Tag Archives: netcomms2011

Fonts: a love hate relationship

Put your hands up if you actually feel that fonts make a big difference!

Personally speaking, I HATE Times New Roman. It’s a Serif font, which means letters come with squiggly bits at the end of every letter. It’s the standard font in the USA, and pretty much everywhere else, especially for reports.

Here are some examples of serif fonts (in their own font). I typed them out and took a screenshot.

I prefer sans-serif fonts! Cleaner, easier, prettier! Arial and Helvetica are my personal favourites.
Here are some examples of sans-serif (in their own font), which I typed out too.

Does it matter? Serif, Sans serif? What’s the big idea? As long as it’s readable (unlike wing dings), it’s fine, right?

Wrong.
It actually makes a difference.
Serif is usually used for printed work, because the little lines and squiggles help make letters more individual, more recognizable. It makes each letter more distinctive.

Sans serif, on the other hand, is better for online work. This sounds really technical, but printed words have at least 1000dpi (dots per inch), while online words has a dpi of less than 100. Because the resolution is smaller, it makes serif characters harder to read, due to its complex shape (lines and squiggles).

FYI: for images, printed images have at least 300dpi, online images are usually 72dpi

FONTSPEAK: which font is the most used for brands?
-durmroll- HELVETICA! HOORAY, A SAN SERIF FONT! –throws confetti in the air-

I won’t go on about the research of the most commonly used font, but here are some really recognizable brands using Helvetica. Clicking on the images opens in a new tab. All photos are from the web page itself.

Nestle


So the next time you look at notices, designs, or anything that uses lettering, stop and ponder if the font used helped to make reading better. (= If not, how else could the message be conveyed better?

Ps: yes, I’m really glad my font layout in this blog is sans-serif.

Reliant on technology

2011; everything is readily available online. As they say, “Google is your best friend.” Whatever you’re unsure of, just google! Weirdly, Google is actually a noun. But our usage, well, we’ve changed it into a verb. Back to the point, googling to find answers… When I used to have a problem getting online, I wanted so hard to Google what was wrong with my Internet settings, and how to set it right. Obviously it didn’t work because.. to access Google you need an internet connection. Sigh.

We’re becoming very reliant on technology, especially the internet. Many of us carry blackberries, iPhones, Androids, and other smart phones that allow us to get online using 3G while we’re outside. Whether we’re waiting for the tram to arrive, waiting for our turn in a queue, as long as we have nothing to do, we’ll whip our phones out and fiddle with them. Then I pause and think, what about others who don’t have phones with them? What do they do while commuting from one place to another? After all, a good 40% of the world’s population do not have mobile phones (Yoskowitz 2009). This, however, is a steep decrease, compared to 2002, where 86% of the world’s population did not own a mobile phone (Yoskowitz 2009).

With the amount of applications (apps) for our phones, it’s no wonder we’re always entertained. We can’t sit still doing nothing. The blackberry has over a thousand apps, while the iPhone has over 350,000 apps (kgb answers 2011; Apple 2011). Application genres include games, fashion, entertainment, sports, news, stocks and shares and even the weather.

I guess with all these services at the snap of our fingers, it’s no wonder why we’re so reliant on technology. Part of me feels like detaching myself from technology, no mobile phones when I’m out, no internet when I’m home. Wait, no using the computer to watch videos either. Doubt I’ll be able to do that for a week, but who knows? One day, when everything falls apart, we’ll be forced to live like how we did before technology. We’ll have a hard time adjusting back to it, but I’m pretty sure we’ll do fine when the time comes…

References
Apple 2011, Apple, California, viewed 24 March 2011, .

Kgb Answers 2011, Kgb, New York, viewed 24 March 2011, .

Yoskowitz, A 2009, AfterDawn, viewed 24 March 2011, .

Tutorial 2+1 – Web 2.0 VS WordPress

Web 2.0 is very much based on “interactivity” and “user-generated information”, unlike its predecessor, Web 1.0. WordPress is a good example which applies the concepts of Web 2.0, specifically those drawn out by Tim O’Reilly.

Customisation – Branching-tree interactivity
Wordpress is simply a platform (and perhaps even classified as a tool) where people can create blogs or microsites easily. To aid commoners like us who are unfamiliar with HTML coding, web hosting, etc., WordPress has provided users with a wide range of “predefined choices” such as a selection of fonts, themes and layouts to allow customisation to our liking. It has also given us “privacy choices” where we can: 1) Make our postings publicly available to everyone 2) Make our postings exclusive to only friends or a selected few 3) Lock our postings to passwords

This is a form of close interactivity between human (us in this case) and computer where we are prompted and presented with choices by the latter and have to make decisions (or give the computer directives) instead of merely being allocated with a standardized template or webpage design.

User-generated information
Writing on your own blog is like writing and editing for Wikipedia – though probably less serious or factual. You are feeding the internet with information about your personal experience, thoughts, life and death situations, etc. The point here is: Blogging sites such as wordpress are fuelled by user-generated information. If no one wants to write or no one wants to read and comment, there would not have been blogs.

Thus, WordPress relies heavily on user-generated information. Apart from blog postings, there are also means for interaction with other users who in turn generate information for your blogs through comments, feedbacks, ratings, etc. Again, the focus is on interactivity, both between human and computer as well as human and human (just as what Web 2.0 was meant to do!)

Value-added services (which increases interaction)
There are too many value-added services (which WordPress provides) than we can name. However, we have chosen a few to discuss here. Firstly, WordPress is not only a blog where people access to read and write. It pulls together a network of sites which can be accessed through this single platform or portal. We particularly see a network of social media outlets available as widgets (based on preferences) to your blogs such as Facebook, Twitter, Meebo, YouTube and Flickr. Thus, you can not only update your blog through postings, but also through video and photo uploads, “tweeting” and facebook updates. In addition, you can also engage in a conversion with your friends while working on your blog through instant messaging.

In addition, blog subscriptions and file sharing are available on WordPress. Therefore, you can form a community or pool of bloggers and documents to be shared with others.

Lastly, WordPress can also be accessed through other devices such as Iphones and Android phones which increases mobility and connectivity.

In all the instances mentioned above, we can conclude that WordPress is providing value-added services that may or may not be directly under their server to promote interactivity between users and outsiders.

Sustainability (WordPress part of the story)
For WordPress, sustainability is not a problem. Personal blogs which are allocated for free help WordPress gain revenue by selling personal information (fed by users when they sign up or write about themselves) and advertising space. More importantly, WordPress sells their platform and services to big corporations who want a network of microsites which is easy to use, manage and track*.

*In Singapore, MediaCorp (Media Corporation) engages with this service to help them manage celebrity and channel blogs.

For Produsers who want empowerment and MORE
Produsers are better known as people who produce for and consume media (in this case, Web). They churn out videos, articles, etc. to publicly air their views or showcase their talents in hope of recognition and support which in turn empowers them. However, as mentioned in lecture, how far can interests bring these produsers? WordPress, alongside many other blogging sites, allow bloggers to engage in commercial activities such as posting on behalf on advertisers. Prominent blog produsers are selected to represent brands and companies to sell their products**. And many of them have taken blogging as their career! Other examples include YouTube singers who eventually get contracted by Itunes to sell their music in digital form or paid subscriptions to access blog contents. All these money-making possibilities make produsge sustainable.

** One such blogger is Xiaxue (who unfortunately uses blogspot): xiaxue.blogspot.com

Done by: Andy Ng, Ng Lye Ee, Charmaine Tai