Ocean Eiler is a designer from PBS KIDS. Actually, he is far more than a designer because he is good at a lot of things. As a Senior Designer at PBS KIDS, he has molded his title to UX design, web design, frontend development, Flash development, video editing, audio FX creation, soundscape mixing, print design, game development, mobile development and a touch of management. Besides, he is also an artist, a DJ, a skateboarder, and a rock climber. He was graduated from Ohio University with double degrees.
After graduation, Ocean got his first job in Switzerland. He then returned the United States and has worked for WOUB, Pixel & Ink, Matrix Group, and finally PBS KIDS. The lecture was mainly about the designing process of the PBS KIDS GO! Eiler introduced how did the idea come up and how was the website finally realized. Through the lecture, I learnt more about the process of designing a website on desktop, including sketches, wireframes, color choices, and user testing, which is a very important part of operating an effective and attractive website.
Besides, I also learnt that websites could be built with both front and back end simultaneously under tight deadlines. The PBS KIDS GO! was accomplished and put up online only in 12 days, whereas Eiler told me that a huge website project usually take 6 months till a whole year. After the lecture, I am more aware of the significance of HTML and CSS. Since I am applying for summer interns recently, I found that most companies require coding skills. Proficiency of Photoshop and Illustrator nowadays is the lowest requirement, yet coding is dominating in the future.
There are a large amount of coding opportunities online await. I really have to develop my coding skills as soon as possible. During the lecture, Eiler mentioned “Big paper, big ideas”, which was said by Chris Bishop, the boss of Eiler’s. Eiler also showed us his working process of the PBS KIDS GO! on paper from sketches to final version. However, I could not agree with him on this point because the “big paper” idea is not suitable for all websites, especially for the mobile web.
As I saw Eiler’s work on large sheets of paper, the “big paper” idea is really great for desktop web, whereas nowadays, mobile web is more important than desktop web and is dominating in the future. Recently, I read an article on designshack. net, which was discussing whether to go mobile web first or the desktop while designing a website. The author finally concluded that designers should go mobile first not only due to the rapid increase of mobile users, but also because “progressively enhancing” the website from mobile devices to desktops will make the website both functional and beautiful.
The author of the article called going desktop first “graceful degradation” and going mobile first “progressive enhancement”. Comparing the article’s viewpoint with Eiler’s suggestion during the lecture, I thought they were both right. Eiler showed us some data at the beginning of the lecture, which shows that 98% PBS KIDS users are desktop web users and around half of them use Internet Explorer. Besides, the users’ major screen resolution is 1024×768.
The data is so different from the investment of a larger range of web users, which shows that Google Chrome is occupying the major browser market and mobile users are far more than 2%. Therefore, my opinion is that kids are using outdated desk/laptops (may be substituted by their parents) more often, and hence, they do not really need mobile web. For websites on desktop, the “big paper” idea is effective and helpful because it contains more details and possibilities. Whereas considering a wider range web user, going mobile first seems more important and necessary.
Even Google has just announced that their future websites are going mobile first. Currently, smartphones are playing critical roles in people’s daily lives. People can get information more quickly and effectively through mobile web. Base on the increasing rate of mobile web users, mobile web will definitely change the structure of the Internet even computer companies. Designing a website on mobile devices more emphasizes on function and “big paper” idea will not be suitable for a small screen. Overall, the PBS KIDS GO! as a great palette, it is so active but not messing with the colorful content. It also balances the relationship between tidiness and excitement. The outgoing design is really attractive for kids. Although the grid design feels a little redundant for me, it is direct and convenient for children. The only thing I concerned was when I tested the website through both dolphin and chrome browsers on my cell phone, the grid did not slide smoothly. But since the mobile users are so few, it does not affect the user experience generally.
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