Saturday, March 30, 2013

Interactive Media: What is Javascript?

Usually when someone who isn't a pro in the computer nerd department hears the word Javascript, we think of complex programming and/or a cup of coffee. While Javascript aligns itself more with the first thought, it isn't as terrifying as it might seem after reading chapter 19 in our book. 

So far in this course, we have focused on the content layer, or HTML, and the presentation layer, or CSS, in thinking about our web designs. It is helpful to think if Javascript as another layer of design, one that adds interactivity to our websites. Because Javascript is a client-side scripting language, it is reliant on the particular browser and user that is using it. This means that it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't depending on the users particular browser preferences and capabilities. This makes it a little out of our hands, which can be scary, but we have encountered this before, and therefore must take any steps WE can as designers to help the Javascript run smoothly. 

Although Javascript is sometimes associated with annoying pop-up ads and re-directs that you never asked it for, it can be a very helpful tool in adding to the interactivity of your website, which as we have learned throughout this course is important on many levels. Fortunately, Javascript is a loosely programmed language, meaning that we don't have to dictate what every single variable does. This, I feel, will certainly help a newcomer to Javascript like myself, succeed at using it. 
All this being said, there are a couple things that I would ideally like to add to my personal website using Javascript. First, I like the feature in Javascript that allows you to reveal and hide portions of content. What if I was able to hide the text information in my about me site and have it revealed when the users mouse clicks "about." What if I was able to do the same with my resume? This might make my website look neater and the presentation more simple. I am not sure if this is a correct use of this Javascript function, but I think it might be worth a try. Second, the gallery feature might be neat to add to my website later down the road when I add my portfolio work to the site. I think the gallery would present a nice way to see my work without trying to simply place images onto the page in a gallery like manner using CSS. I think that this feature should wait until I get to that point in my design, but I think that it will be a useful tool down the road. 

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