Sunday, March 11, 2012

Canonical Texts Wikipage Review

The two wikipages I reviewed are Manovich's The Language of New Media and Baudrillard's Simulcra... and  The Illusion ...

As I read these, I got some great ideas for the page I am doing with my partner.  First, both pages not only hit the required topics, but they also added sections of their own design such as meet the author, additional resources, and how scholars influence the author.  This makes their pages unique even as we all have the same overall guidelines.  This is something I definitely want to do on my page.  I also realized that long chunks of text were not so easy to get through.  My partner and I will therefore try to condense as much as we can plus use the layout features to chunk our text so that it is more visually manageable.  I need to keep in mind that my page is an introduction to the texts not a full recreation -- I want to give enough for someone to know if they want to read more.  Finally, I saw in their pages the same struggle my partner and I are having with design because of the controlled space of a Google Site.  We have lots of ideas to implement (such as expandable text), but we just can't in this site.  That is fine ultimately -- I certainly have learned a great deal that I CAN do in a Google site.  But to see what more I would like to do helps me understand why knowing the bit of programming code I will from this semester will definitely come in handy when I have a more malleable design interface.

Sarah commented on my page early, which is really helpful since I can use her comments to edit my page before I leave for my trip with my yearbook staff to the Columbia Scholastic Press Association conference.  She gave us great specific advice to look again at the formatting options, and we added alt-text to our images plus more links to outside resources.  These links are what I think really improve our page, as now people can read the Narcissus myth, see the specific texts that reference McLuhan the most, and read even more about McLuhan.

Once I got back from my trip, I found Amanda's and Wil's comments and was able to finetune our page more.  I added in the summary more explanation of why, although it is so much shorter, Part I is the most important part of the book.  I also tried to make it clearer why we did not discuss every single chapter of Part II by explaining that they are more like individual essays to read to understand the applications of his theories.  I also tried to make it clear that McLuhan did not write about our current digital technologies -- that had confused Wil, and I hope it is clearer now that the Facebok example is our application of his theory not his application of it.  Finally, I took out an image on the left that Wil commented on not understanding because it really was just put there for having an image not for a very clear purpose. 

I commented the same on others' pages as Amanda commented on ours: they are just so text heavy!  We actually tried to minimize this by making the text size smaller, but she recommended the opposite.  This is user opinion clearly, and I decided not to change the size.  Her question about the YouTube video was one that points out a frustration we have with the site -- we were not able to size down the video to fit the column width no matter what we tried, so that was our compromise!

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