Database of Interface Design Styles for Multimedia Design Students
PROJECT DESCRIPTION (including purposed and objectives of project, program design, procedures and methods, timeline for completing the project, etc.)
As a new faculty member within the Department of Art and Design, I am responsible for several courses concerned with the design, implementation, and delivery of interactive web experiences as well as design history and associated movements. Currently, there does not exist a way to archive stylistic approaches to interface design on the web. Due to the limited lifespan of web sites, students do not have the opportunity to see a site's visual evolution. Because the World Wide Web is still considered to be in its infancy, stylistic approaches often change at a rapid pace. My proposal is to create an image database that archives screen shots of specific websites and categorizes the designs based on site type, stylistic trends, navigation style, color palette, image usage, typography treatments, etc. The database will allow searching (filtering) and sorting of records so that students can easily access different design styles based on specific search criteria. For example, a student could easily search for interface designs created specifically for personal promotion, designed in the modernist revival style, using contrasting typefaces with duotone images and an overall complementary color palette. I would even like to build in the ability to have students upload their own screenshots and search criteria as part of in-class assignments that were previously done on the message board utility within Pipeline.
With the grant, I need help creating a database to archive and categorize the images and scripting to populate the web template that I will create. Currently the Graphic Design area has an OSX server running Unix with PHP capabilities and more than ample storage space to house the image files. Hosting the database on the Graphic Design server would be ideal for easy access and maintenance, for which I will be responsible, but I understand that this may not be the easiest solution. Awarding this summer fellowship will give me the opportunity to work with an ITD professional who can appropriately guide me in the best direction for such a venture. I plan to have this project complete by the beginning of Fall class of 2005 to be used in both my Multimedia Authoring 2 class and my History of Graphic Design workshop.
IMPLICATION FOR INSTRUCTIONAL ENHANCEMENT (including method of project evaluation, expected results, etc.)
The creation of this project will improve the Multimedia Design, Multimedia Authoring 1 and 2, and Graphic Design History courses by creating a tool that will give students the opportunity to view and analyze past stylistic approaches to interface design, something that has never existed before. Currently, these courses consist of students from the Department of Art and Design and College of Media and Entertainments. This tool could eventually be available to other schools for educational use and could bring distinction to our university. For evaluation purposes, I would like to create a focus group of students and faculty members to test the usability and functionality of the educational tool.
Digital Portfolios for the classroom
During the Spring 2006 semester, I met all of the goals for Digital Portfolios for the Classroom. This project began based on my knowledge that teachers at all levels are expected to use technology to enhance their curricula, yet they often do not have the necessary skills and technology to work with. As schools become more accountable for student achievement and assessment of student progress, I designed Digital Portfolios for the Classroom to teach pre-service and working educators how to implement and design quality digital portfolios for the classroom.
The completed product exceeded my initial expectations. With the generous assistance of Albert Smith and Brenda Kerr, I learned about software programs that were not included in my original grant proposal. Each one enhanced the final product. First, I developed a website for educators to teach them about digital portfolios. Instead of using pre-designed templates and buttons, Al challenged me to work with Photoshop Elements to create a truly unique website that aesthetically showcased custom designs and student work. After spending months working on the website and creating a plethora of sample portfolios, I learned how to compress, save, and enhance images using PowerPoint, Photoshop Elements, and Adobe. To complete the tutorial, Al introduced me to Snagit and Flash software. These two programs really made the tutorial much better than I had imagined. Initially, I thought that I would have to write out the steps one-by-one. Flash enabled me to combine written directions with sample movies of how to do each step. Flash serves as a wonderful tool for visual learners. Now that I have completed this grant, I look forward to continuing my work on digital portfolios. In the future, I would like to spend more time enhancing my knowledge of utilizing recorded images in the classroom. I am grateful to the ITD Grant Committee, Faculty, and Staff for this meaningful opportunity. Sincerely yours, Dr. Debrah C. Sickler-Voigt