Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Graphic Resources

Graphic Resources

Here are some links for all your graphic/art needs:





(please abide by the usage rules for the images you use)


DESIGNER FORMS (paperwork):


Human-Computer Interface Design

What do these things have in common?

A Computer Mouse

A Touch Screen

A program on your Mac or Windows machine that includes a trashcan, icons of disk drives, and folders
Pull-down menus

Give up? These are all examples of advances in human-computer interface design which were designed to make it easier to accomplish things with a computer. Do you remember the first days of desktop computers? I do. I remember when I had to remember long strings of commands in order to do the simplest things like copy or format a disk or move to a new directory. I don't miss those days! Thank you, human-computer interface designers. (If you want to read about some of the pioneers of human-computer interface design, check out information about Douglas Englebart and Alan Kay.)

Human-Computer Interface Design seeks to discover the most efficient way to design understandable electronic messages [1, 2]. Research in this area is voluminous; a complete branch of computer science is devoted to this topic, with recommendations for the proper design of menus, icons, forms, as well as data display and entry screens. This browser you are using now is a result of interface design - the buttons and menus have been designed to make it easy for you to access the web. Some recommendations from this research are discussed below.

Note: Many of these recommendations concern the design of computer interfaces like Windows or the Mac Finder or how to make programs easier to use. Some of these recommendations are not so relevant to web design. Still, it is an important area of research, and some of the recommendations relate to any kind of communication between user and computer. Wherever possible, I have included examples more directly related to web design.

Shneiderman's Principles of Human-Computer Interface Design:

Recognize Diversity - In order to recognize diversity, you, the designer, must take into account the type of user frequenting your system, ranging from novice user, knowledgeable but intermittent user and expert frequent user. Each type of user expects the screen layout to accommodate their desires, novices needing extensive help, experts wanting to get where they want to go as quickly as possible. Accommodating both styles on the same page can be quite challenging. You can address the differences in users by including both menu or icon choices as well as commands (ie. Command or Control P for Print as well as an icon or menu entry), or providing an option for both full descriptive menus and single letter commands.

You Should Use the Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design:

Strive for consistency

consistent sequences of actions should be required in similar situations

identical terminology should be used in prompts, menus, and help screens

consistent color, layout, capitalization, fonts, and so on should be employed throughout.

Enable frequent users to use shortcuts

to increase the pace of interaction use abbreviations, special keys, hidden commands, and macros

Offer informative feedback

for every user action, the system should respond in some way (in web design, this can be accomplished by DHTML - for example, a button will make a clicking sound or change color when clicked to show the user something has happened)
Design dialogs to yield closure

Sequences of actions should be organized into groups with a beginning, middle, and end. The informative feedback at the completion of a group of actions shows the user their activity has completed successfully

Offer error prevention and simple error handling

design the form so that users cannot make a serious error; for example, prefer menu selection to form fill-in and do not allow alphabetic characters in numeric entry fields

if users make an error, instructions should be written to detect the error and offer simple, constructive, and specific instructions for recovery

segment long forms and send sections separately so that the user is not penalized by having to fill the form in again - but make sure you inform the user that multiple sections are coming up
Permit easy reversal of actions

Support internal locus of control

Experienced users want to be in charge. Surprising system actions, tedious sequences of data entries, inability or difficulty in obtaining necessary information, and inability to produce the action desired all build anxiety and dissatisfaction

Reduce short-term memory load

A famous study suggests that humans can store only 7 (plus or minus 2) pieces of information in their short term memory. You can reduce short term memory load by designing screens where options are clearly visible, or using pull-down menus and icons

Prevent Errors - The third principle is to prevent errors whenever possible. Steps can be taken to design so that errors are less likely to occur, using methods such as organizing screens and menus functionally, designing screens to be distinctive and making it difficult for users to commit irreversible actions. Expect users to make errors, try to anticipate where they will go wrong and design with those actions in mind.

Norman's Research

One researcher who has contributed extensively to the field of human-computer interface design is Donald Norman. This psychologist has taken insights from the field of industrial product design and applied them to the design of user interfaces. According to Norman, design should:

use both knowledge in the world and knowledge in the head. Knowledge in the world is overt - we don't have to overload our short term memory by having to remember too many things (icons, buttons and menus provide us with knowledge in the world - we don't have to remember the command for printing, it's there in front of us). On the other hand, while knowledge in the head may be harder to retrieve and involves learning, it is more efficient for tasks which are used over and over again (providing a command key sequence like Control P for Print is an example of this).

"make it easy to determine what actions are possible at any moment (make use of constraints)" ([1] p. 188). For example:

well-designed things can only be put together certain ways (the trapezoidal SCSI cable is an example of good design - I can only plug it in one way)

menus only display the actions which can be carried out at that time (other options are dimmed).

"Make things visible, including the conceptual model of the system, the alternative actions and the results of actions" ([1] p. 188). You can provide an overview map of your site so that your user can design their own mental map of how things work.

"Make it easy to evaluate the current state of the system" ([1] p. 188). You can do that by providing feedback in the form of messages or flashing buttons.

"Follow natural mappings between intentions and the required actions, between actions and the resulting effect; and between the information that is visible and the interpretation of the system state" ([1] p. 188). For example:

It should be obvious what the function of a button or menu is - use conventions already established for the web, don't try to design something which changes what people are familiar with.

The underlined phrase on a web page is a well-known clue that a link is present. From past experience, users understand that clicking on an underlined phrase should take them somewhere else.

"In other words, make sure that (1) the user can figure out what to do, and (2) the user can tell what is going on." ([1] p. 188)

Norman's information comes from a book called "The Design of Everyday Things." There is a particularly interesting section on designing telephones which is almost hilarious. He has written a new book called "The Invisible Computer". If you want to read excerpts from this new book, go to:


How can we relate the recommendations from human-computer interface design research directly to web design?

Recognize Diversity

make your main navigation area fast loading for repeat users

provide a detailed explanation of your topics, symbols, and navigation options for new users

provide a text index for quick access to all pages of the site

ensure your pages are readable in many formats, to accommodate users who are blind or deaf, users with old versions of browsers, lynx users, users on slow modems or those with graphics turned off

Strive for consistency in:


help screens





sequences of actions

Offer informative feedback - rollover buttons, sounds when clicked

Build in error prevention in online forms

Give users control as much as possible

Reduce short term memory load by providing menus, buttons or icons. If you use icons, make sure you have a section which explains what they mean. Make things obvious by using constraints - grayed out items in menus for options not available in that page

Make use of web conventions such as underlined links, color change in links for visited pages, common terminology
Provide a conceptual model of your site using a site map or an index


[1] Norman, D. (1988) The design of everyday things. New York, NY: Doubleday.

[2] Shneiderman, B. (1998). Designing the user interface: Strategies for effective human-computer interaction (3rd ed.) . Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Screen Capture in Counter Strike

It is a exciting experience When we are playing the game Counter Strike. We always want to capture the screen of some exciting scene. But except for some professional screen capture software such as Hyper snap, ACA Capture Pro, Snag IT,there was still methods for it .

1*you still can press “F5”, it is the Counter Strike game defined capture screen key. The screenshots are put in your "cstrike" folder as a ".bmp" file, such as "de_dust0000.bmp". Your cstrike folder should be located somewhere similar to C:\Program files\counter-strike\cstrike.

NOTE: The actual file path will depend on where you have installed Steam, the example is just for reference.

2* You can take screenshots one at a time using the "PrintScrn" button, but if you use this you need to exit CS and paste the screenshot into a program such as "Paint" and then save the screenshot manually.

I'd strongly recommend the F5 way!

Sending captured Images into MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint

It is very useful if you can paste the image you captured directly to MS Office programmer. With ACA Capture Pro it is a easy task.

If you select the function of “Send to Microsoft Word Document or Excel, PowerPoint”, the image you captured will automatically pasted to the active document.

MS Word Notes:

* If MS Word is currently running and a document is open, then the image will be pasted at the position of the text cursor.

* If MS Word is currently running but no document is open, then the image will be pasted in a new, blank document.

* If MS Word is not currently running, then you must start MS Word before using the MS Paste function.. MS PowerPoint Notes:

* If PowerPoint is currently running and a slide is open, then the image will be pasted into the slide.

* If PowerPoint is currently running and a slide is not open, then the MS Paste function will not work.

* If PowerPoint is not currently running, then you will be given the option of automatically starting a new session of PowerPoint and pasting the image into the first slide of a new, untitled presentation.

* MS Paste will only paste into the first slide while you are in the Slide Sorter view.

Note: Each image you print and/or capture is automatically copied to the Windows Clipboard, regardless of your selection in the Output Box. Therefore, you can print and/or capture an image and paste it into an application from the Windows Clipboard without returning to ACAPro. Press the Ctrl-v keys or click Edit > Paste on the application's menu bar to paste the image.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

DOS Screen Capture

Note: It is not possible to capture graphics from full DOS screens under Windows XP. Since this is a limitation of the operating system itself, no screen capture software can get around it.
There are two types of DOS screens: DOS Windows and Full DOS Screens:
* A DOS Window is like any other window except that a DOS application is displayed in it. It contains a title bar and may or may not contain frame borders or scroll bars. Images in DOS windows are captured and/or printed with the standard Windows capture methods,
* A Full DOS Screen has neither a title bar nor frame borders or scroll bars and covers the entire display, including the Windows Taskbar. This is not a window (it cannot be moved, resized, minimized, etc.). so, no screen capture software can get around it.

Automatic Screen Capture

Some applications (especially games) take control of the keyboard and might make it impossible to press a key in order to capture the screen. Furthermore, you might want to automatically capture screen images without pressing a key. You can install some professional screen capture software such as Hyper snap, ACA Capture Pro, Snag IT. Take ACA for example, the Auto Timer Capture function allows you to automatically capture screen images without pressing a key.
To activate the Auto Timer Capture, click Capture-> Start Auto-timer on the menu bar or press short key “ctrl+f9” to open the Auto Capture dialog.
1. Enter the number of seconds to specify the number of seconds between each capture.
2. Click OK to activate auto-capturing.
3. To turn the Auto-timer off, click Capture-> Stop Auto-timer on the menu bar or press short key “ctrl+f9”.

Screen Capture for Education

      Combining engaging illustrations with text can significantly increase student understanding and retention of the material being presented. That’s why educators worldwide are using captured images and graphics to enhance handouts, newsletters, tutorials, and PowerPoint presentations. Professional screen capture software such as Hyper snap, ACA Capture Pro, Snag IT etc are all powerful tool for your work.

  • Creating Technical Training for Students and ColleaguesEducators can use screenshots to illustrate tutorials on technology-related topics – such as how to use e-mail or virtual chat, how to post discussions on Blackboard, or how to use a gradebook program – for their students and colleagues.

  • Illustrating PowerPoint Presentations Educators can capture images, menus and other parts of applications, Web pages, articles, and graphs from Excel or PDF, to illustrate concepts in their presentations.

  • Move your cursor over the flash cards for answers. Educators can create more interesting and engaging presentations by including clickable links or pop-up text in their slide graphics. Hover over complex diagrams to reveal pop-ups with more detail. Hover over charts to show explanatory text. Or, click on a link to open a Web page. Best of all, the interactivity isn't lost when the capture is pasted into a PowerPoint slide.

Resize Screen captures in Page Layout Software

The rules are different for screen shots.

We have talked about avoiding compression when printing screen shots. There is still something we should pay attention to. Don’t resize your screen captures in your image editing software. This goes against everything you've probably ever heard about image editing. In most cases it is best to get your image to the correct dimensions from the screen capture software before placing it in a page layout program. Here's the exception to the rule. With screen shots you can often get better results if you resize it (smaller!) directly in your page layout program.

But don't rely on what you see on your screen. The one that looks best on the monitor may not be the one that prints best. Make a copy of your screen capture and print a version resized in your image editing software and a version resized in your page layout program to find what works best for you. This can change depending on the amount of resizing.

Capture the screen with mouse pointer

Capture the screen with mouse pointer

   In addition to color and fonts, improve the appearance of screen captures ;by controlling what is in the shot. If capturing the mouse pointer is important, consider using a larger than normal pointer size. Make sure its placement on the screen doesn't obscure important information. As for this situation, capture the screen with mouse pointer is necessary. Unfortunately, the Windows doesn’t capture the mouse pointer, so we have to install some professional screen capture software such as Hyper snap, ACA Capture Pro, Snag IT. Take ACA for example, entered the “option” dialog or press “ctrl+t”, select the “Include cursor image” in the capture label. Then you can capture screen with the mouse pointer.

Avoid Compression When Printing Screen Shots

Avoid Compression When Printing Screen Shots

For screen display you want low resolution and small file sizes for faster downloads. For print you'll want to keep all the resolution and pixels you can get.

  • Avoid "lossy" compression formats such as JPG for your screen captures. For example, when you want to capture a image with the ACA Capture Pro, do remember to set “save as” option to BMP, PNG not JPG and GIF in the “save” label.
  • If exporting a file containing screen captures to PDF turn off the automatic graphics compression in your Distiller options.
  • Don't let your software change the resolution of your images (turn off any such options) before sending your document to the printer.

Screen Capture in RealOne Player

Screen Capture in RealOne Player

In RealOne Player , if you press the "Print Screen" key to capture the screen of the current playing video, it always comes to a failure and you get nothing except a black picture. Sometimes installing a professional screen capture software such as HYPER snap,ACA Capture Pro, Snag IT is a good idea. But besides this method, you can just modify the setting of the RealOne Playerand easily get a satisfied image. Here are the steps:
1.Press the "Tools-->Preferences"in the menu of RealOne Player, and select "Hardware" option.
2.Modify the "Video Card Compatibility" column; switch the slide bar from the "Best performance" to "Most reliable". Then press "ok".
3.Press the Print Screen key on your keyboard and save the image.

Screen capture software

Screen capture software

Screen capturing software for Windows

  • SnagIt (Shareware - $39.95/Windows) - the leader in screen capture, offers users over 40 ways to capture content from your Windows screen, such as video, images, text, and more. As for video SnagIt can capture the full screen, a window, a rectangular region. Cursor image can be included. You can even record audio. Upgrades are free. Awarded Best of the Year 2003 by PC Magazine. Free trial for 30 days.
    Download SnagIt
    Buy SnagIt at RegNow.  
  • ACA CAPTURE PRO($39.95/Windows) - Capture screen images, web pages, Flash, icon, menu from your Windows PC even those hard-to-grab DirectX, Direct3D games or video player, create videos of your computer screen(screen recorder/screencam). With ACA Capture Pro's many features, you can supercharge your Print Screen key and save time and enhance your screen shots.
    Download ACA CAPTURE PRO
    Buy ACA CAPTURE PRO at RegNow.
  • FrontCam(Shareware/Windows) - is a screen camcorder tool. It can capture the action from your screen into standard AVI movie files. Sound from your system microphone is also recorded. You can use it to capture screen into static pictures too.
    Buy FrontCam at RegNow
Screen capturing software for Linux

Screen capturing software for Macintosh

  • BTV and BTV Pro (Mac OS) - allows you to view video from any video input source, either in a window or full screen on an entire monitor. Video can be captured to disk as a standard QuickTime movie file and single frames can be saved as image files.
  • Snapz Pro (Shareware - $69/Mac OS X) is a quantum leap in video capture technology, adroitly capturing full motion video of anything on your screen at a blistering pace, complete with digital audio, and an optional microphone voiceover. It allows you to effortlessly record anything on your screen, saving it as a QuickTime? movie or screenshot

Screen Capture in Windows Media Player

Screen Capture in Windows Media Player

In Windows Media Player 10,there is a hidden hot key for screen save. When you are playing some video, you can press “Ctrl +I” to capture the screen shot that you are interested in. But if the video format of the movie is ASF or WMV, it doesn’t works.  In this case, you need to install some professional screen capture software such as Hyper snap,ACA Capture Pro, Snag IT. This software support DirectX capture which is widely used in video playing. The Overlay technology of DirectX makes the data of the video frequency directly displayed in the screen ,so you can’t use regular method to capture it .

How To Capture a Screen Shot of your Desktop or the Active Window in Windows

Except for some professional screen capture software such as Hyper snap, ACA Capture Pro, SnagIT, we can still using the Windows defined function to capture the screen of your desktop or the active window. Have you ever pressed the print screen key on your Windows keyboard and wondered why it was there since it never seemed to do anything? Well, it does do something! It places an image of your screen on the "clipboard," ready to paste into any graphics program. These steps show you how to use it along with Windows' standard image editor, Microsoft Paint, to save an image of your screen.
1. Press the Print Screen key on your keyboard.
2. Open an image editing program, such as Microsoft Paint.
3. Go to the Edit menu and choose Paste.
4. If prompted to enlarge the image, choose Yes.
5. Optional: Use your image editor's crop tool to crop out unnecessary portions of the screen shot.
6. Go to the File Menu and choose Save As.
7. Navigate to the folder where you want to save the image.
8. Type a file name for the image.
9. Select a file type.
10. Click the Save button.Tips:Hold the Alt key down while pressing Print Screen to capture only the active window.

Making video courseware with screen capture software

Making video courseware with screen capture software

At present, courseware is widely used in demonstration and teaching. Generally we use Microsoft PowerPoint and Macromedia Authorware to make coursewares. The former one is easy to use, and as Microsoft constantly enhanced its function,it is more powerful now. The second one is not that easy to use, but it has a lot of defined-functions and you can use these functions to realize some complicated and splendid effects.

Generally speaking, these softwares can meet our demands. But in some cases, we need to make video courseware for widely use. For example, when introducing the usage of a software, we need to record those complicated steps and transfer it to video format for widely spreading. At this time we need some professional software to realize it such as Screen Video Recorder and ACA Capture Pro, those software can record your every step to specified video format like AVI, ASF and so on. Take ACA Capture Pro for example, running the software first, then entering the video capture (screen recording)> interface.

You can set the coordinates to confirm the area you want to record and the video format here. Audio recording is supported too. The last step is closing the window and using the hotkey "Ctrl+F8"(default) to start and stop video capture.

How to save your webpage?

How to save your webpage?

When we are surfing the internet, we always need to collect something we are interested in, there are some methods to do it:
  • First, we can use “save as” in IE and other web browser to download a webpage with files, such as html, flash and image. Sometimes it is a good idea that you can modify the page and make use of these files, but it also make your files in disorder.At the same time some website use some script language to restrict you use right key of the mouse or forbidden the utility of “save as".
  • Second ,some screen capture software is another easy way to save you webpage such as Hyper snap ,ACA Capture Pro and so on.The usage of these software is easy too. you can use its short key to save the entire webpage to image with specified format.The advantage of it is easy to save and manage your files, but on the contrary you can’t split other files such as image,text and flash from it .