Subject: Jade Boiser | Blog: www.jadeboiser.com
At a Glance
My first impression of this blog is positive. The theme and customizations are unique, simplistic, and aesthetically pleasing. Her consistent use of red, black, and grey colours appropriately fit with her “mixtape” theme, as these are the specific colours I would associate a cassette tape with. Her header image is classy and personable, and sets the overall tone of her blog. However, I think the black and white line across this header image could be utilized better. I suggest that she place a small logo in the middle of this line, perhaps an illustration of a mixtape? She could also keep this header at the top of every page on her blog, making the black/white movable line a functional link back to her homepage. Her blog title and subheading grabbed my attention instantly, and sparked my curiosity to dig deeper into her blog content.
The choice of font is very legible, and her mix of serif title font with sans serif subheadings and body font compliment each other well. I also like the striking red colour that her black titles change to upon hover. My only advice I have for typography is to make the titles of her blog posts smaller in pixel size. A shift to slightly smaller titles can free up more space while still allowing the titles to pop. I think her blog title “My Life’s Mixtape” should have the biggest pixel size in comparison to her individual blog post titles, whereas right now her blog post titles appear to stand out more.
Layout & Site Structure
Jade has a good use of white space throughout her blog to break up her content into sections. This layout is asymmetrical, which I think could be altered even more. I suggest she shrink down the social media sidebar, which will allow her main content – her blog posts – to be the main focus. As we learned in our PUB101 design considerations lecture, proportion creates emphasis and importance. There appear to be 3 main areas of focus on the blog: header, blog posts content, and sidebar. I think this works well and is just the right amount of content to not be overwhelming. I am a bit confused about the way these blog posts are categorized. She uses two categories to classify her personal blogs: “My Heart Ski-Skippin” and “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger”. These categories are difficult for me to understand, and perhaps simplifying them into more transparent classifications, or providing a description of what these categories mean, would help her readers get a clearer, more obvious idea of how she organizes her content. One thing that really stands out to me on this blog is the “continue reading” button under each of her blog post excerpts on her homepage. The animation is sleek and fun, and I found myself going back to it again and again! I also like the consistent style of her featured photos. By using personal photos and sticking with a uniform theme, a recognizable and memorable brand identity is created, and Jade does just that.
Social Media Integration
This blog is quite music-focused, and in many of her posts she refers directly to songs on her Spotify account. I think it would be very beneficial for Jade to include links to the songs she features in her content, allowing readers to easily listen to the songs she addresses prior to or after reading her blog. The sad reality of many online readers is that we are lazy, and a lot of people won’t go out of their way to search a song/video/another article if it’s not just a click away. I think her social media sidebar has just the right amount of content on it, including her Spotify with her follower count, and her Instagram with a few photos. As she touches on the significance of her music playlists, I suggest she play around with where she features her Spotify icon. She could even test this out in the header position, laying it over the movable black/white line. I also suggest she include an email icon in her sidebar, so people can directly and privately contact her if desired.
I checked the responsiveness of Jade’s blog on mobiletest.me to see if the design is adaptable to all devices. And sure enough, it was. Mobile, tablet, and desktop views successfully produced the same content and functionality. I did however notice the blog performance to be a bit on the slow side, although this may be my current Internet connection. Pages took a few seconds to load which may be due to slightly too large of photos. This isn’t a highly negative issue, but one worth looking into for future design changes.
In conclusion, I think this blog has a lot of potential to set itself apart from other common lifestyle themed blogs, and attract an audience who is just as passionate about music and the power of lyrics as Jade is. Content and design go hand in hand, and the creative construction of this blog really allows her writing to shine through. I did not find any pressing concerns with the design quality of “My Life’s Mixtape”, but I would suggest that Jade continue to experiement with different styles and features until she has established a website she is fully satisfied with.
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