This week was very exciting and very intimidating at the same time. When I first heard a run-through of what we would be expected to do, I was terrified. I had never done anything besides introductory Java and a little networking, so I thought everything we would be doing here would be well beyond my capabilities.
Now that the first week is almost over, however, I realize that I am fully capable of doing all of the work. I know I can buckle down and get through pretty much any situation, and I am seeing that a combination of hard work and optimism is absolutely crucial for doing this work. I am learning something new every few minutes, it seems, but that can be pretty invigorating. I learned how to work with NetBeans, something that was very confusing to me at first. But when I started to actually work on my tasks and dive into exactly what I needed to do, I found it almost explained itself. I'm seeing that learning is doing, and I have to trust that I will pick up on everything as I go along.
I have had the opportunity to practice a little more with Git, which I had never heard of until this week. It is not nearly as scary now as when I first opened it, which is always a good thing. I feel I am making a tiny bit of progress in that I have overcome my own mental hurdles. I am past the point of intimidation and onto sitting down and getting right to work.
As part of my project, I have been sketching out ideas for the new layout for a search bar on the main page. I looked up the most popular games for kids, as well as for anyone over the past few decades, and found that the best selling games tend to be role playing and storytelling ones. I thought about very popular kids' sites like Webkinz and Neopets and tried to see what it was about them that made them so attractive. I think kids like sites that are equally easy to understand and fun to use. One of my main goals in the design process is making the search function as attractive and simplistic as possible.
Kids seem to be attracted to images and features with cartoon characters attached to them. I thought the best way to show that the search function was available for their use was to have a helpful guiding character to explain it.
I remember from reading Lewis Carrol's Throught the Looking Glass that the White Queen is the first character Alice encounters when she enters the new world. She is given to losing her head, or at least crown, among other things and is pretty spacy. I thought she would be the perfect ambassador for anyone trying to find something. I am working on designing a way for her to introduce the search function and possibly help people along through the options once they have used it. More to come next week on that account.