Design Analysis Blog 3


The usability of, a travel site to help book your traveling needs, is very user friendly. This site has great graphics that draw you into the site and make you want to travel. The way they used their layout to separate the different things you can book and things to do works very well. This aspects lets you search and chose between what you want to book from flights to cruises. The use of the search on each section is also very user friendly, by simply having to enter basic traveling information. On there homepage, it has everything you want and even top destinations and why to use Expandia to prove their credibility. There is also an app for smart phones and tablets which comes in handy when traveling. Their mobil site is also very easy, quick, and brainless to navigate. Overall the website is not overwhelming and follows all of the key points of being a usable website.


The usability of, another travel site that focuses on comparing the prices of different travel sites, comes from a minimalistic approach. They simply have links for hotels, flights, cars, and packages compared to the bigger variety on Expedia. This site does not have a home page other than just having to click on the logo which most people probably don’t know exist. The search engine for each traveling need is simple and easy to use. Their is also one login button at the top that can direct different places. The explore link on the login however are not related to “loging in” which can be confusing. To prove their credibility it shows that it is know for being the best travel app in the world and how it can send price alerts. I like the mobil site better and think that it is easier to use with a list of what to book that sends you to enter your traveling information. Overall the sites simple approach make it easy to use.


The usability of, a traveling website, has an eye catching appeal. The site is very difficult to use however. With sending you to multiple pages and pop ups its hard to navigate through. The site proves its credibility with reviews that are show on the top of the home page. The image of the page really draws you in to the main attraction, to plan and book your trip. This feature is very usable and even can recognize your current location if setting allow. The site has main attraction links which draws in viewers and is easy to use. Tripadvisor also has a way to see your Facebook friends which is a useful option to get people to stay on your site and draw them in to see where their “friends” are going. There is no home link which makes it difficult when you get deeper into the website to find your way back to what you were originally looking for. The mobil site although not as eye catching is a lot easier to use. Overall Tripadvisor is good for research on where to go, it has unique aspects that draw you into the site but does not have easy navigation.


Expedia, Kayak, and TripAdvisor are all ways to find out how much a flight or hotel would be when traveling. Trip advisor and Kayak both do not have home links which makes it difficult to navigate back to what you were originally looking for. All three do a great job of establishing credibility. Another good aspect of these sites is the apparent search bar to enter any information needed to find what you want to book. They also all have usable mobil sites that are great for people on the go and easy to navigate. In conclusion, these sites all have the basics to book what you want when you travel.


All three sites, although used to book traveling needs all come from different perspectives. Expedia’s focus is on booking and covers the largest base of things from flights to cruises and activities. Kayak’s method is to compare prices from other travel sites to find you the best price to book. Last, Tripadvisor comes from another angle that helps you find the “best” places and restaurants while allowing you to stay connected through Facebook. Expedia is the only website out of the three that include a home page which allows for easy usability. Trip Advisor is the only site that includes a social media outlet that connects with the site. This site is also the only one that has a clear log in and join button that shows direct purpose. Kayak is the only website that really embraced the idea of simplicity and uses a lot of white space by not having a distracting background.

Positive Aspects of Usability

Expedia wins for the most usable website out of this bunch. Having a navigation bar with a home page link and also having links that keep you on the page but still allowing you to book and search different travel needs makes this site very easy and non-distracting. When looking for a travel site to book you trip on this is what you want to ease the stress. The site has easy access to your account and trips, proves its credibility on the first page, has inverted pyramid style information, uses great graphics to draw you in, and has good links below that help you find great deals. While Kayak seemed a little too simple and doesn’t draw in the eye of the customer and trip advisor has small font in the header making it hard to navigate. The best thing on these websites for usability was the ease of searching by just having to enter the basics that aren’t too overwhelming.

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The evolution of portable music, Are smartphones better than iPods?

I’ll never forget the first time I saw an MP3 player being used by someone in real life. I was in the 7th grade and my friend Bobby had just received an iPod from his parents and he was showing it off on the bus. Before then all we had were portable CD players that were bulky, only played one CD at a time & heaven forbid if the bus or car hit a bump in the road it would cause the music to skip. With this “new device” it could hold music in a package the size of a pack of gum and was impervious to motion caused shock and didn’t require extra batteries or a large case of CD’s to be carried around with you.  Fast forward ten years 3 mp3 players, 4 iPods, and countless pairs of ear-buds later to today and iPods are still around but are beginning to disappear like the old CD Walkman. While digital music is here to stay until the next new format is discovered the devices that we play them on are constantly changing. With the release of smart phones such as Apple’s iPhones, Android OS and Windows OS phones that can manage & organize our lives and our media content, many people have dropped their mp3 players & iPods and moving their music onto their phones. For many people this is a smart practice and they don’t find the need to carry around a music player when they can have their music on their phone and have it cued for them whenever they wish. For me when I’d have my iPod & IPhone out using to listen to music & checking Facebook people who ask me “Why do you have an IPod? Just put it on your phone, it’s pretty stupid… I could go on and on “. However that’s not very easy when your personal music collection consists of almost 1200 songs (& yes I know all of them..) and you have to  shrink the bit-rate down to below CD quality, delete useful apps, and emails, texts & so forth just so you have only a measly 500MB yes Megabytes not gigs, of spare room left on your phone.  For people who have smaller music collection this works fine and there are cloud services through Google and Apple that let you have an almost unlimited amount of music stored in an online database server or “cloud” that you can access anywhere. However these services still have their disadvantages such as being inaccessible in areas with minimal or no cell phone access such as rural areas and areas that radio communication is disrupted to due to weather or governmental reasons. Apple’s service requires a fee to operate while Google play will allow you to hold 20,000 songs on their free version of their “cloud” software.  However for consumers who often live & work in suburban and urban areas, these risks may not impact them as much as it would for people to travel or those who live in rural areas. Let’s not forget though that those cloud services also use your data plan from your service provider which for some people with smaller plans can incur hefty fees for unintentionally streaming their favorite music should they go over their allotted data limit. While the use of these services can help free up space on your smartphone of choice, without coverage it’s no different than having the music synced into your phone’s memory.  While I can see the future improving on phone memory space and cloud services expanding and becoming easier to operate, sometimes just knowing the files on your phone aren’t affected by cell service is something to rock out about.

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Videogames Mass Media Research 2013-11-15 22:02:29

The fast paced world of technology is expanding quickly and is beginning to take the player right out of the comfort of their living room and emerging them into virtual worlds. From military training simulators to the new Xbox One, gaming technology is starting to break the boundaries of reality. The future of gaming generations is all through touch screens and sensors putting you right into the driving seat. As technology  evolves, people begin to panic just like they did with the invention of Tvs along with the beginning of different forms of mass media as well, believing they would soon take over peoples life. Now that we are starting to experience more realistic gaming will people feel the same way? Will they get totally consumed in these virtual worlds? What will this change as technology advances?

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In the video above of the Xbox One commercial you can see how personal gaming has become. The system can even notice the woman walking up to the television without any push of a button or voice recognition then she begins to command her system along with her boyfriend. Her behavior is obviously exaggerated, but I think the ad holds some truth in how the unrealistic but realistic virtual world effects the player. For example, when looking at the commercial the girl ask a command and the game responds and then she goes to ask her boyfriend in the “real” world a command and he responds just like her game. This is obviously not how the world works but will people get sucked into these virtual worlds because of there quick response and obedience.  After showing this commercial to a friend she responded with, “thats creepy” indicating that some people still believe in technology becoming too powerful in peoples life to a point where it scares society. Are they over exaggerating or is thing going to become reality? Lastly, Beyond what we know who wouldn’t want to live in a perfect world where people are all waited on and can shape into whatever they want?

The Gaming world is becoming more advance than anyone had ever expected ten years ago and makes you wonder how far it will go in our life time. Game systems have evolve over the years from “pong” and game cube to xbox and Wii technology is quickly advancing. While it is exciting to have all of these new innovations the perfection of these alternative worlds is going to effect human behavior.

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Alcohol its for everyone right?

Everyone has a story. With that statement if you watch this video you will understand why alcohol is for everyone.

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The video above shows actor Kiefer Sutherland who starred in 24 the television series supporting Jose Cuervo. This is not the first time a celebrity has endorsed alcohol on television. This has been done many times before. So the question I would like to pose to you is this is it ethical?

We all watched television when we were younger after school or late at night. And then a commercial like this come on your tv during your programs break. Now if your of legal drinking age you thinking nothing of it. But if your a minor then this is like your dream put on tv. I remember when I was a minor that I wanted to be able to drink because I saw these ads with celebrities I idolized. If the advertisement had been produced with someone who was not a minor. I would not have been as interested in it.

So that makes me wonder is it right for celebrities to do these types of endorsements? I think they should stay away from them for just that reason. Younger people look up to their favorite celebrities and emulate what they do. This means that they need to be a good role model. They need to set the example for young people. Needless to say do I think they will stop doing these endorsements? No I don’t. Because in the end it is all about the money and image they want to portray.

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This Is the End

As someone who grew up in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, weekly trips to Blockbuster were a staple of my childhood. On November 9, the remaining 300 stores were shut down after the company’s failure to keep up with newer companies, like Netflix. As the New Yorker said, “online, the response to the news has been a collective ‘Whoa-are those still around?’”

Blockbuster was founded in 1985 and was hugely successful for over a decade, with over 8,000 stores open in 2002 . Two years earlier, however, Blockbuster made arguably its biggest mistake when it passed the opportunity to buy the newly started DVD-by-mail company known as Netflix. Shortsighted Blockbuster called the Internet a “niche” market, preferring to rest on previous methods of success despite the changing industry.

In 2004 Blockbuster did establish a DVD-by-mail aspect, which will be shut down by January 2014, but it had a limited movie selection that took it out of competition with Netflix, which already had a steadily growing fan base. The Netflix business model attracted customers because it was Internet subscription based, so there were no late fees and customers could rent their movies from the comfort of their own home. Also, Netflix has a recommendation system for users based on what they have watched previously and how they rated those movies.

In 2007, Netflix further revolutionized the movie rental business by adding their streaming feature, which gave subscribers the ability to watch movies instantly on their computer. Netflix’s streaming has since expanded, and can now be viewed on many game systems and cell phones. The number of Netflix subscribers in the United States and Canada is now greater than the population of Australia.

The moral of Blockbuster’s story seems to be this- that a business has to focus on satisfying an ever-changing customer, if not the business will be left behind.

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The History of Tabloid Magazines

People often reference tabloid magazines to imply that something is blown out of proportion. They have come to be known as entertaining yet nasty magazines full of lies and harsh jokes about the celebrities and their alternate universe that we only see in… well… the tabloids. I couldn’t help  but wonder, have tabloids always been so harsh and untrustworthy? Or were they at one time a reliable source of gossip?

According to,  one of the first incidents of this “tabloid effect” was when Orson Welles delivered his program on War of the Worlds on the radio. Entertainment gone array, people were terrified of what they were hearing on the radio. People were shoving their families into the car and driving into the mountains, shooting water towers which they came to believe were space crafts, and held others at gunpoint for gasoline and water. It was a mess!

But how does this relate to tabloid magazines? The term tabloid came about in 1884. A tabloid was a name for a type of pill that held compacted powder. In 1998, people began using the term tabloid to refer to a compressed or small dose of something. The term tabloid has evolved over time, both connotatively and denotatively. It has eventually come to be known as a sensationalized magazine or newspaper with sometimes barely truthful facts and stories which mainly include celebrities and scandals.

The picture above is a good example of how the term tabloid has received such a nasty connotation. There is no truth or kindness to be expected of tabloids and for a good reason. The headlines on this mock tabloid are not too far off from the crazy stories we see on the front page every day. Who knows when people decided they would rather hear horrible gossip rather than great truths about these celebrities. If everything we read in those tabloids were true, Hollywood must be a dismal, extremely eventful place!

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When “hell” was only said in church

I started wondering this awhile back: Has the rating system slacked up over the years?

Movies are protected under the First Amendment.  The Supreme Court ruled in 1952 that it was illegal to ban the showing of a movie based on its content; however, there were ripples in the water that led the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to monitor their content.  The rating system was created in order to inform movie viewers that there may be inappropriate, or controversial material in the film.  This movement was pushed by the MPAA in the 60′s to appeal to critics about the corrupting content, such as sexual scenes and profanity, shown in films.  This satisfied critics, but movie producers started complaining because they stood behind their work and claimed that it was not pornographic or controversial.  With this, movie producers have slowly added “questionable” content in all films.  This brings me to my question, have we seen some content slip through the cracks and not rated what it should have been?


I have been paying more attention to PG and PG-13 movies and their content.  I have been shocked to see how extensive profanity has been used.  An article from MassLive points out how the f-word was used extensively in Crazy Stupid Love, a PG-13 film.  Now, I understand that the rating system was created back in a much more conservative time period, a time when hell was only said in church, but exposing young teens to excessive profanity usage does not encourage respectable language use.

The Los Angeles Times reported back in 2012 how the MPAA is complaining about how strict the rating system has become.  Wait, what?  Ok, so if 13 year olds are being exposed to increased profanity, what is next, a raunchy sex scene in Toy Story?

I understand that the rating system would never allow, well at least today, a sex scene in Toy Story; but there is not doubt that the rating system is more relaxed than is was just 15 years ago.  Should the rating system be reviewed, revamped, or is it just fine the way it is?

My only concern is if this is being shown today, what will be rated PG-13  for our kids to watch on the big screen?

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As IGN’s #1 most anticipated game of 2014, Destiny will not only be a ground breaking si-fi epic that takes place in a post apocalyptical universe, but it will also solidify what might be one of the most interesting collaborations in gaming history.

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Bungie and Activision have come together to create Destiny; Bungie doing the development work and Activision at the publishing end. Bungie was responsible for the Halo series which has continued to dominate the Xbox network for almost a decade. Likewise, Activision the previous publisher for many of the Call Of Duty titles, has maintained a steady popularity among the Microsoft community. Microsoft and Playstation make their money using titles like these to sell their platform consoles, like the PS3 or the Xbox 360, to keep a distinct line between its gamers and customer base.

One of the biggest parts of this union is that Bungie will be creating a game for the Sony platform.  Destiny has already been advertised for both consoles and in some aspects even more greatly for the PS4.  Bungie has continued in expanding their entire operation and have tripled their studio size since 2010. Many people in the gaming world are more than enthusiastic to see what Bungie is planning to release, and with the help of Activision the final product is almost unfathomable. The two companies have also created an exclusive 10-year contract for disclosed content, which may also be implying even greater things to come in the future.

So how can two previously competing companies create a successful game while still maintaining their own individuality? What will become of these two companies? How they continue to keep a competitive edge in the future?


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Makeup…for a zombie

We’ve all seen just how realistic makeup artists can make anything seem on television but just how do they do it?  They go through this long process of making any normal person look just like anything from an Elf or a Hobbit to a Walker from the walking dead.  This however is no easy task for The Walking Dead alone it takes a team of permanent makeup artists and a team of CGI (computer generated images) specialists to make even one episode possible.

Greg Nicotero, the Head of the makeup department for The Walking Dead talked about just how much goes into even one episode’s worth of makeup in a recent interview.  Specifically about the hours involved in placing prosthetics onto actors painting on fake blood and prepping the actors for their three seconds of simply limping toward a fence and growling looking like this.  Nicotero also talks about how they have to go through all of these steps, from the fake skins, rotten toothed dentures, greasing hair and many more long makeup tricks of the trade  for  as many as 60 actors to prep for a single scene.

So what about this CGI I mentioned? Can’t they just make 10 zombies and duplicate them 8 times and have a hoard of 80? Problem solved call off the actors we’re good! But for the producers of this show that wasn’t good enough they wanted genuine people in each scene.  Used CGI to enhance what they couldn’t do with makeup such as removing limbs or even whole halves of a body. They do this using blue and green screen technology, that allows CGI specialists to go back into the digital copy and edit anything in solid blue or green to look however they want it too.  It was also used to simulate a zombie being shot in the head, where before they had to fire what is call a squib load at an actor to create a small gooey explosion.  This was dangerous to the actor and didn’t always show up how the director wanted it to but now with the help of CGI they can’ safely create the perfect spattering of blood for each head shot.

Click here to view the embedded video.

One example of how much work goes into this process is a video put out during an earlier season about how to make a walker on a budget.   This shows you just a few of the steps in making yourself look dead but imagine trying to do this all over someone for the show 60 times in a single day.  After watch this you can see just how much goes into making an actor into a zombie.  The variety of tricks and tools used in this process is nothing short or impressive .  Through all of this I believe that the makeup artist have made this one of the best shows on television that would be nothing without all of the hard work that goes into this long process.





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From Creature Feature to Two-Timing Technology

If you think about it, horror movies have drastically changed over the past few decades. In the 1950’s, mutation played a huge role in horror movies. People were afraid of giant animals and bugs. The reasoning behind this was that it was a lot easier to use existing life-forms. Things that already existed in real life didn’t need any type of animation and could be photographed using blue-screen techniques or recreated in model form. A few of the first attempts at these horrifying effects were in King Kong (1933) and Devil Dolls (1936). The onscreen monsters represented the cutting edge of movie technology. Editors also thought that it was a great way of drawing audiences away from TV and towards the movie theater once again.

The 40’s and 50’s revolved around WW2. People lived in fear, which became more unnerving than war itself. The main message from WW2 was that at the end of the day, it was technology that was going to win. Whoever had the bigger, better, and deadlier technology was going to win. Like the atom bomb. The more advanced the technology, the more powerful the nation. The horror films of the 1950s are about science and technology. It was an accurate enough reflection of reality for a confused populace, confused and unsure of the technological advances and changes.

But have horror films gone too far? Have they tried to relate with us so much that it’s just getting plain, old ridiculous? Technology has advanced so far as plasma screen TVs in almost every home in America, and any child above the age of 11 is carrying an IPhone. This short clip from “Cause of Death: iOS 7” should help you understand more about what I’m talking about.

*CAUTION: They drop a few F bombs*

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Do you see what I mean? I don’t whether to laugh or to actually be concerned that technology is such a big distraction. In each scene, before someone got killed, they were distracted by their IPhone. Is this movie making fun of us or is it trying to open our eyes to a larger problem?

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