Month: June 2007

So it is

I suppose I should let it be known that I have stopped working on my new site for now. It is available at http://www.puzumaki.com/ but it looks terrible. It breaks in Mozilla, Opera, Netscape… in fact, it only really works in Firefox and IE. And that's a stretch. I just don't have the time to sit down and reconfigure WordPress right now with the library's web site under development along with its kids' section. After eight to ten hours of working on that, I just don't have the energy to take WordPress templates apart or to even work through my own design. I may switch to a pre-fab theme, since I don't have the mental capacity to work on my bugs. I just needed to get it up so it wasn't looming over my head.

What will be done is a complete redesign… that is, all the graphics and code will be rewritten/created (including the framework). This will happen once the major portions of both sites I'm working on at work are acceptable. So closer to the end of July/August. So please don't completely tear me apart for it, it's really no fun to do nine hours of work at work to go home to do another six hours of it. I've had an ongoing headache for the past two weeks, and my work definitely shows it. I am sad I could not build it properly. I have a lot of motivation/ambition to do so, but not while working on these sites. I'll continue to post to LiveJournal through the next month. I'm just disgusted with myself for building such a poor site. 🙁 I don't know if I feel worse having the “under construction” page up or having the crappy design up… it's going to be a long week.

Thoughts on the Nelson

We visited the grand opening of the Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum on Saturday. The day was perfect for exploring the new building – sunny and warm so when we were chilled from the air inside we could warm up outside then go back in to cool down again. The building is definitely something to see. It's not often one finds natural light inside a museum, and it's not very square… the movement is a bit more meandering than traditional museums. We had a chance to hear one of the architects, which inspired me to connect the building to my own “building” experience (of CSS that is). Queequeg's Content Saloon had a similar list from an earlier visit, mine is not nearly as interesting. After the lecture, we stayed around long enough to hear a medley of opera tunes performed by the Lyric Opera, then skedaddled. Here's my list for anyone interested:

1. Continuity. The architects built the new building thinking to continue the sculpture garden and open grass area, so they connect the sculptures (set in a bed of rocks that run through a glass wall) inside and out, and the field continues onto the rooftop of the building. Library sites require a lot of third party systems that allow different levels of customization. We have to make these different interfaces seamless, the functionality enhancing our site rather than hindering because of restrictions. We need to find “architects” that understand this.

2. Flexibility. The Bloch building allows natural light in through filtered lens. However, curators have the option of reducing the light for collections that cannot be exposed to great amounts of light, or to allow maximum light through to possibly enhance a piece of art. The structure itself allows for growth. Building a site design on CSS also allows for design and layout flexibility. The building itself is a solid clean structure (a well-formed document with clear labels) with the CSS acting as the “shades on the window”. It allows for us to change the colors, layout, add themes, etc at will, without major construction to tear down a wall.

3. Interact. At the Nelson, you create your own path. This is true for the old and new building; the difference between them is the old is a matrix and the new promotes natural flow of curiosity, also known as wandering. This allows the user to make it their own experience. It provides paths for patrons if they wish to follow them, but they aren't necessary. In web design, this is comparable to site architecture. Building understandable site maps and site architecture so a clear path is provided is only the first step. The interactive part is to allow the user to wander through the content on their own interests. So connect the content, use tag clouds (pre-coordinated and user-submitted) and incorporate comments that can lead to discussion.

4. Interact. Yes, I said this already, but I'm talking about the building interacting, not the person. The building reacts to its environment – it will change colors with the sun. It is organic. Web sites need not only to allow users to interact, but it needs to react. It needs to be organic and interact with the environment. That means incorporating dynamically created content using mash-ups, showing response to user interaction, providing content based on that interaction. Think of Amazon providing tips based on search results.

Okay… maybe I'm stretching on all this. But it's true that we need to become more organic in our information building, and CSS, XHTML, RSS, Ajax, etc are all tools that promote these. I'll get off my soapbox now and recommend everyone to go check out the new way to experience art. :-p

Do you know me? Germany!

Quick update: we will be going to Germany for a little over a week in October. The tickets have been purchased. Right now we are considering a romp in Bavaria, but we're still looking at options.

Now, I found this very interesting. If you think you know me, do you agree with these? Taken from WikiHow's How to Spot Someone Born in the Year of the Dog:

1. Look for people with a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, and inspire other people's confidence because they know how to keep secrets.
2. Remember that dog people can be somewhat selfish, terribly stubborn, and eccentric.
3. Watch out for folks who care little for wealth, yet somehow always seem to have money.
4. Be aware that they can be cold emotionally and sometimes distant at parties.
5. Look for people who can find fault with many things and are noted for their sharp tongues.
6. Remember that dog people make good leaders.
7. Make note of who they associate with. They are compatible with those born in the Years of the Horse, Tiger, and Rabbit.