Weekly wrap up: Introduction to Designing for the Web and Managing Digital Information

So, this semester I am doing three already amazing subjects at uni – Spanish 2, Designing for the Web, and Managing Digital Information. The last two of those subjects are for my major Information and Media, and are both very technical subjects. Because they’re so technical, if I do them properly I have the ability to use them as parts of my portfolio, which I why I am writing about them. With these subjects I plan on writing a wrap up each week outlining what we did in class, what I did outside of class and then reflecting on it. Yes, I know this sounds like an assignment, and if it were any other classes I would probably dread doing this and leave it until last minute, but I actually really enjoy technical subjects, so I’m happy to do it!
So, first of the introduction of the subjects. Both of these subjects are technical, and thus they require me to have a final product at the end of it. For Designing for the web (which I may refer to as web design) we must create a website that encorporates what we learnt from the first year subject ‘User Experience and Design’. For Managing Digital Information (MDI for short), which is actually a third year subject, I must use my knowledge gained from both Web design and Information cultures to create a database.

Web Design 

  (image from ashworthcreative.com)

This week was more of an introduction to the subject, outlining what was required, and what we would have to do for the assignments. We learnt about what an ‘Information Architect’ is, and that from the skills gained in this subject, we may acquire a job in this area when we graduate. During the tutorial we started working on codecacademy.com, learning HTML. I, however, have already finished this course on codecacademy (except for css) in anticipation for the subject (and used html to create a website), so I spent the time teaching my friend who was struggling a lot with it. Even though I wasn’t actually doing anything to advance my skills, I felt that helping my friend was very useful because I was able to refresh my skills. The only thing that I’m worried about with this subject is its connection to user experience and design. That subject was a first year, first semester subject, so I wasn’t at the best I could be, I was still getting use to univeristy and taking notes, and well, being engaged. At the time I didn’t realise the importance of the subject, so my knowledge of it is sub par. Hopefully I can get he notes from my friends, and refresh my memory, but if worst comes to worse I can always ask my subject coordinator for some help.

  (This week’s tutorial task. Is anyone surprised?)

MDI

I feel like this might be a bit of a difficult subject for me, as I personally am not as interested as I could be in databases and their uses/structure, however it is still an interesting subject. In this lecture we discussed the importance of correct categorisation particularly in regards to database, and how people find information through categories. In our tutorial we were given a sheet with 22 different images, and then asked to organise them into categories based on common characteristics. This was surprisingly difficult because of several reasons: we weren’t able to use subcategories, and they couldn’t be too broad and too specific, and many of the items could be in different categories. In the end, my partner and I decided to sort them by function (clothing/accessories, scenic art, portrait art, festivals/ceremonies etc). In the end we had about 8 categories, and even then we weren’t that happy with it, because many of the items could be put in different categories. Once we had completed this, we were introduced to a variety of different databases, and compared how they categorised the same thing differently. The thing that I found interesting was that there was quite a lot of discussion about what a document actually is, because in this subject we will partake in the ‘creation’ of documents. Luckily I had read ‘What is a document’ by Micheal K Buckland because of a conference I volunteered at during the break, so I was able to contribute to the discussion, however there were quite a few people that hadn’t so there wasn’t really much discussion to be had. I think this will be the most difficult subject for me this semester, because I’m not as interested in it as I am with my other subjects, but it’s still better that a theoretical subject!

Anyway, that’s all for this week. As you can tell it wasn’t that eventful, mostly because it’s first week, and not much happens then, but I’m definitely excited to see where it goes!

Bob Boiko: Information architecture is at the very center of the electronic information storm. Without effective means to structure and present the information we produce we are blown about by the vast quantities and the variable quality of that information. IA provides you a deep keel and a strong rudder to surf above the waves of information that buffet you.

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