web design Archives - The Jose Vilson

web design

Light Bulb

Light Bulb

I‘m going to pull a Dan Meyer here and quote someone, then tell you to replace every web tech word with an edu-jargon word, then tell you that I’m in concurrence with that statement. Check the brilliance that is Aaron Halford (on 5am unrest and too much caffeine):

….Jose might be kind to you on this front. I won’t be. Web design takes time, skill, and effort just like any other professional, technical level job. Should a skilled worker work for free? Ever? Jose is not opening up photoshop and playing around with joy and glee for 15 minutes to design you a web site.

Web design is HOURS of HARD work, not half an hour of OSX play.

Should I point you at a 500 page CSS manual? Should I point you at all the complexity of WordPress? Should I break out the Jquery, Blueprint, 960gs, Ruby, and PHP notebooks? Do you want a crash course in box model hacks, IE6 shenanigans, or jquery validation?

No, of course not. Web designer’s obviously conjure magical powers that somehow arrange a pixel perfect web page with minimal effort.

(for more, click here)

As a matter of fact, let me do it for you:

….Aaron might be kind to you on this front. I won’t be. Real teaching takes time, skill, and effort just like any other professional, technical level job. Should a skilled worker work for free? Ever? Mr. Vilson is not opening up his classroom and playing around with joy and glee for 15 minutes to get your kids an education.

Teaching is HOURS of HARD work, not half an hour of child’s play.

Should I point you at a 500 page book on pedagogy? Should I point you at all the complexity of differentiation? Should I break out the Marzanno, Delpit, Understanding by Design, math history, and quasi-inspirational notebooks? Do you want a crash course in algebra 1, workshop model shenanigans, or test prep validation?

No, of course not. Teachers obviously conjure magical powers that somehow arrange a low performing student into a great student with minimal effort.

After this week, I have to say I’ve raised my level of teaching to a whole new echelon. Maybe it’s because I have less classes or because I’m exposed to more (and more meticulous) teachers, but I’ve pushed myself harder than ever to walk the talk. I’ve always worked hard, so Aaron’s quote is apropos to my thinking. A lot of web designers get off doing their wack websites settling for second-rate WordArt from Word, or using a template from Microsoft. Those of us who know better get into a website and crank up the visuals just a bit to match a vision, and go back to the tutorials and books to find the best means of achieving our goals. Even when we’re just modifying a template, we take our best shot at looking at every detail of the site, making sure it works to our specifications.

How’s that for an analogy?

Mr. V, who recently got the news that one of his blog postings is being used in a college class wiki. Nice.


Spring Cleaning

by Jose Vilson on April 5, 2009

in Jose

Yesterday was the first day I stayed home pretty much the whole day. It wasn’t the plan, but while I was there, I decided to a little spring cleaning. Those of you looking at the site from a feed reader may want to look at the new website. Or just follow these images:

The Jose Vilson Blog

The Jose Vilson Blog

The Jose Vilson Blog

I had to step it up a bit. I had a TV interview, and apparently, I had a few hits because of the interview. There’s also a most popular posts on the right sidebar for those of you interested.

SASSY Women Online

Sassy Women Online

Sassy Women Online

I didn’t change much since the last time I redid the site, but it’s really an optical illusion. I actually moved the whole website to a new database because a nasty virus was affecting the index. Also, notice that About the Author thing I highlighted at the bottom. For magazine-type blogs, it works best. A quick note: you’re probably going to have to do everything by hand since, frankly, most of the author-bio plugins I tested sucked.

LANSU (Latino Alumni Network of Syracuse University)



If any of you have recieved e-mail from my GMail before, you notice this is the last site I tag in my tagline. The first time I did it, I thought it was (at best) mediocre. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Then I saw this site and caught it immediately: it looked like a 12-year-old did it, and not a 12-year-old prodigy either. It was clean and informative, but I didn’t give it that elbow grease I applied to the previous 2 sites.

About 4-5 hours later, I come up with what you see above. It’s clean, it’s light, but most importantly, it looks better than most comparable SU alumni websites. Not that I’m competitive like that, but …

Here are some specs:

They’re all made under the Thesis 1.4.2 framework, and I got a little help from kristarella, pearsonified, and kingdomgeek (the Thesis trifecta). However, most of the photoshopping and site editing was done by yours truly and all yesterday.

Jose, who can only share but so much about his life …

p.s. – For those of you who didn’t catch my interview, I’ll have more information for you, soon. In the meantime, stay tuned :-)


I Watch The Watchmen

by Jose Vilson on September 10, 2008

in Jose

Carl: yo some of the watchmen themeness going on in your new layout just hit me. i like it even more now
Me: hahaha
Carl: shh, it’s ben a long day lol
Carl: don’t hate
Me: i almost did
Me: haha

My latest site redress had three inspirations: The Watchmen, Salvador Dali, and Andy Park. Let me explain.

The Watchmen

I’ve been reading The Watchmen graphic novel since the trailer came out (yes, I’m a noob), and that book has held my attention like no other (even more than, say, some of the work I had to do for my kids. I caught up eventually). As soon as I hit the Photoshop, I wanted to stick religiously to the layout of the book, blending in the infamous chapter face layout, just changing up some of the elements so I don’t get hit up for copyright infringement or whatever have you. If I remember correctly, the font for the Watchmen’s titles is Tempo Std. (Tw Cent MT Bold is an appropriate substitute, too). I laid out most of the poetry pages in that light, too, using Tw Cent MT throughout, and having that black backdrop against the white text really harkens back to the book. I decided against yellow because, well, I’m not a HUGE fan of yellow all over my stuff, but I liked it enough to use it on page 6. Just a splash is enough.

Salvador Dali

I was really excited to get into making my site, and remodeling everything, when, as I described here, I went to the Salvador Dali exhibit at the MoMA. Frankly, I was embarrassed to call myself an artist of any field, seeing how artists like Monet, Picasso, Cezanne, and him pushed their art forms to new levels. They couldn’t give a crap if people thought it was strange, because they knew they were making something that would arouse emotions out of people, make people ask critical questions about the painting and possibly their own lives, and convey a message about themselves without actually saying it for them. That’s the human component of art.

When I looked back at the site, I realized it just wasn’t inviting enough. I went back and redid the menus, got advice from Jon who I actually met with to do this lovely portrait of me:

And pushed the usability of the site a little further than I might have. I spent practically a fourth of Saturday, and all of my Sunday getting it done, and putting up my best unpublished work in the poetry section, which took a huge amount of time on its own.

Oh, and one more thing I wanted to add: the artists I mentioned did their stuff with no flash, just depth and accessibility. So that was my vow too: no Flash, just accessibility. :-)

Andy Park

Not that the man needs any introduction. He’s done most of the stylish pics you see in anything I do. From the side profile of me looking over the Lincoln Memorial / Washington Monument to the sexy and ever-present toothpick picture people seem to enjoy so much, he’s taken them all. (Special shout-out to Groana, who took the pictures in the classroom, mea culpa for not acknowledging you on the links page). Andy’s eye for drawing out the insightful and personal is keen. Take just a sample from his site and you’ll see an artist at work. And it’s no wonder I re-use his pictures, even if I’ve used them before. The thing about his pictures is: they never get boring. Maybe it’s just me, but his camera doesn’t just magnify the person, but the persona behind them.

I needed a layout that does justice to whatever he puts in his photos. Even his lukewarm efforts (according to him) made it onto the page. Says somethin’ about him.

The Feedback

So the effort is to make the effort look effortless. It’s one of Robert Greene’s Laws of Power, so why not? All of it has been extremely positive. Some people thought I needed to edit a few things here and there, but out of a possible 10, I’d say the feedback was anywhere between an 8 and a 10. People who never knew I wrote now know, and people who knew I wrote still loved browsing through the poetry but also knowing I blog and anything else (who was it that said teachers don’t write poems?). I also took the advice of SEO experts and put in more searchable text into the page.

Now, onto more pressing issues … like a nice cool shower and sleep. Peace, my people, and if you have suggestions for future implementations of the JLV, let a brotha know.

jose, whose been giving tips out for web design all month …