When creating my blog, I first thought of how it appeals to the self. In comparison to other blogs and creating my own, I thought of my own preferences and asked myself, “would I really like this if I saw it on another blog?” or “would I really be interested in reading this kind of content?”. Having said that, the audience that I have been imagining for my blog is readers who are close to my age and of course, those who are interested in traveling. With this type of audience in mind, I’ve tried my best to make my blog relatable and relevant. For my first official travel blog post, I added a meme to the post which I believe, enhanced my story. And to be honest, it was the meme that prompted me into writing the blog post in the first place. If you haven’t noticed already, my blog is pretty pink. I feel like this theme is very particular and people will either love or hate it. As much as I want to cater to everyone’s interest, I still want to maintain what I love and have a piece of my identity into the theme. This week, I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from looking at my classmate’s websites. At the same time, I was curious about what kind of audience they have in mind for their blogs as well. I think by doing this, I get to imagine myself in their positions and this gives a wider perspective on how the web can be so diverse.
When I was a young child, I was gifted a workbook that prompted me to draw what I wanted to be when I grew up. To this day, I still clearly remember the colourful butterfly I drew on that page.
Remembering the blissful days of my childhood when things were so much more simple and all I wanted to be when I grew up was to be a colourful butterfly one day. If it was only that easy. If only I could fly off, care-free and explore the world… No, I’m not a butterfly, but that beautiful butterfly I drew may have signified my exploratory phase into the beginnings of my career: venturing further into the world of visual arts.
Thus, I grew up to love drawing: something that had never ran in my family background. I would draw on any surface I could set my hands on (yes, I remember drawing on the headboard of my bed with a ballpoint pen) and I spend hours on the internet looking for tutorials when I was in middle school. My cute cartoons and illustrations became more detailed, attempting to replicate a photograph on a blank piece of paper. Realism drawings of still objects became hyper-realistic until people thought I had suddenly become a photographer. I naturally developed an eye to see the world and the spaces around me differently, converting the three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional realm in front of me. I thrived in it and it didn’t take long for me to find a sense of identity through drawing and sketching. Everyone around me was certain I was going to be the next Emily Carr. It seemed like I had my career mapped out for me after many long nights of practicing in my bedroom: my professional career path had already been set for me.
So it began: my senior year in high school and I was one of the handful of students who had gotten a letter of acceptance into Emily Carr University on the spot. This was what was deemed to happen my whole life by my peers. Was it fate?
Not too long after I received a letter from Simon Fraser University, informing me of my acceptance into their School of Interactive Arts + Technology (SIAT), I had to make a big decision. I had never heard of this program and didn’t know of any graduates or alumni from SIAT. I spent my whole childhood moving a pencil around on paper, was I really going to make the transition to digital design? I thought, and thought hard for awhile, but I sensed an urge to explore my skillset: where could digital design take me? At the end of the day, I followed my gut and took the leap into the realm of design. This period marked my transition into technology and design, pushing my sketching pencils into the back of the shelf.
I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know how to code and I only had intermediate experience with Photoshop. The summer before my first year in university, I spent hours and days going through online tutorials to learn as much of Adobe Illustrator and InDesign as I could. But I loved it. I loved that making a mistake was a simple and quick CTRL/CMD + Z to fix. Strokes and lines were so much smoother, cleaner and there was no accidental smudging — this was fool-proof.
Slowly, the time and demand I had for sketching decreased and since my second year, I have not posted a single photo of a drawing. Do I miss it? Yes — I can recall the nights when I was upset and drawing took me into a place of serenity, a place where my worries did not exist. It will still always be a part of me: when I brainstorm for my designs, knowing how to sketch is always at the core and every time, it brings me back to my roots — where I started and came from: pencil and paper.
I have made my transition from an artist to a designer and I’m not turning back.
Check out my portfolio work!
Maybe you are reading this because you deem yourself as ‘healthy’. Maybe you are on this site because you are not ‘healthy’. You question yourself; am I doing everything right? Am I doing something wrong? How can I be better? The answer I have to this, or whatever else you might be thinking, is that it’s really up to you. I find that this space should be for conversation. This is a space to talk about what works for people and what doesn’t. Whether it’s physically, mentally, or emotionally, no matter the gender or ethnicity, or really anything else, there are people who understand you. And that may not even be me. In fact, it’s impossible for me to understand where anyone is coming from because I am trapped in my own biases and what I’ve grown up with and how society has shaped me, etc, etc. But I can empathize. I want to challenge myself to listen. Not just to listen to reply, but just to hear someone out. Let them rant about what’s bothering them, or what’s making them happy. I want to truly aspire to listen, and reflect. I want others to have a chance to do this too.
This space I am trying to create will be built on stories from other students or just everyday people who might understand where you come from instead. For me, how beautiful a world we would live in if people took the time to actually listen to each other. We all have a voice and it deserves to be heard. Now, this website will not change the world, but there are lessons to be learned from listening to people’s stories.
That motivates me to create a look and a space for those wanting to escape from their own lives for a minute or two and think about a different perspective. Maybe relate to it a little, or not at all. When I think about this, the public I want to create is slowly helping create this site, create me as a writer, and most importantly, create a conversation. Funny stories or sad ones, there is a sort of art in all of it. This site should be as smooth and as easily accessed as the conversations I write about and have in person. The colours and the typography should flow. If people come here to learn something new about someone else, and end up finding out something about themselves, perhaps I will have accomplished something.
The Design Process of my blog is something that is far from over. The more I learn about CSS and my theme the more I’m able to manipulate and change it to match my vision. The last few weeks have been a massive learning process for me, and I’ve loved every second of it.
A lot of the design things I’ve done have been done through the “customization” tab, and these have mostly been the header image and the colours of my blog. I love my over all colour aesthetic of soft grey, pink, and yellow. I also love that I can pull in my love of floral in the header image. The other love that I’ve been able to incorporate in my blog this week is fonts. On a recommendation I installed the “Easy Google Fonts” plug in, so I can easily change the fonts of my headers and body text. However, the font that I really wanted to change was my title font. I wanted something softer with a cursive feel to go with my floral themes, as well as my softer colours. In doing this I had some challenges.
Firstly, this was the first time I’d ever gone into the CSS of my theme and changed anything. I was nervous because I didn’t want to “break it”. Secondly, once I figured out how to change to font in CSS, I wanted to enlarge the space that the site-title fit into because I wanted to enlarge the font. To do this though, I had to again go into the CSS and further manipulate it. Thankfully I was doing this in a lab and had guidance from my instructor so I didn’t break it. These were the two major challenges that I faced in changing my site-title font, but in the end, I am incredibly happy with the way the title of my blog looks.
I also have a few notes on design of my blog in general, and some of my motivations. I want my blog to reflect softness, hence why I chose to do my main font in a dark grey as opposed to black. I feel the contrast is still obvious, but the font colour is not as harsh as black would be, as I don’t think black would look right with my overall theme. I also have made the decision to include spaces and blank space in my posts. I choose to space paragraphs as oppose to indent because I feel like is breaks the post up more and makes it easier to read. Who just wants to look at a solid wall of text? I also feel like the the spaces between the paragraphs adds a certain airiness to the posts.
So far, I love the design of my blog, will things change? Probably, this is still a learning process, and I’m sure as I learn and become more adept with CSS and everything else that goes into designing a blog I will make different decisions and lots of changes. I look forward to seeing the way my blog morphs and changes with my design and CSS skills.
I have really changed up the colour scheme and edited the “About” section quite a lot. Having the peer review was nice and I’m excited to hear what my next peer review will say about my blog. I hope as I produce a little more content as well, it’ll come together a little nicer. I have played with a couple fonts in Google fonts, but I might change it a little more going forward. I finally figured out how to make the text black so that everything is easier to read. Going into tutorial for Week 5 should answer a few more questions I have regarding the weird setup of how the menus work, but so far I like it.
I am also excited to start seeing how my blog progresses. Once I post a couple things to my blog section, I would like to post them on Facebook and see the comments I get. I expect a lot of constructive criticism and welcome it. I’m curious to know if anyone else will be reaching out their content onto their social media. I think my last couple goals for this week is to tidy up my Instagram for this blog, add a few captions, and start gaining a following, just to see what happens. I could promote it on Facebook along with my blog posts when I decide to post it and see how that will help gain my following.
I am split over whether or not to have my picture in the about section. Not sure if it’s too much or if it’s a little inappropriate for the content of the site. It might be kind of cool to be a little more on the anonymous side because I want to appeal to anyone who can relate, or find themselves with my perspective, so I want to keep that open.
My PUB 101 stuff so far is categorized with “Assignments”, “Peer Reviews”, and “Process” categories. The PUB 101 menu in the top left is still being worked on. I’m still figuring out how to link the posts to the menus in the top left corner. The drop-down menu for PUB 101 should have a main page where you can pick from posts, not drop-down for every separate title.
I have installed Instagram, but I need to make it a direct link for people to follow, thanks to Austin Lee’s review. He had some really good ideas on how to improve how my blog looks and I tried to apply some of his suggestions. I changed the background to something more simplistic and relevant, and changed the colour scheme to make it more calming.
I think as I continue to work on it, I would like to play with some more fonts and how things are spaced out. For example, in my About page, the label “About” and the picture for the page are pretty close together. I did change the about picture to something I have taken, and again wanted to create a feeling of someone sitting and listening/reading as they go through my blog and wonder why they are here.
I felt really inspired by Craig Mod’s article, “How I Got My Attention Back”, and I wrote a pretty big piece on it. It can be found here: http://the-hermes.com/wp-admin/customize.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fthe-hermes.com%2F. AWOT stand for A Word or Two, which relates to my tagline at the top of my blog. Hoping people will catch on.
As my blog develops, my goal is to use only pictures that I’ve taken. The top challenge for that will be taking a picture that suits the background of my blog, but over time, I’m sure I will find something.
I forgot my password. I can’t be the only one who constantly does this. Apparently I already had a WordPress account, so both my emails come up for username. When I changed the old password for the old account, I tried to use it for the new account. 3 tries later and I’m locked out. I wish I wasn’t so forgetful, but there’s so many passwords to so many accounts nowadays.
Once I can get back into my account, I’ve spent quite some time trying to make it look the way I want. I get a little frustrated changing certain aspects of the theme just because I’ve never dealt with html code before. The CSS program is pretty easy to use, but I’ve never used anything like this before. Let’s just say it’s been an adventure. One in which involves many how-to youtube videos and google searches.
Ideally, it’d be nice to have the background something a little more to do with health and fitness. Something not too cliche, yet represents the website a little more. The current ram skull background is light and simple, as I can’t seem to figure out how to change the text colour yet, but over the next couple days it would be nice to play with different backgrounds a bit more.
For every post, I’d like to use my own photos. I’ve started an Instagram account to help me do this. My goals for both the Instagram and the blog are to get out and take my own photos and edit them — the blog would support the story and purpose for each picture, and Instagram will aid with me taking and editing the pictures more often.
I would like my widgets/menus to be more on the right side of the page, but I’m still learning how to do that. I would also like to maybe change the “Finding Balance” title and the hooker underneath either with different colours and/or fonts.
I have a couple friends who do blogs as well, so I was trying to get a little inspiration from their websites. There’s Ashley’s, (https://ashleyogilvie.com/2017/07/18/my-mom-calls-it-eden/), and Noelle’s, (http://noellekathleenjones.com/dig/under-the-guise-of-the-chill-girl/), both of whom have created an amazing voice with their writings and it is such an inspiration for me to do the same with mine.
With my blog, I would like to capture and enhance my own online presence and voice. I would like to hail students of any kind, and really anyone interested in health. Just to start a discussion on what works for people and what doesn’t really entices me and I think having that conversation and space for people is really important. As my voice and posts develop, I hope it’ll reflect these things!
Based on the peer review you received, make some changes to at least one design element on your site. Write about how you made that change.
I have taken the peer review into account and decided to change the theme of my blog and the header image. I also tried to change my website name since it is seen as plain. I changed it into Vanews and I ended up losing my blog for a solid 15 minutes. The domain name Vanews is unfortunately occupied. Every link on my blog would direct me to the Vanews site. So I had to message tech support to get my blog back. That was an extremely stress inducing 15 minutes. Another design element I changed was the font. Font isn’t something that is of great importance to me. The default font looked fine but others seemed to think otherwise so I have changed it using a plug-in. I changed the category names by dropping the “of the week” part. I did think because I realized that I could not keep up with weekly blog posts. Lastly, I have added a contact link which is my twitter account.
Here is the link of my peer’s site: http://thewisechild.ca/
I will begin with the peer review with my thoughts on the content of the website from the perspective of a reader.
First of all, I like the “About Me” section. This was the first thing I read on this website and it gave me a good explanation on how the website was named and what the topic was. Also, I found that Kaiya minimized her personal information such as major, origin or hobbies in her introduction. Considering that she said she did not want to be labeled (except feminism) , I think this minimization helps readers to keep an open mind.
Also, I think the topic for this blog, self discovery and feminism, is very interesting. I am also quite into this topic and I really enjoy reading the posts. However, I think it would be better if my peer Kaiya could dig deeper into feminism. As a reader who is also interested in this topic, I hope to encounter something more specific and more personal (since it is about her own self-discovery) such as Kaiya’s thoughts or comments on a particular event that related to gender issue.
Next, I will also review my peer’s design.
First, I like her choice of pink color. Usually people would link pink color to female so it fits the topic of website (though some may argue that linking pink to female could be a stereotype). I also found that pink color frequently appeared in Kaiya’s photos which matches to her design.
However, I found the categories are somehow confusing. I could not find a tab that can take me to the posts of PUB 101 directly. In order to find the process posts, I will have to go to “Posts” and then choose from categories on the right side.
Also, under the category of “Posts”, there are sub-categories such as Race, Gender or Body. When I clicked them, I found that the sub-categories are still empty. I think some of the existing posts could go under these sub-categories. It would be better if Kaiya could organize her posts.
The “Travel Gallery” and My Aesthetic” are also somehow confusing. I like those photos but I could not find the relation between the photos and the theme of this website. It would be better if Kaiya could tell the readers some stories behind the photos and how these pictures related to her journey of self-discovery.
I am looking forward to know more stories of Kaiya, the Wise Child.
After writing a peer review on design and reading the review of my blog’s design, a lot changed. Feeling a little bit stuck in my theme’s constraints, I completely scrapped my old blog’s look and opted for a new theme. With a bit of research I stumbled upon the Sela theme, one of WordPress’s own themes. I loved the theme’s focus on bright photography, vibrant colours, and interactive settings. In comparison to my previous theme Zillah, this new theme creates a sense of openness and welcomes readers into the page in an interactive and involved manner.
I’ve loved working with this theme and am excited to continue exploring the many different features offered on this platform. Aside from the theme itself, I have also added a travel gallery, photos in my side bar, and an email registration prompt to keep up with my posts. I intend on exploring ways of bringing music into my blog, as well as share buttons for my posts.
Design is definitely a big focus for me in my blog as I know its a huge part of what makes me want to read a blog. Bad design is my #1 turnoff during first impressions. First it goes poor design, next is cluttered advertising , and to knock the website completely off my radar is bad grammar and spelling mistakes. So as I said previously, design is very important for me and I will continue to improve the look of my blog as I go!
For lecture this week, we touched on digital literacy and the dangers of fake news. As an exercise we broke off into groups and searched different topics that have caused controversy; my group and I’s question being “Do refugees receive more financial support than Canadians on welfare?” After doing our research and looking past the top hits, the simple answer is no.
This rumour can be rooted back to this tweet by a woman named Carole on twitter. This tweet displays an image of false calculations displaying a yearly income of a refugee in Canada compared to the average income on welfare. With articles like this CBC piece and responses by the Government of Canada, this false claim is easily refuted.
Although fake news dominates our internet world, doing some quick research into the source of these stories can be the matter of spreading racist ideologies and being a positive ally to a population in need.
I have been stalling on writing this blog post because I know I have much more to do. Although I like the general look of my blog, I’m not sure that it has enough visual interest to draw people in. I’ve tried introducing headers and backgrounds, I’ve tried replacing my blog’s title with a title header image, I’ve tried virtually everything I can think of that my theme allows. It seems that I may have to explore my options of switching themes and see where that takes me.
What I find most difficult about my theme is the fact that the features I find most appealing about it are only seen with high quality photography and lots of posts. Since I’ve made the decision to hide my PUB 101 posts from the main page, I am lacking in my front page content. I’ve considered a few options, and before I switch themes I intend on playing around with creating a static front page filled with pictures of my travels, my high school career, and essentially my life. I hope that this will bring both visual interest and a visual connection to my life.
In order to fulfill the above suggestion, I have tried creating a page to feature my images, but the image slider requires multiple images to work. Next I tried a gallery post, but then of course the slider requires multiple posts to work. I’ll be playing around more to get the visual I would like. I’m in the process of writing my second blog post which (albeit a little late) should add more personal connection as it will feature personal photos and stories from my past.
Although this process post isn’t much of a reflection, it has birthed many ideas and I look forward to trying more!