jocelyncee: (smart)
So I imported ye olde blog into ye new WordPress doohickey, and presto! I had a massive amount of pointless posts all there, taking up space just like they do elsewhere on da internets. ^^

Then I was a-thinking to myself: 'Self, do you really need all that junk there? There might be embarrassing details from lives past, or at least stoopid little posts about nothing!' Seeing thereupon that my lovely self was right, I proceeded to begin a most righteous Spring Cleaning of the mess I'd just made.

In the process, I found all kinds of things that I'd forgotten about, including the LJ of someone I used to read almost six years ago because she and another co-hort had a lovely li'l web comic called As If! (Warning: much 80's goodness, well drawn and stuff). Well, come to find out the co-hort has a book now, published by TokyoPop.

I don't even really know these people, and I'm proud anyway.

Just goes to show I've been groomed to work with web comics folks for a looooooooooong time now. ^^

Speaking of which... I should be getting back to the Gigcast soon. Four weeks left until I graduate, and, due to somewhat unforeseen circumstances* I won't be PhD-ing just yet.

* of an academic nature, which will be expounded upon later. Suffice it to say, the faculty didn't agree with my decision to go on just here, just now.
jocelyncee: (smart)
Maybe not as blythely and clicheed as all that, perhaps, but I am at least becoming aware of the web's roots in print format. With a husband working at a newspaper that has had a web presence for several years, if not a decade or more, I have been witness (and sometimes impetus) to the changes taking place now in their format. What I have noticed is a typical human frailty: the dependence on the existing, the traditional, the known. Online news still wears the vestments of its older, more established hardcopy cousin. This is a trait that is changing, but online journalism is experience the difficult adolescence, in which it is no longer congratulated simply for being online.

In my work with Nightgig I've also noticed that web comics are also somewhat bound to their more traditional print forbears, with many (if not most) webcomickers designing in strip or full-page format, whether or not their comics were drawn or sketched first by hand or no. The function is dictated to some extent by form, which is largely dictated by either the standard column format or the proportions of a piece of Bristol Board.

Even in my own area of web design it is excruciatingly difficult at times to get past the idea that good paper layouts will work on the web. Advances have of course been made; menus are no longer exclusively bulleted or numbered lists, and navigation doesn't have to be right below the header or in a sidebar. Links to supporting sites don't have to be directly to the right of the header, or right under it. (In fact, the most recent Good Design (TM) that I have seen lately is on the affiliate sites under Koalla Wallop, a webcomics host and community. Their link logo can be found in an unobtrusive (top left-hand) corner of each site, no words, just the face of a koala in a splatter of color, which denotes support from the site but neither overpowers nor intrudes upon each site's design.

What has struck me as the most odd is that so many web sites (mine included) follow what appear to be newspaper guidelines: the most important items are to be found above the fold, above the bottom of the browser window. We are, in essence, imagining a sheet of paper and saying: what is the most important stuff on my site? This stuff should be up at the top. Our web site is this imaginary publication that our readers will hopefully be reading.

But what is the actual medium that our viewers will be seeing? A computer monitor (or perhaps WebTV) that uses landscape orientation, not portrait. Why then do we (myself included) insist upon designing content to be displayed as though each browser window would be turned on its side? Sure, the content at the top of a page can be the most visible, but that assumes also that this content is not dwarfed by something else on the page. Surely information presented in the center of a page (much like the main story in a newspaper) also attracts the necessary attention, if formatted correctly and with enough noticeable features (a catchy headline in large typeface perhaps, or a prominent photograph) that it will overshadow what's at the top?

Only minutes ago Tim and I finished interviewing David Simon of Crimson Dark, who told us that making a web comic per se wasn't specifically his objective: telling his story was first and foremost, and upon examining the media available to him, he decided that web comics were the way to go. Form followed function in this case.

I do not have any kind of solution for this minor conundrum, blanket or otherwise. For the next few projects I am going to try and figure out if there is some way to design for function in the space we have, namely the only visible portion of the browser window. Maybe even the news industry could get wind of this, and begin to approach online news with a similar attitude to David, forgetting for a moment that they've been used to paper, and treat the web as a blank canvas, on which their masterpiece can be built.

As to my own endeavors, more will be revealed, and I will unveil anything I discover here, as well as in my Nightgig blog.

Thanks for the listen.
jocelyncee: (Default)
I was almost on the radio this morning.

I got on the 7:50 edition of the number 6, as usual, and just one stop later, three more passengers boarded. One was an older gentleman (he talked about a newborn great-grandchild, I can say that) who was apparently interviewing the two others that boarded with him about the Lawrence bus system. It was the 25th anniversary of the company, so public transit was both free and news.

After the first radio spot (transmitted live via cell phone) he asked the rest of us on the bus how long we'd been riding, etc. I was apparently the most experienced aboard (strange, that!) and when I mentioned I'd lived in Germany and gotten used to the transit there, he looked all interested, and wanted to chat with me for the next spot.

Unfortunately, the next spot was due up about 1 minute after I had to depart the No. 6 to transfer to the No. 8.

Bummer. I laughed about and half-regretted not being able to participate just because I had a class to teach at 8:30.

Along these lines is ranked hanging out with Joel. We went to coffee last night, and within 15 minutes two people had talked to him, the first about an article he wrote, and the second was a personal acquaintance who just happened to run into us. I can't imagine what it must be like to be stopped on the street and be told what a good job you're doing, or that someone enjoyed a piece you wrote. It's not fame per se, but it is recognition (and public visibility) of a sort.

A familiar experience, in a way: it hearkens back to our days in Mississippi, where I was known only as "the new music minister's daughter". It wasn't through my own merits that I 'achieved' this recognition. It was simply by virtue of being the new girl in a small town. It brings up some interesting memories, which are more positive than I expected, considering the tumultuousness of our stay in that southern state.

I am missing out on hearing a famous person tonight as well -- author Salman Rushdie is giving a talk at the Lied Center tonight, and I was too slow in getting tickets. It has been 'sold out' (the tickets were free) since September 30. (Joel, however, managed to score one randomly last week -- I'll be getting the full report from an actual reporter. *g*)

I missed out on both James Brown and Bobby McFerrin while I was in Stuttgart (due to low fundage, as usual). The last (and only) person of any widespread reputation that I heard was Sherman Alexie, author and screenwriter (remember the movie Smoke Signals? That's his stuff.) I went with Becca (another Lied Center event) and it was delightful. I truly enjoy getting to hear people whose works I've either read or listened to... to get a glimpse of the human being.

Okay, so I did get to hear the King's Singers in Heidelberg in November. One individual, and one group.

The best part of that was sitting in on rehearsal pre-concert. It was refreshing to hear a professional music group practicing, spot-checking in much the same manner as we did for college choir quartet exams.

finally, the plug: Kit ([livejournal.com profile] bluecanarykit) has been working on the rewrite of Blue Canary, creating history and storyline, changing the format (from daily strip to graphic novel) and I got to see the first 11 pages! Other than Ken, I'm the only person who's gotten to see more than the related sketches and sneak peeks that she has posted to the LJ already.

It's coming along nicely, folks. I'm looking forward to this.
jocelyncee: (Default)
... until I get this put elsewhere » Girl Genius (101) (or start from the beginning.

Great comic. Volume One is b/w, the rest full color. Thanks for the de-stressing material, Kit!

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April 2009

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