Reworking My Site

Hey! What a busy summer! Well, I've finally got my new Mac up and running and most of my PC files transfered. Everything seems to be running smoothly (and I'm crossing my fingers that it will continue this way too ^_^ ). It's pretty awesome though, my Mac can run a virtual Windows machine! Sweet! Now I've got the best of both worlds in one! :D I think I may be way too excited about all this! ^_~

Okay, now, on to the reason on why I'm posting. Since I have some extra time on my hands, I'm updating my website. So, if links are broken, or if they bring you to someplace that you weren't expecting....Don't panic! ^_~ Hopefully all this reworking will result in a better portfolio website. Thanks for your understanding!


Copyright and Portfolio

Terms of Ownership:
First, I found this section to be informing in the book "Designing a Digital Portfolio." The author lists some terms that are probably good to know when dealing with copyright situations. Intellectual property is a "unique or new intangible asset created by the human mind." Copyright is a legal right that is given to the person or company that created the piece. A trademark is something that identifies a person or organization's product, and can be a logo, a phrase, a brand name, and/or a design. Fair Use is when you are able to use certain copyrighted material without having to get permission. More information? Visit Copyright.gov.

When it comes to certain things like Design Comps, you technically can use low quality images from stock sites as an example of what you might use in the project just to sell your idea. Once its done, and the client likes it, you can buy the high resolution photo. Clip Art follows the same kind of copyright rules. The author mentions a good tip to remember: "If it's good enough for you to want to use it, it's probably copyrighted.

What about your work, you might ask? Well, if you made something for your own purposes then the piece is yours to do with whatever you want to. If you sell your work, then you are still allowed to use it as a piece in your portfolio.
In case you were wondering, you can't sue for copyright infringement if you didn't register your work, states the author.

How can you protect your work? The author mentions a few suggestions the first regarding PDFs. By locking your file, people can't extract text or images without a password. Watermarks or digital "signatures" on digital files may be accessed through some programs. They can be invisible which hides the "identifying content inside the digital data of a file without changing the look or sound of the file." This can prove of who the piece belongs to.


Portfolio Interface Process

Portfolio Interface:
The process of a portfolio interface is important, according to the author of "Designing a Digital Portfolio." Going from "concept to implementation" should be organized carefully or else your interface can end up being disastrous and not very good looking not to mention give you a headache. "To build an exceptional interface, you must study user interaction, have a special talent for organizing data, and be a good visualizer.

The pages of your site have multiple entryways and therefore your interface shouldn't have to be viewed linearly. Keep in mind that certain pages can be more valuable or interesting to one person over another. Also, remember that you can't be in control of certain design decision aspects like your audience's computer resolution, system, or browser.

Four steps to the process that the book mentions are group, map, schematic, look-and-feel. Starting with grouping, this step is one you need to think about carefully. It's basically a step asking, "How do I want to group my pieces?" The book mentions a few options like Medium (traditional, computer, 2D, 3D) or Process (sketches, modeling, character animation, or maybe, like the way I chose for mine, Technology (print, interactive, moving image).

The next step is Map. Not exactly my favorite step...but a necessary one. How do you want your site to be set up? When you arrive at your site, do you go straight to your work or maybe a little a paragraph about you as a designer? By creating a site map, which is "a flow chart representing every page in your portfolio, you can organize your thoughts and in the end, keep your visitors from getting mixed up in navigation. Looking for a program to layout your site? The book recommends the software Inspiration and can make your organizing easier. Once you've gotten your layout complete, don't be afraid to move pages around until you find the perfect site layout.

A schematic is a design layout of your page. Create one for each level of your site, just to see how it is going to look. Some design choices you need to make are the page size, a grid layout, how your content will fit within the layout, links, and navigation. All of these are very important to your site's usability and a schematic with dummy text and place holders is a great way of figuring it all out before you start putting a great deal of effort into it.

The last step is the look-and-feel. Take a look at your content then start to sketch some ideas of how you want your site to look visually. Some things you need to consider is the size of your navigation elements and their placement, and what's your theme? Remember: you don't want your website design to take away from any of your work. Your portfolio pieces should be the focal point!

Simplicity is best. How do you keep it simple you ask? Well, the book mentions a few suggestions. Don't spend a lot of time working on buttons because they probably will end up too distracting. If you animate something, don't make it too distracting. Limit your color palette to maybe two colors and black and white. Don't use a background. Don't fill up the page with too much junk. Try to keep your viewer from having to scroll down to see more on the page. Keep everything organized together like navigation or captions, and keep your piece in the same area on the page. It seems like there are a lot of things to keep track of, but in reality, you'll probably end up thinking more and getting frustrated when you think too elaborate. Start with the basics and work your way up.


Portfolio Site Basics and Nontraditional Porfolios

Development Basics:
Once you've gotten your work and thoughts organized, it's time to put it all together in a portfolio. An online portfolio is very common now-a-days. People think that their site has to be elaborate and detailed, but really, the site should be about your pieces. Your site should allow your work to be the primary focus according to "Designing A Digital Portfolio."

Instant portfolios can be non-interactive slideshow that you can play on your website, DVD, or CD. A static page is a "simple web page that doesn't contain any interactive elements." It usually has simple navigation and maybe some thumbnail links that, when clicked, will bring you to a larger version of that image. Simple interaction takes it up one level and has some simple graphics and a navigation bar that takes you to sub level pages. Then lastly, there's the complex motion and interaction. This kind of site can have animation, video inside the page, and maybe some unusual navigation. Flash is a good program for these types of sites. The book mentions a site, www.bbkstudio.com that I found to be creative with navigation. This site is an example of a complex interaction site.

A quote from "Designing A Digital Portfolio" reads, "What do I look for in a portfolio? Good organization and, even more important, good storytelling," said by Michael Borofsky. I thought this was a helpful statement as I'm putting together my portfolio.

Nontraditional Portfolios:
In the book "Building a Digital Portfolio," the author mentions nontraditional portfolios. The book states that the only time this type of portfolio is when it fits with the company's needs. The author also recommends not to put your work together like this just for the sake of being different. This type of portfolio only works if your work calls for it.