Archive | September 2012

My Review of “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug

After reading Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug, I feel like I have a solid grasp on what makes a great website. Before reading the book, I navigated websites without thinking about the “behind the scenes” aspects. For example, I never thought about how difficult it is for web designers to come up with a creative, usable web page. I also never thought about website “conventions” and I took them for granted. In my opinion, web page design and accessibility are the most important factors for creating a great website.

Web page design is important for many reasons. For example, if I go to a website I want to be able to easily understand it. The page should have a good visual hierarchy. I think the title of the page should be in a large font with the subtitle in a smaller font, that way I can gauge my location in the website. I feel confident in my ability to find things on a page when the site has a good visual hierarchy. I also like when subtitles are nested within other titles. This makes it easy for me to understand which topics fall under a specific title.

As a frequent internet user, I like websites that are concise. I don’t want to read lots of text that isn’t very helpful. I am the kind of person who will spend time reading all of the text on a page because I don’t want to miss anything or get confused about how to use the website. However, my life is a lot easier when the web designer cuts out all needless information. While mostly I agree with Steve Krug’s assessment of web design, I do disagree with him on one point. Krug says “happy talk” must die. Happy talk is similar to small talk and it is used as a welcome mat for a website. I like happy talk because it’s a great way for me to get acquainted with a site; I don’t really see its presence as a waste of my time.

I also think it’s important for a web designer to make the page as user-friendly as possible. I believe that part of making a page user-friendly is designing it in such a way as to make it simple to use for those who have disabilities. Krug writes about this topic in chapter eleven where he mentions his three second accessibility test. The test consists of attempting to increase the type on a page, a fairly easy adjustment that would help many people with bad eyesight. However, Krug writes that most web pages fail this simple test. Designers should make sites accessible because so many people have disabilities.  For example, I have terrible eyesight and need to wear contacts. It would be beneficial to me as a user if I can increase the size of the text on a page, that way I won’t worry about straining my eyes.

Overall I think there are many different factors that go into making a website great. Design is very important because I have to be able to navigate the page in order to use it successfully. I also think accessibility is important because making a website accessible to those with disabilities will make their life very simple.

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Keep your Kitchen Clean!

     One thing I’ve never been able to understand is how some people can leave their kitchen in a constant state of disarray. Why do the dishes need to be 6 or 7 deep in the sink before you wash them? It’s disgusting. Get in the habit of washing your dishes right after you use them, or better yet, put them in the dishwasher!

     Also, make sure that you scrub your sink and wipe down your counters before cooking. I prefer to use a Clorox bleach spray and paper towels, but you can use any type of cleaning supplies meant to kill germs. I NEVER use a sponge to clean counters. According to webMD, “Kitchen sponges are the No. 1 source of germs in the whole house. Why? The moist, micro-crevices that make a sponge such an effective cleaning device also make it a cozy home for germs and more difficult to disinfect. Wiping your counters or dishes with a dirty sponge will only transfer the bacteria from one item to another. ‘Wet your sponge and then pop it in the microwave for two minutes to eliminate the germs that lurk inside the crevices,’ says Neil Schachter, MD, medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai in New York City, and the author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu.” I like his sponge tip, however I prefer to just use paper towels and eliminate the possibility of contaminating the counters with a dirty sponge.

Here is an example of what your workspace should look like before you start cooking:

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Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

I made this delicious Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry the other night with friends. I do not own a wok (the pan you use to cook stir fry), but I think I will be purchasing one soon. This recipe is very easy.

You need:
2 bell peppers (we used orange and red)
Broccoli & Baby carrots (we used a bag for salad that was a pre-mix of broccoli and carrots)
Stir Fry Sauce*
Chicken
Brown Rice**

First you cook the chicken on the stove until it is about halfway done. Next you chop up the peppers, broccoli, and carrots. Add those to the wok with the heat on medium. Next chop up the chicken and add that to the veggies. After, pour stir fry sauce all over the veggies/chicken and mix it up with a fork. While the veggies and chicken are cooking, cook the brown rice according to the instructions on the box. Make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly and that the veggies are soft. After the veggies/chicken are done, pour the rice over the whole mix. Voila! Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

* you can also use soy sauce if you don’t have a stir fry sauce, any sauce will work. Be creative!
** you can use white rice if you want, but brown rice is healthier!Image

Taco Mac

Taco Mac

Latest cheap creation! This is a hamburger helper spin-off and it is very easy to make! Just follow the ingredients on the Velveeta box to cook the shells and cheese and follow the directions on the taco seasoning packet to cook the meat. Simple! This serves about four people

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (about $4)
1 packet taco seasoning ($1-$2)
1 box Velveeta shells and cheese ($2)
Small cherry tomato and dollop of sour cream (garnish)

Whoopie Pies!

Whoopie Pies!

I’ve seen a lot of great recipe for Whoopie Pies and I decided to try one. They’re very easy to make and they don’t take a lot of time! My friends loved these. The only issue is that they are very rich, I could only finish half of one. I decided not to add sprinkles because I don’t really like them, but you can do whatever you want! Also, I think I used too much of the filling for each pie because I had left over cookies, so try not to do that.

Here is the recipe I used:

http://www.littlemissmomma.com/2011/07/whoopie-pie-recipe.html

Your Cooking Kit

Before you get started, you’re going to need the essential tools to cook. Since I am new to cooking, I decided to find out what other websites are saying. My favorite list comes from squidoo.com. Here is the list with some extra utensils added:

Utensils:
Spatula
Wooden Spoon
Large Knife
Small Paring Knife
Large Wok (this can be used as an alternative to a frying pan)
Large pot
Large Frying Pan
Deep oven dish (preferably ceramic)
Can opener
Cookie Sheet

Luckily I managed to find all of these tools and they’re not too expensive either.

Squidoo.com also offers a lot of fun, easy cooking recipes.

Where the magic (hopefully) happens

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This is my apartment’s kitchen. It is really small but it has all the essentials: a stove, oven, microwave, sink, refrigerator, and counter space. This is where I will be cooking all of my meals that I’ll post to this site. Wish me luck!