Virginia ASSEMBL…age

{May 13, 2010}   Artistic inconsistency

Although Miltos Manetas has a lot of talent as an overall artist, he doesn’t seem to know much of anything about web design.  This site is navigationally and organizationally disastrous!  The main page is very messy looking, with multiple fonts that have to significance and not much of any information about the site at all.  Going to other pages on the site is what will get you though.  The first two links on the main site are horrible.  The fonts are huge!  You can’t see more than four words on the screen at once, and it’s not easy to figure out what words on these pages are just text and which are links.  I don’t even want to find out after trying to read the words on the page anyway.  The “books” and “bio” pages are not so insane, but still lack basic design.  Far too many fonts and multiple forms of links make this very difficult to read and navigate.  Plus each page is completely different looking, aside from the topic there are no qualities which link all of the pages.  What a nightmare!


So I apologize, but this is a rant post for the day.  I wish to show the world the annoyances and curses of the Centro language company’s online homework program for German, Quia. ( apologize if the link does not work, I will post a screenshot if I can later if the link does not work)  This abomination of a homework site is not only hard to navigate and extrememly easy to trick so you don’t do any work in the first place, it also has some of the worst tech assistance I have ever worked with (or lask there of).  First, it takes about 5 clicks to find where you truly need to be  for your assignments.  Second, all, and I mean ALL, of the assignments that are computer check only you can submit with nothing written and it will give you all the right answers and lets you “try again”.  Now for a college student who has a lot of homework in a lot of classes, this is an easy way out and completely destroys the purpose of the program in the first place.  Also, the teacher check assignments give you aboslutely no assistance if you don’t know how to do it properly for some reason.  And as for the program itself, for me at least (for some reason) it does not register my posts if I log out.  And forget tech help, I have gotten no responses that have done any good, if I’ve gotten a response at all!  And one last thing, if you are learning German at an elementary level, how are you supposed to decipher a dialogue spoken by legitimate German speakers? The accents of the German people are very deep and hard to understand, it’s practically impossible to answer questions for those kinds of assignments for an English-speaking student.  Overall, I despise this program, the setup of the assignments themselves, and the assumptions the creators seem to make on their users that is, at least in the community of students I know using it, completely false.  It’s a realy good thing I love the language, or this would be destroying any chance I ahve at remembering anything about it.

{March 11, 2010}   CHANGE!!! YOU GOT CHANGE?!?!

Come on, help Chester A. Bum out guys!  Yes, yes, I am going to officially review the king of inline reviews, That Guy with the Glasses.  Now I am NOT reviewing the Guy himself, Doug Walker, but I will however review the site.  Now it did just go through some updates which I missed, but frankly it hasn’t gotten much better aside from looking a little more pretty.  The banner for the site I do really like.  Easy to read (although not truly informative in any way), simple colors, obvious menu is obvious ^_^ and there is a nice preview slide show at the top of the page which for continuous users can be very beneficial.  However, for a new comer to the site who doesn’t know what they’re getting into, this place is quite a maze.  TONS of scrolling, looking at links as far as the eye can see under titles that are not explained.  And if you saw Nostalgia Critic’s review of Quest for Camelot, you would think the makers of this site would know to EXPLAIN!!!!!!!  So in closing, I’m afraid this site, although quite enjoyable if you know what it is, is a fail for new users.  No explanations for ANYTHING unless you click and watch the video you end up getting.  And with most of these videos running over 5 minutes, most people would not consider it worth all the time.  Yet another shameful waste of a magnificent idea ruined by poor web design. *sigh*

And another disclaimer, the title of the post is the catch phrase of Chester A. Bum, a character of That Guy with the Glasses. (seriously check him out, these videos are amazing)

{March 11, 2010}   I am disappoint…

I was expecting so much more in the design of the fan site of such a creative man.  The “Official” Fan Site of Guillermo Del Toro, the writer of such great movies as Pan’s Labyrinth and HellBoy II: The Golden Army is such a disappointment to me I almost don’t want to talk about it.  The format is just thrown together, with tons of text and images and image links it is completely overwhelming.   The information posted on the site is promising and up-to-date, but there is so much of it previewed on the main page, you might as well not go to the other links.  Overall just sad, almost as sad as the end of Pan’s Labyrinth.

I had to share this page.  I didn’t even know the extent of the awesome in this page until I got Coin-Operated Boy stuck in my head and I just had to look it up and this is what I found for the Dresden Dolls website!  I will admit it is a difficult site to browse.  It is sometimes practically impossible to find the links one these pages, but if you know their music you wouldn’t have their site any other way.  It is confusing, unique, crazy, and unexpected.  The fact there is no scrolling and very basic links (once you find them) makes it very appealing to the eye and makes it more of a site you want to spend an hour or so just going through, trying to find all the little goodies that you may have missed.

And just for those who don’t know Dresden Dolls, the title is reference to their song “Mrs. O“. (sorry, there’s no music video and all the ones I found were reeeeeeally bad)

{March 11, 2010}   A life in a different world

I am not one for forums and blogs usually, but at times it is good to talk to others about your needs in a certain area that they have an expertise in.  This is how I stumbled on this little forum for, of all things, cartographers! …I know, you don’t know what that is right? Well it’s a forum for map makers.  You know, those silly little things you used to have to fold up for five minutes that now exists only as Google Maps and Mapquest?  Yeah, those things.  This forum, The Cartographer’s Guild, is where these wonderfully talented artists convene to discuss their maps and take and post requests for maps.  I have even posted a request which is taken and will be in the works in the next couple weeks.  The earthy color tones and perfectly matching images in the banner of this forum make it clear the purpose of the forum.  The guidelines and rules for new members are very clear from the emails they send you when you sign up, and overall the people in charge are inviting and kind.  So if you ever want a map, whether of your street for the living room wall as decoration or a scaled design of the fantasy wonderland in your mind, this is the place to go for help.

So just to clarify to those reading why I have such a large gap and why I’m posting so much right now. ^_^ I posted about 12 posts about a week ago during my break, hit publish and then straight to a new post.  Well the site decided not to actually post them, and I have a lot of catching up to do!  So I am trying to get as much as I can reposted, since I have to retype them all. 😦 But life goes on, and here comes one of my favorite reviews! The site of Cirque De Soleil!

Aside from the fact I love these performances, I absolutely looooove this site.  The main page is my personal favorite spot on this site, but the proceeding pages are also well constructed.  But first, the main page.  The page consists of a simple list to choose your language.  The image, however, is what captures me.  It shows a woman winking at you, with crazy hair dye and gel, and the continents painted all across her face.  And the continents connect to the links on the side for choosing your language.  It also chooses your living region and focuses your page to the showings of Cirque De Soleil in your country.  Once you choose your region you choose your language and you are off to the later pages.  But the eye-catching, intriguing colors and overall tone of this first page is not only fantastic visually, but actually conveys the crazy and unique nature of Cirque De Soleil.  I give this page a two thumbs up! Simply spectacular!

It took me a looooong time to figure out the point of this site at all, aside from the fact it had to do with cars.  Apparently Toyota’s Racing site is meant for people to design paint jobs for their cars.  It’s meant to look like a high-tech site, but it’s very slow, with a loading screen before the site comes up.  It also has NO straight-forward description of the purpose of the site.  The site also twitches if you leave the site and come back to it, which I haven’t figured out why.  It’s a very poor site really, and it’s a shame, because it is a cool concept to be able to style your own car and make it look professional and awesome, but it would be nice if you knew that’s what you could do.  It looks more like a digital art gallery than anything.  Again, another shame in the poor design of a possibly awesome website.

This site caught my eye through youtube and a friend of mine who had downloaded the songs provided by the site.  The Symphony of Science is a magnificent project provided online by John Boswell.  The project consists of creating remixes of music with the narrations of famous scientists and naturalists such as Carl Sagan, David Attenborough, and Stephen Hawking.  The music is free to download and easily accessible on the front page.  Although there is a lot of scrolling on the front page, it has all of the main information needed for the purpose of the site.  It has a simple layout with perfectly chosen background for the purpose of the site; a combination of science and music to unite the opposite ends of the messages passed by science and music.  I love the music from this project and the site for me is easy to navigate and simple to find the songs I am looking for. I love it!

So this lovely formatted site of the day is the main page.  Nice to the eye, but BEWARE!!!! These things always have a catch, like paying for your password, having a certain time period contract, and fees for not posting often enough.  Some no-strings-attached, huh?  It’s a shame really, because they’re web design is very visually appealing.  It is a bit long, the scrolling gets boring on the front page, but it’s very easy to find information from the menu list.  The background color is very neutral so it is not sharp to the eye.  The choice of some of the font colors are pretty bad, like the bright blue, and the big white box with read type that just repeats what is in the regular text.

My hope is that no one falls for the half-decent website and actually joins this site.  But that’s me, just I’m mean.

et cetera