This is the End.

I never thought I would get to this point, honestly.

This semester has not been easy, and this class has been the thorn in my side… But not necessarily in a bad way.

Publications has been a lot of work. I had to learn my way around a Mac. I had to learn multiple new programs. I had to learn how to create a website almost from scratch. I had to blog my progress to the world, which in itself was not necessarily difficult as much as it was weird. I just kind of took a comfort in knowing that the reach of my blog was probably not many people. Overall, however, I will take away a lot from this class, and it goes past all the bits and pieces we learned about design. I learned that it all starts with an idea. If you foster that idea, that idea will grow. At first that idea is not going to grow into what you had in mind, but, like many aspects of life, if you keep trying and persevere, some level of success will be achieved.

I do not know about the future of my blog past this class. I definitely want to play with my website more and see what else I can do with it. I still have a lot to learn, but the format of the class made learning really easy, to be honest. When you have a professor constantly there to answer all of your simple questions, it is comforting (especially to know that he started where I was at one point too). Knowing all of these things gives me hope in general! More classes should have this structure – independent work with a helpful guide close behind. Sometimes you have to learn with trial and error, and that is a lot of what I did.

If the circumstances of my semester were different, I think I would have gotten a lot more out of the class. However, I did learn an immense amount, and I do plan on continuing this type of work well after the final grades come out.

Originally posted at CK1

And We Danced…

I like to say I danced before I walked. That’s what my family tells me, anyway. Whether or not that is true, I guess I’ll never know, but I remember every dance class I have ever taken. I remember every accomplishment, every milestone, every new technique I finally mastered. Being on stage and performing is like something from a dream. The hush that comes over a crowd before the music starts, the way your heart beats in the first few seconds of a routine, how a dance seems to go on forever but end in a blink at the same time… Everything about dance is everything to me.

The first time I won an award for my choreography I was elated. I thought for sure it was a fluke. My short legs never lent me to have perfect technique, but I went out on a limb and did a contemporary solo for competition anyway. Most people get help from their coaches, but I went at this all on my own. I designed my costume, did my hair and makeup, and choreographed it from beginning to end all by myself. Solos happened on Friday, and group routines happened on Saturday, so it was the middle of the day Saturday during competition craziness when the finalists lists were put up. I was only a Junior then, and when our coach announced someone from our team had made the cut, I did not even fathom that it was me. To this day hearing my name come out of her mouth feels like something from a distant dream. When I lined up at the end of the day, awaiting my award (if any, at this point I was only a finalist), none of it seemed real. That day I got second runner up from all of the solos preformed by all of the dancers from all of the high schools around Kansas.

I still thought it was a fluke going into competition the next year, my Senior year. I had choreographed a jazz routine and a hip hop routine for our team that year, so my solo was barely on my mind. I think I made up half of it the day of competition. I had let myself down… But I did not let the team down; both of the routines I choreographed won awards specifically for choreography. That was the day I realized none of it was a fluke. I was a dancer, and I had something to say.

The day I had to stop dancing because my body gave up on me was the worst day of my life. I had dedicated 13 years to dance, and it was over in just a flash. I still reminisce about old routines, look up clips on YouTube from the “glory days,” and flashback when I see old competition pictures. I have new aspirations and dreams now, but dance will forever be the one thing that shaped my life. I learned hard work, dedication, determination, and, above all, that anything worth doing is worth the blood, sweat, and tears you put into it.

Originally posted at CK1

The Final Countdown

For the final project for this course, our professor asked us to turn our blog into a five page portfolio site that includes a home page and four secondary pages. The pages had to include an about me section, a personal portfolio, our blogs, and a contact page. We were also required to design the logo for our site.

I really enjoyed the first part of this assignment. I loved creating the logo, and it actually came easy to me this time! Then, when it came time to fill the website with content, that was actually pretty simple too. We had free reign to create our website as we wanted, so knowing what I wanted on the front page, figuring out my “About Me” and putting together my portfolio came pretty easily… Then the real trouble started.

I found the actual formatting of the website, the web design part, to be extremely difficult. Even as I am writing this post I am still sorting out the kinks. The “Simplicity” theme seems pretty straightforward at first glance, but there are a lot of components that go into it. Understanding what each typography setting means, exploring fonts and sizes and colors, and discovering how to add background images has, to put it as a cliche, all been Greek to me! I have all the ideas in my head, but putting them down on webpage has proven to be a challenge. The more I work at it, the more things seem to click, but I still have a long way to go before I fully understand Word Press and all of its components – if I ever -fully- understand it, that is.

On a scale of 1-5, I would say this project has been a 4.5. Definitely the most challenging thus far. A worthy opponent for a semester of new things!

Originally posted at CK1

Assignment 3: Newsletter

Upon starting this project, I was really nervous. Four pages seemed like a lot, especially to construct a newsletter and the stories to fill it from scratch. I knew from the beginning of the project I was going to be on a time crunch since I was going out of town, so that kind of added to the stressful nature. When I really got into the work, however, it all just kind of fell together.


I knew I wanted to continue on my NBC Universal theme, which meant I could reuse some of my previous work with the letterhead and business card, so that relieved me of some work. This time around, however, I wanted to focus on the campus side of things, since this is what I do for NBCUni. I started brainstorming and realized that a newsletter about things NBC/Campus Universal are doing in the industry and on campus would be a good idea. I wanted to create something specific enough that I could for see myself passing out around OU’s campus, but general enough that all other campuses could use it as well.

Once I had the base concept, the stories almost wrote themselves. I knew what my boss had me working on over the past month, so I just converted those things into newsletter form. I was worried about pictures, but, luckily I already had a ZIP file of pictures for media use on hand. The real tricky part came with the formatting.

The stories were written, but too long. This is to be expected, but I was a little rusty on cutting down stories. Not to mention the spacing and word placement had to be specific and with a purpose. Measurements had to be exact, and that is where the real trouble started. I think I sat on my computer for an hour adjusting picture and column sizes, adding and deleting words, raising and lowering font size – at one point I thought I was never going to reach a perfect fit.

In the end, the entire project was really enlightening. I felt like I had a better hand on InDesign this time around than the first two times; it is no longer a secret language that everyone can read except for me. I still have a lot of work to go, but this assignment was a huge stepping stone. AND I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out as well.

Newsletter Newsletter2 Newsletter3 Newsletter4

Originally posted at CK1

Chapter 5: Overcoming Obstacles

I thoroughly liked that the author prefaced the chapter by stating that, as humans, we are skeptical of new people and ideas, so, therefore, your website has to persuade without evoking skepticism. I thought that this tied really well into the whole emotion (gut) as a deciding factor theory. Not to mention it was nice to see the basics that we learned at the start of the class (typography, color, contrast, etc.) in relation to using them to instill a “gut reaction” within consumers. Furthermore, I felt the example was spot on with the overall concept of the chapter. The word “free” really does instill skepticism within our minds. The idea that we can overcome that barrier and gain trust through web design (i.e. keeping “gut reaction” in mind) is solid. Having never seen’s website before, I actually saw the concepts the author was talking about within the layout. The colors, the accessibility, the tone – all done strategically and, I think, done well.

I also completely agreed with the “laziness” obstacle to overcome. In fact, I know many people who do not use Dropbox simply because of the hassle. This concept is the reason why I don’t exactly agree with the idea of the success rate of the “games” that Dropbox utilized. To me, those types of steps are even a further turn off. However, that is just one person’s opinion. It could also be due to the fact that I have never tried Dropbox, for the suggestion that accomplishment could be used as a viable incentive seems pretty feasible, in general.

The last facet of the chapter – apathy – is, I believe, the hardest to overcome, but, as the author noted, not impossible. I do firmly believe that a well developed idea presented in an emotionally engaging manner is apathy’s kryptonite.

Originally posted at CK1

Assignment 1: Business Card and Letterhead

During the course of this assignment, I faced many challenges. First, and foremost, regardless of it being my fourth year in Gaylord, I am not a Mac user, so getting to know a new computer system was already an obstacle to overcome. Not to mention I had never used InDesign or any other type of photo-editing program in my life. Therefore, I had a lot of hurdles to go over during the course of this project. 


The first week was frustrating, to say the least. I had no idea what I was doing or how to get what was in my head on to paper. I had so many grandiose ideas that I just couldn’t conceptualize with my little knowledge of the program. By week 2 I had settled on a simpler design – something more achievable.

Being a Dell subscriber, I could not work on this project outside of class. Furthermore, living in the city meant I could only work on this project when I was in Norman – two days a week. This was specifically hard for me because I am more of an at-home learner. In other words, when inspiration strikes I like to be able to live in “the now” and work on it right away.

By the end of week three I really found my groove. Something kind of clicked in my head during class, and I ended up with an hour and a half break until my next class, so I went to the lab and got to work. I finally felt like I was getting the hang of things; my letterhead basically did itself. I’m still no master, but I do feel like I can hold my own.

Overall, I’m proud of my first go around with InDesign. I’m also actually excited to see what the future holds between me and this program!

Business CardBusiness Card2Letterhead

Originally posted at CK1

Chapter 4: Emotional Engagement

The start of the chapter immediately engaged me because it was like dejavu. Earlier today I was driving around the city and my favorite song came on the radio. I remember thinking, “It’s so much better when I hear it spontaneously like this!” Consequently, I found the remainder of the chapter very intriguing. The entire concept of surprise and memory imprint is definitely something to think about in terms of web design. In fact, making a lasting impression in a split second should be, I think, a top goal during the website creation process. Therefore, I found the author’s explanation of how to achieve this goal very helpful. I had never previously thought of how to reach this phenomena on purpose, so I thought this information was very interesting. Furthermore, the Photojojo explanation made this seemingly complicated process seem legitimately achievable.

On another note, I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author mentioned statements from previous chapters. As a writer myself, tying in the thesis to create a complete, organized piece is my favorite style of writing. Seeing the Wufoo example from Chapter 1 reintroduced and utilized in a new way for this chapter was excellent. I also found it paralleled nicely with the course, as we just discussed MailChimp for our current assignment. Lastly, I liked the overall emphasis on psychology found in this chapter. Exploring emotional response was an excellent way to fine tune my psychological skillset.


Originally posted at CK1

Chapter 3: Personality

From the start of the chapter, I was on the same page as the author. The fact he brought light to the negative connotations of the title “Human-Computer Interactions” and described it as more human-to-human communication is what initially got me hooked. Word choice is extremely important, and, the author is right, the term Human-Computer Interactions makes the data seem arbitrary and impersonal – not a positive attribute in a website. I agree that the overall concept of making design personal, like the spark of a conversation based on the excitement you get from one’s personality, should be a key factor in web design.  Furthermore, the historical aspects the author brought in to support this theory (i.e. Gutenberg’s printing press, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Get a Mac campaign), played right into my preferred type of writing. This facet of the chapter only accelerated my interest.  Therefore, when the author continued to touch on the idea that products can be “people” too, I really became engulfed in the chapter, for I had never thought of this concept before. The idea of bringing an actual persona to the product and the website as a way to make the overall idea personal to the user is brilliant, really.  It is also important to note the compare and contrast the author provided (along with the visuals, graphs, etc.) in terms of creating a successful web persona; one cannot just create blindly, one must create specifically and strategically.

Originally posted at CK1

Chapter 2: Designing for Humans

Oddly enough, the thing I did not quite agree with in this chapter came first thing, following the Darwin quote. The author asserts that humans “don’t develop emotions after birth by watching others” and, in fact, they are “born ready to express [emotions].” To me, this idea is stated a little to concrete given the concept of nature vs. nurture. It is not a vital component to the piece by any means, but it did raise my eyebrows a little bit. However, in a way it set me up for similar issues in the coming sections of the chapter. I felt that, overall, the author made some great points involving the baby-face bias. Explaining the use of “cute” website mascots in this way made complete sense. The supporting point about scientists believing we evolved to love baby faces so that we would not kill them, on the other hand, made the author’s credibility waver a bit. As I said, that is my own, very particular, opinion. That being said, I greatly appreciated the idea of perception explained throughout this chapter. The idea of using shape and typography figuratively instead of literally in terms of perception is a huge component of web design. In fact, I never really noticed it “out loud,” but this idea resonated in my mind because I was recognizing this concept subliminally in every web page I visit.  This realization is why Chapter 2 was so interesting to me – I got to literally learn all the subliminal aspects I had yet to fully process. Contrast, for instance, is something I do not always think about, but upon reading this chapter I noticed all the effort that goes in to a simple log-in (especially in terms of overall aesthetic).


Originally posted at CK1