Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Working from home

Reading week journal entry...


  • Prepare a five minute long presentation to satisfy Learning outcome 4.4 (Ideas Generation) surrounding the different cultural perceptions and interpretations of the colour 'Orange'.
  • Composition and publication of this week’s online learning journal.
  • Secure personal hosting complete with professional, suitable domain name.
  • Ensure that I have posted comments on at least 32 other peoples journal entries since the beginning of the course.
  • Read and implement the communications guidelines to be posted by Steve Smith in this journal.
  • Read and annotate the next two assignments ready for next week.

Good Things

I have really enjoyed working at home. I feel as though with a little more self-discipline, my place of residence would provide me with a very productive working environment.

Though out my research into the psychological affects and cultural perceptions of colour (not just the colour I have been assigned), it has really opened my eyes to the fact that society plays a large part in how we interpret things.

It is now my understanding that the colours companies use in their corporate identity give off similar subconscious messages to body language.

I feel that people and companies should be very aware of the colours they use.

Having already had my own hosting and domain name has slightly relieved the pressures off this week.

Bad Things

Whilst I have thoroughly enjoyed this weeks tasks, I have found that it is quite easy to become distracted at whilst working from home. I have been fortunate that for the majority of it I have had the house to myself.

In closing

I am happy that we are going to get our first presentation out of the way as I believe that we all need the practice; the first is the worst.

I am pleased with the level of productivity produced by myself when working from home.

I feel that the group is beginning now to really bond. Almost everyone made a real effort to ensure that we were all in communication through today and yesterday and that people knew what they were supposed to do.

Well done to everyone who managed to do everything they were asked.

Quote of the week...

“People can have the Model T in any color - so long as it's black” - Henry Ford

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

A much welcomed break

Two days into the half term break and I am feeling much more relaxed. Now fully recovered from my life threatening episode of 'Man Flu', I can appreciate the small break we have.

I am a little anxious for the 'reading week' task we have been promised. The uncertainty of what its going to be has left me a little uneasy, perhaps tainting the break a little.

I am hoping that everyone is going to remember to do their half term blogs; mainly because I do no think that everyone should be punished for the minorities mistakes, even though this seems to be what has being happening.

I am however looking forward to getting my grade and feedback, regardless of the result. From talking to many of the first and second years I can now see that even a referral could still be conserved as a positive (however not desirable) result.

Only time will tell.

Quote of the week

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time - John Lubbock

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

A weight off my shoulders...

Now that the assignment is in I must admit, I feel much better in the knowledge that there is now nothing else I can do to it.

The pressure, that I didn’t think was there has suddenly gone. Replacing it is the excitement and apprehension of things to come.

I am undoubtedly worried about the grade I will receive for my work, but the ignorance of not knowing is filling me with the optimism of at least a pass.

As daft as it sounds, handing my work over to the receptionist (particularly my sketchbook) I felt almost like a parent leaving their child at school for the very first time.

It’s strange the attachment that has grown between me and the book that at first I had little understanding and respect for.

The presentation on… well, presentations, I found, was very useful. Little tips like, keep you hands out of your pockets, maintain eye contact and a strong voice makes me feel as though I have been told some kind of inside secret.

Although during school I did suffer badly with a stutter, I have since developed a technique of almost improvisation acting.

By taking on the role of a confident, outspoken person, I find it easier to deal with situations like presentations and such.

Having not done many presentations I am again a little apprehensive but as Steve said, it is perfectly normal to feel like this.

Being truthful, I am looking forward to doing the presentations, particularly if they are group to class presentations; this would in my opinion be a good way to ‘break us into it’.

I am pleased that we now have half term to clear our heads before the next project; this should give us an opportunity to hit the ground running.

In addition, I am looking forward to working with Andy and Greg in our new seminar group. I am sure that we each have different skills to bring to the table which would should be interesting.

Quote of the week
The way to learn to do things is to do things. The way to learn a trade is to work at it. Success teaches how to succeed. Begin with the determination to succeed, and the work is half done already.” - Source unknown

A2 - Evaluation


Good points

I have now successfully completed my very first web plan. The creation of the web plan has given me an understanding of the importance of planning and strong time management.

I have a real sense of achievement as the transition from full time employment to student who has a job has been quite difficult for me.

Through out the duration of the project, I have felt more and more like I belong. Although the course is still in its infancy, I feel as though my planning and design skill have improved four fold.

The realisation that I am not as good a the preconception I had of myself before I begun is not necessarily a bad thing as I now have a clearer idea of where I am and where I am going.

The introduction to software such as PageMaker and Photoshop (I had previously used Fireworks for all image editing) in both class and self study has proven invaluable; however I do feel like InDesign would be more suited to my requirements from now on.

I am now reading more books, which can only be a good thing. The book I have most enjoyed has to be ‘Don’t make me think’ by Steve Krug; a web usability guide.

I now feel much more confident presenting my work and emotions online (in this instance

The two major presentations we’ve had have proven invaluable. The levels of motivation following were at an all time high. To know that the now second years were going through exactly what we did was of great reassurance.

The visit from The Design Mechanics again provided much enthusiasm; I think that this is mainly due to the fact that some of us could potentially be employed by David in the not too distant future and it was inspiring to know that two students from this very course have entered the design world and are working doing what they enjoy.

Bad points

As I mentioned before the transition back into to a student as been a difficult one for me. The has, at times been the source of much frustration to me as I am used to having much shorter deadlines involving multiple projects at once.

One area which has largely let me down has been my time management skills. The weekly time sheets and production schedule (in this form) are very foreign to me and have taken an amount of adaptation of my working habits to get them to work for me.

During the project I had a personal problem which basically cost me a weeks worth of actual production time and has been the source of much bewilderment and emotional discomfort to me.

Whilst I do not feel that the week away from the project hindered its development, I do feel that my state of mind has been altered.

Key things I have learned

  • How to create a web plan
  • CSS is not just used for text formatting but also for layouts, etc
  • The importance of documenting all my work
  • Introduction to new, industry based software applications
  • Resources extend further than the internet
  • Do not trust everything that you read – always get a second opinion
  • My design skills are not a good as I will be

Things to avoid next time

  • Start the intensive time management from the beginning of a project and stick to it, as this was of much help once it had ‘clicked’ into place for me.
  • There has been a few needless ‘run-ins’ with the tutor. Simply doing what is asked of us, first time, could have easily avoided these issues.
  • Ensure that work is completed as early as possible and that there is plenty of ‘padding’ in the time planning to accommodate for any unexpected circumstances; such as what happened to me this time around.

Targets for the future

  • Improve time management skills
  • Improve design skills
  • Make the transition from PageMaker to InDesign
  • Continue improvements in software knowledge / expertise


To say that this project has, in my opinion, gone well in spite of the person problems and adjustment issues wouldn’t be quite right; I feel that because of these difficulties I have had to work a little harder to achieve the same result. However, I now feel in a stronger position to approach the other projects in the future.

On the whole I have enjoyed the project. I have learned a lot in the few weeks I have been on the course and met some very talented and supportive people along the way, whom without this course I may never had the privilege to meet.

Quote of the Week

Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don't let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.” - R. I. Fitzhenry quotes

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Now that possibly the worst week of my life is now behind me, its time to crack on with the job in hand.

The pre-submission submission date has worked well. The combination of been a bit behind (mainly due to last week) and the was then impending deadline had a very positive affect on my motivation and productivity.

I am half way through reading 'Don't Make Me Think' by Steve Krug. I truly recommend this book to anyone. The best way I can describe the book is that its like taking a really cold shower first thing on a morning, it distinctively awakens you and opens your eyes.

One of my favourite parts is where Krug states that users tend to treat websites as billboards rather than as the intricate masterpieces that we all like to believe we create. Its not so much the realisation that this is the case that sticks in my mind but Krugs reaction to this. He states that we have to make great billboards.

This furthers my belief that in life you have to do the very best you can with the cards you are dealt.

Motivational Quote of the Week
"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve." - Dr. Napoleon Hill

Screen Design

Hey everyone,

This is my finial screen design for the A2 That's the Plan! What do you all think?

The resolution is low and so doesn't really do the banner any justice but you get the general idea.