Wednesday, October 31, 2007

3 Personal Tracks

Piccadilly Palare – Morrissey
In the summer I went on holiday to Bulgaria, before I went I bought the book “Morrissey: Scandal and Passion”. I usually buy new books before a holiday but hardly ever actually read them! This was different though because I picked up the book on the first day of the holiday and hardly ever put it down until I finished it. Now whenever I hear a Morrissey or Smiths song I immediately think back to being sat on the beach back in Bulgaria.

I Wanna Be Adored – Stone Roses
This summer me and my friends finally went on a lad’s holiday after planning to do so for the last few years. As this was our first time we were recommended to go to Magaluf. Magaluf is dominated by quite a lot of dance clubs and there are only a few places that offer something different. Because of this we spent quite a lot of time in Mulligan’s Indie Club. When we were in here it seemed that this song was played all the time so brings back some good memories!

Milk – Kings Of Leon
This is one of my favourites because it is by a band that I have been listening to quite a lot recently. When I went to Leeds Festival in the summer they were definitely the best band I saw over the weekend. I wasn’t really a big fan of them before but thought that they were really good live. When I got back from Leeds one of the first things I did was to buy their album and I have since bought all of their albums. As with the other two song selections this song also brings back good memories. This reminds me of being at Leeds Festival with all my friends in the middle of summer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Evaluation of first half semester

The assignments that we have been working on in the first half semester have been A9 Box Clever and A11 On the Job. Along with this we have also been working on our Personal Development Profile’s (PDP) for assignment A10 iMe.

The assignment A9 Box Clever involved creating a standards-compliant CSS webpage (CSS Beauty). I really enjoyed creating the webpage as I felt that it allowed me to experiment with different methods and techniques using CSS. I was then able to build the page using the method that I preferred the most. This also helped as I was able to find solutions to problems that I was facing much easier as I had a better understanding of where I was going wrong.

The project also proved to be incredibly frustrating at times especially when it came to make the page render in all specified browsers. When I had completed the website and began to test it even though it was standards compliant it only rendered properly in IE7 and Firefox 2. This was quite worrying at first but after researching further into this and consulting the book Web Standards Solutions I decided to use a hack. This was something that I had never heard of before but I found it to be an extremely important tool. After using the hack in my page I was quite happy that the page now rendered well in the majority of browsers. If I were to do the project again I would definitely use a hack again. I would however try to use an alternative hack so that it doesn’t have to be applied to a large amount of the code which would make it much more efficient.

The other assignment that we have been working on is A11 On the Job. This has involved working as a team on a professional project. We didn’t get off to the best start in this assignment as we failed to win any of the 2 projects that were on offer. After discussing this in our team we decided that restructuring the team may be beneficial. Shortly after doing this we were able to find 2 suitable clients who needed a website doing so things started to move forward. I took on the role of Designer in the team but although we have our set roles everybody is helping each other with their tasks. I feel has brought the team much closer and everything seems to be going well so far.

Along with the other two assignments we have also been writing our PDP’s as part of assignment A10 iMe. The online journals have changed quite a lot from the reflective entries of last year because now we are given more direction on what we should be writing. This has been beneficial however as we have been doing activities such as locating and applying for an Interactive Media position. By doing entries such as this we are able to have more of an insight onto what to expect after leaving the course. One area that I have definitely let slip so far is commenting on other peoples entries. This is something that I am determined to improve on however and I plan to dedicate myself an hour each week to reading my peers entries and posting suitable comments.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Email notification on comments

Following on from today’s talk about receiving an email when somebody posts a comment on your blog, I have just found out how to do this if anybody would find this useful. On the Blogger “Dashboard” which appears when you sign in click “Settings”, then click the “Comments” tab at the top of the screen. When on this section the last option is “Comment Notification Address”, if you enter your email address in here and then click the “Save Settings” button at the bottom of the page this should allow for emails to be sent whenever a comment is made on your blog. I have just tested this now and it seemed to work.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Interview: Part 2

Describe yourself in three words.
Friendly, Organised, Perfectionist

How would you measure the effectiveness of your interactive media product?
I would use two ways of measuring the effectiveness of an interactive media product which would depend on who I was doing it for. If I was doing a project for a client I would measure the success on if they were happy with it and if they had any complaints. I would also take into account how effective the site has been e.g. have they been receiving more custom since having the website.

If I was doing an interactive media product as part of a college assignment I would make sure that I have met all of the pass criteria. I would also make sure that the site is standards complaint and that I have met any goals that I may have set myself.

How do you handle criticism?
I think that I can handle criticism pretty well and this is something that I have definitely improved on over the last 18 months. I now know that whatever feedback I receive whether it is good or bad is with the intention of helping me to improve what I have done.

Describe a difficult problem you’ve had and how you’ve solved it.
One difficult problem I faced was learning CSS and creating a single page standards compliant website over the summer with minimal reference to staff and peers. I feel that this was a great exercise as it forced me to improve on my problem solving skills. As I was unable to simply ask other people for help I had to perform tutorials and research into books which gave me a much better understanding of where I was going wrong compared to simply asking somebody else for the answer.

Describe how you fit into a team.
I feel that I am quite comfortable with working in a team as I am easy to get along with and enjoy meeting new people. I also like to have the opportunity of bouncing ideas of different people and getting their opinion on things instead of doing everything by myself.

I have had quite a lot of experience of team working as I worked in a team of Claims Handlers for a firm of solicitors. Being able to work effectively in a team was vital as there were quite strict deadlines to meet so everybody had to pull together.

Do you have any questions?
What are your working hours?
Is there the opportunity to progress within your company?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Job Hunter: Revisited

I really enjoyed the exercise of having to answer a series of interview questions. Even though face-to-face interviews would be extremely different I still feel that this was a great experience for when the course is over.

I was quite unsure on what approach to take for the section “Why I want the job”, I eventually decided to show that I really want to work for that company and have thoroughly researched into them. I feel that this was beneficial as it shows commitment and desire for the job. I think that I could have taken another approach by matching up what they require in an employee with the skills that I feel I have. This is an approach that I may take if I were to do this task again.

One area that I had to put quite a lot of thought into was “Greatest weakness”. I didn’t want to put a totally negative answer to this as although it shows honesty I felt it could hinder my chances of getting the job. Because of this I decided to put a positive spin onto my weakness which I think was much more suitable.

One area of the exercise that I was not entirely happy with was my answer to the
“Hero” section. I didn’t really know how to answer this and was torn on whether to state an actual hero which would give a better insight into my personality or state somebody in the industry. I felt that if I chose the latter it would again show my commitment to work in the industry. I originally stated that my hero was Benito Carbone (ex Bradford City player) but later amended this to Dan Cederholm. I think this was partly due to the fact that I have recently been reading his book and partly down to the lack of time. Looking back I feel that it would have been much more appropriate to have stuck with my actual hero. I would certainly do this if I were to perform the task again.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Job Hunter

Interactive Media position
Junior to mid-level web designer
Digital/creative qualification
Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Why I want the job
I see this as an excellent opportunity to join an exciting company working on some really important accounts. Looking on your website it is encouraging to see that your company has done projects for some huge companies such as Bella Italia and Twinings. I have also been extremely impressed with the approach that you take towards web design with “customer needs at the centre of things”.

Greatest strength
I feel that my biggest strength is being able to work under pressure and meet strict deadlines. From the experience that I have had from my previous job and also the last few years in education I have been faced with many deadlines and have not missed one. I feel that I strive under pressure and find that it is easy to motivate yourself for the task in hand if you have got something to aim for.

Greatest weakness
I feel that my greatest weakness is that I tend to spend quite a lot of time trying to improve work that I have done when it is already to a suitable standard. I have often found myself spending several hours on something that should only really take an hour or so. I feel however that this is due to being in a college environment for the last few years and having the opportunity to experiment with different ideas. I fully understand however that moving into the workplace I will not have this time to experiment with ideas so will need to be prepared to work to much stricter timescales.

Doing in 5 years time
In 5 years time I see myself working in a successful design company working on large projects. I would ideally have been working with the same company for several years and gained at least one promotion. I will have gained quite a large portfolio of work and worked on some really exciting projects along the way.

Current innovation that excites me most
The innovation of CSS level 3 excites me the most as this would give designers greater creativity in their designs. Having originally worked with tables and cells I feel that working with CSS gives designers much more flexibility in their designs and can lead to some really effective designs.

Hero/heroin and why
My hero is Dan Cederholm. I have been a huge fan of his since I read the book Web Standards Solutions. I feel that he was a huge help when starting to learn CSS and he helped make quite complex features seem more understandable.