My Design Process

There are many, many fantastic aspects to Squarespace that have made my use of it streamlined and effective. My only real complaints relate to the lack of freedom in terms of adjusting font and image choices; but other than that, the platform is an excellent way for users to manage a website. It’s strengths lay in its availability of automation. 

My favorite automation thus far has been the newsletter function that is made possible through MailChimp. As users register for my newsletter, their information automatically syncs with a google excel spreadsheet, and also syncs to a MailChimp spreadsheet. This gives me immediate contact information that is neatly organized, and it also automates all of my posts from then on. Newsletters are automatically designed by MailChimp by compiling all of my posts each week and then emailed to my registered users every Sunday. In this way, my families do not need to constantly check my website, because my website automatically comes to them.

In terms of safety, I maintain the policy to post information that is only accessible to the general public so that my website can be accessible to everyone and will not require a password to enter. I also instituted a contact feature that allows users to contact me through the website or call me; but in order to contact me, they again have to input their contact information (which is required), which auto-populates into a separate contact log that I’ve also made accessible to the CMC that timestamps the information and records their message. I can then follow-up with them once I’ve confirmed their identity against a contact list generated by the command.

So far, the immediate feedback that I have received on the website has all been positive; and has been encouraging. Many families have said that the website makes them feel more involved and connected to the command and the ombudsman and that they’ve felt less alone throughout the process. Going forward, I hope to use my website as a prototype that can be expanded into the curricula of other ombudsman. Our positions are multifaceted, and by automating some of the most basic portions of our position allows us to be more available for the more serious components of our jobs.

Challenging Part of Squarespace

So far, I have enjoyed Squarespace but something that I’ve found incredibly frustrating has been the way in which hyperlinks appear on my page. Up until recently, hyperlinks on my blog have appeared as gray against a stark white background when published; but when I edit each submission, the hyperlinks show up as one would expect: bright blue. At first, I have accepted this as a minor frustration; but as I continued to user-test my website, this was quickly becoming more of a problem as I considered my audience, which consists of older-than-me adults who are most likely less prone to troubleshooting an internet page or, worse, those who simply miss the hyperlinked text all-together. In order to combat this, I took to the interwebs (YouTube as well as several forums) and to my surprise, found that the solution could be easily and readily addressed. By delving into the “depths” of the more dry (to me) settings of the web servicer, I was introduced to a new world that let me edit every minutia of detail throughout my website, however, I still have not found a way (yet) to edit the available font choices (of which there are only three).

Promotional Blurb

Currently, the Blacklions are using a less-than state-of-the-art method of organization and disbursement of their promotional materials to disseminate available resources and to communicate with families. This project will set out to bring the current system of communication and outreach into the 21st century by way of a website made through Squarespace. The creation of a website will allow families to have constant, accurate, and up-to-date information to inform them about the goings-on in the command as well as frequent up-dates and must-know materials about the upcoming deployment without threatening operational security.

The Pros and Cons of a Final Project

I’m not sure if I will be able to offer any new insights on this debate, however, I can briefly outline the pros and cons of the argument. While a final project might be advantageous to allow students to show what they have learned throughout the semester, it is often the case than many professors have this same frame of thought. Especially given that this is a humanities course and most of the students in Digital Writing are humanities majors, it is highly likely that the students in this course will have a final project in most, if not all, of their classes. One more final project to add to the heap at the end of the semester might not be the best way to prove literacy in the subject matter.

As an alternative, however, a final project could be started towards the middle of the semester that we work on throughout the rest of the semester to submit at the end. Another option instead of a final project could be to simply revise and rework the projects that we’ve already completed throughout the semester.

While final projects serve as one way to prove literacy, and do better at showing application of material in comparison to a testing scenario, it is important to consider how and when the project is implemented; and to be mindful of the type and amount of projects other students may have assigned. If a final project is to be assigned, it might behoove the class and the professor to start the project earlier in the semester (to be submitted at the end) rather than later.

Introductions

Hello! My name is Adam Reilly and I am a current student at Old Dominion University. I am a super, super senior majoring in Professional and Technical Writing while also completing the pre-med and honors programs. I am scheduled to graduate this May (finally) and I am in the process of preparing my initial applications for medical school for the class of 2022. I have started this blog to document my progress through my Digital Writing Course at ODU (as a requirement for the course). My goals for this course is to become more acquainted with digital coding as well as become more proficient with digital editing and writing software. My current software of choice that I am attempting to learn is Squarespace. My site can be found here and I will be updating it  as well as this site throughout the course.