Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Should Students Use Technology in the Classroom?

Many schools, including the kindergarten, have been implementing technologies to classes, but should students be really using technologies in class, or should they stick with old-school style, learning with books? 


YES, but why? 


1. Preparation 

Technology can be helped to prepare students for their future and the real world environment since the world is growing more dependent on technologies.

2. Diversity 

Learning with technology will increase diversity in learning style.

3. Convenience

Having technology help students & teachers to be able to access information and school works quicker and easier. Students will also have access to online textbooks so they wouldn't have to carry a heavy textbook around every day for school.

4.  Engagement & Enjoyable

Since students love using technologies, this will make the students more engaged in their classes, and make the class more interesting and enjoyable. 

5.  Responsibility

Technology in the classroom will develop students to be more independent since they will have more control over their own learning, they will learn how to make their own decisions and think for themselves.

6. Interaction 

Having technology in the classroom gives students opportunity to interact with their classmates. 


 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Use Anchors on Wix

We make websites on Wix all the time. Have you ever encountered a situation where you wanted to make the entire website into one page? But listing everything will make the page untidy and inaccessible. Using Anchors, you can make bookmarks on the page to make the page tidy and accessible without creating tons of subpages.

First, click on the + sign, then "More" then"Anchor"


This would add a blue line on the page that says "Anchor." Drag this line to where you want the viewers to jump to when they click on the anchor from the options.
Then Click on "Pages" then "Add New" To add the anchor on the website options.



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What's the Best Internet Browser?

What's the Best Internet Browser?

There are a plethora of internet browsers out there, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer, and more. However, which one is the most well-rounded? We're going to be reviewing 7 browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera, and Vivaldi.

7. Internet Explorer

This is one of the most well known browsers, but it's not the most well known for a particularly good reason. The browser is slow, doesn't have many features, and isn't very user-friendly. Coders also hate it because of it's lack of support for W3C standards, which is a organisation that standardises the web. Because of this, coders have to write whole sections of different code for Internet Explorer users just to display the page. This is not a browser that you should use, especially if you use Mac. Even Microsoft recommends that you use their Edge browser instead.
Pros:
- Good security features
- Clean interface

Cons:
- No W3C standard support
- Slow
- Not many features, like extensions
- Not optimised for Mac or Linux

6. Microsoft Edge

Because Internet Explorer is a notoriously bad browser, Microsoft decided to release a new one called Microsoft Edge. They've urged all users of Internet Explorer to begin using Edge. This is sort of the Safari of Windows, except there are more features. However, this browser is only available on Windows operating systems, which is the fatal flaw that makes this number 6 on the list. However, it's also optimised for people who use touchscreen Windows computers. If you use touchscreen, this is your number one browser that you should definitely use.

Pros:
- Touchscreen optimised
- Customisable
- Clean interface
- Easy navigation
- Relatively fast
- Integrated with OneNote

Cons:
- Complicated settings
- Not available on Mac or Linux

5. Safari

Safari is a relatively good browser. It's not the worst browser, but it's not the best one. Available as the default browser on Mac, Safari is a clean browser with relatively basic functions. It's easy to navigate, and it's an old favourite of Apple fans. However, it isn't really anything special, it's quite plain. There's not many special features on it. If you're not really a technology person and don't care about browsers, you would be fine with Safari.

Pros:
- Clean interface
- Easy navigation 
- Fast loading times
- Syncs well with Apple products

Cons:
- Only optimised for Mac operating systems
- No customisation abilities

4. Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is a fairly standard browser. To be honest, it doesn't have many features that make it stand out from the crowd, but it's also not a bad browser. The interface is clean, it has bookmarks, plugins, incognito mode, it's safe, it has all the things that you'd expect from a browser. It's the benchmark. The browser is also well optimised on all operating systems, Windows, Mac, and Linux, which does make it better than browsers like Safari. If all you want is a browser with no big downsides, you should probably use Mozilla Firefox.


Pros:
- Clean interface
- Easy navigation
- Large amount of plugins
- Good security features
- Customisable

Cons:
- Slow image loading times

3. Google Chrome

Google Chrome is the browser most people have heard of, and the one most people use. It was the one that I used before I started using my current one, and there's a good reason for it. It has a ton of plugins,  a lot of customisation, syncs well with Google products, and more. However, the major problem with Google Chrome is how much RAM it eats up. It's also slow on older systems, and crashes occasionally. For this reason, it's only number 3 on the list.

Pros:
- Clean interface
- Easy navigation
- Large amount of plugins
- Good security features
- Customisable
- Syncs well with Google products
- Performs well on all operating systems
- Mutable and pinnable tabs

Cons:
- Eats up RAM
- Slow on older systems

2. Opera


Opera is the browser that I currently use. The main reason I switched from Chrome to Opera was because of how slow Chrome ran on my computer. Opera is a lot more well optimised. It has Turbo Mode, built-in free VPN, built-in adblocker, and all the other things you'd expect, bookmarks, plugins, synchronisation, mutable and pinnable tabs, etc. Even if you ignore the built-in VPN and adblocker, it still runs faster than Chrome, and if you're worried about your Chrome plugins and bookmarks not being there, you can port them to Opera. I'd strongly recommend this if you want a better browsing experience.

Pros:
- Clean interface
- Easy navigation
- Large amount of plugins
- Good security features
- Customisable
- Syncs well with other computers
- Performs well on all operating systems
- Turbo Mode
- VPN
- Adblocker
- Mutable and pinnable tabs

Cons:
- None

1. Vivaldi

This is one you may not have heard of. Vivaldi is a browser made by some former members of the Opera browser team. It's entire purpose is to be customisable. You can customise anything and everything in this browser. You can stack tabs, write notes, install themes, and it has an adaptive interface. If you want your browser to adapt to the colour of the page you're on, no problem. Different icons, no problem. The only problem? The browser has extremely small market share. Not many people know about it, so not many people can develop things for it. However, it's still a great browser that's extremely customisable.

Pros:
- Can customise anything and everything
- Includes quick commands
- Clean interface
- Easy navigation
- Extremely fast loading speeds
- Dev team listens to the community
- Can port bookmarks to it
- Can install Chrome extensions

Cons:
- No mobile
- Small market share

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What does the Word "Clean" Mean in Design?

Have you ever, for a school project or for personal use, designed something? Anything, a website, an info-graphic, a presentation, a video, etc. If you have, the chances are that when asked for feedback you either received "It's clean, quite good." or "It isn't good right now, needs to be cleaner". You nod your head and say "OK", but without any better understanding of what makes your design good or bad, and no idea what that phrase even means in a concrete sense. In this post, I will discuss the meaning of such feedback, and some follow up questions to ask if someone does give you feedback involving the word "clean".


The biggest problem with the word "clean"  in design is that you cannot define it. 

Most of the time you can only define "clean" by saying what it is not, rather than what it is. "Clean" is not "noisy" or "cluttered". Even then, the words do not necessarily have a lot of concrete value. Even dictionaries have to define "clean" by saying it is "uncontaminated" and NOT full of dirt/marks/stains. (What is it not rather than what it is)
Everyone has a vague image in their minds of what "cluttered" and "messy" looks like; a room with clothes littered all over the floor and a desk filled with papers. That image will more or less be the same for everyone, and that is how we define "cluttered". But what is a "clean" room? One with absolutely nothing in it so it is "de-cluttered"? One with everything hidden out of sight so it gives the appearance of being not being "messy"? That is the difficulty with determining what is something "clean", and that carries over into design. Because if everyone says that the product should be "clean", but no one knows what "clean" looks like, how are you supposed to know what to aim for throughout your design process?
Designer intuition might tell you that an info-graphic with 200 words and 7 different images on the size of a piece of A5 paper isn't "clean" and effective. And you'll know that another info-graphic with only a couple of phrases and a central image is "cleaner", but is it "clean"?



Why else is "clean" such bad feedback? 

It does not give the designer something to work on or iterate on. If someone says "the font makes it difficult to read" about your info-graphic, you have something to go back and work on. But if someone tells you "your info-graphic needs to be cleaner", what are you supposed to do? Start again with a different style? That's impractical. Receiving poor, practically useless, and unworkable feedback is the same as receiving no feedback at all.

Here's what to do:

The following are some questions you can ask the person evaluating your work if they tell you the magic C-word. These questions aim to get more specific, and identify areas that can be worked on by the designer.
(Source: Dotto, Mark. ""Cleaner"." "Cleaner" · @mdo. N.p., 4 Jan. 2011. Web. 08 Mar. 2017. <http://markdotto.com/2011/01/04/cleaner/>.)

  • Is the current product more effective than option B and C?
  • What is your first impression/reaction to seeing these options? What feelings do they evoke?
  • What do you like about the "unclean" design? 
  • What don't you like about the "clean" design?
  • In the "clean" design, what is the focal point or call to action? What does it entice you to do? 
These are not perfect questions, but the point is to keep that person talking so they can evaluate your work more in depth and you can understand them better. When you receive feedback, it is crucial to keep asking questions and draw conclusions. Without further questioning, you will end up with a "clean" design that no one, not even you, knows why it is the way it is.









Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Truth about Photoshop and Why it is NOT Design

Photoshop is an extremely popular tool among photographers, 

both amateur and professional, for its ability to enhance images to achieve a certain effect. It has also become very accessible to use. Once purchased, there are plenty of online tutorials to guide a new user through the various features of the program. Pretty much anything can be done on Photoshop; images can be edited beyond recognition.

With such a great and powerful tool at their hand, people that have mastered (or have experience using) the program have a tendency to falsely call themselves designers. Here I'll explain why knowing how to use a program such as Photoshop does not make you a designer, and that logic applies to other programs such as Final Cut or Illustrator.

Design is a collection of concepts that are used together to deliver a message, 

through various mediums, and includes functionality as well as "looks". Photoshop is just one of the tools that can be used to deliver that message.  A designer goes through years of training and is a long process before he/she will be given authority to work on projects. To proclaim yourself as one after a couple months of using Photoshop is insulting to the designers. Being competent at a program is not the same as understanding which program best to use.

Yes, many designers do work in Photoshop or other programs as such. But learning how to use the tool does not mean you understand its purpose. The designer knows things such as color, composition, and hierarchy, and uses Photoshop to execute these concepts to make his/her work more effective. Someone who knows how to use Photoshop but does not know why things affect how an image in the end looks and rather than going through a thoughtful process follows "what looks right" is a production artist. Being a production artist is a perfectly fine career, but it involves less creativity than design because production artists execute in the mediums, while the designers have more work to do in conceptualizing and then executing. This is why generally production artists earn less than designers.

The easy way to differentiate between experienced designers and novices competent at Photoshop is whether or not they use the many filters the program offers. Filters are very convenient and many are tempted to use them to make their work appear different and more artistic. However filters do not always look good, and tend to make the work look cheap and unsophisticated. Because these filters are universal, they are not specific enough to convey exactly what the designer wants as part of the message. Designers generally stay away from filters because of this reason, but a novice may not yet understand that. The general rule to use when assessing work is that if someone is able to tell how the image has been manipulated then the person has not done a good job. Spotting manipulation reveals the artist's experience and whether or not they understand design rather than whether they are using a certain Photoshop feature just for the sake of using it without a real purpose.

I am not discouraging anyone from learning how to use these programs, as these technical skills will be useful regardless of what career path someone goes down. The point of this post is to make sure that people know that they must also go through the lengthy process of studying to become a designer, and knowing how to use Photoshop is not a shortcut to becoming one.

Sources: "Photoshop Is Not Design." Design by Numbers. D X N, 31 Jan. 2017. Web. 01 Mar. 2017. <http://www.designbynumbers.io/photoshop-is-not-design/>.