60 beautiful examples of websites with full-blown video backgrounds — from hongkiat.com by Nancy Young

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From DSC:
Yes, you read that right. Video-based backgrounds — motion pictures. Another great example of the convergence that’s been happening with the TV, the telephone, and the computer.

 

 

10 developer tips to build a responsive website [infographic] — from readwrite.com by Dan Rowinski

Excerpt:

Responsive design is a concept where you build your website once and then format it so it can adapt to any screen size that accesses it. Designers use HTML5 and CSS to build the sites and set parameters so the content will resize itself whether the user is in vertical or horizontal viewing mode, on a tablet, desktop or smartphone or even a screen as large as a television.

 

Also see:

 

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My reflections on “MOOCs of Hazard” – a well-thought out, balanced article by Andrew Delbanco


From DSC: Below are my reflections on MOOCs of Hazard — from newrepublic.com by Andrew Delbanco — who asks:  Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well…


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While I’m not sure that I agree with the idea that online education will dampen the college experience — and while I could point to some amazing capabilities that online education brings to the table in terms of true global exchanges — I’ll instead focus my comments on the following items:

 

1) Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are recent experiments — ones that will continue to change/morph into something else.
They are half-baked at best, but they should not be taken lightly. Christensen, Horn, Johnson are spot on with their theories of disruption here, especially as they relate to innovations occurring within the virtual/digital realm.  For example, the technologies behind IBM’s Watson could be mixed into the list of ingredients that will be used to develop MOOCs in the future.  It would be a very powerful, effective MOOC indeed if you could get the following parties/functionalities to the table:

  • IBM — to provide Watson like auto-curation/filtering capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, as well as data mining/learning analytics expertise, joined by
  • Several highly-creative firms from the film/media/novel/storytelling industry, who would be further joined by
  • Experts from Human Computer Interaction (HCI)/user interface/user experience design teams, who would be further joined by
  • Programmers and interaction specialists from educational gaming endeavors (and from those who can design simulations), joined by
  • Instructional designers, joined by
  • The appropriate Subject Matter Experts who can be reached by the students as necessary, joined by
  • Those skilled in research and library services, joined by
  • Legal experts to assist with copyright issues, joined by
  • Other specialists in mobile learning,  3D, web development, database administration, animation, graphic design, musicians, etc.

It won’t be long before this type of powerful team gets pulled together — from some organizations(s) with deep pockets — and the content is interacted with and presented to us within our living rooms via connected/Smart TVs and via second screen devices/applications.

2) The benefits of MOOCs
  • For colleges/universities:
    • MOOCs offer some serious marketing horsepower (rather than sound pedagogical tools, at this point in time at least)
    • They are forcing higher ed to become much more innovative
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They move us closer to team-based content creation and delivery
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  • For students:
    • They offer a much less expensive option to go exploring disciplines for themselves…to see if they enjoy (and/or are gifted in) topic A, B or C
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They provide a chance to see what it’s like to learn about something in a digital/virtual manner

3)  The drawbacks of MOOCs:
  • MOOCs are not nearly the same thing as what has come to be known as “online learning” — at least in the higher ed industry. MOOCs do not yet offer what more “traditional” (can I say that?) online learning provides: Far more support and pedagogical/instructional design, instructor presence and dialog, student academic support services, advising, more student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction, etc.
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  • MOOCs are like drinking from a firehose — there are too many blogs/RSS feeds, twitter feeds, websites, and other resources to review.

4) It would be wise for all of us to be involved with such experiments and have at least a subset of one’s college or university become much more nimble/responsive.

 

Also see:

InDesign FX: How to create a puzzle with InDesign — from blog.lynda.com by Mike Rankin

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How to create a puzzle effect using InDesign

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Also see:

  • How to hook your reader from the very first page — from blog.lynda.com by Lisa Cron
    Excerpt:
    Think stories are just for entertainment? They’re not. Stories are simulations that allow us to vicariously experience problems we might someday face. Think of them as the world’s first virtual reality—minus the geeky visor. Story was more crucial to our evolution than opposable thumbs. All opposable thumbs did was let us hang on. Story told us what to hang on to.
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    The great feeling of enjoyment we get when a story grabs us is nature’s way of making sure we pay attention to the story.

10 ways the role of web designer is changing — from creativebloq.comby Sush Kelly

From DSC:
In my experience, there are numerous demanding aspects to being or becoming a web designer, as you have to:

  • Purchase the necessary software and hardware as well as find the funding for a hosting service / Internet service provider in order to start gaining some serious experience (at least for a good share of us that was/is the case); this is an expensive proposition if you want to do things well these days
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  • Constantly keep learning about new things — as the pace of change on the web is staggering
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  • Design for an ever increasing amount of devices — though responsive design is changing this situation up quite a bit
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  • Give up control at times (i.e. not like the print world)
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  • Deal with extremely unrealistic expectations from clients, corporations, and hiring managers/personnel who often don’t know what’s actually involved; what they often ask for is a designer, a programmer, a project manager, an account manager and more all wrapped into one position (and forget about a well-laid out career track as in the golden corporate days of old.  You have to make your own career and hope that you can survive the ever changing landscapes — as well as get through a fair amount of age-discrimination and people who don’t want to pay you for all the hard-earned experience you’ve gained.)

HTML 5 cheat sheet [theultralinx.com]

HTML 5 cheat sheet — from theultralinx.com

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Adobe’s new ‘Edge’ app suite doubles down on HTML — from webmonkey.com by Scott Gilbertson

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Excerpt:

Now Adobe is launching a new suite of apps for web developers working with the latest web standards.

The new Adobe Edge suite of HTML5 development tools includes Edge Animate 1.0, a tool to create HTML, CSS and JavaScript-based animations, and Edge Inspect (formerly known as Adobe Shadow), a handy tool for testing your sites on multiple devices at once. There’s also Edge Code, a fork of the Brackets code editor that’s now included in Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite.

As part of the announcement at Adobe’s Create the Web conference in San Francisco the company also showed off a demo of the still-in-development Edge Reflow, a new tool for working with responsive design layouts.

Also see:

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What is responsive web design? | infographic — from theultralinx.com

Excerpt:

Many either don’t understand responsive web design or have never heard of it. Responsive web design is essentially one website which can work on many different screen sizes, instead of having one website for the desktop and one website for mobile/tablets. It looks to be the next phase in web design and it’s being adopted quite rapidly with the explosion of mobile phones and tablets.

One or two of you have asked me if I would ever make UltraLinx responsive. I’m currently not looking to do it purely because under 5% of the sites visitors are on mobiles/tablets. Most of people who read UltraLinx, read it on RSS apps such as FLUD or Flipboard. When the time comes to redesign UltraLinx, I will definitely implement responsive web design then.

 

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What the heck is responsive web design? — a scrolldeck.js presentation by @johnpolacek

 

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Responsive design – harnessing the power of media queries
Webmaster Level: Intermediate / Advanced

Conclusion/excerpt:

It’s worth bearing in mind that there’s no simple solution to making sites accessible on mobile devices and narrow viewports. Liquid layouts are a great starting point, but some design compromises may need to be made. Media queries are a useful way of adding polish for many devices, but remember that 25% of visits are made from those desktop browsers that do not currently support the technique and there are some performance implications. And if you have a fancy widget on your site, it might work beautifully with a mouse, but not so great on a touch device where fine control is more difficult.

The key is to test early and test often. Any time spent surfing your own sites with a smartphone or tablet will prove invaluable. When you can’t test on real devices, use the Android SDK or iOS Simulator. Ask friends and colleagues to view your sites on their devices, and watch how they interact too.

Mobile browsers are a great source of new traffic, and learning how best to support them is an exciting new area of professional development.

 

Addendums:

Excerpt:
A much-talked-about way to go mobile is responsive design. Some big brands are using this method, and a lot of advocates are calling it the best solution to fit to mobile. But is it really ideal?

It is certainly an option, but it’s extremely case-based and probably rather just functional than ideal. The function of responsive design is simply adjusting all content of the desktop site to any screen size possible. But ultimately, the mobile experience should be for the mobile audience, which is different than the desktop audience. The mobile consumer is usually on the go, which results in very different browsing behavior. Page views and time spent on a site and/or a page are dramatically smaller than for desktop. Responsive design does not recognize the mobile context — it just adjusts the size.

The question is: Is the mobile consumer really going to want to look at all the content your desktop version is now providing? The key to a fast and pleasant mobile experience for the mobile audience is a clear, good-looking and simple design with features that are most important to the user.

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