Digital Media

Computer user health

Using a computer can be very taxing on the body. Below is some information about how to set up your computer area with little or no cost.

Set up

  • Monitor at eye level
    • If you have a laptop just get an external keyboard and prop your laptop up on books
  • Eyes are 45-70cms away from the monitor
  • Light is behind you when looking at the monitor
    • Keep your back to windows
  • lower arms and elbows resting on the desk
    • push your keyboard and monitor to the back of the desk to give your arms room to rest

I have been standing behind my desk since early 2013. Changing this has improved my health especially my back

  • all the above ‘Set up’ points still apply
  • raise your desk with bricks
  • use a rubber mat or carpet under your feet
  • move your feet around regularly

If you sit at a chair

  • lower back supported by the chair
    • use pillows and ockie straps if needed
  • thighs horizontal on your chair and feet are flat on the ground
    • lift desk or put books under your feet
    • easy to use mouse that supports your palm comfortably

Here are some extra tips that will reduce the impact of computer use on your body

  • breath through nose slowly into belly
  • shoulders relaxed, chin back and back straight
  • blink often and look into the distance to exercise your eyes
  • move away from the computer for 5 mins every 40 mins – set up alert to breath, stretch and move about
  • after a day of computer use do stretches for neck, back and hips

Writing image alt text

Alt text (alternate text) are the words used to describe an image when an image is not able to be seen on a computer. Here are a few tips on how to write appropriate alt text to explain images.

  • Only use 130 characters (approx. 16 words) to put the images in context for a person using an audio reader. You are not required to give all the details of the images.

For example
Two children – good but still not explaining the context
Two children’s feet standing on milk crates looking over fence – this explains why the images has been used for this flyer

  • For logos put in the actual name of the organisation (and don’t add in a logo to the end of the words).

If an image is only for impact and not to help you understand the information. Simply call it a spacer image or something similar.

Please feel free to contact me with any feedback and I will update this post.

Add alt text to images

Alternate text (alt text) is used in both PDF and website images to support people who use audio readers to understand documents that use images. To be enjoyed my more people the alt text needs to be added to images. Adding alt text is an involved process, one that can be assisted by identifying descriptions for the images. Since you know your images and the reason (context) for using them you will be able to identify more accurate for people using audio readers. Doing it this way will save you from your designer completing it.

Firstly go to the image in the finder or folder that you wish to work on. Right click on an image (or similar on a mac) and a menu list will appear. Pick properties at the bottom of the menu (left image).

spacer

This will open the properties dialogues box (right image). Under the details tab at the top of the dialogue box, place the alt (put) text next to the title box. You’ll need to let your designer know that you have put this information in or they will use custom settings.

Please feel free to contact me with any feedback and I will update this post.

PDF Digital Accessibility

Often when I create a printed design, I then convert it into a PDF to use as an eflyer to send out via email. When the PDF is specially formatted to be accessible to audio readers then information can be enjoyed by more people on the web. However, when a PDF is automatically created the text is not in the correct order for an audio reader. This makes it difficult or impossible to understand the information. If you want your PDF designs to be accessible for people who use readers to hear the PDF, you’ll need to tell your designer so they can correctly format it.

How to Design an App

Have you got a great idea that you would like to make into an app? Here are some tips about how to do it yourself.

  • Create a diagram of how the user moves through the app – consider apps you’ve enjoyed and found easy to manoeuvre through
  • Test the flow with peers
  • Be flexible with development and design ideas
  • Use online app creators (search in google and consider reviews) and do it yourself or get someone who is computer savvy to do it.
  • Make sure finger hits area has a 2 cm range
  • Keep it simple and fast
  • Keep the user in the loop if something is loading or connecting to the network
  • Consider gesture functions as well as full function options. An example of a gesture function is the back arrow function to go to previous screen.
  • Test on all platforms such as android and iphones
  • Test the app with people after development and make changes, test again before re-developing

Search Engine Tips

Below is some information about some steps you can take yourself to improve your SEO (search engine optimization). The worksheet helps you write effective content for your website that will improve your rankings. I use this worksheet with my clients, so that they can deliver clear and ordered content to me, that will save them money and be effective with google. These free resources can also provide handy tips when you are creating your own website. If you use them or have additional suggestions please let me know so I can learn from you too.

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Website Worksheet

Here are some tools to help create the content for your website. It often takes people longer than they think to create the content for their site so it’s worth factoring in a few days or a week to get it complete.

Information for your website –  overall information to create an accurate quote or get your website started. My host suggestion is with eLearn Australia.

Website Content and Navigation Worksheet – use this file to create the navigation and content for your website. It also contains information about making your content search engine friendly.

It is important to remember that a wordpress site needs to be updated every 3-6 months to keep it safe from being hacked. I can give you instructions on how to do this or I can also quote on how much this will cost for me to do it.

Please let me know how you go using these tools and if you have any suggestions for improving them. I’d love to learn from you.

You are also free to use these tools to work with me or other website designers.

Top Tips for Better Photos

Do you want to create better photos? Sometimes there is not the time or budget to get a photographer to take your photos so here are a few tips to enable you to take better photos yourself. These tips will make a big difference to the quality of your photos and design.

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Karen uses visual art, print & web design with individuals and groups using a collaborative approach. This happens using dialogue, workshops and/or training to facilitate creation through to the final product.

Karen mainly works in Turrbal & Jagera Country (Brisbane).

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