give a clue as to where the user is and what page they are on.
  3. Links standout from the normal text color, yet coordinate with page colors.
  4. Link text gives a clue as as to where the user will go once they click on it.
  5. Consistent navigation across the website enhances usability.

Why is building a self-evident website important?

R&F Introduction: How to Use This Book

I’ve taught this class three times before. I finally found a conversational, fun, and memorable HTML book. The introduction has a few key points that I’d like to emphasize.

Embrace the silliness, graphics, and conversational style. They are novel and fun. You will remember them more.

Embrace the struggles. We learn when we struggle and fail. Get yourself to think more deeply and critically when you fail.

Embrace the redundancy. We will create the examples in the textbook. Then, you must apply these concepts and skills to your own website. It’s redundant, but it will stick to your brain more.

Embrace the ambiguity. There is often no “right” or “wrong” way to design something. There are many approaches to achieving the same overall result. However, there are design principles that matter and should influence your work.

Embrace the details. On the flip side, details matter. There is a “right” and “wrong” way to write code. One missing backslash or colon can ruin your website.

 

First Day: COJO 4530

Students of media, journalism, and strategic communication (e.g., PR, advertising) need to diversify their skills. This class gives you a platform through which to share your work and add HTML, CSS, and Dreamweaver skills to your resume. You’ll create and design your own portfolio website to house your professional work. Get psyched, get inspired! This is fun stuff! Here are some examples of what I mean by portfolio website.

Student Example 1 | Student Example 2 | Student Example 3 | Student Example 4 | Student Example 5 | Student Example 6

DyannDiercks

Course Blog and WyoCourses Website

You can find all of our course materials on this blog as well as our WyoCourses website. I’ll post all of our course materials and assignments here, under the COJO 4530 tab in the left-side navigation column.

Now let’s review the syllabus (found on the COJO 4530 tab and the WyoCourses website).

 

Student Work: Video Storytelling

Alison Clarke and Katelind Higgins

Andrew O’Neill and Ben Banta

Bianca Coca and Kaisha McCutchan

Brooklynn Gray and Max Renton

Charlie McClain and K.C. Schooner

Edward Timmons and Miranda Anderson

Esther Seville and Hannah Robinson

Jordan Blazovich and Nick Robinson

Kaitlyn Camargo and Lauren Garrelts

Louisa Wilkinson and Taylor Dilts

Intern at Wyoming Public Media

The News Department at WPR is looking for interns: http://wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/news-internship-spring-2015.

It’s great experience for anyone interested in audio, radio, reporting, and editing. Also, internships are one of the most valuable college experiences you can get. Many employers require internship experience.

You can earn COJO upper division credit for the internship as well, which will help you work toward graduation and upper division credit.

I highly recommend this internship.

More Video Storytelling Examples

First, 10 minutes to evaluate the class and my teaching.

Now, a few reminders:

1. For the Twitter assignment, follow me on Twitter. I can’t grade your work otherwise.

2. Review the Twitter assignment guidelines BEFORE you tweet. You need at least 10 tweets, two interviews, and hashtags on tweets. You also need to be professional and use newswriting style. And the tweets should show a narrative arc (beginning, middle, and end to the event or story).

3. The tweets are due by next Thurs. 12/11 @ 11:59 p.m.

4. The video project can be promotional or journalistic. It’s between 2 and 4 minutes. You can use whatever editing program you like. There should be two on-camera interviews. There should be a narrative arc as well. Don’t forget the ambient noise.

5. The video project is due by Thurs. 12/18 @ 12:15 p.m.

6. WRITE BLOG POSTS and answer the assignment questions for BOTH the Twitter and video assignments. Please don’t forget this. The highest grade you can get is a C if you forget this (see grading rubrics).

7. There is still time to take the extra credit online survey. The deadline is Thurs. 12/11. Visit: http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=2cuc0x5gox88nj0290568

8. Please connect with me on LinkedIn. I enjoy keeping tabs on what my former students are doing in the working world. I may even invite you to be a guest speaker in one of my classes.

 

Below are some additional video storytelling examples. Let’s take a look and discuss as a class.

What was done well? What could be improved?

 

What are you doing for your video storytelling project?

Video Project

Video Storytelling

The ability to tell a good story with video is a difficult yet important skill for journalists and communicators to learn. Video is not just on TV anymore — you can find video stories online and on mobile devices as well. You’ll work in teams of two for this project. Let’s partner up and review the instructions for Blog Post 10 – Video Project

1. Pre-Production (Before You Shoot)

Choose a story (or event!) that is well suited for video. This includes stories that have strong visual components and that have any sort of motion.

Identify your sources. Seek out multiple and diverse perspectives for your story.

Write preliminary interview questions after researching the story. Plan out your questions, story focus, and narrative (i.e., beginning, middle, and end) in advance, as much as you can. However, also remember to be adaptable during the interview and ask appropriate follow-up questions.

“Show me, don’t tell me” is the mantra in video storytelling. Find a way to show a story unfolding with video. Minimize the on-camera interviews with people (i.e., “talking head interviews”). It’s more interesting to watch an event occur rather than here about it from an interviewee.

Plan to shoot a variety of angles and types of shots. For suggestions, see Production, below.

Consider how you (the reporter) will fit into the story. Will you appear on-camera to set the scene or conduct an interview? If you’d like to try that, go ahead! Or, will you be completely invisible to the audience, just like you were during the Soundslides project and the audio profile project? Or, will you narrate the story without appearing on-camera?

2. Production (When You’re On-Location)

Plan on shooting before and after the event (if shooting an event). This ensures you have a variety of material to create your edited story from. Also, it helps develop a narrative of before, during, and after the event.

Shoot B-roll. B-roll is supplemental footage that relates to your story. For example, a video story about the the UW track team’s meet should include video of athletes warming up, tying their shoelaces, talking with coaches, etc. These are the shots that you can use to fill time while an interviewee is talking or while ambient noise (e.g., background noise from the event or music) is playing. For a 2-minute story, shoot at least 30 seconds of B-roll footage.

Shoot on-camera interviews with your sources. When shooting interviews, remember to look around at your surroundings. Is it relevant to the story? Can you move somewhere else to get the interview that is not as chaotic or loud? Just as with the audio interviews, encourage your sources to relax, act natural, and provide context to the answer they are giving to your question. Don’t be afraid to re-shoot a question and ask a question again. Oftentimes, the source gives a better and more eloquent answer to your question the second time you ask it.

Optional: Shoot on-camera reporters. If you’d like to appear on-camera as a broadcaster at some point, then this project is a good opportunity to practice. You can introduce the story and provide context to the significance of the story. You can transition with your voice and appearance between story segments. And you can conclude the story and provide a summary or “what happens next” statement.

Shoot a variety of camera shots. Whether you plan to be a visual journalist or not, you need to understand and learn how to execute the types of shots. See this website for visual examples and descriptions as we go over the definitions below.

  • Extreme wide shots. Shows the whole entire scene of an event, location, or story. These shots give viewers information about where the story takes place. They set the scene and give context early on in a story.
  • Very wide shots. Shows less background and shows the subject in the large scene. The subject is barely visible.
  • Wide shots. Shows the whole subject so the visual emphasis is on the subject rather than the background.
  • Mid shots. Shows the subject even closer, but a bit of the scene is still visible in the frame.
  • Medium close-up shots. Shows the subject even closer and the subject’s features and expressions are more of the focus.
  • Close-up shots. Shows the subject’s head to shoulder area.
  • Extreme close-up shots. Shows only the subject in the frame, such as the subject’s eyes and nose.
  • Cut-in shots. Shows some other part of the main subject, not the face and shoulders.
  • Cutaway shots. B-roll that is used as transitions between shots or to add information not offered by shots of the main subject or scene.
  • Point-of-view shots. Shows a scene from the subject’s perspective such that you feel like you are in their shoes.

 

Optional: Camera movement techniques. Camera movements are more advanced production techniques. They may not work out well if you do not have a high-quality video camera. Thus, I would avoid these techniques unless you have prior experinece with video or unless you have a high-quality video camear. If you decide to use camea movements, see the techniques below:

  • Zooming: Going from wide-angle to close-up or vice versa.
  • Panning: Moving the camera horizontally.
  • Tilts: Moving the camera vertically.
  • Tracking: Moving the camera around accordingly to track the subject.

 

Composition concerns: Give headroom so the interviewee has space above their head during the shot. Avoid distractions in the background of shots. Remember the rule of thirds still!

3. Post-Production (The Editing Process)

Editing programs. You have access to Adobe Premiere Elements in this lab, CR 207, as well as Ross Hall 423 (next to my office), AS 228, and the IT building computer lab. However, you are free to use another editing program, such as iMovie, FinalCutPro, or Windows Movie Maker. Adobe Premiere and FinalCutPro are the industry standards for video editing. iMovie is pretty good for being a standard software on a MacBook. Windows Movie Maker is pretty awful and I don’t recommend it unless you have no other options. Also, consider downloading  a trial version of Adobe Premiere. The IT building has a beautiful Mac computer in the scantron room that has FinalCutPro on it.

Conceptual Editing. You want to brainstorm and plan out your story before you begin with technical editing. You want to have the story flow ironed out first. If you’re stuck, think about how you’d tell a friend your story. What did you start with? What else did you tell your friend? How does the story end? Also, search for sound bites that address the who, what, where, when, why, how, and so what.

The video editing process is similar to the audio editing process. Remember the tips associated with audio editing.

Keep your story focused — it’s supposed to be about 2-4 minutes.

Project Requirements

Below are the main points you need to consider while working on your project. I will use these elements to evaluate your work.

  • At least 2 sources
  • At least 5 seconds of ambient noise, natural sound, or music
  • Video is between 2 and 4 minutes
  • Video shots are diverse (see camera shots and camera movements above)
  • Speakers are introduced with titles and/or the speaker self-identifies themselves and/or the reporter identifies the speaker
  • Story has a beginning, middle, and end (narrative arc)
  • Editing is smooth

 

Video Storytelling Examples From Past Classes

Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-Event Story with Reporter Narration – Zachary Laux and Cameron Patey
Online Gaming

Example of Journalistic Approach to an Event Story Without Reporter Narration – Rachel Vliem and Rachel Wagner

Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-event Story without Reporter Narration – Brittany Hamilton and Scottie Melton

Example of Promotional Approach – Courtney Gifford, Travis Hoff, Sam Weinstein
Border War: The ROTC Story

Soundslides Projects – Fall 2014

Edward Timmons and Miranda Anderson

Benjamin Banta and Andrew O’Neill

Hannah Robinson and Esther Seville

KC Schooner and Charlie McClain

Jordan Blazovich and Nick Robinson

Kaitlyn Camargo and Lauren Garrelts

Max Renton and Brooklynn Gray

Taylor Dilts and Louisa Wilkinson

Colby Kirkegaard, Blair Burns, and Nehemie Kankolongo

An Exercise in Juggling: Live-Tweeting Speeches

Now that you know more about how to use social media for storytelling, we are going to live-report a newsworthy event using Twitter.

Think of this exercise as an exercise in juggling. You have to watch, listen, type (or write), and tweet. This is preparation for your live tweeting assignment. Let’s take a look at the Blog Post 9 – Live Tweeting Project

It will be helpful to do a few practice runs first. Let’s watch Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech.

First, open a Word file. I want you to type as much as information, notes, and direct quotes that you can from the speech. You may even write the tweets during the speech. But try not to miss anything!

Then, we’re going to take class time to create as many 140-character tweets as possible (with the hashtag #SteveJobs included in each tweet). Highlight the first sentence or two in your file. Is it 140 characters? How should you edit it? Is it important enough to tweet?

Aim for at least 10 tweets, but more is better. If this was a live event, your audience would want as many direct quotes from Jobs as possible.

After you’re done, we’ll share our tweets as a class by going around the room. This should give you an idea of the key moments of the speech. And you should double-check to ensure you captured those key moments of the speech in tweets you have written in your Word file.

This exercise should help you understand the process of live-tweeting.

If we have time, we will practice live-tweeting another speech: Emma Watson’s speech about gender equality to the UN.

Assignment Tips

  1. Be sure that you charge your smartphone before attending the event. If your phone runs out of battery and you’re supposed to be live-tweeting an event, that is no excuse to a boss in the future.
  2. Write down interview notes and information before you live tweet them. Don’t try to tweet on your phone as you’re interviewing someone. Construct tweets on paper or using your phone’s “notepad” before tweeting on Twitter.
  3. Dress professionally and/or appropriate for the event that you’re covering. Dressing up makes you look professional and people may take you more seriously.
  4. Re-read your tweet before you publish it. Edit it, if needed. If you do make a mistake, you can delete the wrong tweet and then publish a corrected tweet.

Job Opportunities for Making Social Change

**Post-Graduation 2015 Job Opportunities Making Social Change**

We’re looking for smart, hard-working students who work well in a team and are eager to make real change after graduation.

The Fund for the Public Interest (­“the Fund”) partners with leading nonprofit groups from around the country, providing the kind of people power it takes to build organizations for the long-term, win hard-fought campaigns, and make real change on some of the most important issues of our day. And we’re hiring!

Specifically, we’re hiring Citizen Outreach Directors to run our grassroots campaign offices across the country next fall — working on behalf of groups like Environment America and US PIRG.

We are looking for smart, motivated students who want to get their hands dirty and make a real impact on some of the most critical issues facing our society.

If you are interested in applying, visit our website at www.fundjobs.org, or contact me directly at jobs@fundstaff.org

I’m looking forward to speaking with you more about our positions!

Kate Fielding

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