Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Interview Questions

This blog is about if I was an interviewer and have to employ a new web designer what questions would I ask them and why.

Below is a list of 7 questions that I would ask if I was in this situation.


1. What Skills do you have?
This question is vital question because if somebody came to me with only basic skills of XHTML and CSS. I would have to say no because they would require to much learning to get up to the standard that I would expect.

Ideal answer: High standard of XHTML and CSS and knows how to use JavaScript to an intermediate level. As well understanding the use of Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Illustrator

2. What Skills do you want to learn in the future?
The skills that I would be expecting for them to learn would be Flash, PHP and MYSQL this would be because in the future it would be great to know that I have one person who can do all the things I want without having to employee multiple people to do it.

3. Why do you want this job?

This question is pretty hard to answer I would say but there needs to be a reason why they want the job which isn’t just the moneys good. I would like to think that they would have an interest in the company and feel that their style of designing is at the same standard as what is already been produced.

4. What can you bring to the company, which we don’t already have?
If they can bring fresh ideas, a high level of creativity and make fully functional websites that would be what I’m looking for.

5. Can you work in a team?

This should just be a yes straight away as if they can’t work in a team or have little communication skills. I wouldn’t be interested; I would want somebody who can justify their idea in a team and help others achieve what they want. I would want them to be more of an all rounder.

6. What are XHTML and CSS?
This should be an easy question to answer but is something that needs to be asked. Do you actually know what it is and its uses? I wouldn’t want to end up with somebody that needs training from basics because it would cost too much money to do and would in turn make me lose money. They would need to have a high level of understanding of this.

7. How do you handle pressure?
Working under pressure would be a must because if there’s 3 job all running at the same time. I want somebody who gets it done. No complaints just do it. This is a vital skill for me.

These question if answered true-fully should lead me to somebody who knows how to design to a good standard using Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Illustrator and have the ability to code the website using well structured XHTML and CSS as well JavaScript but is keen to learn Flash, PHP and MYSQL. Also this would give me somebody who can work in a team and can handle working under pressure.

Friday, 23 October 2009

A8:iME Result

A8 Website

1 & 2 Investigate and Learn PHP and MYSQL
I have meet this target by reading though books and using website to learn more about PHP and MYSQL

How I have shown this

With the assignment there is a essay called “What is PHP and MYSQL?” this is the fill full the first learning outcomes. The meet the 2nd outcome I have written a tutorial list with links on the PDF to the websites I have used.

3 Create a website using PHP and MYSQL

How I have shown this
I have done this by creating a fully functioning website with PHP and MYSQL. There is a link at the top of the page to view my website.

4 Evaluate
How I have shown this
I have written a 500 word essay to evaluate my work as well as writing a blog to evaluate my work so far. I only wrote one blog instead of two but have justified in my evaluation why this happened.

After looking though the other criteria for the A8 assignment I have decided that my grade is a Pass

Thursday, 15 October 2009

A8:Not a Good Start!!

This is the 3rd week now of the SMLP and I am finding it difficult. Not the assignment it’s sticking to the things that I have said I am going to do on my learning plan. However I feel that I didn’t think of the assignment properly before I stated the things that I was going to do. For example on my creative brief I put that my website was going to allows stuff like uploads when it is only me who is going to be putting photos and so in turn I have chosen not the have that.

Also I haven’t been keeping up with my blogs. Next time that I do this I will make sure that I have really think about the assignment before I stat what I am going to do this will make the task easier and less stressful.

However my progress so far has been good. I got my drawings out of the way which was a good start, which allowed me to create a website faster and then chose which JavaScript I was going to use and which PHP form I was going to use.

I feel that this project has been quite a struggle for me so far with having to learn everything myself however feel more than capable to this again in the future.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Job in Web Design

The Job Advert

We are currently looking for an enthusiastic Web Designer for a client side opportunity, based in Leeds. As a designer within this ever expanding organisation, you will be responsible for maintaining and updating the group's current Websites, in accordance with W3 standards. This unique full cycle role, will see the successful Web designer planning, designing and developing new online projects and identifying and resolving any issues relating to their online marketing. As you will also be required to interpret and develop design briefs passed on to you from the Marketing Department, and explain technical issues to non-technical colleagues, strong verbal and written communication skills are a must.

To be considered for this fantastic Web design role, you must:
be a competent Mac AND PC user
have a demonstrable track record in CSS, XHTML, HTML and JavaScript
have strong skills in Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash
have a broad understanding of online marketing, such as SEO, PPC etc
be able to communicate effectively to both technical and non-technical colleagues

Any knowledge of Fireworks and Quark is desirable, although not strictly necessary.

Should you wish to be considered for this excellent design role, please forward your Resume to me today at (see below), along with examples of your work, for the chance of an immediate interview.

Circle Recruitment is acting as an Employment Agency in relation to this vacancy.
Location:
Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Start Date:
ASAP
Rate:
17000 - 19000 GBP Dependent on experience
Contact:
Lucie Alker
Please send Resumes (CV's) as WORD (any version) attachments.
Open To:
Applicants must be eligible to work in the specified location
Posted Date:
05/10/2009


My Response


I have been looking for a job on the Internet to do with web design and stumbled across this one. I have chosen this one because it is for a web designer not a developer as I think that I am stronger in the design part of making a website instead of being a specialist on the code side using scripts like PHP and things like that.

So in turn I chose to go for this one as you need a good understanding of CSS, HTML, XHTML and JavaScript these are skills that I feel that I have developed quite fast and could be up to scratch with the industry standards when it comes to leaving the course. Also you need good skills in Dreamweaver, which I have been working with quite a lot and feel that I now know the interface and am getting to terms with the coding on that, but don’t feel like an expert yet but could be in a short space of time. However it wants a strong skill in flash, which I have never done but feel that after taking on a 6-month flash course this will bring me up to par with the rest of my skills.

There is a requirement to communicate with clients who understand web design and those that don’t, I feel that I can do this to a good standard as when it comes to explaining certain things to people for example what the differences between vector and bitmaps or HTML and CSS are. I find this easy to do, so when it comes to talking to people who do understand what I’m talking about its simple. I also have a very basic knowledge of fireworks and with this not been necessary it gives me a chance to get to the stage where I have an understanding of it at an intermediate level.

To confirm the area that I would need to improve would be in JavaScript, which can be done through tutorials, Flash which I have already been thinking about taking a short course to learn this, as it will be a vital skill for me in the future. Also I would have to learn more about SEO and PPC as I don’t know a lot about either of them this would have to be a steep learning curve for me but feel that it is not something that is beyond my ability it would just be a task it get myself to the skill set.

It also states that I would need to get my website to the standards of the w3c this is something that I feel comes with the job of making any website, from the start of making website they have all been validated by w3 standards. In conclusion I feel that by the time the course is up I can be ready to get into the industry all I would like to do before that comes is take a course in Flash and then apply for jobs similar to this one.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Resource List for My SMLP

After a researching around the Internet I have managed to find a handful of website that will support my learning in my SMLP they are as follows

Websites
www.php.net
www.freewebmasterhelp.com
www.w3schools.com
www.tizag.com
www.mysql.com/

I have asked previous student for there advise and along with a bit of self research I have come up with a selection of books that will become very useful they are:

Books
PHP in 5 easy steps
PHP for the web
PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Edition)
Sam teach yourself PHP in 24 hours 3rd edition

Thursday, 3 September 2009

SMLP:PHP

After doing research into some scripting languages I have opted to go for PHP as my choice for the SMLP assignment. I will learn this by looking at tutorials about the language.

I have chosen this language because I feel that by using PHP it will give me a bigger credit in knowing more than 2 languages i.e. XHTML and CSS this will give me more skills to take to the industry when the time comes to leave the course.

Also another advantage for using PHP is that it is easier to update and maintain. I will also be using MYSQL to make a content management system that will enable me to make databases and more professional complex websites.

With the future in mind also learning PHP will give me the ability to be looked at as a real web designer instead of just a student leaving a HND course with just knowing the basics of XHTML and CSS. With there not been as many jobs around employers are looking for someone who can basically do everything instead of having a number of people doing a job that one person can do if they had the skills. My job is the have them skills so I can be the person who can make a website from start to finish including the design to a high standard.

Also it will allow me to make feedback forms, sign up forms so that my website can have members to it this is key skills that basically every website has. This will make me more appealing to a wider audience like small business, commercial business, respected companies as I will have the skills that they need to just employ me to do a website instead of more than one person like I said earlier.

Just the clarify I am going to be learning PHP and MYSQL for my SMLP assignment.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

One Year Down, One To Go

With the first year coming to an end and the final assignment just handed in, I think it's about time to evaluate my progress for this year. I remember the beginning of the course, not knowing anybody, feeling a bit uneasy about what to expect and, to be honest, I think I had a lack of confidence in my ability. During this year I feel that I have progressed at a steady speed however, in terms of self-learning, I could have done more.

Personally I find self-learning a challenging thing to grasp on, as managing a busy social life with a full time HND course is a very demanding thing to keep up. I feel that when it comes to next year I will have a clear understanding of what is expected of me and this should help me reach my targets, one of which I would say is to get a wider understanding or either PHP or Flash.

At the beginning of the course I had my head set on doing flash but as time has progressed I'm beginning to steer towards PHP for the sole factor that flash is more of a specialist skill.I would still like to learn flash but I feel that I would benefit more from doing flash as a short course rather than focus a whole assignment on it.

In terms of my progression in design I would say that I have progressed. However I think that when it comes to designing, I don't realise my potential. For example, I have quite flat designs and tend to stay in my comfort zone. So over this summer I am going to experiment to find out what I can and can't do and by doing this my skills will increase and basic design skills will become more of an everyday thing.

Already I have noticed that when I look at signs and other pieces of design work I find myself analysing them instead of just seeing them for the purpose they serve. I notice aspects of them like the colours used and the way they have placed the text and with certain designs I see them, remember them and use them as influences later on.

This is something that I think everybody in the industry does as nothing is truly original but it's a combination of different styles of design made into one design with your own touch to it.

Time to reflect on previous assignments The first assignment, "A Journey of 1000 Miles..." wasn't what I really expected of the first assignment of a design course. This was a whole text document of the different elements of a computer: hardware, software, computing languages and network and communication.

I found this task useful as I now understand the terminology and different types of devices that can be relative for the course. At the time I didn't see that relevance for it but as time has progressed I see the reasons why we had been asked to do it, it was so when it came to doing the other task we had a basic understanding of what scripts were and what hardware did what. This gave us the basics that we needed just to understand what we would be doing. So once I passed that assignment I felt that I knew enough to progress onto the next assignment.

Something that I felt annoyed me in the first year was referring on silly little things that really shouldn't be forgotten but stupidly I forgot, so if I was to do it again I would make sure that I have checked all the learning outcomes before hand-in. Also, when it comes to getting the new assignments, I am going to learn the learning outcomes off by heart.I feel that this will help as I will always have the relevant information drilled into my brain so whilst I'm doing the assignment I will know if I'm meeting the targets or if there is anything that needs adding.

Another part of the course that I found to be an important task was A4: Typecast. This really cemented the importance of having the right typeface and where I position the text can really make or break a design. I found that I have really put this into practice when it comes to doing my own personal work, it really helped knowing what font is called what as it makes deciding what font you use works well with what sort of design.

I find that downloadable fonts are a good idea to get as you find any font for any design. I also enjoyed been given the mini tasks, which made the assignment feel to have less pressure on it as we were finishing tasks in a day. This felt like we were being very productive as we came in with no concept and by the time the day had finished we had a finished product; so you left feeling like you had achieved something. I enjoy this way of learning because you don't feel like nothing is happening but feel like you are actually getting somewhere.

Coming to the A5 and A6 assignments, these assignments ran together and we had been told not to favour one assignment rather than the other but, nevertheless it happened to me. I found myself favouring the A6 assignment as the work load seemed far greater than the work load that we had for A5.

When I think of next year there are obvious targets that I need to set for myself in terms of grades. I would be very pleased with a mixture of merits and passes and some distinctions and to achieve this target I need to pull my finger out and go above the minimum that has been asked of me. Also, self-motivation is something that needs to be pulled up as sometimes I feel that I have slacked off at times and find myself doing other things.

In conclusion I feel that I have progressed well on the first year and hope to progress further in the second year. My fears are that I won't progress through to the next year however if I do I will get more into my design work as I have everything I need to progress. So there are no excuses. I will take this summer to get up to the standard I feel I should be by the time it comes to next year.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Time Flies

With this year coming to an end it’s time to start thinking how much have I progressed though the year and what have I learnt this year.

In terms of progression I feel that I have learnt some key skills, for example learning the different type of typefaces has proven to be more crucial than I once thought. Also the difference between design for web and print proved to be a learning curve that I wasn’t expecting; just getting the resolution right is something that took a while to figure out.

Now the last assignment deadline is about 2 weeks away and this is scary, the summer holiday is going to prove as not only a big rest but a chance to get more freelance work and really improve my HTML and CSS skills for next year. In terms of the assignment I have nearly finished, with just the website build to go.

During this project I have come across a range of different designs and learnt that, if you’re making a range of different products for one company, reputation is important. For example, if you use yellow throughout don’t just randomly start using green. This is what happened to me with my logo design; I designed it as blue but then changed it for my album artwork.

As far as I am concerned I have progressed through this course at a steady speed however next year is going to involve personally more self-study work.

Here is my CD album artwork:

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Remember to Check.

After getting the results for A5 and A6 assignments I feel pretty positive entering the A7 project. This project is flowing with the chance to do creative and effective design work.

I found the feedback for the assignments useful and have learnt the importance of making sure an image is 300dpi as well as making sure that the CD structure is right. However all these problems have now been resolved, so the concentration is on A7.

Having just designed the 3 logos I found this process relatively straight forward, however what I have learnt is not to spend too long on a design. For example I took about 5 hours to do 1 design and then did 1 in 5 minutes, in the end the one that I did in 5 minutes was the better one of the two. Logo 1 Design below:



We then gave a pitch on the logos. This was a new experience as explaining my designs isn’t always my strong point; this is something I need to work on in order to develop my skills. Also I am beginning to design the CD artwork. I am going to enjoy this project as I have already started thinking of what possible designs I could have, this is going to be the project where I start the creative juices flowing.

When it comes to handing in the assignment I am going to make sure that I have checked my SPG perfectly and check all the briefs to see if I have included everything that is asked for. As well as making sure the CD is correct.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Signal Robotron Album Review


Signal's new album Robotron is nothing short than brilliant, with its experimental new sounds, psychedelic beats and chemical head-thrashing melodies.
It really is like nothing you have ever heard. By using the same distorted beats throughout songs, it really will make you want to party - even when your not at a club.

Signal opted for no lyrics which makes this album bring the new wave into music, where the backing track is digitally made. I found that this album gives you an immediate party feel like no other. This isn’t your average dance music. This will get your heart racing until you can’t dance anymore.

The build up in some songs really creates tension when waiting for the break down. Also Signal create a wider range of different sounds for example “Wismut”, a 7 minute track that really gets everything out using different tempos, beats and sounds. I would say that Signal Robotron's main sound was experimenting with white noise like we hear on our TV. This has been done in such a professional and alternative way that Signal Robotron could be one of those bands to make it big in the club scene.

When I started to listen to Signal's album I thought, here we go, another band hooked on ‘drugs’ messing with music software in their basement. Boy was I wrong! The album is so progressive you get that feeling that they have purposely gone for the more continuous beats and distorted snares to give it more of a fuzzy sound - something that indie bands might consider adding into their backing tracks to give it a more alternative feel, instead of sounding the same as every other ‘indie’ band.

There is a theme that arises as you listen to their tracks; when I listen to Signal's new album Robotron I get the 'technology feel', almost as if they have used simple pieces of technology. An example of this would be the 23 second long song of Datasette which is basically an Internet connection mixed with a flat line.

This is music that has been brought out not because of the fact that it is up there with the Britney Spears making millions of pounds. This album has been created because the band Signal enjoy playing around with alternative sounds and creating them into something that experimental youth can listen to when they aren’t in a clear state of mind.

This album is a must have for the more expressive groups of people who enjoy showing that difference is a good thing and not something that record companies have over produced to make someone sound perfect. The main reason I like Signal is because they will make whatever they want and still not care. If someone says it's ‘crap’ they won't care because they are musicians.

This is new wave music with obvious influences being bands like: Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Prodigy, Caspa, Rusko and other artists that are in with the alternative dance scene.

Monday, 2 February 2009

All Up For Grabs

All the assignments are up for grabs now so there are no mysteries on what we will be doing after these two assignments have been handed in.

The hand in date for my A3 referral assignment was today but due to my stupid mistake I forgot to bring it to college. This is an obvious lack of organisational skills and I need to address this issue straight away to make sure that I don’t let it happen again. However Steve allowed me to hand it in.

Jonny Haynes also came in to give us a presentation. I found this presentation different to the Dave Pannell one for the fact that the company that Jonny works for is a lot bigger than Dave’s. This was interesting because Jonny’s work has different areas of specialism, I always thought that everyone had a range of skills so they could each make a website instead of having to specialise in one thing. This made me think what section I would specialise in if I was to go into design.

The new assignments that we have just got are A5: Builder and A6: The Big Picture, these assignments are by far the best assignments that I have done. It is now beginning to feel like everything is getting better in terms of practical work, for example we are learning Dreamweaver 8, XHTML and CSS; these are some key factors of web design in my eyes and couldn’t wait to start it. I also felt that the lecture on bitmap images and vector graphics was the most influential presentation that we have done, as when people mentioned the word vector I was confused by the terminology but I now feel that I can add to the conversation instead of sitting back hoping for an explanation.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Start of a New…

With the first Semester finishing I cant help think how much I have learnt though the past few months, from just general knowledge about the components that are needed in a computer to how to design type trumps cards and follow a working brief.

However with this semester out of the way, I’m glad that we have completed the academic work first because I now know that we it comes to starting the second semester it will mainly be drawings and design work on the computer.

In this new semester I think that parts that are going to be emphasised will be the presentation as I feel that it is an important to know how to give an presentation at a high standard because we it comes to meeting a client if we cant get our ideas out so the clients understand we might as well just give up know. I think that in terms of giving a presentation I feel that I am fairly confident we standing up and talking, however the parts that I need to improve on will be the writing enough notes so I don’t lose what I need to.

The new semester should be better than the last as know that everybody knows everybody. So it will be more relaxed than it was in the first few weeks of class. This is something that just happens in time and I feel that our class has gelled quite weekly; I think this was the team building activity that we need that brought us further together.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Back to Work

I’ve just come back from the Christmas holidays and getting back into the swing of things has been a challenge. It’s the second day back and the assignments are coming to an end. This is making me feel relieved and with the new assignment just round the corner I feel ready to take up the challenge.

In regards to the A4 Typography assignment this has been the best task that I have done so far as it taught me to get my idea on the page before rushing straight into it, which I normal don’t do. We have just finished the last mini task and I’m feeling pretty confident about it. However if I was to do this again I spend more time doing the thumbnails and getting them done faster to let my brain work faster and think of things that don’t necessarily come to me straight away.The Task that i thought was the best was the type trumps as i feel that I got stuck into it even though, this is mainly because i had to motorvate myself as it was the first task we did at home.


Also as the A4 assignment is finishing so is A3, this has been a different assignment to say the least as sometimes to been good but then sometimes it just not made me want to work as there is quite a few parts of the assignment that made me have to do research which where in my eyes not as important for the assignment. This assignment was the first time that I had to respond to a brief and I feel that I did a good job as I had to create all the copy, get the images copyrighted and create the web plan.

All in all I feel that the course is going well and hope that I continue to enjoy it.