Tag Archives: Academic

Week 10

This week, we had a guest speaker during lecture to talk about multi-channel marketing.

I found it super fasinating that how many channels actually exist in our world. There are so many more channels than just the typical tv, newspapers, magazines, online, billboards advertisement that everyone thinks about. And not all channels are equal. They all tell stories in different ways. When we have different goals and want to attract different kind of audiences, different channels would be chosen. The guest speaker also talks about the challenges that companies and brands face when comes to marketing. There are too much noise in the world and so much competition. And now that advertisement has become so accessible for everyone, it is becoming harder and harder to attract more and good-quality attention.

Now when I’m on social media these days, I would sometimes apply these perspectives scrolling down my feed. I follow quite a few fashion houses’ Instagram accounts. I’ve noticed how these fashion brands have integrated advertisement with editorial shoots, short films, etc. A lot of the times, it is hard to tell whether certain posts are editorial or ads. In my opinion, the purpose of these Instagram accounts are not to sell anyone anything, but to raise brand awareness, build loyal followers who might one day turn into actual buyers.  Because the majority users of Instagram users are young professionals who might not have the money just yet, but are interested in learning more about whatever they are interested about. And if fashion is one of them, they for sure will follow lots of fashion brands. By posting these editorial style ads, brands are slowly immersing themselves into the mind of these followers. Again, it is more about awareness, not selling.

As for my blog, and what media platform I choose to focus on, Instagram is for sure the number one channel. I think my intended audience demographic would most likely be active Instagram users. On top of that, most of my own online activities are on Instagram, and I’ve created most of my followers on there as well. It only makes sense to start my promotion there. Besides Instagram, I would also look into promoting my blog on Facebook and twitter at the same time.

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PEER REVIEW No.3: Eats and Feats

After a long semester of hard work, Eats and Feats has produced a useful series of food and location reviews for Vancouverites looking for adventure. The title is so terrifically catchy while the subtitle–”explore Vancouver, BC”––does a nice job of orienting any passerbys as to the overall thematics.


“I genuinely believe Vancouver has so many things to offer, delicious food, amazing events and gorgeous sceneries and I love to explore so I decided on that. I wanted to write a blog that would help people see what there is to do here because there is never a shortage of things.”

–– Eats and Feats author Helen writing about her purpose

Let us jump into the review below, which will gradually unpack the visuals, written word, and overall premise of my classmate’s great blog.

THE VISUAL STRUCTURE

HOMEPAGE
Underneath the horizontal menu bar, Helen has good combination of three main visual elements (the title and then two featured posts), which align with the suggestions proposed during our guest lecture by Mauve Pagé. The featured posts are well-selected as some of the blog’s finest, with bright and attractive imagery of food. Not only do those pictures attract the eye, they also activate viewer engagement given their “clickability” (scroll function). So, as a visual element, these featured reviews seem to be integral to the website’s immersive capacity and accessibility, while also being foundational to the website’s success as a whole system––specifically if we consider encouraging desirable outcomes for page traffic and bounce rate, which were outlined as important factors to growing a business according to our other guest lecturer by marketing expert Monique Sherett.

SIDEBAR
In addition to what has already been mentioned, I would like to commend Helen on the use of her sidebar which really encourages readers to conveniently explore other posts from the blog. Not only does she include a juicy little glimpse of her longer About Me, there are many links (in the form of both tags and titles) which make navigation from one page to the next a lot smoother than in other websites I have seen (including my own).

PHOTOS
Also, I would be remise not to highlight the extremely comprehensive and necessary use of food and site photography. Particularly when it comes to images of meals, Helen is careful to crop and angle her photos, and ensure that other factors like contrast are tweaked so that all the relevant textures and colours are accurately conveyed. This plays a crucial role for the viewer as they imagine themselves interacting with what is described, and the images are always well arranged so as to perfectly complement the written descriptions.

While there is always some room for improvement that could be considered, namely in the form of customizing the visuals, the visual structure of the site mostly serves the viewer quite favourably.

THE WRITTEN WORD

TECHNICALITIES
Although the grammar is not completely consistent throughout the blog, Helen’s careful use of descriptive language really illuminates the scenes she describes and does a good job to pique viewers’ interest.

FORMATTING
The immediate impression is that Helen has an excellent sense of paragraph structure and dispersion, something that I struggle with personally. She is thorough when including important information such as location, menus, and pricing, although I would suggest potentially bolding, italicizing, or adding icons to these areas for “skimmability”.

PREMISE
I have to respect that Helen has committed to creating a positive “public sphere”, if we can recall Nancy Fraser’s description of this term coined by Habermas. She gets to the point while impressively weaving in a tone of warmth and welcome for her readers.

Given some of the sinister things we have read about the internet this semester, I think we can all agree that websites with more upbeat attitudes, such as Eats and Feats, are probably needed in the larger scheme of things. Importantly, from a strategic standpoint, this could potentially help Helen achieve some form of monetization either through sponsorships or the kinds of affiliate ads debated by Tom Bleymaier in his article titled On Advertising –– Maria Popova.

However, Helen’s “favourites” will have more value if they are allowed to shine through comparison and contrast. By this I mean to suggest that introducing some experiences that are more negative could potentially suggest more credibility in the minds of Eats and Feats’ readers, and potentially even contribute some playful humour.

THE OVERALL CONTENT + Suggestions

In a city often critiqued for a supposed lack of activities and cultural opportunities, Helen is clever to centre her blog around dispelling this mischaracterization about Vancouver––one blog post at a time. It is a solid initial premise and one that can also serve her well in the long term.

This foundation works well because it allows Helen to better tailor her content towards a specific audience, very much in line with . In short, the blog knows it It is a solid initial premise and one that can also serve her well in the long term.

WHAT IS AT STAKE HERE?
With that said, going forward I would encourage her to ponder the following questions: What makes this content well-suited to the blogging format? What knowledge is imparted that distinguishes my posts from Yelp reviews or a “foodstagram”? By brainstorming some answers to these questions, I can envision an exciting future in which Helen leans further into her own unique opinions and investigates new possibilities for content.

A FRESH TAKE
Beyond the food/activity review structure (which seems to be the blog’s “bread and butter”), investigating other thematic pathways could present exciting avenues for readers to live vicariously though the author. For example, potential premises for engaging content might include replicating favourite restaurant dishes at home, trying out intimidating new activities like paddleboarding around English Bay, or chronicling a week of eating out on a relatable budget. Of course, it is perfectly okay if the author dislikes those specific suggestions: The point is that there is still somewhat of a need for Eats and Feats to distinguish itself as a unique voice amongst all the noise. I am simply suggesting that one way to “stand out from the crowd” would be by diversifying the scope of subject matter by incorporating an element of risk or challenge into future posts.

Granted, we must keep in mind that is always easier said than done! And, in fairness, Helen has made some subtle disclaimers that she views this website as a first step into navigating herself within the digital landscape. Thus, the everyday casualness to her tone is a natural and understandable extension of such a context.

SUMMARY
All of this is only to say that I would encourage Helen to really go for it. Perhaps she wants to lean more into the diary-like lens of everyday adventures or perhaps her angle will be to illuminate the underrated underbelly of Vancity: Either way, she is already off to a solid, well-reasoned start, complete with enticing imagery and relevant information. Well done, Eats and Feats––I hope you continue your blog after our course wraps up so that I know what adventures I can explore during those long summer days!

Check out her extremely generous review of my blog here.

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Week 9

In last week’s lecture, we learnt about analytics, audiences and marketing. It was very interesting for me to see how the numbers in analytics translate into the audience online engagement to our website.

Looking at my blog’s google analytics, I notice that Monday and Tuesday seem to be the peak of traffic. And I think that definitely has something to do with the fact that our lecture is on Tuesday, and I tend to upload all my new posts on Monday night or Tuesday. The bounce rate of my blog is around 51%. People averagely spend around 5 min on my site. From what we learnt in lecture, the lower the bounce rate, the better. Because that means people are actually taking time reading my blog. That is definitely something I could improve on.

Another interesting thing that have come up in my analytics is where my audiences are located. Most of my audience are from United States, and the second most are from Canada. In the ranking of city, most of the visitor of my websites are from Vancouver, which is not surprising. But the second city in ranking is New York, which makes me quite happy since it is my favourite city in the whole world. I also get a few random users visiting from Spain, Belgium, Brazil, etc. It is exciting to think how someone across the world are visiting my blog. Another part of the demographic of my audience that has surprised me is the fact that there are more users are in the age of 25-34 than the ones in the age of 18-24. Since I fall in the category of 18-24, I’ve assumed that would be my audience’s demographic as well, but apparently it’s not the case.

I also notice that posiel.com of course is my main referral. But ever since I added my website address onto my own Instagram account bio, I’ve noticed an increase of incoming traffic from Instagram. In the future, I will definitely try and promote my blog posts on my social a bit more often, in order to drive up the traffic. I also get analytic report from my Instagram account since it is a business account. And it is very interesting to compare my website statistics with my Instagram’s.

In my opinion, these analytic statistics are so important because it helps us to understand our audience better, so that we could tailor the content better to our intended audience. But at the same time, it is quite a scary thing thinking about how  every step we take on the internet every second is recorded and analyzed by others.

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Nishita’s Blog

Nishita’s Blog
Here’s a little bit of me!

*The above image was taken from Nishita’s Blog.

A peer review on audience and channels

Nishita’s Blog is vibrant and eclectic gallery of multi-media art. The overall aesthetics are consistent, easy to navigate, and convey a style that seems to be very reflective of Nishita herself: on her about page Nishita shares her love of hip hop, which is ever-present in the style and colours for this blog. The pages themselves are purposely monochromatic: the dark background acts as the perfect wall, drawing all attention to the images of art. As Travis Gerts explains in his article Design Machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse, “nothing makes a drop of colour brighter than when it’s set against a wall of grey”. Most of the images are vibrant, and bright pieces of art, contrasting well against the simple and dark theme. With this in mind, I find the title of her blog really hard to read against the busy background – changing the font colour from black to white, or even to the same red as the paper garland would allow for the title of the blog to pop, and become a lot more legible.

While navigating Nishita’s website, the first noticeable graphics were the large Instagram icons on the right, under the blog tab. There is a main instagram page that is private, as well as public art page While this is a wonderful way of building a following and audience, I would recommend linking your blog to your Instagram, which would allow for a stronger use of this cross-promotion. In addition, I would recommend making the main page public to allow for greater audience and reach – especially as it is labeled main, which leaves me to assume that traffic would be preferably diverted here as opposed to the accompanying art page. If this is not the case, I would remove the main link altogether. This seesaw between personal blog and art blog speaks to the multidisciplinary qualities of social media, and the undefined rules of online networks, which are “bringing change to all forms of information” (Kissane).

The mixed modes of art is really wonderful: this blog truly highlights Nishita’s talent and versatility. When it comes to videos, however, I could be cautious with the auto-play. For example, the blog tab automatically plays the last video at the bottom of the page – a vibrant alleyway filled with colourful street art and vendors. At first, its hard to say where the sound is coming: I check all my other tabs to see if there might be an add somewhere, or a video that popped up. We’ve all seen those people I class, in a café, or in a library, who interrupt the silence with an unexpected video, and panic trying to turn the sound off. Similarly, I often find myself browsing websites in a public space, and exit the website immediately as opposed to taking time to find the source of the sound. Keeping this in mind, especially if this blog is looking at retention, lower bounce rate, and overall keeping track of the analytics. If the auto-play function is something particularly desired, perhaps the blog could have a pop up muted video, like in Lonely Planet’s landing page, so the user immediately knows where the sound is coming from.  Similarly, having a preview of the post as opposed to the entire post would allow for reduced scrolling, and potentially more retention: the easier it is to find what you need, the better the experience for the user, which means a higher chance of returning to the blog.

These simple suggestions could help elevate the blog to the next level, creating a stronger sense of legitimacy, and foster a strong following. Overall, Nishita does a beautiful job of curating her website to best highlight her art. If you’re an art enthusiast, or an artist yourself, I recommend you check out her work here!

Peer Review #3

This week, I had the pleasure to visit Jill’s Book Blog.Jill's Book Blog Homepage

Jill’s Book Blog — Adventures of Accessible Reading, as it states quite clearly in the title tag, is all about books. Reading through Jillian’s blog, I learnt so much about her and her favourite thing to do EVER — Reading!! In 2018, she read 96 books in 365, which is so crazily impressive. Jill’s Book Blog at the moment features three categories: Book Reviews, Accessible Reading and Posiel. From the type of content that Jillian has been constantly posted, i think the intended audience of the blog are book lovers like Jillian herself. People who would be frequent visitors of Jill’s blog are people who love reading, who also love to learn more about certain books and how others think of them. And since most of the books that have been reviewed are mostly fictions, romance, thrillers, etc, I figure the demographic of Jill’s blog are the demographic of these books, which are mostly teens to young adults and young professional, predominately female. And lastly, in most of the post, Jillian’s tone of voice seems quite lighthearted, excited, and playful most of the time, which also leads me to believe that the age of the intended audience of Jill’s Book Blog are around 17 to 30.

In my opinion, Jillian has done a great job in terms of keeping her audience engaged with her constant and high-quality content. The design of her website is fairly simple. There is quite a lot of white space, which is a great thing, since it makes the blog seems way less cluttered. On that note, the fact that there are not too many menu options also makes the blog seems less overwhelming. When I visit Jill’s website, I always find myself feeling calm and collected. And a lot of that has to do with the timeless design that Jillian has chosen. One thing that I do wish Jill’s blog could improve itself on, would be the homepage. At the moment, when users of its site opens the homepage for the first time, it has all of the most recent posts on one page, positioned vertically, and it causes the homepage to be quite long. Since most of the audience of Jill’s blog are around our age, I think it would nice to make the homepage slightly shorter with more directions to the posts. In that way, her audience could find what they want a bit easier, and it would decrease the bounce rate of her site. Another thing that I think could be improved would be finding some way to break up some of the text-heavy content. Since it is a mostly text-based site, it would be nice to see some more breaks in between paragraphs, it could be by highlightin certain quotes, adding images, or just adding simple lines and subheading, in order to keep her audience even more engaged with her content.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed Jill’s Book Blog, and I am excited to see where this blog would develop and process in the future.

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SELF AND SKY: Digital Collages

MINI ASSIGNMENT No.4: Remix
Women silhouettes jumping over a mountain range

Jellyfish with eyes overlooks a tent

Little boy looks out the window at the cosmos

Photographic sources (links):
DANCING ACROSS MOUNTAINS:
> the women > the mountain range
THE GREAT JELLYFISH:
> the jellyfish > the outpost > the aquatic eyes
COSMIC DAYDREAMER:
> the child > the cosmos

Hope you found these my new collages to be enchanting. Which is your favourite? Let me know in the comment section below!

Dawn

5 Reasons to wake up early – Travel Edition

Rise and Shine

*The above footage was taken by Sage Watson in Kathmandu, Nepal, and used in the introduction of his documentary The Beginning of a Journey.

5 Reasons Why

Early mornings have always been difficult for me. Difficult might be an understatement; rather, I resist early mornings with every fibre of my being. I either sleep through my alarm or have to set my first one 45 minutes before I actually need to start my day, with 5 subsequent alarms, each boasting a different ringtone. I say this because I know how difficult it is to get out of a warm bed at the crack of dawn, so believe me when I say that it should become a top priority when you’re travelling.


1. Catching the sunrise

There’s something special about waking up at the crack of dawn and watching the sun rise over a new city. Simple mornings have become under appreciated, as the hustle and bustle of city life and daily responsibilities have taken precedence.

Colorado, USA

2. Getting a head start on the day

Personally, allowing time not only for coffee and breakfast, but also time for me to wake up boosts my productivity and alertness throughout the day. When I run out the door in a hurry, the rest of my day feels rushed, groggy, and usually fairly unproductive. This is especially important when traveling, as I find myself trying to cover a lot of ground, or trying to fit in sightseeing in a tight schedule. For my most recent trip, this meant getting a head-start on our whole adventure: we departed Vancouver, BC bright and early, and were able to make it to California by the afternoon!

California, USA

3. Skipping the lines

The early bird gets the worm! Whether it be the Louvre in Paris, or the Taj Mahal in Agra, or the Grand Canyon in Arizona, escape the crowds by setting an early alarm. In addition to faster and shorter admission lines, the fewer crowds allow for better photo opportunities, especially if you’re one to visit popular sights.

Agra, India

4. Taking in the new city

Every country, every city, every town has its own routines and customs. Wake up with the city, observe and take part in the morning rituals, people watch, ask a local for directions, and enjoy a cup of your preferred morning brew.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

5. Mid-day naps.

While this isn’t a morning activity per se, it is the result of waking up early – especially if you’re anything like me, and you aren’t a morning person Naps are definitely underrated, and necessity when navigating a busy schedule. While travelling can be busy, fast, and sometimes hectic, it’s important to pause and take in your surroundings. Listen to the sounds of a foreign park, breath in the different smells, and let yourself recharge. I would be cautious of napping in public places when traveling alone just for your own safety and the safety of your belongings; however if you’re traveling with friends, family, or a significant other, this is definitely recommended.

Alex, taking a moment to relax in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, California, USA


Community

Building a Community

Building a Community

When was the last time you tried something for the first time?

The first time I heard someone ask me this was two years ago, at the Tough Mudder start line, minutes before the race started. For those who don’t know what this race is, Tough Mudder is a 12 mile obstacle race that was originally designed to test mental and physical strength. Of the 25 obstacles, some include crawling under barbed wire, running through live electric wires, submerging yourself in a pool of ice water, climbing over walls, hanging from monkey bars, and much, much more.

I know what you’re thinking: why would anybody put themselves through that?! I was thinking that too, until I used that fear as fuel to gain a sense of ownership and control. In 2017 I wanted to challenge myself to do something I thought I would never be able to do. For a long time, Tough Mudder was it: I hate cold water (with a passion), I’m not the biggest fan of heights, and I didn’t think I’d be physically able to complete this treacherous course. Despite all of this, I managed to rope my friends into completing it with me in. And not once – but twice – with plans of doing it again in the summer of 2019.

Be not afraid of discomfort. If you can’t put yourself in a situation where you are uncomfortable, then you will never grow. You will never change. You’ll never learn.

Jasno Reynolds

Realistically, my current audience is the small circle of family and friends who relentlessly support me (hi mom!). Ideally, this following will expand to an audience that doesn’t know me personally, yet is still drawn to the content and photographs of this blog. The dream would be for this blog to flourish internationally, growing a community of fellow travellers and adventurers. I want this blog to encourage people to share a desire to get outdoors and try new things; I aspire for these images to inspire the love for travel, adventure, and the outdoors; I hope motivate people into embracing the unknown and challenges. This will take time, no doubt, but I am excited at the opportunity for potential.

Thank you for being a part of this community!

PEER REVIEW No.2: Aylin Gis’ Blog

Examining the design of a fashion & lifestyle website.

This week, we will be taking a look at my lovely classmate’s blog, Aylin Gis. Named after the author herself, this website covers a variety of topics––from fashion trends, to product reviews, to lifestyle photography––all seamlessly unified under her personal identity and brand! My task will be to identify her stylistic choices and offer feedback as to whether these decisions either advance or detract from her content overall. For clarity, I have gathered my thoughts into three sections; atmosphere, imagery, authorial presence, and formatting.

A view of the homepage.


1. ATMOSPHERE

Aylin has chosen a refreshingly minimalistic, crisp look for her website. This is a strong decision that makes every subsequent visual element much more prominent, therefore presenting both opportunities and challenges. The overall impression is fairly light and airy thanks to the choices in typeface; thin sans serifs that are appropriately modern without being too trendy and an excellent initial decision for this blog. Because the text is always black on white, the only colour on the page comes from the images (more on those later) which certainly draws the eye towards the content, encouraging us to click. These are all important aspects to the overall look of the website that do function well to establish the perfect mood for us to enter into Aylin’s content.

However, I would love to see a bigger impact from Aylin’s homepage. Besides the title, there is no establishing focal point for readers to grab onto, and as we learned from Mauve Pagé’s guest lecture, this makes things a bit disorienting. So, a more dramatic and unifying element is necessary; both to more immediately convey a sense of uniqueness and to distinguish the homepage from subsequent pages.

Seeing as Aylin has a passion for photography, the natural solution to this focal point problem would be to introduce a website-wide area for banner imagery. If we take a look at Aylin’s theme, Kale, this can be easily accomplished by selecting some featured posts with strong imagery to be highlighted. Luckily, Aylin has a variety of photography posted already and this is the perfect opportunity to highlight past efforts and ensure that these posts don’t get lost. Assuming these are original images (it is unclear), I think this seascape, these barnyard outfits, and this flat-lay would be perfect stars.

In sum, it is clear that Aylin has the right mood in mind but she should consider making a stronger impression by introducing a focal point to convey a unique sense of place, which is lacking at present.

2. IMAGERY

As mentioned earlier, Aylin is clearly well-tuned to the nuances of images, I suspect in a manner that is akin to Tara Chittenden’s explanation of “aesthetic socialisation” whereby bloggers utilize the right visual codes to convey their familiarity with culturally significant trends. In selecting the thumbnail imagery for her posts, Aylin expertly utilizes photo curation and filtration techniques to convey a desired impression to her viewers. It seems these images are fairly consistent in that they are distinctly feminine, approachable, and a tad romantic––all qualities that work well to enhance the written content. In sum, Aylin’s confident selection of both stock and personal pictures is an important foundation to her website’s success given that she has chosen an otherwise sparse layout.

On the whole, Aylin’s colourful thumbnails jump from the page, sparkling like enticing little jewels, all lined up in rows. This orderly appearance, whereby all the posts appear as the same size on the homepage, could be slightly better maintained by making sure all the thumbnails are always properly cropped and scaled to be the exact same size. This inconsistency unfortunately appears repeatedly on this blog. While that may seem a minor adjustment, it is an important consideration when using a minimalistic layout.

Which one is Aylin? After clicking into the posts, I am pretty sure
that is her on the bottom left (the others are stock imagery).


3. AUTHORIAL PRESENCE
(via visuals to enhance brand)

These chosen images (above) seem to indicate that Aylin wants to integrate a sense of personhood into the visual vocabulary of the website. I feel the often personal perspective to Aylin’s content is not yet fully reflected in the visuals: There is perhaps a disconnect between the title of my classmate’s blog, Aylin Gis, and the fact that viewer’s don’t have a clear sense of who she is. (It is fine that Aylin seems to be a bit camera shy in her poses, but I find this puzzling because Aylin Gis has previously stated her affection for another fashion blogger, Aylin Koeing, whose coy positioning of face and body is the great uniting factor of that aspirational blog.)

After all, recognition brings familiarity and a sense of legitimacy that I think could be useful here; differentiating from stock imagery would also be key if Aylin is interested in partnering with brands or building up a fanbase. (Chittenden refers to this ideal position as “prosumer”––a hybrid of consumer and producer that acknowledges the monetization of blogs, whereby imagery is a key player in that success.) In brief, I would encourage Aylin to produce more original imagery of products, everyday life, and herself, whenever possible. In prior posts, when she has had the time, I better understood the future potential and look of Aylin’s blog.

There is one simple thing that can be done right away to enhance the personal aspect: I would encourage Aylin to make the About Me a more prominent visual element. She already has a brief About Me page, along with its charming picture, which could communicate a sense of orientation and permanency by being positioned into the right side of the blog (again possible according to the Kale theme demo). This would also add a sense of balance to the front page and is much more do-able than designing a logo.

3. FORMATTING

The trouble with formatting is that it can be very tricky to achieve good-looking text using WordPress. However, by looking back to the beginning of the semester as compared to now, I can see that Aylin is doing a great deal of necessary experimenting to appropriately improve the legibility of her text.

In the beginning, the text was very small with unappealing proportions and little spacing, but Aylin’s latest posts have enormously improved by increasing the type size. Her site is legible across devices as well. One small improvement that could be made is by increasing the spacing between text paragraphs and images. As you can see below, Aylin is careful to create wonderful spacing between images themselves (right) but her text could use some breathing room and a better proportion between line length and image width (left).



Overall, as demonstrated through our above discussion of her visual choices, Aylin clearly has a great aesthetic sensibility! I have every confidence that this will help her navigate future design decisions with clarity. With that said, there are a lot of easily-accessible customization options for her theme that have yet to be explored. My hope is that she will implement some of my suggestions, with the primary goal being a more impactful and considered representation of her content. Although there is certainly room for improvement, we can see that Aylin has already taken it upon herself to steadily improve the look of her digital space.

I look forward to seeing Aylin’s body of content grow by the end of the semester. Please have a look at her review of this website, which offered up some tremendously insightful suggestions. (Thank you, Aylin!)


Live Like Joao

Live Like Joao
Food, Places and Everything About My Life

*Above image taken from Live Like Joao’s Blog

A PEER-REVIEW ON WEBSITE DESIGN

Live like Joao offers a personable and candid approach to food blogging. When it comes to creating his new blog, Joao’s honesty is refreshing; while this may be a daunting new task, Joao invites his audience into his inner thoughts as he navigates the unfamiliar waters of WordPress. According to the screenshots from Amanda‘s first peer review, Joao has implemented a lot of her recommendations and suggestions. Already, Live Like Joao is starting to have synchronicity between the website’s appearance and the content. To properly unpack the different design elements in this blog, I will be focusing on two important design umbrellas: user experience (UX) and User Interface (UI).

User Experience

Travis Gertz’s 2015 Design Machines: How to survive in the digital Apocalypse explains the UX design as how the website works, as opposed to how it looks. A hyper-simplified breakdown of the UX design category would include layout, interaction, information architecture, wireframing, prototyping, research, and testing. At first glance, Live Like Joao seems to work pretty cohesively and sensibly. There are subtle cues throughout the blog that indicate where I should look or click. For example, both the BLOG and POSIEL tab on the top righthand menu have a little downwards arrow to indicate a drop-down menu. These exemplify what Victor Kaptelinin describes as affordances in his article The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction.

The search function right above the categories list is a really helpful tool, especially when looking for a certain page or post that I particularly enjoyed, but was unable to retrace my steps. Since this blog is fairly new, I wasn’t lost in the content and it was easy to find my way back; however, once there are more entries and if Joao chooses to continue this blog post-PUB101, I suspect that this search function will become a really handy tool.

While there are affordances that create direction throughout the blog, I still seemed to have encountered some problems with Joao’s BLOG section. Firstly, I noticed that there is a category for “Blog” and “Blog Post”. This seems counter-intuitive, as these categories seem synonymous. Kaptelinin underlines that “Good designs are intuitive“; hence, I would always recommend going through the website fully – as a sort of informal audit – and paying extra attention to what is intuitive to you. What comes up when you click certain links? Does it take you where you would expect it to? This brings me to my second suggestions: make sure that  the information is stored in the right place. For example, when I click the BLOG POST on the drop down menu, the only post that is available is the “Short Essay 1”.

User Interface

In contrast to the former, UI Design encompasses how the website looks as opposed to how it works. Gertz explains that typography, colour, forms, illustration, photography, and detail can all be found within this realm.

Caution: Do not read when hungry!

This blog does a wonderful job at capturing mouth-watering cuisine. From a UI design perspective, there is a great use of white space and visual contrast with images. Blog Post 1 does a good job of separating chunks of text and using different fonts, especially by bolding the Ingredients title. The other blog posts could benefit by following the great example from that first blog. For example, my eyes are yearning for more contrast in the text in the Blog Post 3. There is a beautiful photo of gorgeous cuts of meats – perhaps I should have waited until after dinner to write this review – followed by the restaurant’s information and a short review. To better accompany the bold image, I would make the text larger and create a small text box containing the restaurant’s pertinent information. Currently, the review is the smallest group of text on the image: all these small modifications would allow for the sections of the page to be more proportionate to each other, and allow the important information to stand out.

The beautiful rustic table of food that act as the blog’s cover page sets the tone for a visually-enticing food blog. Keeping this in mind, I would recommend continuing with this theme by adding more images throughout the blog: as we are unable to taste this food with our taste buds, we do so with our eyes. Therefore, it is important to describe or visually show these through images and videos, as is done in the first blog post. If at all possible, ensure that photos and videos are the same size or are complimentary to the overall page layout to allow for synchronicity and fluidity.

Overall, I enjoyed joining Joao on his adventures through WordPress and discovering exciting new restaurants around the Lower Mainland through his reviews. I look forward to seeing the progress and reading more content from Joao. The recipes, reviews, and personable tone leaves me  hungry for more!

Check out Live Like Joao here.