Monday, March 26, 2007

Better Web Design

Three Hundred Eighty Seventh Post: Better Web Design

Well I have been trying to make minor design improvements to Constructor’s Corner. So far only the homepage has been changed, but there are many areas to improve the design of the site.

The problem I faced with the site design was not being able to create an interesting design, it was placing that design in a Web format. I had a book that showed that the design was simple, but to achieve that effect it took much tweaking of the html. So much tweaking that a simple design that requires nested tables becomes a challenge.

There was not an easy way of designing even in layout editors such as Dreamweaver. However I learned the secret that lets amateurs make great web pages. It still has to have good design elements and a structure, but the trick is to design the layout in Photoshop. In Photoshop you are free to design anything. The second part of the trick is transforming that design so that it is compatible with the Web by using Adobe GoLive.

This really isn’t I new trick. It is just one that I had used earlier. I learned it from a video training dvd from . It is just so simple. I know that Dreamweaver is nice and has one of the best structures for it web layout, but GoLive is as close as you can get from transferring the design from Photoshop to the Web. I also thought I new the basics of web design. It just a lesson that you can always learn something new. Once you know GoLive it is simple.

Of course, I am not completely happy with the new homepage design, but it is a 100% better and more readable than my previous attempts. And it loads faster.

I have also been thinking on a “Hunch” I posted 20070310. The hunch doesn’t quite work. But being correct wasn’t its only purpose. The goal is to work on the idea over the Net. I know that there are easy was to explain parabolas using only simple algebra and geometry. However, even though I believe an answer exists and have a strong hunch it is possible with basic math, doesn’t mean the solution is easy to find.

But until we redesign the web page of mathematics... May the Creative Force be with You

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Plain Interface

Three Hundred Eighty Sixth Post: Plain Interface

Today kids grow up seeing special effects in movies and play video games that have amazing graphics. But as we all know graphics alone don’t make a good game. If you think about it some of the most interesting games are ones that have a plain interface.

Myself, I like the occasional first person shooter, but then I give up and play classic games like chess. I also do a lot of math with geometry and graphics. But as interesting as the math puzzles get they rely on simple graphics, such as the graph of a parabola. With math and programming you see plain interfaces often having text commands. However this does not make the calculations any less interesting.

My point is clearly understood when comparing a graphing calculator to a handheld Nintendo DS. The DS has interactive games, but the calculator is not to be out done. The calculator is about imagination and building something. Even though the calculator seems plain, the concepts behind it are what makes it interesting. It has a different application the video games, but its creations are far more impressive.

So what does this mean. It means that kids are missing a lot of experiences playing these video games. Of course there are games where the player “constructs” something. Level design, first person shooter tactics, and simulation games are all based on thinking through a problem or building something. Admittedly video games today actually require this building and thinking. Gone are the days of impossible jumps and starting from the beginning of the level after losing. But the point is to get kids involved with something other than video games and the Internet. They would be very interested in other things once they learned that a plain interface isn’t visually impressive, but more importantly a plain interface leaves room for a creative imagination. A graph of a parabola not look very impressive, but what it represents is important. It has a deeper meaning (possibly many). That is something you wouldn’t see without further exploration.

But until you construct something that just might have a plain interface... May the Creative Force be with You