Adding some spice to your site.

I’ve been trying to pay attention to websites lately and figure out what makes some stand out from the rest. Aside from being pretty looking, here are some of my favorite interactive features:

Embedded Tweets
You can read the tweet and access every part of it like you were actually reading your own twitter feed. It makes browsing a site super easy when you don’t have to go to Twitter just so you can look into someone’s twitter handle or hashtag or link or whatever other interactive feature is included in the tweet.

If you click the title, you can get some pretty good instructions on how to DIY. But it’s basically as simple as clicking on a tweet, clicking ‘more,’ and then clicking the embed tweet option.
p.s. this compilation of best tweets from the Super Bowl Blackout is what drew my attention to this feature.

Live BloggingI love reading live blogs. Like, especially of awards shows like the Oscars. Vulture.com had a really fabulous live blog going, and you can re-watch it. It was nice because it updated itself, it was like watching a Youtube video. Before I had seen ‘live blogging’ done by updating posts and putting the time next to the posts, like when Thought Catalog live blogged hurricane Sandy. But I had to continually refresh the page.

I’ll live blog eventually.. untill then, get yourself schooled! WordPress has detailed instructions, plugin download and 2 minute tutorial on how to get yourself live blogging (with a WordPress platform).

Interactive Images
I was browsing a photo gallery of celebrity wedding and engagement rings on toofab.com… because that’s just what I do in my spare time and I notice this really cool feature. The images were totally interactive! You could scroll over different parts of the picture, like a celeb’s ring, nail polish, outfit and then something would pop up on the side of the picture that showed you a version that you could buy!!
I found this cool site called thinglink.com that helps you make pictures more interactive. I gave it a try on one of my pictures. Super easy!

Add some spice to your site & try one of these tricks out!

 

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Search Engine Optimization

Aside

Today I’d like to tackle Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I’d heard it in passing every now and then around the office but never knew too much about it. Prior to my research, I would have explained it as what makes your website pop up at the top of a search engines results.

Recently in my Web Design class, I’ve heard the term used more, but I still don’t really know what’s going on. So I plugged around on the internet (like I do) and I found this really awesome resource.

Google created this PDF file for understanding SEO. It’s written in terms that make it really easy to understand. What I really like about it is that each page includes a glossary at the bottom, so if you don’t understand a term used, you don’t have to do a different search to find out what the term means, all so you can grasp the “basics” of a concept.

What a relief!

I’m learning a little bit about hand coding. The PDF explains which parts of the code are relevant to SEO and how to get the best results.

Take a look for yourself! There’s this cute little robot that acts as your guide throughout the pdf. Screen Shot 2013-02-14 at 9.30.42 PM

If Only All the Diamonds Really Did Shine Bright.

With  Valentine’s Day swiftly approaching, it’s only natural for the cynics and romantics living inside us all to start waging a viscous war.

Does the commercial saturation of jewelry commercials eat at your soul or are you waiting for your own little black box to be popped open in front of you?

Are you among those saying February 14th is just another Hallmark Holiday made for the benefit of retailers?

Yes it’s true, people are out to make a buck, but what’s so wrong with having a day to celebrate love? I don’t need anyone to buy me chocolates and flowers and cards but I can’t say that I don’t feel this pang in my heart that makes me wish I had some one to say, “no, I don’t need any of that material trash.”

 

That stupid pang is the same irksome feeling that has sent me on so many journeys for my diamond in the rough. It’s not obvious that they’re prince charming, so you give them a shot anyways. Some guys have the ability of undergoing a complete frog-to-prince transformation. It might be because they got new clothes, new hair or less acne, but it happens.

 

There are dates I’ve went on where I should have known the boy was trouble. Not like in a Taylor Swift kind of way. More like in a, “I put make-up on for this?” kind of way or, “this person is so socially awkward, he might be a sociopath and kill me,” kind of way.  

 

If you’re feeling a tug at your heartstrings commonly caused by Valentine’s Day and go searching for your prince or diamond (whichever metaphor you prefer), heed my advice. Allow me to illustrate some key points for spotting a bad date in the making while simultaneously telling you about the worst date I’ve ever been on.

 

He disrespects your time.

I can let 5 minutes slide, maybe 10. If you’re any later than that, you’ve got some explaining to do. I waited an hour for this train wreck of a date to start. The plan was to meet at an ice skating rink to watch a hockey game. The building had two rinks, one for hockey games and one for ice-skating. So when my date said he would be late, but gave no mention to how long that was, I tried to make the best of the situation. It was still early and I was optimistic, so I went ice-skating.

 

He brings his work with him.

This phrase is usually used metaphorically, meaning that the person is either still thinking or talking about work, even when not at work. My date was unfortunately the literal interpretation. Thinking he would double dip work and play, he brought along with him a camera to take photos at the game (he was a photographer). That meant that we could “get better shots” standing by the Plexiglas separating wall than sitting in the bleachers.

 

He doesn’t respect your ideas.

This is important to any kind of relationship you’re in.

I had several ideas for movies we could have rented but felt very strongly against one movie. We somehow ended up watching that one movie despite my very obvious cues that the movie wasn’t my cup of tea. I prayed that we would at least get to watch it sitting down.

 

He doesn’t care about cleanliness.

If you can’t pretend to be a clean person for one date, I would hate to see the small amount of effort exerted into your every day life.

If you’re not going to clean up random food splatters off the linoleum, please try to recognize that this is a gross characteristic of a house.

On top of being dirty, this date happened three weeks after Halloween but this house still looked like it was a professional haunted house.

 

I realize I sound insane for staying on this date from the get-go, but sometimes you gotta do it for the story. I would never recommend subjecting yourself to this type of torture but I think the morals are pretty applicable for people who go on normal dates. My condolences for those who have gone on dates worse than this because I know it happens.

 

Will you be my Valentine?

Coding Encouragement.

Like I hinted in my last web design post, this week I’ll be taking a look at the CodeAcadamy blog. The post is titled Make 2013 Your Code Year. In 2012, Codeacademy set the challange to make coding and programming more mainstream. They designed a curriculum to span the year. In total, 450,000 people joined the movement. Some of the more noteworthy supporters were New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg and the White House. Bloomberg committed to take a computer programming course and the White House worked with Codeacadmey to make a summer program to help teach children.

In 2013, Codeacadamey’s new goal for everyone is to not only learn how to code, but to build something.
If the mayor has time to learn coding and if even kids can learn it, so can I.
I think I might even take the pledge.

Screen Shot 2013-02-07 at 1.48.24 PM

…Or not. Since I’m taking a class, I don’t think I’ll use Codeacadamey now. I might once I’m out of my Web I class since I’ll have graduated and don’t get to take Web II. I generally love the attitude and atmosphere of the site though.

I really like the idea of teaching kids to code. So I dug a little further into the topic. Douglas Rushkoff, a columnist for CNN.com  had really strong reasons for making coding and programming more of a requirement in schools. Here is a synopsist:

1. When we learn a language, we learn how to listen and how to speak. We have computers and we learn how to use them — but not how to program them.
2. Without knowing how to program a computer, you’ll forever be in the passenger’s seat, never the driver’s seat.
3. Not knowing how our digital environments are constructed leads us to accept them at face value.
4. “Computer class” can’t be about teaching kids to use today’s software; it must be about teaching kids to make tomorrow’s software.
5. The technology we build today is the operating system of the society of tomorrow.
6. Being able to think critically about digital media environments means being able to think critically about our world.
7. Algorithms are the basic building blocks of computer programming. Once kids learn long division, they are ready to start programming.

You can read more of his Rushkoff’s reasons. Definately persuasive!

Hope everyone has a great weekend whether you’re in Ohio or Disney.

63466_mickeys_cameraSidenote: In my class we’re starting to learn how to use Photoshop to design websites and I’m SO EXCITED. Someday, I’ll be able to write posts with links and the reader will see the link in a different tab instead the link redirecting the page. Which is how it is now and it’s super frustrating!!

I’ll be dreaming of a better blog until then…

 

 

 

A Commuter’s Life For Me

Between working at Keep Akron Beautiful and being a commuter, I’ve been inspired to write a post for fellow commuters in hopes that they can make their lives a little greener.

The convenience of a car is undeniable but I can’t always say the same for my class schedule. Sometimes I’ll be sprinting from class to class while other times I have hour long breaks. While I would rather have the long break compared to the mini cardio workout, the long breaks can be just as challenging.

Do I have enough time to go back to my apartment? Or should I just stay on campus?

I usually try to stay on campus as much as possible. It saves me from spending more money on gas and gives me all the other benefits being fuel efficient.

Staying on campus can actually save you time too.  Here are my tips for maximizing your productivity while stuck on campus.

1.)  Bring an extension cord.

I hate when I have everything I need to work on an assignment only to realize that my laptop battery has drained down to 6%. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a seat convientantly located next to an outlet. But often, there isn’t a table next to the outlet, you’d have to get uncomfortably close to a stranger or you’ve already got your stuff spread out and moving closer to an outlet would be a hassle. Bringing an extension cord eliminates all that!!

 

2.)  Bring reusable drink/food containers.

This one will help you save money! Otherwise, you could end up spending a lot of cash on campus from buying food. Bringing a travel coffee mug has been one of my best decisions to date. If you need to buy coffee, Starbucks gives you a discount for using your own cup. Or, on the cheaper side, I always buy vending machine coffee & pour it into my mug. The cups you usually get don’t have a lid, which is one of my biggest annoyances in life.

 

3.)  Work it out.

Pretty self explanatory. You have time, the gym is free. But think ahead if you don’t want to go to your class really gross looking.  So if your hair has somewhat survived the workout but is still borderline greasy, a thick head band could do the trick.  Take advantage of winter, rock a toboggan.

 

4.)  Don’t over estimate your own productivity.

Sure, you have three hours between classes and you could totally get your whole project done. But don’t kid yourself. I know I don’t have the concentration to work on one thing for that long. And don’t beat yourself up about it either. Plan to give your brain some leisure time. Watch videos, listen to music, play Sudoku.

 

That’s generally how I make it through the day. Granted, I look like a pack mule because I’m carrying so much stuff with me, but I’m basically content with life. How do you survive the day?