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06-07-2010, second meeting with my adviser

Today I went to the Southwark Council building again for my second meeting with my adviser.

1. My blog

She said my blog was great, well-organized and all the links I include to other websites that I have found are very useful. She also thought this blog was really interesting as a GAA portfolio but also as a blog aiming to improve the general awareness and knowledge of the general public or companies. I was very pleased as the second aim of this blog is indeed to give fresh ideas to companies which would like to become more eco-friendly on a day-to-day basis.

She really liked the review I wrote about the companies I have visited as my bad points/good points lists show that I can clearly express an argument.

As this is my first blog, some things still need to be improved though :

– change the “comments” settings so visitors don’t have to give their email address to leave a comment

– change the settings for the newsletter subscription

– develop further the “about me” page so it includes a complete presentation of my project including an introduction to my issue, my second art form and how it develops my art practice. Try to put some links to posts that can be used as an evidence for the different aspects of my project

– always add a few lines to say how the content of each post influenced my project and my art practice

2. A paper portfolio

Aside to my blog and Twitter she advised me to have a paper version of my portfolio with :

– a clear summary of my project

– an index to my blog that could be the grid that I have designed on Excel

– copies of important posts

3. Creation of a new art form for the UNIT1

The creation of my online portfolio can be my new art form as I am currently working with a web designer to learn some web design skills and develop my own art practice. I need to record all the stages of the creation of this website.

It would be nice as well to create another website including multimedia and interactive tools that can be used again in my UNIT2. A good example of this would be to create an online quiz (like Social Vibe) to:

– improve the awareness of the general public about advertising impact on the environment by answering a playful quiz

– promote my research and solutions after giving the answers

– rewarding the visitor’s effort by raising funds for a related charity

4. A live-event for the UNIT2

My final project would be to offer my new awareness and solutions to promote the art project of another GAA student. I could negotiate a budget for a real advertising campaign and make it an example of a sustainable and eco-friendly campaign.

But I would like to add more to this event than just advertising tools. I would like to make a stall of my own to talk to the audience about my project, have their feedback about the advertising campaign being used for their event and make them take part of my quiz. This means I will probably have to create a complete new website to support both my research and the quiz.

The event can be recorded and shared by a live-video created thanks to qik.com

5. Next steps :

– improving my blog

– writing a clear text about my whole project

– review new companies including advertising agencies and companies related to eco-friendly issues (Philippa will give the contact of a graphic designer)

– volunteer for Rolling Sound

– develop my web design skills while creating my online portfolio

Gold Award Checklist

In order to anticipate the checklist of evidence that I will need at the end of this Gold Award, I have created a table on Excel to write a summary of the evidence required and where people can find out more about it (blog? twitter? file on my computer? on paper?).

Here is a glimpse of this “exciting” table.My Gold Award checklist

The file is currently located on my computer : E:7-ARTS AWARD\GAA-evidence-checklist.xls

Gliffy.com, a diagram builder

Drew Tibble told me about Gliffy.com as an easy-to-use application to create web sites trees or diagram. I have tried it and I must admit I should use it again for my future websites. The software is very easy to understand and the result quite professional. I thought it could be interesting to publish the result.

Site map of my blog

link to my web site map : www.gliffy.com/publish/2166198

Social Vibe, an example of a multimedia quiz to support a charity

Social Vibe logo

www.socialvibe.com

For those who would not have noticed, I have just added a new widget at the bottom of my homepage. It is called Social Vibe and if you click on it you will start a quiz in a pop-up. This well written quiz encourages you to answer to questions about your awareness of environmental issues worldwide. If you achieve 6 activities with this application, enough money will be raised to help a charity.

I first put this link on my page to help a charity but I soon realized how much inspiration I could draw from such an application. This is exactly the kind of tool I could create to share my research about eco-friendly advertising with a public.

• it is simple and can be added to any website

• it delivers some information about a serious issue but is related to a game

• it directly helps a real organization by raising funds

Visiting the Social Vibe website, I discovered one of the cause they support is “Environment” :

“Supporting The “Environment” Cause on SocialVibe means that you are earning donations that will be distributed to The World Wildlife Fund, The Surfrider Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy.”

Later in my project I will try to get in touch with eco-friendly charities to see if they would like to sponsor my own quiz.

Futureversity, free summer courses

Futureversity logo

www.futureversity.org

Another Arts Award student told me about this fantastic company. They provide free courses for young people to explore new activities. Unfortunately most of them happen in August while I am away but I will have a look to see if I can attend a course at the very end of July.

Amongst those which could be interesting for my project are:

Digital Photography & Campaigning

Sharing my journey through the Arts Award online

These last two weeks I have spent a lot of time upgrading this blog and trying to communicate more on internet. I have learnt a lot by doing this. Here are some of the changes you may have seen.

1. A blog on wordpress

This is the first blog I have ever created and, though it is very easy to use wordpress, it has taken me more than one try to manage to organize it the way I liked. I have been very pleased to see all the possibilities offered by this software such as the widgets you can see on the right navigation bar or the easy insertion of images and links.

I am only disappointed about its capacity to customize the look of my blog. This blog is far from the graphic design I would have created if I have had more freedom. I have also struggled to organized the pages in a nice way.

However Wordpress.com is definitely the software I recommend to create a blog. I have created an account on webs.com and tumblr.com but I wasn’t satisfied.

Please leave me a comment if you think that I need to improve anything on this blog.

2. My project also on Twitter

It is also the first time that I use Twitter. I have create an account as GoldArtsAward to post all the little thoughts or interesting links I can find even if they are not worth posting on this blog. You can now follow these comments from this wordpress blog. By doing so I also manage to increase my ranking in search engines.

Logo GoldArtsAward on Twitter

3. My project also on Facebook

If you are one of my friends on Facebook, you will now also be able to find all the latest news about my project.

I think that it is a great step for me as a graphic designer to use all these new tools to communicate my projects.

The next step will be to publish my online portfolio on erwanrouxel.com

28-06-2010, meeting with Drew Tibble: part 2: improving my practice

During our meeting Drew gave me some advice to help me create my arts award blog as well as my online portfolio.

1. Softwares to create my websites

Drew told me the different software I can use to create my blog:

• Dreamweaver: a professional tool with almost unlimited possibilities. The problem is that it is hard work to use and the software is very expensive

• Webfronter: the tool that he recommends for people without a programming experience to create an efficient website.

• Webs.com: an alternative to wordpress.com with a wider choice to custom the look of my website

> I found webs.com very interesting for my blog and Dreamweaver more adapted to my professional portfolio

Webs.com a site builder

He told me to avoid Flash because:

• it is less search engines friendly

• visitors who would like to change the font size or the colors in order to make it clearer for them can’t do it with Flash

• Iphones currently can’t see Flash websites even if they are developing new solutions such as IFox, an alternative to Firefox.

2. How to improve my ranking in search engines?

There are different criteria:

– how long has the domain name been registered?

– how many sites link to me and how many do I link to?

– use of metatags = keywords to describe my content. Make sure they are external.

– the amount of text

– how many hits do I have?

To improve my ranking, I can also

– register to addweb

– add my URL to google (see google webpage to help them register my website)

– find people to trade links

– use extremetracking.com, a hit counter that is added on my page which can help finding the keywords visitors use to find me

Extreme tracking's advertising

3. Useful applications

Drew will create a room on fronter.com for me. This room will enable me to share my files and download them from any computer. It will also help me view instantly my videos and the videos of other people on fronter.

Gliffy.com is an online diagram software that can help me draw some trees for my websites. I could then add them on my portfolio of evidence.

50gigs.net is a free hoster. He advised me this one because the advertising is small and at the bottom of the page so it is easy to hide it.

He advised me to use the Animoto application, an alternative to youtube that you can directly to your website. “Animoto turns your photos and video clips into professional video slide shows in minutes. Fast, free and shockingly simple.”

4. Preparation for UNIT2

How can I share my research with an audience on a live-event?

With the application qik, I could easily record and share videos live from a mobile phone. We did a test with Drew’s Iphone and the video was within seconds on internet. This would need the use of a powerful mobile phone (e.g. Iphone) to have a professional quality of video.

How do collect some feedback from the audience?

I can add the wufoo application on my website. Wufoo is an online form builder. It helps you create your forms in a professional manner and collect the data without writing a single line of code. The software offers three forms for free.

See here an example of an event customer survey form.

Example of a satisfaction survey form made with Wufoo

How to share my research on a live-event?

Here are my first ideas on how to share my research on a live-event:

– help another student to promote his/her live performance by using eco-friendly advertising

– add a small stage with a computer to create a multimedia event. I can use the qik application to record the performance and share it online

organize a live-quiz about eco-friendly issues and sustainable solutions

organize a photo exhibition about good and bad advert in London

Follow my project on twitter!

As a new tool to catch all my thoughts about my project, I have  created a profile on twitter. All followers welcome!

http://twitter.com/GoldArtsAward

28-06-2010, meeting with Drew Tibble: part 1: reviewing his activity

My adviser had suggested me to meet Drew in order to discuss all matters regarding web design and programming. Drew accepted with a lot of generosity to spend nearly a whole afternoon of his time with me.

1. About Mr Drew Tibble

• his job

Drew is working as a 14-19 Diploma Content Developer for the London Grid for Learning where he works mainly with the London Managed Learning Environment (MLE) developing content using the built-in tools as well as using third-party applications. He is also responsible for delivering staff training in the use of the London MLE and how to maximise its potential.

• his career path

Drew started his career as a carpenter and joiner working for his family firm but he shared another passion : painting model soldiers. He then enjoyed a career as an award-winning military artist working for amongst others: Chas C Stadden Studios and Tradition of London.

He realized that his job was hard work and not well rewarded and decided to put the art skills that he had developed painting model soldiers to a new activity : graphic design. In 1997 he established a web design company with his wife : The Big Fat Cat web design company. Amongst many other Drew and his wife created the bearcatcomedy website. Although he hasn’t worked on it for many years the website is still a good example of the use of animation, video and flash and its ranking on internet search engines is efficient.

At the same time he worked for other companies to put contents in websites then was hired as Senior I.C.T. Technician at Mellow Lane School in HillingdonIn 2003, he became the Network Manager at Orleans Park School in Twickenham and learned how to manage a very large network of computers.

He finally managed to move again to web design and started creating learning platforms for schools. He now works for the London Grid for Learning website.

• his organization

London Grid for Learning is a non for profit company working with the local authority. It is a very small team of 25 people including external consultants, management and technical staff but it was responsible for 392 millions pounds of saving for schools in three years.

Lgfl started by procuring broadband to schools around London. Instead of negotiating the price for one school to a company like BT, they negotiate a contract for around 3000 schools.

They now manage one of the biggest networks of computers in the world and offer many services all listed on their website www.lgfl.info

2. About his work at the London Grid for Learning

• What softwares does he use?

The classic Adobe Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks.

But Drew introduced me to a very interesting software I didn’t know : Webfronter. Webfronter is a very easy tool developed by fronter.com, a norwegian firm, to create a website using templates. Anyone can now create a professional website!

I learnt so much about fronter.com that I will soon write a post specifically about it.

• How does he promote his website?

Drew told me that the London Grid for Learning website almost doesn’t use print advertising except maybe some business cards and a few posters.

Instead they use what Drew described as “the modern way of advertising”, that is to say :

• swapping with partners’ websites

• trading links: can ask other companies’ websites to have links to your website and you links on theirs

• Does he use multimedia and interactive related to his websites?

The websites Drew is working for are very interesting for me because they are learning platforms aimed at a very wide number of students. I will have a look at what they offer because I could draw some inspiration to create a website where you can learn about sustainable advertising.

However Drew uses only classic multimedia solutions = mostly embedded video or flash animation.

3. About web design and eco-friendly advertising

• How can web design skills improve my career opportunities?

According to Drew, web design is the way everything is moving at the moment so it is important to be part of the move. There is more security for people whose work is supporting an online aspect.

He thinks that many companies would appreciate the fact that they don’t need to ask for both a graphic designer and a web designer to do the job.

• What is his view about eco-friendly advertising?

When I asked him the question, Drew told me about his previous experience as a network manager for schools and how it developed his awareness of paper waste in schools. He told me that he would never go anywhere in the school without a block of paper under each arm. An important part of his job was to manage the consumables. He said he used to spend a lot of time and money managing the paper and ink stock.

Now that he has moved in lgfl, he is very proud that he managed to cut all waste. The website he works for enables a large community inside many schools to avoid using paper which means less trees cut down, less print so all the associated cost and environmental issues are cut  down. Instead of printing the information they need to share, teachers and students can upload and download their content directly from their room on fronter.com. Teachers don’t struggle anymore with books and mark tests, they can use online tests.

According to Drew, web design helps to create a paper free society, which is his personal wish.