Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Response to Google Sites

Google sites looks promising for the technologically challenged, such as myself. The layout and site design seems very basic and straight-forward. I like that the home page and the subsequent linking pages are easy to create and easy to edit. I also like that the site allows more then one person to own editing privileges, simply by linking their email. Lastly, I really appreciate how Google sites takes a lot of the choice from your hands when designing. More specifically, as a designer, you are mostly responsible for content, rather than both content and detailed site mapping with technological jargon necessary.

At the same token, my favorite parts of Google Sites might be its downfall. It's simplicity for challenged folk like myself, may frustrate more technically saavy people. Because its so basic, there are a lot of applications that are passed over in the interest streamlining the site creating process.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chapter 17 - Website Design

This chapter was illuminating in several ways. I did not realize there were such basic structural components that all websites seem to share. Also, the tips were common sense based, but when I design my website, I will be sure to stick to them. Advice like "keep it simple", "stay consistent", and (what I thought was the most helpful) "keep important information available" is useful to maintain a clear view of the goal of the website.
Another useful part of the article was the sample site given and the breakdown of all its elements. The site can be used as a template or reference when designing your own site. I also intend on using the checklist to proof my future site.

I believe a website with a good design is This website is the official website of the aforementioned band. It is very basic to follow and utilizes several concepts discussed. For example, the sidebar of important information is always available. The photos section shows the entirety of the albums, but then when clicked on, uses a pop-out to scroll through the zoomed in photos. Also, the "SHOP" section for merchandise is actually a link to the online store (related site).

A website that could improve it's design is This site is completely based on the submitting of texts sent in by readers. It design is straight-forward and hierarchical (based on time of submitting). I would like to see a better system of rating (site allows for "bad night - thumbs down and good night - thumbs up) because the current system is a bit confusing. Also, the markup to submit a text is a bit confusing. There is also no marking distinction of time (such as submitted on this day), it is a giant stream. Overall, I'd like to see more organization.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

3 Possible Entries

1) SLEEP - Accommodation Listings - Lake Morey Resort

Lake Morey Resort (aka the Inn)

1 Clubhouse Road, Fairlee, VT 05045

From Hartford and points South: Take I-91 North to Exit 15 in Vermont. Turn left off exit ramp. Take first right (granite Lake Morey Resort sign on corner). Follow the golf course (on left) and take your first left onto Clubhouse Rd. Resort is on the right.

+1 800-423-1211 OR +1 802-333-4311

Check in - 3 pm
Check out - 11 am
(same times for entire week)

The rates vary for and during the season, a classic room in the summer ranges from $124-$170. This includes both breakfast and dinner and all recreation uses and greens fees. In the winter its $109.

This is the best (and only) place to stay in the area. Despite the monopoly, the Inn actually has a great atmosphere. Pool and hot tub are superfluous with the lake and all the activities it offers, and the accompanying golf course is where the Vermont Open takes place.

2.) DO -Fairlee Town Beach

Lake Morey Rd

Head northeast on I-91 N
Passing through Massachusetts
Entering Vermont

Take exit 15 toward US-5/Fairlee/Orford NH
3.Turn right at Lake Morey Rd
4.Turn right at US-5 S
5.Turn right at VT-244 W
6.Turn right at Blood Brook Rd

+1 802-333-9416

Free! This is the town beach. It's modest, boasting two long docks and sectioned off lanes in between, a small beach area, a picnic area, and swingsets. There is a clubhouse and often cookouts and general activities going on here. A simple way to occupy your family for the day.

3) DO - Aloha Foundation Camps
(aka Aloha, Aloha Hive, Lanakila, Hulbert Outdoor Center)

2968 Lake Morey Road
Fairlee is on the banks of the Connecticut River, 25 miles north of White River Junction on Interstate 91. The Aloha Foundation is easy to reach from Boston, New York or Montreal via Interstates 89, 91 and 93.

+1 802 333-3400
Fax: +1 802 333-3404

Fees: Full session: $8,375 Half session: $5,625

The Aloha camps are a fantastic place to dump your snotty kids for the summer and have them come out the other end with practical skills and a taste for humble pie. Wide range of activities, mostly outdoor oriented. For girls and boys.

These would have to be put in Wikitravel format to be acceptable. Also, I'm not sure if the last entry is acceptable because while it is a feature of the town, it is not really traveler oriented. Jury's still out.

Wikitravel - Useful Manual Tips

The first tip I found helpful was the section on bodies of water. Since my choice (Fairlee, Vermont) has a lake as a central feature, I was unsure how to approach adding it in the article. The manual of style let me know that I could put it under See or Do (most likely I will put it under Do). Then I can list activities going on around it (If you stay at the Inn you can rent all sorts of boats/canoes or get ski lessons, etc).

The next tip I liked was the "Geocoding". This is where you can add latitude and longitude in the article. Since I know the exact coordinates of the center of the lake (several of my family members have this tattooed on them), I would like to put that in the article.

Lastly, I liked the section on "Lisitings" because it gave in depth information on exactly what to include for each section. The stiff structure for the template is exactly what's needed to keep the article clear and focused.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Initial Reactions to Wikitravel

In my haste, I mistook today's assignment for Friday's homework. Here is the belated reaction to Wikitravel.

I thought that Wikitravel was an interesting idea. I assume that its creation was to provide and outlet for the bias that would surely leak into Wikipedia entries on certain places. I can see that this new outlet for travel guide/place reviews allowed editors to exit their neutral tone and truly detail a place's ambiance.

I really enjoy the layout of Wikitravel. Just as I respect Wikipedia's table of contents at the top of each article, this wiki allows for a simple design in the partitioning. If I want to know what there is to see, do, or eat I can look at that. It provides travelling information within the area as well as how to get there. I found on several places a "Stay Safe" section which was comforting and, I believe, would be very helpful.

All in all, I really like the concept of Wikitravel.

Monday, October 5, 2009

WikiTravel Article

Three places I would like to write about:

1. My home town, Cheshire, CT. There is not an article yet on my town. I would try to create one by putting in common destinations and write about the school populations. Town history and monuments would probably also have a place there.

2. My second home, Fairlee, VT. I would write about common town organizations that my family is involved in (i.e. Lake Morey Protection Association: LMPA). I would also add about the history of the measures taken to clean/maintain the lakes purity. Possibly I would add some history about the common places in town.

3. Wakefield, RI. I would do this place last, mostly because I have no where else that I have extensive knowledge about. I probably could not bring a lot to this article without more research, but ultimately I think it would be a guide to college students with cars (bars, food places, police history, etc.)