Tag Archive: Web Development


I have finally finished my Capstone Project and consequently the Emory Web Development Certificate program – we got the grades a month back  ( and the certificate too!) – great job Pooja!  I was also personally satisfied with my process and the research I did which I would not have if it was just a professional job. Sometimes we miss the how’s and why’s that get involved as a learning process – after all this is not just a job, I now understand why it has become a passion for some people. The grades confirmed that my efforts were not in vain 😀
I launched Raltec Corp’s official website at http://www.ralteccorp.com/ I also incorporated an SEO/SEM strategy for Raltec Corp website and am working on seeing progress by the day.
As Norman Lear quotes,

Life is made up of small pleasures.
Happiness is made up of those tiny successes.

My blog restarts my journey in process documentation of the virtual world once again. This time the structure is no certificate program but more of my self-taught/already self-learned endeavors of seeking knowledge of the web world. I hope to have a method to the madness as I had in the ten week Capstone project. It may not be as structured but it does hope to be more info and process friendly.

I am hoping to cover topics like SEO/SEM, CMS, web development, web design, DBMS, latest industry trends, blogs, and other related ideas/articles/seminars.  I hope the Emory faculty incorporate some of these topics in their certificate program.

Wish me good luck .   🙂

Advertisements

So now that testing is done and submitted last week, more time to work on the final touches.

What happened this week was incorporation of a few (more than few, I would say!) tweaks – there were quite a few challenges there and very less time. I guess this 10-week period is to make you realise how you dynamic you get with decision-making, lol!

Jokes apart, I faced some challenges. Testing was executed with six different users, different ages, different backgrounds and different tech-savvy experience. That was great, but more the users, more problems you face. Each tester had their own unique computer, browser and other settings!!! Hard to please everyone, I guess…you can just do your best but one thing for sure – you get to narrow down some basic issues you never noticed. The other big challenge (still is!) is the browser compatibility. with my format, the placement of some divs does not look great in some browsers but works amazingly correct in the others. How do you resolve that issue?

But this was a great Capstone project to document. I enjoyed each week discoveries and assignments which paved the way slowly and steadily towards completion. This week we’re presenting our final project to our peers and it’ll great to have more feedback.

This week is testing time. We’ve worked on our website sufficiently enough to give it a test. Also, as Adam noted, we’ve looked at our website enough to get the third person give it a try! Sometimes the third eye helps 🙂

By Adam’s notes, we have to test the website in three areas: accessibility, functionality, and usability. Here are short descriptions of each:

  • Functionality – Does the website’s functionality work? (hyperlinks, images appear, forms can submit, registration or login features function, etc.)
  • Accessibility – Does the site appear correctly on various operating systems, browsers, monitors, etc. that you expect your audience to use?  (I did talk a little on this in one of my previous posts)
  • Usability – Can the website be used by your audience to accomplish their goals? Can they find what they search for? Are there clear answers to questions they are likely to have?

Links from our instructor, Adam:

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/articles/usability_testing.html

http://www.experiencethread.com/articles/documents/article45.pdf

http://techdocs.tamu.edu/webspace/websitetesting/?searchterm=testing%20checklist

I’ve sent the testing plan document out to a variety of people, different backgrounds, different tech backgrounds, different perspectives. Let’s see what the test results bring in.

It’s been a long and ongoing effort learning the ropes on PHP and MySQL. This week  I concentrated on a few aspects of my website.

  • I wanted existing clients to have their a simplified version login
  • I want them to change a form to their most current info – e.g.  company website, phone #, email address, etc.
  • I want them to access their exclusive page to review their in-progress images with a comment box which would send comments right to the company email inbox.
  • And of course I want them to logout.

Like CSS, only more intensive – PHP needs hours of research and implementation. Plus, to preview pages containing server-side code, you have an extra step to specify the server. It was fun to see how other websites used the PHP script. You have a question: the answer is on the web…somewhere!!! You only have to keep looking! 🙂

I am still in the process of tweaking my website but I got the website workable to submit for this week and good enough to get a jumpstart on the tweaks. Hopefully I should be able to get some tweaks done before I hand out the testing plan to my eager testers!

I did mention in one of my previous emails that I would review the book, Build Your Own Database Driven Web Site Using PHP & MySQL, 4th Edition
http://www.sitepoint.com/books/phpmysql4/?historicredirect=phpmysql1

I think it’s a good book if you have some experience with PHP. For beginners, I would recommend Head First PHP & MySQL for some general concepts or techniques (http://www.headfirstlabs.com/books/hfphp/).

The major chunk of learning the language comes by searching codes on the internet and looking through web links, articles and blogs. Below are a few links for PHP/MySQL :

Please feel to add-on if you have links to share.

Have fun celebrating July 4th – have a great long weekend!

I consider weeks 6 and 7 contiguous with the website creation process. Being in the web development track is more challenging. Not only does your website has to have the design aspect (maybe not as much as a design track website) but also the development requirements have to be met.

I separated out the 2 weeks simply by putting design and content in week 6 and the development part in week 7.  This does not mean there won’t be tweaks, but a big chunk of it would be complete. This way, my process would be easier to work with. Week 6 was demanding – I had content but my template had to be worked on sufficient enough to get the child pages ready for content. There are essentially three main parameters to the corporate website design characteristic in the template.

  • One is the logo & the navigation bar.
  • Second is my right column which marks the important links for potential and existing clients who have visited the page in the past.
  • Third is a separate social media bar where Raltec Corp (the company name for which the website is being designed) is connected and wants to connect with different individuals/organizations virtually.

Week 7 would get the development side of the website in check. I have also been checking my website on different browsers and seeing some subtle differences.

http://browsershots.org/
http://www.browsercam.com/, or
http://browserlab.adobe.com which lets you see your website as viewed in many different web browsers.

It also helps to test your website on different computers. It definitely looks different on different monitor resolutions. For accessibility testing, Adam mentioned about Dreamweaver’s Link Checker, Browser Compatibility Check, and Validation features (all three can be opened from the Window menu) can help.

It is week 6 crunch time and all the knowledge we soaked in all those classes is coming to good use. That and more. I’m finding myself putting in a lot of effort in researching things I see in websites, the cool stuff – now it makes more sense to me rather than being just overwhelmed with it.

It is a wonderful feeling to see your baby grow…lol. It started with a lifeless yet brilliant one page flat design which eventually turned into a template. Now the template is getting the third dimension through links, dynamic pages and more.  You have been seeing less posts and more of me commenting about my work as this is kind of it. We’ve done the research and we’ve done all the preparation for helping us to get to the design stage. I now understand how much goes into the actual website – even simple things need to be thought of in detail. Each part you design is seen by the audience. Nothing can be left unfinished or unthought of (for the purpose of this first draft stage).

Times just whizzing by…so much to do and so little time! I’ve been sneaking-a-peek at this book from the library, Build your own database driven website using PHP & MYSQL by Kevin Yank. I am liking what I am reading – the language is simple. It provides what the author quotes, “a hands-on look at what’s involved in building a database driven web site using PHP and MySQL“. I’ll provide updates as I cover more of the book.

More on the articles Adam provided:

http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Choosing-Keywords-Help/Choosing-Keywords-Wisely/

http://www.avangate.com/articles/keyword-research_40.htm

I enjoyed both articles – a special mention to article #2 (16 Rules of Thumb) for how to choose keywords effectively. Today’s world of websites is aiming to use search engines optimization from the beginning, for new websites, especially like mine. It was harder a few years back but with technology like Google AdWords and Analytics, the internet is becoming an easy tool. For the older websites, it’s still a good insight into what recovery measures can be undertaken. SEO is becoming a powerful industry by itself and what made the articles worthwhile were the use of keyword terms like density,  localization, placement, conversion rate and primary & secondary keywords.

I also looked up and tried my keywords in Google Trends. Google Trends also shows how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and in which geographic regions people have searched for them most. If you have a global market which is also a potential market for my website, it was fun to see what kind of words/terms were used differently in different countries and how that would also help framing my website’s  content.

Coming to the “Content” part – here were the list of articles –

http://www.clickz.com/3617566
http://www.clickz.com/3625220
http://www.alistapart.com/articles/zombiecopy

You would be amazed to think that content does not have to be only thought of from the client’s perspective, but also from an SEO one! Your website is not yours anymore – this is what you get for current trends in internet marketing and globalization…lol. P. J. Fusco, the author of one of the articles quotes:

Good content contributes to a site’s overall visibility on a page-by-page basis. It engages users and provides an optimal path for easy navigation throughout the site. It stays on theme and naturally accrues inbound links over time.

Great content maintains all the essential elements of good content but produces higher conversion rates. It’s action-oriented in that it inspires users to make a purchase, request more information, sign up for a newsletter, make a reservation, or set up an appointment.

It calls for the ability to Analyze, Implement, and Measure content. We also need to keep in mind that people don’t read every word of your content, keeping it concise helps. I really wish I had the skills of a copy-writer, right now 😦

Wish me good luck!

I am referring to the Web development process, very often referred to as the six-stage process:

We learned this as a part of John Horn’s “Starting and Running a Successful Website” course and it makes it easier to break down this HUGE task of creating a website so easy.

  • Assessment (preliminary questionnaire, competitor analysis)
  • Analysis and Planning (site goals, target audience, roles and scope)
  • Design (Main template, content, site map)
  • Production (drafts with page look and feel and functional aspects)
  • Testing and Publish (functional, usability testing, etc)
  • Maintenance (SEO, visitor tracking, analytics, etc.)

I am in the process of reading Web ReDesign 2.0: Workflow that Works (http://www.web-redesign.com/) and it too does a great job to explain this.

The other links I found on these are:

http://www.quantumcloud.com/web-design-process.php
http://www.jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf
http://www.webdesignfromscratch.com/design-process/web-design-process/

Hello World!

Hello world! I liked the way WordPress used this 🙂
I am using this ephemeral “so often used statement” to make my grand entry to the virtual web world.
I am Pooja and I am one of the millions who has opened “yet another blog” and yes, this one has a purpose.
I am taking up a challenge (something I’ve procrastinated over for years!!) to create (guess what??)….
……………………. A WEBSITE!!!!
Yes, the uppercase says it all!
The website creation is essentially a part of the Emory Capstone project, a project (rather website) you create from A to Z after taking the courses leading to your Web Development. Adam is my instructor for this project
But why a BLOG?
The blog will help me document my virtual roller coaster adventure along the way. I want to document my findings (articles, blogs, etc), successes and challenges (I refuse to call those failures) in this ten week period.
More importantly the blog will help me keep a check on “the method to my madness”. I am interested in looking back at the whole process that made my website happen. I would also encourage my friends, teachers, colleagues and the other crazy people who know me to contribute and make this ride more memorable. It is your experiences, knowledge-sharing and encouraging comments that is the objective of the blog.