The Curly Quote Problem

HTML elements have attributes (properties) which provide additional information about the element. Attributes always appear inside the start tag for the HTML element. Not all HTML elements require attributes. However, the majority of self-closing elements, such as the <img> element must have certain attributes set or it will do nothing.

When writing attributes the attribute name appears followed by an equal sign then a pair of quotes. Inside the quotes is is the value for the attribute. The example below shows an image element with attributes set.

[html]

<img src="imgs/my-=logo.png" alt="My Logo" width="540" height="150">

[/html]

The Problem

Okay, so if you’ve ever played around with HTML you are probably familiar with the use of attributes. However, often times I find that students encounter a problem with their attributes. While the code looks right at first glance. The HTML element is closed, the attribute(s) are in the start tag and all values are inside quotes. Yet, for some reason these elements are not passing validation and the browser is not rendering the attributes.

What causes this?

As it turns out it’s the quotes themselves. When writing HTML everything has to be in plain text format, including the quotes. The quotes written as part of the attribute value must be straight quotes (sometimes called dumb quotes).

Most rich text editors, such as MS Word will use curly quotes (sometimes called smart quotes). These quotes are for decorative and while they look pretty they don’t work with HTML attributes.

Here is an example of the problem:

Curly Quote Problem
Curly Quote Problem

Note the difference between the curly quotes and the straight quotes.

What Causes This?

If you are typing your HTML inside an HTML text editor you should never encounter this issue. However, if you are copy and pasting from another source, more than likely you are copying the curly quotes.

Say for example your instructor has provided you an example for the HTML code as a MS Word or PDF file. If you simply copy and paste from that document you mostly likely will be copying curly quotes.

Another reason for curly quotes, is not using a standard HTML editor. If you used a rich text editor (like MS Word) to write your code you will always have curly quotes, even if you copy and paste it into a HTML editor later.

The Solution

Sadly there is no easy solution other than simply typing the quotes inside the HTML editor. If you have lots of curly quotes, this may take a while. In some cases it may even be better just to rewrite the code to ensure that you curly quotes have all been changed.

Some HTML editors include a Find and Replace feature that you might be able to use to find all curly quotes and replace them with straight ones.


Post Citations

HTL Attributes (1999-2015).  Retrieved 07 09, 2015, from W3 Schools: http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_attributes.asp

 

Development Research

The second stage of the design process is known as the Discovery stage. During this stage, no matter what type of project you are working on or the extent of your knowledge on the topic, you will need to conduct some amount of research.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to spend days in the library searching archives and formulating long pages worth of findings. In simple terms the word research means to investigate systematically (in a consistent manner).

Types of research

Usually for a web project there are different types of research you need to conduct to ensure that you are meeting the needs of you client.

  • Research on the topic (the product/service or message of the client)
  • Research on the competition (what are others doing? )
  • Research on the target market (who are they and what do they expect?)
  • Research on current development and design trends (what’s new in web design?)

Topic Research

Let’s start with the first bullet on our list above. If you are building a website for a landscaping company but live in an apartment and have never gardened in your life, you might want to research the topic a bit.

The extent of this research doesn’t have to be much, just something to give you a better idea of what a landscaper does and who their target audience may be.

Research can be online, however, sometimes even a simple magazine on the topic might help give you a better understanding and spark ideas.

Competitor Research

Exploring the competitors websites is extremely helpful as it can:

  • Identify what type of information is already online
  • Provide ideas for design and layout
  • Offer insight to how such a site can be improved upon

Many times you can ask your client who their main competitors are. In some cases your client might be the only type of this organization in the area or in a niche market. In the latter case, you might need to look at similar companies on a broader base.

Let’s go back our Better Bean Coffee example. Let’s say that Better Bean Coffee is the only coffee shop in Java Town, so they have no direct competitors for miles. However, places like Starbucks, although not directly near them, are still a competitor in the idea that they sell the same product or type of product.

Another example is our niche market. Let’s say your client sells a custom strap for guitars and their really the only ones that make this product. While they have no real competitor, their product is an accessory for guitars. Therefore you might take a look at both guitars and musical instrument retailer’s websites.

Target Market Research

While we really need to have a good idea of our target market during the definition stage of the design process, during the discovery stage we may discover a other market factors or even a secondary market.

Researching competitors websites, for customer reviews is a good place to get an idea of your potential clients.

Conducting a search on product, service or message of the site could also provide you with blogs, forums and committees on the topic. Reading a few of these posts can provide more insight on just who the target market might be.

Development and Design Research

Depending on your client a lot of the previous research might be provided to you. However, as a web design/developer you will always need to conduct development and design research.

A few years ago it was popular to have a Flash splash screen. Basically an animated feature before entering a website. However, today many web users access the web through their smart phones. Slow connections, and Apple iPhone’s lack of support for Flash makes this feature pretty much worthless.

To ensure you are meeting the needs of your client and not doing extra work for no reason, web developer/designers need to keep up-to-date with current standard and trends.

Contiguous research on new technology, web standards and languages is imperative.

Design trends are also something that seems to change with the season. In the early 2000’s there was a move to more white space on the website, while today we see a move to more large scale photographic background images.

These design trends way heavily on the capabilities of the technology.

When choosing to implement or omit an element to the design of a website you need to provide justification to your client.

Explain to your client why the image they found on Google images can not be used on their website.

Cite sources as to why large typeface is effective for their site.

Don’t base your design for a site solely on design trends or just because you or the client likes it. Consider if it meets the expectations of your client’s target market as well as their technology limitations.

Documenting your Findings

The research you conduct for your projects often don’t need to be formal in any way. Most of the time you will be taking a few bullet notes regarding each.

This research can be simply put in your project notebook or shared with your team and client by formally typed in the creative brief.

When defending your design ideas it is often a good idea to cite some of your research points to help justify your choices to your client.

Branding

Branding is the iconic imagery that is combined with a company’s marketing message that identifies a particular product or service.

Call to Action

A company’s marketing message or call-to-action (CTA), which is a prompt to the target market to do something. In some cases it maybe to buy the advertised product, call for more information or simply spread awareness.

Branding should center around the CTA. Before you can start identifying your brand you need to know what your is client’s main message or CTA is.

Consider the following:

  • What product or service do you sell?
  • What do you want your target market to do?

Once you have a clear idea of the overall message or CTA you need to consider the design and tone of how that message will appear in the branding.

The design and tone of the message weigh heavily on client, the message and how people feel about the topic.

If an organization CTA is to spread awareness about drunk driving, which is perceived (felt to be) a serious topic, it would be best to avoid association with cute images and whimsical text. If you were to use such elements it would lessen the impact of your message and your brand.

On the flip side if your selling toy plush bunnies, you might avoid use of dark colors and formal typeface, that is cold and uninviting.

Elements of a Brand

The branding of an organization/product usually based on how their CTA is presented. This presentation includes:

  • design – visual appearance
  • tone – the feelings or mood of the design (ie. fun or formal)
  • organization – the order of how the message is presented
  • recognizably – unique look and feel that is distinct from other branding
  • consistency – the same branding look and feel throughout different mediums (ie. print, web , etc.)

The companies logo is a great place to start when trying to get a feel for the company. A more formal logo might require a more professional brand message while an informal logo can lean towards a laid back tone. In some case the brand message your client requests doesn’t align with the look and feel of their logo. In this case it might be best to suggest updating or revising their logo.

When you finally do nail down the right design and tone, you want to make as recognizable as possible. This can be done by simplifying both the message and visuals that accompany it.

Lastly you want to keep the message consistent, throughout mediums, whether print, or web. The message should always be the same and portrayed in the same design and tone.

Although your branding should be consistent, this doesn’t mean it has to be exactly identical throughout mediums. While certain elements should always be present, it’s okay if some colors vary by medium or some copy is omitted because of space limitations. Keep in mind as long as the main brand is recognizable and the message is the same, it should be just as effective.

“EAT MOR CHIKIN” A Branding Message

To get an idea of an effective branding message, let’s take a look at Chick-fil-A.

As many US consumers of fast food know, Chick-Fil-A sells chicken sandwiches. There main CTA for their chain is for people to Eat More Chicken.

It’s a pretty simple message that gets to the point, and is easy for people to remember.

For Chick-Fil-A their current branding campaign started in 1995, when they decided to use the personification of cows writing signs that say “EAT MOR CHIKIN”.

The design and overall tone of this message was light hearted and fun. After all we know cows can’t really write signs and there is also humor in their spelling.

This simple message is also very recognizable. What other company uses specifically black and white cows standing up right to sell their product?

The message is organzied  by telling the audience what to do (eat chicken) followed by where (Chick-Fil-A).

The message is also consistent. From billboards to merchandising either the cows or the “EAT MOR CHIKIN” phrase can be found. On Chick-Fil-A’s website there is even a full set of links just about the cows.

Target Market

Although it is nice to believe that once a site is on the World Wide Web that all web users will be visiting the site, this is simply not the case.

Who is your Target Market?

The target market  is the group of individuals who are most likely to be the  customers or patrons of an organization.

To define a target market one should consider the following:

  • Geographics – relates to the audience’s geographical location.
  • Demographics – the audience’s statistical information such as gender, age, income level, marital status, and ethnicity.
  • Psychographics – lists of people’s values, attitudes, cultures and lifestyles.
  • Generation – considered part of both demographics and psychographics and refers to a group of individuals, approximate the same age, having similar ideas, problems, attitudes, experiences etc.

Let’s consider each one of these areas regarding our example for the Better Bean Coffee website.

Better Bean is a small local coffee shop in Java Town, USA. They are located near the local university and offer a wide range of speciality drinks, a relaxing and study friendly environment with free wifi.

Now that we know a little bit about the organization let’s take a look at the target market for Better Bean Coffee.

Geographics: Java Town and perhaps areas within a 20 mile radius of that location.

Demographics: Since Better Bean is located near a University and they describe themselves by saying they have a “relaxing and study friendly environment with free wifi” we can assume that their main audience are college students ages 18-24. These individuals will most likely be a mix of male and female, usually singles but perhaps a few couples and married people. University students usually come from a wide range of ethnicity’s and cultures, have a slightly higher income level (after all they have to afford college), and a higher education level than an average consumer.

Psychographics These individuals value a good cup of coffee and wouldn’t mind paying a $5 or $6 bucks for it. Their lifestyle revolves around friends and campus activities, and enjoy the coffee culture.

Generation Current college students fall under the Generation Z these individuals were born in the 90’s & 2000’s and technology such as the Internet, smart phones and wifi have been apart of their daily lives from the very beginning. These individuals are tech savvy and consider a place without access to these technologies part of the “stone age”.

Do the research

Sometimes who you think your target market is may not be who they really are.

For example you might be a store that specializes in retro style t-shirts for teens. While your target market are teenagers, it turns out that the majority of your customers are the mothers of the teens, not the teens themselves. Because of this you will need to adjust the website to meet the needs of the latter target market.

Once you have an idea about your target market you should conduct further research. You might ask current customers to take a survey to better identify who they are.

Designing for your Target Market

The layout and design of a site can very greatly depending on the target market.

An older audience generation for example, what a clear navigation system with few choices and will often roam the site until they can find exactly what they are looking for. In contrast a younger audience generation like to have many choices, and tend to leave a site if they can not find the information they are looking for within the first 5-10 seconds of accessing the site.

When drafting the layout and design of a site you need to consider the following:

  • What information does your audience need to know?
  • What does your audience want from your site?
  • What does your audience expect from your site?

In the example of Better Bean Coffee, we can answer those question like this:

  • The audience needs to know where the store is located, it’s  hours of operation, menu choices and possible prices
  • The wants of the audience could vary but based on the audience information, let’s assume a tech savvy audience would like to see images of the menu items, the ability to rate items and share that information via social media.
  • Again expectations could vary but most likely this audience expects the site to be easily accessible, especially on mobile devices.

Universal Design

When designing a site to meet the needs, wants and expectations of your target market also consider universal design.

Universal Design refers to the design of products and environments that are usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialized design. (http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/about_ud.htm)

There are seven principles to universal design, which include:

  1. Equitable Use
  2. Flexibility in Use
  3. Simple and Intuitive Use
  4. Perceptible Information
  5. Tolerance for Error
  6. Low Physical Effort
  7. Size & Space for Approach and Use

For more information on the seven principles of universal design visit: http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udprinciplestext.htm

Accessibility

Another consideration of your target market are any special needs (eg. hearing or visually impaired) regarding accessibility.

The W3C has made accessibility a major part of designing for the web. The W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), cited on their website, their mission is to lead the web to it’s full potential to be accessible, enabling people with disabilities to participate equally on the Web.

In order for a site to be considered accessible it must meet the required validation standards that the W3C have put in place. A webpage can be checked for accessibility via the W3C online validator.

Besides properly being properly built for accessibility, websites also need to consider the design.

Certain typography choices could make content difficult to read.

Color is also a big concern. It is estimated that 10% of the world’s male population suffers from some form of color blindness. When choosing colors for your site design you need to consider if the colors will be visible or if their is enough contrast for content to be read. In some cases the color of your font and background might blend together for certain members of your audience, which makes it impossible to decipher the site.

One way to test your site for accessible color usage is by using the Colorblind Filter (http://colorfilter.wickline.org/).

Global Issues

One last consideration in designing for your target market are global concerns. Though your target market might be locals, the very nature of having a website on the World Wide Web makes it accessible on a global scale.

While you might not ever have customers coming from around the world, you still want to make your site global friendly, since you never know who might one day come to visit your little point on the map.

In our example of Better Bean Coffee they focus on a local audience geographically. However, since many of their customers are college students there are likely quite a few international students who make up that population.

When designing for global/cross culture audience you need to consider the following issues:

  • Language – not all people are native english speakers, therefore it is important to write in short easy to understand terms.
  • Symbols & Icons – symbols & icons allow for a message to be communicated quickly as long as the symbol or icon is familiar to the audience
  • Color – color is crucial to any design, because it has natural association, cultural meaning and psychological symbolism.
  • Stereotypes – avoid the use of stereotypes in images and copy. While many Americans might find it cute to use an image of a South American man wearing a poncho and riding a donkey in a coffee ad, this might offend your South American (or decants of) customers.

Planning a Web Project

All successful websites start with a good planning. Planning out all the details of a project ensure that the client is getting exactly what they require to meet their needs.

In order to plan out a web development project, whether it be a small or large scale project, it all starts with the Definition stage of the Design Process.

The master plan for the project begins with a project proposal or creative brief. This document helps everyone involved with the project a clear guide as to what will be created and the goal/outcome of the project.

Working with a team. Many web development projects (especially large scale ones) are built by a team of designers. Each team member may have a specific role, the graphic artist may be in charge of layout and design, while the web programer is the main coder for the site. Often times there could also be a copywriter / content developer, and media specialist.

Defining the Site’s Purpose

The first and probably the most crucial part of the planning stage is to define the purpose of the site.

The question being asked here is “Why is this site being built?”

In order to answer this question one might have to consider what is the goal that the site is trying to meet.

Website Goals

The overall purpose of this site is typically broad while the goal is a measurable outcome. The foundation of your planning should start two or three short goals for the site.

The following is an example for an imaginary site:

Purpose:
Better Bean Coffee would like a website to increase sales and customer loyalty.
Goal:
Increase in-store sales by 35%
Increase new customers by 10%
Increase return customers by 15%

The Timeline When coming up with the goals for the site it is important to consider the timeline for them to be achieved. It is often impractical to say for example that sales should increase by 50% within one-week of the site launch. Unless you are really lucky that kind of return on the site will not happen. Instead consider lengthening your goal timeline to 2-3 months. Also note that unless you are actively marketing your site, no one will know that it’s online.

Website Objectives

The objectives refer to the methods used to achieve these goals. Considering the goals from the Better Bean Coffee example above several different objectives could be set.

Objectives:
Provide images and detailed information about in-store products and services
Provide positive testimonials/reviews from current customers about the products
Offer online members club for returning customers that includes a discount on various products or purchases

Composition Grids

A composition grid is a structure or pattern used to organize the elements of design within the composition, ensuring good flow.

Using grids can simplify the design process, by offering proven methods to achieve accuracy and consistency in the placement of design elements, yet still allowing for creativity. The main goal of a grid is help establish a visual hierarchy and structure.

Before applying a grid it is important to understand how the viewers eyes move/scans through a composition. Certain areas of a composition are considered active while others are passive. For example in the English language we read left to right, therefore the top left hand corner of a composition is typically the most active location of the composition, while the bottom left hand corner is a more passive location. By placing important elements in the active areas makes them more prominently noticeable.

The applications of grids are proven to be effective in all forms of graphic communication from print projects to web pages, to video and animations.

Anatomy of a page

Before choosing a grid to use in a composition, it is important to have a basic understanding of the anatomy of a page, whether that is a printed or screen based page. The parts of a page include:

  • Margins– the outer space that frames the content.
    • The top and bottom margins are often referred to ad the header and footer margins.
  • Columns – are divisions of space designated for content in order to make it more readable.
  • Gutters – the margins between pages or columns.

Baseline grid is a grid that is used to guide text, graphics, columns, etc. A baseline grid is typically used along with other grids.

Types of grids

Different types of grids can be drawn using a variety of mathematical principles.

Basic grids

Basic grids divide a composition a variety of ways to control the flow (visual path) through the design. These girds, sometimes considered typographic grids, are made up of intersecting vertical and horizontal axes used to structure content.

The simplest of these grids have equal divisions, while more complex grids are created by mixing sections of a grid to form a larger unit size in various areas of the composition.

Some basic girds include:

  • Symmetrical grids – are made up of columns mirroring each other and creating a sense of balance.
  • Asymmetrical girds – are made up of columns where one side of the composition is weighed more than the other.
  • Modules – divides columns further into smaller blocks (modules) which content is placed within a single or group of modules.
  • Combination grid – use a mix of columns and modules.

Horizontal movement within a composition can be achieved using a module grid, where larger modules of content are placed on top or bottom of the horizontal line. Adding vertical elements on the intersection of horizontal elements helps create vertical movement.

Golden Ratio

The golden ratio also known as the divine proportion or golden mean is a mathematical constant that appears repeatedly in nature.

There are three variations of the golden ratio:

  • Golden Rectangle
  • Golden Spiral
  • Golden Triangle

Golden Rectangle

The golden rectangle divides a composition into a square and rectangle, and then reaming rectangle is then divided into another square and rectangle and so forth and so forth; always retaining the same proportions as the original rectangle.

Golden Spiral

The golden spiral is the visual flow within the golden rectangle. Starting from the smallest square rectangle division in the golden rectangle, and spiraling out getting wider every quarter turn. The golden spiral is used as a guide for clustering elements.

Golden Triangle

The golden triangle is achieved when the lines within the golden rectangle form equiangular triangles, leading the eye into the composition.

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is the simplest of grids to follow and used quite frequently in photography. The rule of thirds is achieved by dividing the composition into nine equal parts. The prominent elements of the composition should then be placed on the intersecting points of the dividing lines.

The rule of third can be taught as a variation of the golden ratio. Unlike the golden rectangle, which divides the composition into a square and rectangle, the rule of thirds divides the square into a rectangle as well, making three equal rectangles.

Rule of Odds

The rule of odd follows the principle that odd numbered elements are more interesting than having one or an even number of elements.

Rule of Space

To actually imply movement of the elements within a composition one can apply the rule of space. The rule of space sometimes called lead room creates negative space that directly relates to the subjects of the composition.

Depending on the location of the negative (empty) space it can create the illusion that the subject is moving away or towards that direction.

Social Media

Social media network allow users to create, share and converse online at the click of a button. The focus of a social media network is a community (network) of people.

Social Network Applications

Social media sites are built on a social network application, which offer features such as user profiles and connections (friend/follow) with others.

Social networks are set up in a manner that focuses all about the people one is connected to. When you first sign in for example, you are presented with the current feed stream.

A Web feed or news feed (often just referred to as a feed) is a data format used for providing users with regularly updated content.

The feed displays all the latest activity/posts from the individuals in your network, as well as comments, likes and ratings on your on activity.

Like blogs, users can post a variety of content to their feed, depending on the limitations of the network. Often one can post text, links, images, and short videos.

A user profile page offers users a central location for all their own personal posts (feeds) and displays information about them and their connections.

Social networks are all about community conversation and the here and now. Posts are short and get to the point. The let your connections know what you are doing or provide  a snap shot of information.

Micro-blogging – the term micro-blogging refers to very short and precise blog type posts. Twitter has made micro-blogging popular by limiting posts to 140 characters.

Privacy Concerns

The whole concept of social media is to share your “status” with others. Give your connections a glimpse to who you are, what you are doing and what you are all about. The idea to generate a connection of like-minded people to work, play and share with.

Of course this very concept has brought up many privacy concerns. All social networks have some sort of privacy policy, which is a legal document that describes how your information, whether it be profile information, uploads or a status update, can and will be used.

When you post something online it basically becomes public to the whole world. On traditional websites, the content creator had the control to remove the information at any time. There is some similar control for deleting and editing blogs.

However, most social networks, limit this control. Once the publish button is sent, often times a post/update cannot be retracted.

Furthermore, the idea behind social media is to connect people, so many of these networks will use user information to help others find new connections. This is the basis for finding connections, but it could also allow for some individuals to be found by people they are trying to avoid.

When signing up for a social network it is important to be aware of what profile information, such as interests, activities, birthdays and so forth, can be viewed and publicly.

In most cases there are user settings that help individuals fine-tune how much profile information they are willing to display publicly and limitations to who can connect to their connection.

Why should I join a social media network

The primary reason to join a social media network is to communicate with others. They are a great way to meet new people, connect with old friends or converse with colleagues.

Social media is all about the here and now, and because of that it’s a great place to get instant feedback and make connections that can ultimately expand your professional opportunities.

Business can instantly advertise a new product or sale, employers can post job openings as they come available and designers can ask for feedback on their latest project. The instant response can sometimes be overwhelming but can also make for a very successful outcome.

10 Reasons to join a social media network

  1. Connect and Network
  2. Keep up with industry news
  3. Endless supply of resources
  4. Instant feedback
  5. Professional advice
  6. Virtual Office
  7. Relatively low cost
  8. Branding Tool
  9. Inspire others
  10. Competitive Advantage

Top Social Media Networks

  1. Facebook – Friends and family
  2. Linkedin – Professionals and colleagues
  3. Pinterst – Inspiration and ideas
  4. Twitter – News and Trends
  5. Instagram – Inspiration and ideas

Blogging

A blog (web log) is a type of Web 2.0 web site that is made up of entries/articles referred to as posts, which are displayed in reverse chronological order.

The popularity of blogs rose in the late 1990’s with the web publishing tools that allowed the novice web user to create and publish web pages.

Blogs Today

Today blogs are maintained by a single or group of authors and built around a community of readers who share comments and grow the conversation of each post.

The impact of blogging has today become mainstream. Most blogs focus on a particular topic; such as cooking or web design. While other blogs are more personal journals, documenting daily life events.

As the popularity of blogs has grown marketers are using blogs to promote products and services through the personal opinions of blog writers. Studies have shown that blog posts that relate a story regarding a product or service is more effective than a traditional ad campaign.

Why Should I blog

In the early days of the web designers would create websites that advertised their skills and were essentially online portfolio/resume websites.

Though these sites were effect at time for promoting designers and getting their work seen, since then this method of online promotion has seemed to be come stagnant.

These portfolio/resume websites were infrequently updated and only provided a sample of skills sets of the designer, not reflect their personality and passion.

Blogging on the other hand, offers designers with fresh and current content for their sites. It also allows them to really highlight their personality and passion on topics in their field.

Today it is not a question of “Why should I blog”, for designers, employers expect for them to have one.

10 Reasons to have a blog

  1. Relatively low cost
  2. Branding Tool
  3. Fresh Content for the Web
  4. Learning Experience
  5. Share your unique voice
  6. Networking
  7. Demonstrates your knowledge
  8. Inspire others
  9. Competitive Advantage
  10. Give clients a way to connect

Following Other Blogs

Part of the effectiveness of blogging is being part of the community and conversation. With that said it is just as important for designers to follower other designers blogs, as it is to maintain their own blog.

The following is a list of some top web design blogs to follow:

Starting a Blog

A Content Management System (CMS) is web application that allows for easier content authoring and content delivery. Management and maintenance of an entire CMS website can be done from a central interface and with no little to no web technical skills required.

While CMS are used for developing a variety of websites, today many blogging applications are built on a CMS.

There are many different options for developing a blog. In 2013 The Next Web published an article on 15 of the best blogging and publishing platforms. The top three are discussed below.

WordPress

WordPress is a CMS platform that comes in two forms, self-hosted and hosted.

A self-hosted package of WordPress CMS can be downloaded for free as an open source application from WordPress.org.

Self-hosting basically means that one controls the server host, and requires purchasing a domain and hosting space.

While a self-hosted WordPress CMS allows for full control of the platform it may require advance developer skills in order to truly customize features.

WordPress.com is a hosted packaged that users can easily sign-up for and have a blog up and running in a matter of minutes. WordPress.com offers different package levels for their hosting services, from premiere business accounts to free single user accounts.

WordPress as a CMS is the platform for 19% of the websites on the World Wide Web, and 48% of the top blogs are also built on the WordPress platform.

Blogger

Blogger is a free blogging platform from Google. Blogger like other online blogging networks allows users to quickly get started and start publishing online.

However, Blogger tends to be limited in their customization and style features. Google also seems to have lessen the support for Blogger updates.

Yet, anyone with a Google account can set up their Blogger account in a matter of minutes. With so many Google members it’s no wonder that Blogger is so popular.

Tumblr

Tumblr, which was only recently purchased by Yahoo!, is relatively a newcomer to the blogging platforms.

Tumblr tends to be popular with a younger 16-24 year old age group and those who are more active on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.

The layout of Tumblr blogs can be customized by users, and tend to be more photographic in nature.

What is Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a term that was coined by O’Relly media back in 2004. The term was meant to describe modern websites and the technologies that they use. These technologies allowed for websites moving beyond static pages and incorporating a variety of features such as virtual communities and user-generated content.

Web 2.0 Specifications

Currently there are no specifications for a Web 2.0 website. However, they are several features that help Web 2.0 websites differentiate themselves from earlier 1990 websites.

Websites that offer interactive application that promote user participation in way of contribution, organization and creation of content. It is also important to note that these technologies created using special platforms, where the end user need not be a master web developer in order to easily publish their content online.

W3C founder Tim Berners –Lee has been cited as describing the term Web 2.0 as “jargon”, because no one really knows what it is. Especially since his original vision for the web  was for it to be  open and free communication, anyways. The ability for the novice web user to instantly share and publish content online is one the driving factors to has lead Web 2.0 technologies to quickly become a pseudo standard in modern web design.

What is a Web 2.0 site?

When describing a Web 2.0 site it is important to note what exactly is a website to being with. If you recall from our previous lesson, a website is a group of related web pages, which all reside on the same web server.

Therefore any website (or page) that is online and offers a certain set of technologies fall under the Web 2.0 umbrella. The key thing to remember is that all of this Web 2.0 sites are still just websites at the core. .

Wikis

Wikis are like online collaborative encyclopedias. Collaborative being the key word here. All users have the ability to revise and edit the articles within the wiki.

Blogs

Blogs are essentially web logs that allow users to write articles (posts) on any given topic. A single author or a group of authors can maintain Blogs, while subscribers (readers) usually are given the ability to comment on a post. Comments contribute to the conversation and community aspect of a blog.

Web design students often comment saying they “want to make websites” not blogs. Keep in mind that a blog is still just a website that offers Web 2.0 features

Social Media

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, allow for users to create, share and converse online at a click of a button. They also allow for a community building aspect, by way of friending or following users.

Photo &Video Sharing

Sharing of digital files is another popular element of Web 2.0 site. Flickr, Instagram, Viemo and YouTube are just a few of photo/video sharing sites. These websites allow uses to upload their photos and videos to share with others around the world, as well as get feedback on the content.

File Sharing

Online storage sites like Dropbox or Google Drive offer online (cloud) file storage for their users. They also have a Web 2.0 aspect which allow for users to share their files with others.

Sites like GitHub offer a similar file storing feature, however they are designed primarily for developers. Not only can you upload your files, and share with others, others in the community can revise and update the files. All revisions and updates are recorded and archived. This type of ability makes it the perfect environment for developers to work in teams online.

Web Mail

Even web based mail applications like Gmail can be considered a Web 2.0 website, since they allow users to once again create, share and publish (mail) content.

The fastest growing web 2.0 technologies are blogs and social media.