Top ten things you like/hate about pep - Kudos or brickbats?

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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:42 am

Stretto wrote:As far as a new look, rather than changing all of PEP's pages - perhaps just a new look for the home page would suffice as in change in coloring of the backround, for example, something different rather than the blue "scratchy" stuff and a new design for the square or symbol for the "Piano Education Page".

I'm so appreciative of all the comments about the design of PEP, Opus 9. Since you and Becibu have helped out by your valuable comments, let me tell you where I'm going with the re-design in terms of functionality:

1. Simplification of the PEP Program (jump menu at upper left hand corner of the pages). I will move some of the items off that menu and onto a Presto-menu like structure at the bottom of the pages. The moved items will be important things that are not directly used for site navigation (Reprinting, Site Policies, About, etc.), so that the Program will be strictly a site navigation tool.

2. Simplification of the home page. I would like to have the home page contain less information and more links to Help and other documents. The instructions for navigating the site will be simplified or moved to other page(s), since most people now know how to navigate web sites, unlike the case twelve years ago when I first wrote PEP.

3. Improved readability. Although I happen to like background graphics, since I think they give the site a more "3-D" look, I do think it's time to change (or remove) the current one. I have some ideas for the new one, but am open to suggestions.

I'm a little reluctant to change the opening graphic, since such a change would necessitate a change in all the other animated graphics I've done over the years - a huge undertaking - but I'm willing to consider it. Let me think about this some more. It's possible that I can update the opening graphic in such a way that it wouldn't be inconsistent with the other animated graphics which use the basic design.

4. Updating/rewriting of existing pages. I update PEP's pages on a continuing basis, but a rewrite is a good time to examine all existing content. I always edit pages as I rewrite the look of the site.

5. Incorporation of visitor suggestions. I have done this continuously over the years and will do so in the next rewrite. To the extent that I get feedback on PEP's structure and look, it's almost invariably positive, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be improved. Let me know what you want. Keep those cards and letters coming! :D
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Postby Tranquillo » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:19 pm

1. Simplification of the PEP Program (jump menu at upper left hand corner of the pages). I will move some of the items off that menu and onto a Presto-menu like structure at the bottom of the pages. The moved items will be important things that are not directly used for site navigation (Reprinting, Site Policies, About, etc.), so that the Program will be strictly a site navigation tool


Thats a nice idea... I thought because the menu is in a sort of 'table' stucture ... maybe you can make it as you said on the left hand corner ... but instead of having he table ... just have the menu and when the mouse 'hovers' on the button it has the explanation ... Am I making sense?

The Presto at the bottom of the pages is a nice idea ...

As for the '3D' look maybe have images and the buttons with shading so it looks like it 'stands out'?
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:27 am

Becibu wrote:Thats a nice idea... I thought because the menu is in a sort of 'table' stucture ... maybe you can make it as you said on the left hand corner ... but instead of having he table ... just have the menu and when the mouse 'hovers' on the button it has the explanation ... Am I making sense?

The Presto at the bottom of the pages is a nice idea ...

As for the '3D' look maybe have images and the buttons with shading so it looks like it 'stands out'?

What you're talking about regarding an "explanation" is called a "Tool Tip" in Microsoft parlance. I actually have a version of the PEP Program, not published to the site, that has linked Tool Tips on the Program. I haven't used it on the site because it conflicts with another feature of the site, the use of include files, which make it easier for me to upgrade all the pages at once, instead of having to go through 350 documents one-by-one. I've been meaning to solve this issue, but haven't had the time.

The use of shading is also a good idea. The only problem is how to do it without having to rewrite that aspect of the site on every page individually. That, by itself, would take a couple weeks. Large commercial sites with multiple webmasters have lots of paid manpower to do things like this, but I have to do everything as far as formatting PEP (and much of the writing), unpaid, in whatever time I can fit in amongst my other commitments. This is the reason I try to do things that can be implemented through the style sheets (like the "piano key" effect on PEP's links) or include pages (PEP Program and copyright notice).
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Postby Stretto » Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:18 pm

I have a philosophy in whatever is most effective coupled with whatever is the least amount of work. I'm all for the less work the better. I find it useful, Dr. Zeigler, that you have explained some of what's involved in "the behind the scenes" of PEP'S website as far as updates, etc. as although we might have a lot of really great ideas on improvements as with any idea, there has to be a balance of what is realistic. I tend to be an "idea" person - let someone else figure out how to actually implement it!

Another philosophy I've been adapting myself much more than I used to is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The site is great with or without any changes. If it were me making changes to the site, I'd be a little reluctant because as soon as I went to "improve" one thing, I'd end up creating several other messes to fix in the process - that's how it seems to be for me at least when it comes to computers :O .




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Postby Tranquillo » Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:34 pm

Dr. John Ziegler what is it that you are using ... you mention CSS ... are you using anything else?
To make the graphics I thought you used photoshop ... ?




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Postby M&m » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:22 pm

I was wondering if you could add a "Parent to Educator" page on the message board? You have Parent to Parent currently.

As a parent I think this whole site is invaluable with the many questions I have and how to act as a parent.
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Postby Tranquillo » Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:50 pm

As a parent I think this whole site is invaluable with the many questions I have and how to act as a parent.


I know there are a few article(s) on PEP that adress the parent issue.
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Postby 112-1182392787 » Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:55 am

The idea of a specific forum addressing "parents and teachers" does seem like a good one, even if a few articles with that theme are currently scattered about. Parents and teachers each play a role, and what one does can affect what the other can achieve, and of course both affect the child's progress. Teachers wish parents would (would not) do certain things, parents are mystified or concerned about other things. How much does this topic come up - i.e. does it warrant a separate forum?
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Postby Tranquillo » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:12 am

The idea of a specific forum addressing "parents and teachers" does seem like a good one, even if a few articles with that theme are currently scattered about. Parents and teachers each play a role, and what one does can affect what the other can achieve, and of course both affect the child's progress.


You have a point there... I didnt think of it that way ... I can relate to the past were my parents did go wrong with piano lessons and my current teacher telling me of experience of such parents ... so having a topic sounds great!

I third it a new topic on parent to teacher!
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:15 am

pianissimo wrote:The idea of a specific forum addressing "parents and teachers" does seem like a good one, even if a few articles with that theme are currently scattered about. Parents and teachers each play a role, and what one does can affect what the other can achieve, and of course both affect the child's progress. Teachers wish parents would (would not) do certain things, parents are mystified or concerned about other things. How much does this topic come up - i.e. does it warrant a separate forum?

You're right that there are a number of articles on the main part of PEP about the parent/teacher interaction; most of these can be gotten to fairly readily from our Learning to Play page and links thereon. Others can be easily found using the PEP's various search pages.

I don't know if this would warrant a separate forum right now, given how little the Parent-to-Parent forum is used. I think the conversation might be pretty one-sided. That said, there is nothing that prevents anybody from starting threads about parent/teacher issues in the most appropriate existing fora. If there are enough of them and enough interest shown, I can create a forum later and move those topics to it. Such a forum would just about require a moderator at some point to keep it on topic, if it were created at some point in the future.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:27 am

Becibu wrote:Dr. John Ziegler what is it that you are using ... you mention CSS ... are you using anything else?
To make the graphics I thought you used photoshop ... ?

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a method by which one can enforce a consistent look and interface on a site. To make changes in the appearance of any class of item (body text, tables, highlighting, fonts, links, etc.) covered in the style sheet, you just modify the style sheet and the changes ripple automatically through the entire site, since the style sheet is loaded with every page. CSS is so valuable that I adopted it shortly after the specification was built into browsers.

Include pages are pages with separate content that are automatically included when a page is saved. They work differently than CSS and have different uses. I use them all over PEP, as well, since changes made to include pages are automatically reflected in every page using them.

As I mentioned earlier, I don't have a copy of Photoshop (though I wish I did!). I use several other programs to create PEP's graphics. I rarely use photos on the site, since they are slow to download and can have licensing issues if not of my own creation.
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Postby 112-1182392787 » Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:33 am

I don't know if this would warrant a separate forum right now, given how little the Parent-to-Parent forum is used. I think the conversation might be pretty one-sided.

I was looking at this because of M&M's comment, who I surmise is a parent, and also indicated having a lot of questions.

However, I just looked at Parent-to-Parent, archive to present, and I think you have Parent-to-Teacher right there! Look at how many articles deal with parent-teacher-student interaction. In fact, what about calling it that: Parent-Teacher-Student. The latter comes to mind because a student, Becibu, has also shown interest but from a student's angle.

The interaction between all three is important and affects the success of a student as well as the effectiveness of the teacher.

It's just an idea.




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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:36 am

Stretto wrote:I find it useful, Dr. Zeigler, that you have explained some of what's involved in "the behind the scenes" of PEP'S website as far as updates, etc. as although we might have a lot of really great ideas on improvements as with any idea, there has to be a balance of what is realistic.

I know, Stretto, that you're aware of my article, The Piano Education Page - Ten Years On, written for the tenth anniversary of the site a couple years ago. For the benefit of those who may not know about it, it gives lots of background about the site: how it originated, how it grew to the over 1000 pages of information on it now, who contributes to it and what it takes for me to run it, among other topics. It's still accurate, though running the site has become more involved than indicated in that article, due to growth and extraneous distractions like spammers.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby 112-1182392787 » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:25 pm

Here is something I found, unless there is an option I have missed. Supposing that three people post in one of the sections on the same day. I see the last of three posts because it's featured, but the others are not, unless I open the thread. I was missing other people's posts for a while until I realized this. Most boards seem to let you see everything new that has been posted. Could it be something that I'm doing wrong? Or is there a feature that could be added?
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:18 pm

pianissimo wrote:I was missing other people's posts for a while until I realized this. Most boards seem to let you see everything new that has been posted. Could it be something that I'm doing wrong? Or is there a feature that could be added?

Click on the "New Posts" link to see all the posts that are new since you last visited. The link is in the link bar just below the Welcome Message and your User Name, near the top of the screen.
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