Thursday, 25 April 2013

Web Publishing - Week 11

This shall be the final Web Publishing blog post. I'll use this last post to have a look at some statistics based on my blog. This information will be taken from the Stats page on Blogger and from Google Analytics.

Some general information from Blogger:

  • Total page views as of writing this post: 965.
  • Most popular post: Adenowl Hynkel.
  • The majority of views came from the United States.
  • Firefox was the most popular browser.
  • Windows was the most popular operating system.

Some general information from Google Analytics:

  • Average visit duration: 00:03:47.
  • Bounce rate: 73.33%.
  • New visitors: 60%
  • Returning visitors: 40%
  • Most popular language: en-us.

I find it interesting that the majority of views came from the United States. Although I did provide a link to the post Adenowl Hynkel on Reddit, whose demographic is mainly from the U.S. It seems that this post got more views than the rest combined.

I was always under the impression that Chrome was a more popular browser than Firefox these days but the stats say otherwise. Although I do know that certain labs in CIT only have Firefox installed so maybe that could be the reason.

Anyway, that's it. This has been enjoyable.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Web Publishing - Assignment 2

The purpose of this assignment is to experiment with the JPEG quality setting and the GIF 'no. of colours' setting in Photoshop. We are to explore the relationship between quality and file size and number of colours and file size using different images. The version of Photoshop that I'm using for this assignment is CS6.

These are the images that I'll be experimenting with:

The original images are in PNG format. Photoshop gives you a variety of settings when you go to save an image as a different format.

To explore the relationship between quality and file size for JPEG I set the images at quality levels 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12. I then took note of the corresponding file size for each of these settings. The bar chart representing this data is below.

Bar chart showing the relationship between quality and file size
I find that the best value quality setting is 8 as it is difficult to see a difference between an image of this quality and an image of quality 12, yet as you can see in the bar chart it's approximately a third of the file size across all images. JPEG images are mainly used for digital cameras and web displays and the majority of people wouldn't see a difference between an 8 and a 12 in these instances.

Quality: 8

Quality: 12
I find that a quality setting of 2 is when the image becomes unacceptable which I find surprising as the differences from an 8 to a 6 to a 4 are only slight but going from a 4 to a 2 is quite jarring. The difference in quality is very noticeable and details in the image start to become hard to identify.

Quality: 2

To explore the relationship between the number of colours and file size for GIF I set the number of colours to 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 and 256. I then took note of the corresponding file size for each of these settings. I did this twice, once with dithering on (pattern) and once with dithering off. The line charts representing the data are below.

You can see the gradual increase in file size as the number of colours increases. You can also see that having dithering means a larger file size. Is dithering worth the larger file size? Let's compare two of the same images, one with dithering and one without.

With dithering
Without dithering
The two images above use 64 colours. You can see the difference with the dithering on but whether or not it's worth the extra file size, I believe, is personal opinion. I find dithering in this case to be more of a different quality rather than a better quality and I personally prefer the image without dithering.

With dithering, I find that 128 colours provides the best value as it's hard to see a difference between 256 colours and 128. When you drop down to 64 the image starts to become noticeably grainy and isn't really acceptable, unless maybe for an 'image preview' function or something of that nature.

256 colours would be the best value as there isn't too much of a difference in file size between that and 128 colours yet it's quality is noticeably better. In my opinion, 64 colours is the lowest acceptable number of colours as once you go down to 32 colours the image becomes really grainy and blotchy and the slightly lower file size isn't worth it.

After experimenting with the images and observing the data it's easy to see the direct correlation between image quality and file size and 'no. of colours' and file size. There are some really obvious differences, especially between the lowest quality and highest quality. The higher the quality and number of colours get, the harder it is to see a difference and most people probably won't perceive the differences at the higher end of the spectrum.

Web Publishing - Week 10

There was only one lecture this week and in that lecture we looked at Google Analytics. Google Analytics is an easier and free way to get statistics about your website.

In the labs I finished work on Assignment 2 which is due this Friday.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Web Publishing - Week 09

In this week's lectures we looked at video compression and podcasting. For the lab we continued work on the Google Online Marketing Challenge.

Video compression turned out to be quite complex yet easy enough to understand. I actually found that the hardest thing to understand was how someone could come up with the MPEG style of video compression. It's quite ingenious.

I found the lecture on Podcasting to be enjoyable as I myself am a fan of podcasts. I find them great to listen to when going to sleep. We looked at how they came to be and how they were somewhat of a rebirth of the radio.

In the lab on Thursday we worked on refining our currently active Google Adwords campaign. It's going quite well so far.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Web Publishing - Week 08

This week was quite similar to last in terms of Web Publishing. In the lectures we looked at GIF, JPEG and PNG image formats and how they are stored. Things were quite easy to understand at first but started to get more complex as we moved onto JPEG and PNG. The general gist of how they're stored is easy enough to get to grips with but all the maths and stuff that goes on in the background is somewhat mind-boggling.

In the labs we continued work on the Google Online Marketing Challenge. We focused on getting the pre-campaign report finished. I find it to be quite a tricky piece to write as the business jargon can sometimes be overwhelming. I feel that business students would have a far better shot at this challenge.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Web Publishing - Week 07

The first lecture this week focused on how images are stored, bits and black and white images. The second lecture was on pixel depth reduction, colour look-up tables and dithering. These lectures were quite important as we needed this information in order to fully understand our second assignment. I found the storing of black and white images quite easy to understand, a lot easier then I thought it would be. The storing of colour images seemed more complex but was still quite easy to grasp.

The lab was spent making further progress on the pre-campaign report for Assignment 3.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Web Publishing - Week 06

This week was quite varied in terms of Web Publishing. We were introduced to assignment 2, we were introduced to Search Engine Optimisation and we also got started on a Google Adwords campaign as part of the Google Online Marketing Challenge.

For assignment 2 we are to research the trade-off between size and quality in images and report about it on our blog. We have been assigned three images and we are to use Photoshop to alter them.

The lecture on Search Engine Optimisation focused on how one can best optimise their web pages, in terms of keywords, to make it easier for Google to find them and to increase their ranking. It really is interesting how clever Google's web crawler programs are when finding the most suitable pages and indentifying spam.

We met with our client at Auto-Spa to ask him questions about his company and website. We are to write up a pre-campaign report based on the information we gathered. We also set up a Google Adwords account which will be the foundation of the campaign.