Elly Williams' Weblog

Caught Between Industries

Christmas Survival Tip for Trees

If you happen to be a Christmas Tree that has been cut down, the trick to a long and healthy life is vodka. Supposedly

Where Have You Been?

World Travel Map for Elly Thompson

I decided to make one of these map thingies after seeing the one Meri had put up on her blog. Apart from the fact that most of my travelling is confined to Europe (something I hope to rectify) it also struck me that the way some countries were represented was a little (for want of a better word) unrepresentative.

For example, There are many countries in the world which you can fit most of Europe into. If I had managed to visit the US at anytime (eveny just one city) then the whole of the US would be highlighted including Alaska. This would have more than doubled the amount of red on the map, without me doing twice the amount of travelling I had done within Europe.

At first I considered that doing it on the basis of “States Vistied” (or territories or provinces or whatever for different countries) might be better, although it occured to me that this is not necessarily representative either (compare the size of New York State to Texas?) so maybe by timezone would be a better idea.

Anyway, it’s not like I’m going to do anything about it, it’s just another of those pipe dreams I keep having.

Festive Spirit

It’s that time of year when unless you’re very careful you end up with Christmas Music in your head.

I did my Christmas Shopping last night (well, most of it anyway) and (horror, shock) pretty much every store I was in was playing Band Aid 20 or Wizzard or Mariah Carey. I passed a number of Carol Singers. I was therefore suprised that when I went into the buy-all-your-wrapping paper-tinsel-and-christmas-cards-at-knocked-down-prices shop” (to buy wrapping paper) they weren’t playing Christmas Music. It was a welcome relief.

The Changing Face of the Internet

The BBC have an excerpt from an interview with Jakob Nielsen, talking about ten years of usability and improving web design.

The web looks very different today than it did 10 years ago.

“Roughly 80% of the [usability issues] we found 10 years ago are still an issue today,” he said.

“Some have gone away because users have changed and 10% have changed because technology has changed.”

Some design crimes, such as splash screens that get between a user and the site they are trying to visit, and web designers indulging their artistic urges have almost disappeared, said Dr Nielsen.

Which is all very nice to know, although I would have to disagree that designers are less indulgent or that that splash screens have all but disappeared.

4 years ago, a web design unit (for an online CV) was included as part of my architecture degree, and we were advised (by this gentleman, who was teaching the unit) to add splash screens (as animated .gifs in most cases) and to be indulgent. We were also told not to use stylesheets, that table layouts were the way of doing things (ok, so 4 years ago they were) and cross-browser compatability was a footnote.

4 years ago, this made me angry. I had already waved a relieved goodbye to font tags, and as the only person in the year who knew any HTML, I did not see why I should be disadvantaged by having to unlearn anything.

Anyway, it was ages ago, the web has moved on, and I hope I have too… except that I (along with the rest of my year) have just graduated, and started getting jobs and I expect a number of my year will be going back and updating the online CVs that they built then, and as designers trying to make a first impression they are going to be indulgent and working to standards that were out of date when they learnt them.

is an Architecture Student and Web Designer based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, (UK)