And can I say, I’m proud of myself.

Some moments were tough and, for various reasons, at different points throughout the semester, I even thought I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. But I have finished, I’ve owned the journey and feel like I  have achieved my goals for this subject.

I think that the whole process has been HUGE. When you think about building the website as well as each of the assignments, blog, documentation and reflection, we at DMT have done masses of work. So to each and every DMTer – just stop and give yourself a pat on the back and a kiss on the chin.

Thank you to my peer feedback group for their input and a very special big thank you to Ian for all his help, via blog, email and in class (and I promise I’ll post your books). How lucky we were to have you in our class. Just looking at your work was always inspiring.

Finally, thank you to Alastair for always being somewhere is cyberspace (or in class) to answer my questions.

Here’s my website –

And my final report.

Happy summer!


Abandon Lightbox!

Alastair, thanks for your help and suggestions, I tried that as well. Luckily all my content was in one div, so I tried putting the value of 850px to the div and change the body as 100% as below…


background: url(images/background.jpg)  center top repeat-y;
font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;

#wrapper {

margin-left: auto;
margin-right: auto;
width: 850px;
height: 100%;

It still read the overlay as 850px?? The 850px value is also applied to my nav div, so it keeps picking it up somewhere. Considering I already have a javascript gallery operating which works and looks OK, I think at this point in the project, I will stick with that and leave lightbox out of it. I have learnt how to implement it and thus feel I have achieved something out of the exercise. I feel I would be able to implement it into another website at another point if required (but earlier in the piece).

I think sometimes you have to weigh up time and effort to solve a problem vs what value persisting with a problem will add to a project. In this instance I’ve made the judgment that persisting will not add significant learning for me (as I’ve already gained the practice of using lightbox) or value to my website. Making that call is a lesson in itself.

Lightbox cont…

Well thanks to Julien and Alastair, I have identified the problem, but still no solution.

I have 850px put on my body selector so that my website is centred on my webpage ie.

body {
background: url(images/background.jpg)  center top repeat-y;
font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
margin-left: auto;
margin-right: auto;
width: 850px;
height: 100%;

If I remove this or change it to 100% it fixes my lightbox problem, but the website content is not neatly centred over the background. I tried Alastairs suggestion as well but this didn’t fix the problem.

Is there another way to over ride the width value of the 850px on the body for the overlay selector or is there another way to centre my text in my page not using the 850px width along with the other selectors?

Presentations and PHP rating script

It was fantastic to watch the other presentations last night. What I loved most was that they were all driven by ideas that were real and purposeful, not just a ‘dummy’ website to complete the assignment. I love seeing what other people come up with and where their ideas and motivation stem from. It was also good to share my journey with others and see that even though we all had very different journeys and are on different learning paths, we all experienced simialar frustrations and breakthroughs throughout the process.

With regards to my progress, I’ve now added my PHP 5 star rating script to the recipes. I used the same script I documented back in mid September as a practice. It was useful to have done this practice, but I still had to go back through the forums to find the answer to my error message that was coming back once a user submitted a rating. The answer was in the permissions of the files. This was fixed within the FTP client by right clicking on each of the relevant files and changing it to read, write permission (777).

Not long to go… 

Progress to date

I thought it would be useful for myself (and the presenation tonight) to summarise my progress in a visual format.

As you can see, I have been a little overambitious in terms of the amount of content I would like to provide hence some blank pages. I think I may have to tackle this with some Lorem text where I don’t get to finish (worst case scenario). I think that since the focus is on the technologies rather than the content per se, I don’t want to get bogged down with writing content. This has also made me decide to ditch the Kids say page (in terms of technologies its more of the same). 

What I am happy with is that I have learnt a lot of CSS and have become comfortable writing XHTML. I have also used Javascript and PHP so I have gone into the optional extras in terms of my learning plan. I feel that this has exposed me to a good variety of technologies and the way they are implemented, function, pluses and minuses of these choices and the way they impact the user experience.

Where websites don’t matter…

Sunset beach, Mana island

It is refreshing to be reminded that sometimes, in some places around the world, the internet doesn’t matter. The people who live on the islands of Fiji, really don’t care about the internet. All they care about is their island and the tourists that visit and that’s it.

There was one computer with internet access available on Malolo island (that was always free). On my first day, I couldn’t help myself – went in check emails, currency exchange rate, weather etc. After that I eased into “Fijian time” and gave up on my thirst for information that really was not essential at that point in time. It felt nice. I really think that we should stay mindful that sometimes we don’t need more information, sometimes we overdo it and for other people the internet doesn’t count. Although internet access is almost everywhere in the world, a ‘user’ needs to be on the other end of the machine to make it real. On this trip I was reminded that many people, although exposed to the internet, will never be impacted by the internet because they don’t want to be or don’t need to be – and that’s OK. No amount of accessibility or standards will change that – and that doesn’t matter. So when we’re talking about user experience and personas, I think we sometimes need to remind ourselves that although the user population around the world is large, it still is its own ‘class’ and only includes people who actually click on a browser and interact with the internet. I know this seems obvious but many of us live and breathe ‘connectivity’ and start to make assumptions about information, collaboration and communication. It was good for me to get away from it and see that it really isn’t everything to everyone.

Mind you, I did lug over my not so small laptop with me and on one night, out of sheer guilt, worked on my site. Basically more CSS to get a left hand nav going. I used the Eric Meyer CSS book (very easy to follow and read). I still have a lot of work to do, so I will get on with it. See you back in class for presentations.

Fiji… here I come

Well my blog will be quiet for the next 10 days as I go and soak up some sunshine in Fiji.

I’ll be in class tonight though (and hopefully I’ll be able to bug some people regarding my CSS woes… Alastair? Ian?)

I feel relieved that I am leaving with all my class peer assessment complete. It was so interesting reading everyones projects. The system plan has been the most interesting assignment to read out of the ones we have done so far. I think because it really described in depth what people are building and you can see the websites coming together and coming alive through personas, site maps and wireframes. The projects are so varied in their technologies and concepts, I was amazed at some of the ideas. I also think its great that people use their existing strengths to build on and integrate into the project, be it Flash, Photoshop, being an artist, an already existing site/application etc.

Another thing I managed to achieve before I go is the rotating image on the front page. I created it using Javascript. My resource was the Visual Quickstart Guide – Javascript and Ajax 6th edition – by Negrino and Smith. Nothing else is in the right place yet, but I feel that I’ve developed enough to be able to put it to the side for 10 days and relax in Fiji – well I’ve convinced myself that anyway…

Javascript photogallery

Still plugging away…

I’m pleased I now have a working photo gallery using the script we used in class in week 8 practical. This was a very useful exercise which has been put to good use in my website. This way I also feel I have made a little progress (otherwise I’d still be on that footer!)

I see this as an area that would be useful for people who don’t actually need a recipe but to get good visual ideas (I’ll be adding more photos of course). The recipe section will also need to have photos of the food. Ian made a good point in my peer feedback that it would be not very helpful to the user to go from the recipe all the way to the gallery to see the photo of the recipe. So the photo gallery will be stand-alone.

It’s very similar to Deceptively Delicious website although that site uses PHP. Does anyone know is there any advantage of one over the other in this circumstance? I know Javascript works of the clients machine rather than on the server side.

Any tips on how to add CSS to the thing?? Ahhh!