done! (mostly)

I don’t know how but I’ve seriously underutilized gifs in my blog posts. I guess it comes down to the whole gradual comfort thing, somehow thinking they might not be appreciated here…yeah, I’m not sure what I was thinking either. So, my thoughts towards my portfolio, starting from the beginning, in the language of Leslie Knope’s expressions (my bad if you don’t watch Parks and Rec):

How I felt (all gifs found here) when we got the assignment and I decided to play around with HTML for my portfolio:

Leslie Knope of Parks and Rec doing Rocky moves

Realizing the scary amount of resources and not knowing what I was doing at all, and the reality that slapped me in the face this weekend at the state of my portfolio (and my roommate seeing it and telling me “That looks so boring”):

Leslie Knope with a giant slurpee cup on her face

Throughout this weekend, rearranging and writing and of course, our favorite, revision (occasionally taking a break to study for databases and computer organization):

leslie knope saying "everything hurts and i'm dying"

Today, accepting that my portfolio will be a work in progress, and actually feeling pretty alright about the whole thing:

leslie knope smiling
In case you can’t tell, in my future life I aim to be Leslie Knope

Thanks for all your advice, comments,  words of encouragement, and sympathy in all our shared struggles. If you feel like poking around my portfolio you can check it out here!

Intro to Eportfolio

The theme of my portfolio is really focused on slowing down time, living in the present, being aware of all the incredible day to day things that are happening all around us. I’ve always had people tell me that college passes like no other and I’ve never really stopped to give it much thought because I’ve been too busy rushing by. When I stop to look back there are so many moments I can’t remember clearly or times I wish I had enjoyed more. All my pieces and work emphasize this bit and really try to make readers see the world in a new way and to understand from different perspectives. My goal is to get people to stop in their tracks when they’re running to that next class, that next meeting, and to really take time for the world.

I am really excited by the way I can design and mold this website to my message. I want it to be visually stimulating and I want people to feel like there’s a mystery to search for. I want it to be a calm, reflective tone, giving people the time to absorb and think about how it is similar to or different from their own experiences. My layout is centered on simplicity. No extra bells or whistles, just visuals and prose to bring a message to life. This new way of web writing has really intrigued me. It is so different from the way I normally write that I am challenged to find ways to mold my personal style to the new medium–and it is so exciting. There are now so many ways to pair communication and I find myself spending countless hours on tweaking out the best ways to combine writing, listening, and watching to get viewers to see the point I’m trying to make.

Given this new medium, it has also been a challenge to find new ways to present my thoughts. I’m a traditional writer who sits down and does reflections, but who isn’t necessarily so good at twitter or quick bursts of information. Through this process, I’ve been testing myself to see how varied I can make my pieces and how creative I can be in my presentations. Everything that I’m posting relates to my central theme of stopping and looking around, enjoying. But the eportfolio also calls for a reflection on each of the artifacts to explain why we wrote the pieces that we did. My eportfolio tone tends to be more subtle, and one of the obstacles I’m trying to jump is figuring out how to tie this reflection into my layout. I think I may end up doing a side link that offers this information for those who are interested in looking into my thought process for each of the artifacts, and for those who aren’t interested, they can just enjoy what I have presented to them on the surface level.

 

If you’d like to take a look, my eportfolio can be found at http://beixili.wix.com/livelaughloveshare

What’s My Portfolio All About

So, as some of you may know I’ve had a long journey with this portfolio. I’ve switched back and forth on platforms, learned how to write in html/css and then decided that I wouldn’t use that knowledge. Let’s just say it’s been a long ride on the crazy train.

As for what it will “privilege” that has stayed the same through the whole process. It is not going to be a portfolio about me per se, but about my writing. That may sound confusing, but really all I’m trying to say here is that I want you to think about what the writing means and how it affects you before you try to psychoanalyze me. Though I am interesting (of course) this is not the place where I want you to discover that.

Now, I am very excited about the design of the site. I am going for very simplistic right now and I think it is going really well. I have a homepage with only a few links but despite the sparse nature I also feel like it is easy enough to navigate and very appealing. I’m loving this.

What I’m not loving is uploading all of my artifacts and figuring out where they should go and how I should organize them. I usually end up staring at the screen and begging it to just arrange itself in an organized manner. I think this step is just going to have to take more thought about how I want the reader to see my writing and then group it accordingly. For now, it’s just a jumbled mess.

So I will give you the link, but keep in mind this is a very rough cut.

http://lisamiller324.wix.com/portfolio

EPortfolio Progress

I had originally chosen Weebly as the platform for my EPortfolio.  I made this decision because I had never created my own website before, and after experimenting with several options, I found that Weebly was the simplest, most easy to use option, at least for me.  I wanted my site to have a simplistic, minimalist look and be very easy for users to navigate.  I had seen sites filled with many different colors, which definitely caught my attention; however, I feel as though users could be just as drawn to a page using less powerful colors like blacks, whites, and grays.  I also think that this could oftentimes be less distracting and more appealing as compared to an extremely colorful page that could be overwhelming and even sometimes perplexing.

I had gathered most of the artifacts I wanted to post on my portfolio and was doing my best to organize them in the way the I had envisioned, but truthfully I wasn’t in love the options Weebly was giving me.  I wasn’t sure if it was worth it to change my platform entirely or just do my best to work with what Weebly was giving me to create a site I was happy with.  I didn’t hear about Wix until a few weeks ago and obviously I didn’t know much about it.  The funniest part about making my decision to switch over to Wix was that I actually saw a commercial on TV about it.  The advertisement was all about businesses being able to create their own websites and personalize it to fit their company’s needs.  I’ll admit, it wasn’t the commercial itself that convinced me to start building my portfolio with Wix, but it definitely intrigued me enough to start playing around with the site, and I eventually realized that definitely preferred Wix over Weebly.

At first, I really liked the different templates Wix had to offer.  They broke them down into different categories such as photography portfolios, architecture portfolios, writing portfolios, etc.  The great part about this is that you don’t have to select a template based on the artifacts that you post on your page.  Instead, you can edit these different templates and add your own artifacts.  The template decision is mainly based on the look you want for your page.

I am still in the process of adding my artifacts and organizing my site but the general idea is to separate my pages into five different sections: Home, About Me, Freshman Year, Sophomore Year, and Junior Year.  Each of these pages can be accessed through a bar on the top of the page.  Lists of my pieces of writing also drop down when hovering over these different page titles on the top bar.  While this is a very simple way for users to access my writing, they could also be accessed through pictures on each of the main pages.  Each picture is in some way related to the piece of writing it corresponds to.  I feel like these pictures give users an extra incentive to read my writing.  Once users click on these pictures or on the titles in the top bar, they can read my writing in the form of a page by page slideshow.  I thought this was a great way to add a different type of media or web writing.  I think its also a clean way to display my writing, giving users an easy way to navigate from page to page.

There is still much work that needs to be done on my portfolio before I my portfolio is complete but it is definitely on the right track.  I am really happy with the decision to change my platform from Weebly to Wix.  I think it was the right decision, and I think I am definitely going to be more happy with my final portfolio as a result

My Portfolio

 

I’m doing my portfolio on WordPress mostly because it’s the platform I’m most comfortable with. I wanted a layout that would allow me to include a background photo as well as a cover-style photo, but that was relatively minimalist when it comes to text and text organization (the theme is called Twenty Eleven, if anyone is interested). I’m including a Welcome page that will contain a reflective summary of the portfolio assignment itself, an About page that I’ll use to introduce myself, pages for each of the three major assignments for this class (Why I Write, Repurposing, and Remediating) and their draft structures, 2-3 writing samples from 5 of my other classes, a host of blog posts from this class and another class where I had to blog, and finally a resumé.

I really liked the idea of putting a resumé on my portfolio and being able to reference it as a source of writing samples in a job interview or a link to be able to give an employee (obviously I’ll make it available to my family and friends as well, but I want to be able to get more use out of it than just show and tell with people close to me).

I’m most excited about looking through all of my old writing samples and potentially adapting things to be more readable online (because let’s be real – who wants to read a six-page paper online?).

At this point, I’m not really struggling to figure anything out in terms of planning or navigation or organization or anything like that. It’s mostly just a matter of writing the introductory information for my writing samples and uploading and adjusting all of my samples. Essentially, I just need to devote time to putting things in the portfolio itself.

Take a look if you want! http://dylanbaig.wordpress.com/

words and code…and more words

Hi!

My thoughts about my portfolio are kind of two-fold at the moment – I’m in the process of coding (well, okay, I use that term loosely, HTML/CSS is a lot of cutting and pasting and manipulating existing templates and fun stuff like that) the basics of my portfolio and at the same time trying to develop an overall argument about my identity as a writer. Lots on my mind.

The first part is going pretty well, though! Aside from the scrolly thingy I so excitedly figured out in class on Tuesday, I’m making progress in setting up the overall navigation and trying not to worry about details like the color behind my drop down menu (though it’s taking a lot of restraint not to nitpick every detail). The projects in my classes normally require so much accuracy and precision that the ability to do whatever I want is so, so nice, and creating this portfolio really doesn’t feel like work at all. I mean, okay…it’s a little work. But the good kind.

On the more rhetorical side, I’ve been thinking more and more lately about my goals for the portfolio and the minor in general. My Why I Write essay centered around the idea of writing as an ongoing process towards honesty, and I think I want my portfolio to somehow reflect that general idea. I’m still deciding between a few essays to include, but I know I want to show a mix of different styles – I like the fact that in writing, we can convey a sense of roundness and different dimensions in people, and I think the portfolio as a composition could almost do the same for me. Plus I think the idea of writing turning something intangible (i.e. our feelings) into something tangible (words turning to a feeling in someone else based on something you wrote) is pretty amazing and I guess the portfolio in a weird way, turning all this code into something tangible, does that too.

My files are all in a separate private folder and are kind of painful to transfer when I’m not on a UMich computer 🙁 but in due time my cool scrolly thingy will be on the big fat Internet for everyone to see. Yikes.

thanks weebly! #techchallenge

For the Tech Challenge to upload an artifact to a web page in a more interactive way, I decided to go back to Weebly and mess around, since the process of messing around with design is a lot faster than writing the HTML manually. I forgot how simple Weebly’s drag and drop interface was, and it’s definitely a nice breath of fresh air to be able to see in real-time exactly how the web page will look.

I put my Why I Write essay up on the Weebly I’d created earlier in the semester when we tried out the different platforms, and I found the column feature especially helpful. I ended up using a decent amount of footnotes in my essay and have been wondering how best to incorporate them on my e-portfolio so readers don’t have to scroll down to the bottom of the page every1 other2 word3. I ended up formatting it like this:

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 11.09.17 AM

 

So, if the screenshot isn’t too tiny to tell, the pink words reference the self-reflective comments in the right column, and the light blue [1] refers to the footnote below the reflection. I think the integration of reflection and footnotes in the same column might be too cluttered, but I like the idea of keeping all the references in line with the actual essay. I definitely found Weebly useful for planning the layout of my eportfolio, as it’s a lot easier to work and code from a planned outline of the layout, and I think having an actual webpage instead of just something drawn out on paper will be even more useful.

1Isn’t

2This

3Obnoxious?

I SOUND MY BARBARIC YAWP

Because my portfolio IS FINALLY FINISHED. After trashing four designs, going back and forth a thousand times about how to best get my site to be a real site, countless cups of coffee, 21.5 straight hours (post design-nixing), and about 3000 lines of html and css, it is finally done. It looks like Alex beat me to the punch for using a zombie image to describe what I look, so I’ll go with this gem from Community instead.

Source: http://i806.photobucket.com/albums/yy346/underthelamppost/gifs/myemotions_troy.gif

But I’m finished. And it. Feels. Good.

I’ll just leave the link right here…

Like with most projects in this class, I really struggled to lift off the ground. My biggest breakthrough actually came when I completely messed up what I was working on. That screw-up became the foundational design for my portfolio and one of the few times I’ve been thankful for my clumsiness. I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am with this portfolio. It’s not what I wanted, it’s better. I’ve made sites before, but this is easily the one I’m most proud of. I feel like what I imagine new dads feel like (okay, maybe not that good, but I’m riding a pretty huge high right now).

If there’s anything I feel like I want to work on more, it’s the actual pieces of writing. But that’s always the case. I never feel like a paper is finished. I’m sure a few days from now, when I check my site out again, I’ll find glaring errors and nitpitcky little flaws alike, but for now, this is a success. My portfolio shows who I am as a writer, and also a little of who I am as a person. Coming off the coattails of what I thought was a complete failure (i.e. my remediation project), this is just…gah. It’s awesome. I love it. Or maybe I just love that it’s done. I don’t know, my eloquence is failing me tonight.

Exiting the gateway course, I’m just surprised at the amount of work we’re all capable of producing, and the fact that it’s quality is pretty impressive. This class has been an ultimately rewarding (though also thoroughly frustrating and exhausting) experience, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it. I guess all that’s left to say is good luck with the rest of finals week, thanks for making the semester so enjoyable, and see you all (hopefully) in the capstone course!

Websites Layouts

Below are pictures and descriptions of my favorite two websites that I would like to emulate for my portfolio (click the images to make them larger)….

1.  Cupcakes and Cashmere

 

(screen shots from cupcakesandcashmere.com)

Cupcakes and Cashmere is a website that discusses everything from fashion to cooking to house design.  When looking at the design of this website, I really liked the use of text and images–the way they are formatted seems to compliment one another.  I also like the use of color.  Personally, I find websites with too much color overwhelming, and I think that this website has the perfect balance of color and white space.  Most of the color seems to come from pictures rather than text, and I think that this makes it easier to focus on the images as separate from the text.  In addition to the use of color, everything is properly aligned and each of the pictures in a given post is the same size; this makes the website pleasing to the eye.  Also, the author of this blog uses regularly uses  hyperlinks (both internal and external), and incorporates them nicely into her text.

2New York Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

(screen shots from nymag.com)

The NYmag website has a lot more going on than cupcakes and cashmere; however, the website still looks clean (which I tend to like).   This website uses color as an accent (it is mainly used in images although some text is colorful).  Again, while color is incorporates in the text and images, it is not overpowering.  Similar to cupcakes and cashmere, there is a clear separation of text and images and an appropriate use of white space.  Also, while this website does have a lot going on, the clean black lines that separate the text and different sections of the magazine make the website easy to follow.  Another aspect of this site that I like is the use of different fonts.  While this style is not suitable for every website, I think the different fonts and sizes work to break up the large amount of text found on this website.