Tag Archives: peer reviews

Peer Review #2

Today I am reviewing Lucas’s art blog Krowmeat Does Art. I have previously been to his site before and find his aesthetic somewhat amusing. It is a mixture of creepy meets purposely gaudy. The colour story of his blog consists of a saturated dark blue and a very bright yellow. This coincides with his general art style which is also primarily made with glowing primary colours, heavy line art, and graphic novel inspired as illustrated below:

Along with the artwork he has currently posted in his blog, he also has linked an instagram which showcases other artwork as well as a twitter account. He has an About page which gives further insight about who he is as a creator and what his online persona is like. In some of his posts, Lucas muses about his art process and other artists he gains inspiration from.

Lucas’s blog is fairly easy to navigate. It has different categories that separate class posts from general posts and art posts, and also includes a nice menu tab on the upper left corner. There are some grammatical errors present in posts, however, said posts are exceedingly casual in tone. Thus, I find no issue with that. Again addressing the blog’s aesthetic, but it is possible he may alienate potential viewers. It is definitely an aesthetic chosen for the author rather than his audience, however, I understand it and I do not feel he needs to change it considering his blog is aimed at a more casual rather than professional crowd. Content wise there is not much to add. Lucas is clearly updating regularly, and has a decent amount of artwork and posts on his blog in addition to his social media pages.

As a former art student myself, it is nice to take a slightly deeper dive into another’s process and aesthetic. If I was to add a bit of wisdom I received from my own art professors, I would recommend also having a more business professional website or social media contact if Lucas wishes to monetize or sell his skills in the future. It is a very difficult thing as an artist to accept that sometimes you have to sacrifice your own tastes a bit and make a compromise in order to get your foot in the door so to speak. That said, I am certainly not saying he should or has to follow this advice. I am merely pointing out that the art world is a fickle mistress. Overall, it is a good blog and I look forward to more posts from him.

Peer Review #1

For this Peer Review assignment, I will be reviewing Mehtab’s blog, Vancity Exotics. It aims to “create a clean, minimalist, and futuristic website” about cars and car culture. As of right now, there appears to be little implementation regarding this specific topic. In “Process Post #2”, Mehtab expresses that this is, in part, due to his busy schedule. He also feels frustrated regarding the aesthetics of his website. Personally, I feel he has accomplished a fairly nice and clean looking website. Granted, I completely understand his frustration. The only aesthetic issues I see involve the inconsistency with the banner text-type as illustrated below:

I do not feel this is more than a nit-pick, however, I felt it should be noted. The simpler text type on the bottom image I feel is a better fit in comparison to the fancier one above. Particularly due to Mehtab’s statement that he wants something that feels “minimalist” and “futuristic” is accomplished on a rudimentary level. The black, white, and grey colour story is nice and easy to read. As for user interface improvements, either having a tab bar or set categories would be useful. Currently, most posts appears to be listed under the sole category “uncategorized”. This makes it a bit difficult to navigate between posts related to the website’s topic versus process posts or assignments from class. Not all of his posts are under this category as well, which makes navigation a tad more cumbersome. Content wise, as stated before, is somewhat bare and I would suggest adding an introduction page to really emphasize what he enjoys and knows about cars and car culture. As of right now, the only thing that shows his audience what his website is about are the header and “Process Post #5”. In terms of an “online self” being created on this blog, there is not much. I believe Mehtab wants to keep his identity somewhat anonymous for the time being. Overall, taking a look at a peer’s blog was a great way to see how students express themselves in different ways with the same tool set. I think it is an inspiring thing to see, even with personal struggles.

Peer Review #3: Audience & Channels

This week I will be reviewing Maggie’s blog Usability (http://isitusable.ca/) and her website’s marketability. Her blog focuses on assessing the usability of a variety of products and spaces. Her target audience “ are curious individuals who want to learn more about the thoughts put into creating each product” as she states in a process post. In her about page she explains that “by learning to identify the usability of a product, [she] believes we can better cater our content to our target audiences”. 

Her website is very minimalistic, often featuring only images of logos as a source of colour. On her “Blog” page, each post features an image, a title, and a short summary of what the post will be about. This is helpful for readers to decide whether or not they want to read further on the subject. Following the topic of “usability”, her site is reflective of that since it is quite simple and easy to navigate through with the choice of only using white and black as the main colour palette of this site. In her first blog post she assesses the functionality and importance of minimalism in website design and that it’s about creating “something that accurately connects to your users, and is visually aesthetic to look at”. Her site is very organized and separated into categories to help users navigate through her site more easily. 

Each post breaks down the topic into different categories to critique, which makes it clear for readers to read through. Most are her blog posts are kept quite short and to the point which makes her posts a quick read that users don’t have to invest a lot of time in. But, Maggie doesn’t have other social media platforms linked to her site so her content is restricted to only her site. Other users aren’t able to reach her in any way if they were interested in seeing her work elsewhere. Since her work is quite limited, it’s hard to generate more engagement since readers  only have the 6 blog posts she has currently up to determine whether or not this is a subject of interest to themselves. Her site is very simplistic and lacks a bit of personalization in design which would help her readers establish a connection that would keep them coming back to her site. Her posts are often quite generalized and I would suggest including a section discussing how the product/space has impacted her specifically would could allow users to be able to relate to her work.

Peer Review #3

This week, I will be reviewing Carol’s blog, Nihon Shoku. Another food blog that I am excited to explore!

Content

Looking at Carol’s content, I was overall really pleased and excited by it. She does a great job at being informative but keeping the content interesting. She includes nice, appealing photos to each of her blog posts which really caught my attention. The photos that she includes, especially from the restaurants that she visits, could act as great marketing material for the mentioned restaurants.

I would suggest that she consider maybe including some point-form versions of what she is trying to say (either at the beginning or the end of each blog post) or maybe she could bold some of the key words in her posts. I think that the while the paragraphs that she includes in her posts are informative and interesting, it may make it easier for impatient readers to understand what she is trying to say by pointing out the key topics. It may be nice to conclude her posts about the different restaurants with a rating system so that readers can understand her overall opinion of each place without needing to read the entire post.

I would also recommend that she try linking the restaurants’ websites or social media pages to the blog posts that she writes about them. It may make it more reader-friendly for people who decide they would like to actually visit the restaurant.

Design

Overall, the design theme that Carol has chosen is easy to navigate and coherent. The simplistic design looks nice and clean when you first navigate to the site. I particularly like the logo that she has created for her site because it is quite cute and definitely depicts what the blog is all about.

I would suggest that she also add something else to the home page that will make the reader think more about Japanese food. Right now it is simplistic, which is nice and easy for navigation purposes, but she could maybe add a header image or some interesting widgets. Perhaps, it may be a good idea to change up the header navigation menu to separate “Restaurants” and “Food Intro” out from the “Blog” category. For her particular site, I don’t really think it is necessary to have a “Blog” page because all her posts exist on the homepage anyway. It may also fit better with her theme for the first thing users read in the header to be “Restaurants” and “Food Intros” instead of only “Blog” and “Posiel”.

Marketability

Overall, I really like Carol’s blog concept. It is super interesting for people who may be looking to get into Japanese cuisine, or even for people who are travelling to Japan and looking for some great restaurants to check out. I think there is a lot of potential for her to get involved with the restaurants that she mentions and receive compensation for advertising their business to her readers. I am excited to read more posts from Carol’s site.

Peer Review #3: Danny’s Music Blog

For this week’s peer review, I will be reviewing Danny’s Music Blog.

Initial Thoughts:

By scrolling through his blog on the home page, I was able to tell through a quick glance that the concept or theme of his website revolved around music. From a branding perspective, Danny’s website somewhat does present a brand that represents him, which does come in correlation with being able to strategize some sort of business avenue for his brand. What I mean by this is that because there are many blogs and websites that talk about music already, it raises the question as to how is Danny’s website different from all the other ones? or how can Danny make his brand unique and stand out in front of others?

One suggestion that was made in his site’s second peer review was to make his blog more personalized, which I think is a great way to be able to address the general challenge of being able to differentiate your own work from others and make it stand out to the point where your consumers will keep wanting to see more. Although Danny has already addressed the suggestion from the second peer review to elaborate more on why he chose music or why music is important to him in his “About” page on one of his process posts, I do think that the entire post would be more appropriate and suits his about page perfectly.

I really like the idea of his weekly playlists that he shares every week and how he gives a description of how the music in the specific playlists reflects his mood. I think it would be cool if something similar was done in his “Quick Reviews” posts by providing his personal thoughts on each album he talks about, and perhaps a reason why a particular song from an album may be his favourite.

Lastly, a minor change that could be made is to hide your PUB 201 work from your homepage, that way your PUB 201 posts don’t overrun your main blog posts. A simple plugin I would suggest using that can do that for you is called “WP Hide Post.”

As someone who enjoys music himself and can’t go anywhere without it, I really look forward to seeing what else Danny has in store for his blog. Want to check out his blog yourself? click here!

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.

The post PEER REVIEW No.3: Eats and Feats appeared first on Messy Musings.

Peer Review – 3

This week, I am reviewing Megan’s blog, the Kindness Lifestyle, a space created for reflecting, sharing and discovering the ways in which people can spread kindness throughout their daily encounters and lives. As we’ve continued to move through the reviews of others’ creations, as well as my own, I’ve found it helpful to compartmentalize my observations and ideas into subtopics as follows; design, function, content and overall impression. For this review, I will adopt and utilize this framework from a marketing perspective.

Design:

Upon immediate landing on Megan’s homepage, the Kindness Lifestyle is captivating and peaceful. Prior to delving into this review, I must admit, Megan’s blog has been an inspiration from the commencement of this course and I have been impressed with her ability to take challenging and polarizing issues like veganism and God and present them in a manner that is approachable and balanced.

I feel that Megan achieves this sense of equilibrium and inclusion via subtle, simple and controlled elements of design directed at user experience that Maria Popova in Bleymaier’s (2013) article suggests is in her readers’ best interests. The soft spectrum of colors highlights a feel of authentic and genuine kindness, with a simple and elegant font that softens each issue. The blog is not a confrontational ‘in your face’ place, but rather an ecosystem of food for thinking that begins to unravel enlightened perspectives. I feel that this degree of openness and neutrality supports the blogs bounce rate, which was discussed in the guest lecture by Monique Sherrett, which is elaborated on here.

I appreciate Megan’s logo; it is creative, welcoming, and without words, does an excellent job of reflecting what her blog is about; being kind. I like that this, as well as the color scheme is carried throughout each page, as it allows for easy navigation and access to content. In terms of font, I really like the titles “welcome” and “things to read,” as these have a personalized feel that evokes a feeling that Megan writes this blog for you. The photography on this blog is relevant and playful, reminding me of the first week’s reading by Craig Mod, “How I got My Attention Back,” where he notes, “the quieter my mind became, and the deeper I went into my own work, the more I realized how my always-on, always-connected state had rendered me largely useless” (2017). Megan’s blog reinforces this consciousness of being in the present, which for me, is helpful and contributive to wanting to be kind.

I would consider one element of change in terms of design that could very well be a personal preference; however, I feel that under “Things to Read” on the main page, I would like to see the pictures posted at the same level. While I sometimes enjoy the contrast of things being off-centered, it throws me off here, and gives me the slight, yet incorrect perspective that the right side, Academics, is of greater value.

Function:

I truly appreciate the functional aspect of this blog, as it is easy to navigate, flows nicely across the page and is rather intuitive. There is an element of predictability in how it looks and feels, which leaves the content to present itself as refreshing and novel. Items are easy to locate, and with the content space carrying through the larger images on the page, the writing is locatable and takes centre stage as you scroll.

I appreciate the drop down menu on “academics” and unlike some blogs, this feels organic, not forced, which reiterates the overall feel of the site. Likewise, the predictable nature of functional aspects of the blog, such as the title, easily get you to where you wish go. I would prefer for the word, “blog” to be an actual link, because it takes a little more accuracy to hit “have a read,” but overall, it’s excellent.

Content:

Megan’s writing is elegant, honest, insightful and contemplative, which for me is what I wish to see on a blog. In class, Trevor Battye discussed the importance of providing a blog that is unique, as in a saturated online world with opinions, photos and articles, being one of a kind or at least, one of a few helps to generate the marketing potential of oneself. ‘Detailed’ looks at some of these unique blogs here. For Megan, her topic is extremely timely, as in the age of cyberbullying and Trumped-up racism, stereotyping and hate, a little kindness is a fresh and needed concept. I particularly enjoy her blog on Emoto, which you can digest here, as well as this candid writing she did on Dr. Brene Brown.

Megan’s content is memorable, and because it’s so unique, it could benefit from some greater hashtagging. I think that there is some specific language being employed, so highlighting this with hashtags would be beneficial for readers and marketing the true depth of her content. For instance, “Emoto” would be a good start.

Overall:

Megan’s blog is a fascinating expose on being kind. One would think that this is not necessarily something that needs to be blogged about, but when you consider the relevance and importance of such actions and attitudes, a blog is important, engaging and actually quite useful in finding inner and outwards happiness. From a marketing perspective, Megan provides an excellent product; it is consistent, novel, engaging, easy to understand and negates an instant departure through providing stunning images and inquisitive writing.

Peer Review #3

Reace Mok

Reace has written a powerful and vulnerable blog called ReRouted. His blog discusses his experiences in finding his identity after he left playing football. Coming from an ex-athlete such as myself, I found myself relating to his posts which brought me comfort in realizing I wasn’t alone in my experiences of finding my identity past my sport. In saying this, I believe Reace’s intended audience is athletes of all sports. I say athletes in general because although he discusses the life of a retired football player, athletes from all sports must experience this one day and would find value in his blog at any stage of their athletic career.

Right off the bat, Reace’s stunning homepage immediately shows his viewers what his blog is all about. I absolutely love the series of images he chose as they tell his story of slowly shedding off his identity as a football player and coming into his new self. This series of images alone is a huge way he has marketed his blog towards athletes, and more specifically retired athletes, as we all can relate to this feeling of taking off our uniform for the last time. In this sense, Reace has already gained his audience’s attention on a personal level right from the beginning of their search. He also has featured his “About” section on the side bar of the front page, so if he has any viewers who may not have understood the series of images at first glance, they can easily find what his blog is about on the homepage. Both the eye-catching images and his “About” section being on the homepage is a great way to decrease bounce rate, which as our guest speaker, Monique Sherrett, explained, is the rate at which people come to your website and leave right away.

Reace’s blog content is very consistent with his theme. He shares a vulnerable part of himself, which is oftentimes difficult for ex-athletes to talk about. Although there are plenty of articles on the Internet that discuss this identity crisis athletes face when retiring from their sport, this is the first time I’ve come across a blog dedicated to it. One of our guest speakers, Trevor Battye, discussed how our goal with our website should be to create something that no one else can compete with, and I believe Reace has done this. Not many people are willing to be vulnerable and put their struggles online for everyone to read and see, but I believe that is why his blog is extremely marketable to his audience. All retired athletes face this identity battle at varying degrees; Reace’s blog gives these people a place to come and see that they’re not or were not alone in this struggle. Here’s one of his posts that truly demonstrates his courage to be vulnerable with his readers, which is something I truly admire.

A possible way Reace could increase his marketability towards his audience is through including images in his blog posts. Not only does this give the reader a visual break from the text, it also adds another personal touch to his already personal posts. It could be worthwhile to include images of himself playing football! Another way he could increase his marketability towards his audience is by including mental health resources (maybe even ones geared towards athletes) at the end of his posts for viewers to look into if they are struggling and considering getting help. Coming from experience, this retired athlete identity struggle can be difficult to navigate alone; letting his audience know that it’s okay to seek help would not only increase his marketability, but also help decrease the stigma around mental health. I believe Reace will have no problem maintaining and growing his audience as long as he stays true to them and continues to be a courageous blogger through his vulnerability!

Peer Review #2: Kristina Gorobets “speculating about creativity and life”

For this peer review, I will be taking a look at Kristina’s “speculating about creativity and life.”

At first glance, I was pleased with the simplicity of the theme of the website and how easy it was to navigate through on mobile. I wasn’t able to access the first peer review on Kristina’s blog due to the link of her first assigned peer review partner’s blog not working, so I’m not sure what they originally suggested to Kristina in terms of improvements that could be made. Therefore I’ll be giving my own thoughts as to what can be improved on.

As the concept of her blog revolves mainly around visual design and art, one minor thing I would suggest to make your posts more vibrant is to add some colour in your text opposed to keeping it at a default colour for every post. I know some colours may be hard to read, so perhaps something like blue, purple or green will work.

I would suggest to also keep content that pertains to her blog and keep all other content such as the PUB 201 assignments hidden on the front page of her blog. One plugin I personally use is “WP Hide Post,” which is a pretty simple tool to hide the posts you don’t want to be shown on your front page through the click of a button. As for the “ABOUT” page, I do think the recent posts and categories widgets on the right hand side takes a bit of the attention away from your actual about section, and would be better to leave it completely out.

Lastly, I see that Kristina has different categories or themes for each of her posts such as “editor’s pick,” “for fun,” “stories,” etc., maybe something you can do with these is to add these categories into your “Blog” menu. That way your audience will be able to get a feel of the different kind of artwork that you’re presenting through a dropdown menu.

Telling by her Instagram that is linked to her blog which can also be perceived as a portfolio, I can confidently say that Kristina has a talent for art and that it is something that she is passionate about. I look forward to seeing what else she has to share in terms of her work.

Want to see Kristina’s blog for yourself? click here!

Peer Review – 2

I had the pleasure of peer reviewing Jill’s Book Blog, which you can find here. From the onset, this is an engaging site, as it explores accessible reading, an aspect of publishing that the majority of the population is somewhat unfamiliar. Jill’s Book Blog is completely transparent; the creator offers insights and perspectives on the development and design of a blog through an access aide. As Jill articulates here, there are certain challenges one faces when visually impaired, with design in particular being an understandable barrier. As I am not overly committed to reading books, especially during undergraduate where we do have a high quota of readings, I was, at first thought, somewhat uninterested in the content of this blog; however, in exploring the pages and being introduced to the works under review, an appreciation was established and is hopefully reflected in this review.  Here, I have divided my review by examining the content, design and overall impression.

I find book reviews challenging. To take a relatively long piece of writing and condense it into a concise and engaging review is difficult, so I feel that Jill’s Book Blog tackles an ambitious topic, especially for a weekly update. Likewise, in attempting to reach her goal of 96 books in 365 days, time is of the essence, and here, she does this well. I find the writing to be clear, effective and brief, and despite this, she negates jeopardizing the offering of a polished summary and well-written opinion about the book. There are some minor grammatical errors that are revealed through missing commas and dashes, as well as some repetition, but overall the posts are strong and any wordiness can be reflective of the vernacular a blog can sometimes evoke. I appreciate Jill’s sentiment that “I feel like I have become stuck in the formal, uninventive, dry essay/assignment writing and organizing we have to do in University, that I perhaps lost my creativity and imagination,” and understand how the concept of blogging for a course is refreshing. One post that I found highly entertaining was this interview with Batman.  Using a strong sense of humor, playful language and clear objective of interpreting a novel through Bruce Wayne’s understanding of crime, Jill effectively entices the reader to explore the content afforded throughout her blog. I would like to see this extended with more links to other reviews or related-sites.

I like the design of this blog; it is simple, clear, focused and easy to navigate. I can’t really relate to the challenges in creating and maintaining the design via an access aide, but I can certainly appreciate the effort that was made to vocalize the desired outcomes. I like the black border, which in most cases I do not, but here it reflects the pages of a book. I am also fond of the number of tags for each post, as for me, when creators attribute too many tags, the page starts to look cluttered. There are two things I would like to see considered for alteration. First, I think that Jill has two important tag-lines for her blog; “Adventures of Accessible Reading” and “96 Books in 365 Days;” however, the latter is difficult to locate, and for me, is one of the interesting aspects of the blog. I would prefer to see it alongside “Adventures of Accessible Reading.” Also, I am not entirely fond of the main image of the lagoon and book waterfall. I appreciate the creativity of the books being employed as an abundant fall, but the image is somewhat unclear and too low of quality. I am also less enthusiastic about the type of image; I feel that the natural wonder-like photo does not really reflect the types of books being reviewed. This is of course, personal preference, but for me, I would like to see something different.

Overall, I like this blog. I found it incredibly approachable and accessible (pardon the pun), and unlike some opinion-based blogs, I feel that I truly learned something, or became interested in learning more about accessible reading. In fact, I would value further links to other resources outside of just the book, not just about the book itself, but how accessible reading is made available. I don’t need to read more about accessibility on this blog, but resources that are vetted by someone with a visual impairment would be interesting. Likewise, more links in general would be intriguing; I would like to know who Jill agrees with, disagrees with or what other books the focal one could be related to. One could also link to where to find the book, which I like about this book blog found here.

Jill’s Book Blog is a well-developed and organized site that provides visitors with approachable and strong synopses of various books. With some minor edits and slight alterations to some design aspects, this blog is very appealing and worth revisiting – for 96 days.

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!)


Peer Review #3: Karl’s blog – Japanese Anime Reviews

Continuing from the second peer review, my review partner blog is Karl’s blog.

Wow. I immediately realized a critical change in the front page of the website. The header image is changed, and it is absolutely stunning.

It was a colorful and bright header image before, and as I mentioned, it was a little hard to read the name of the homepage. The changed image is a monochromic image in which the title of the website distinguishable from the header image. I definitely love the choice that he made. The header image almost inspires me to try an anime. However, one thing that I think the website needs to be fixed is the front page contents. It is an anime review website, but it shows the posiel contents on the front page in which the expected audience would not want to see. It could probably be fixed by a plugin call WP HIDE POST. Install the plugin and activate it. Then you will see Post Visibility on the bottom when you upload the post

.

By simply check “Hide on the front page”, it will be disappeared from the front page. In terms of the marketability, it will be much attractive anime review blog if those posiel contents disappear from the front page.

The intended audience is people who are interested in Japanese anime or people who would like to know about Japanese anime. However, just like my website, Karl’s blog is not interested in marketing. The blog does not include any advertisement and marketing sources. When I googled Japanese anime review, Karl’s blog is not showing up, and I had to type “Karl’s blog Japanese anime reviews”.

How could this website possibly do the marketing? I was thinking about to add an advertisement for an enterprise such as Amazon. I see many other websites include Amazon advertisement, and I think this website could possibly put Japanese anime product from Amazon.

Yes, Amazon has tons of Japanese anime products, so it is reasonably beneficial for both Karl’s blog and Amazon if the website includes an advertisement.

The second marketing is youtube. I researched a YouTuber who does Japanese Anime contents. One of the famous youtuber is The Anime man who has over 150k subscribers.

Since Japanese anime is extremely popular, and the anime culture is well developed, this blog has positive potential in terms of the marketability. I really enjoyed Karl’s blog how it is changing better and better, and I am excited to see more.

Reference

Karl’s blog http://kaleukl.com/

Suzanne Norman. 2015 “Trying not to drop breadcrumbs in Amazon’s store.” http://publishing.sfu.ca/2016/03/breadcrumbs-of-data/

Youtuber, The Anime man. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheAn1meMan

Amazon. www.amazon.ca

 

PEER REVIEW #3

For my final peer review, I will be reviewing my classmate Quentin’s blog. His blog is called Assiduous Aesthetic, and it showcases his graphic design skills in the form of soccer jerseys for international, professional teams. Assiduous Aesthetic has a very clear motivation in terms of design. Quentin has made good use of his chosen blog theme to show who he is and his purpose behind the blog.

Considering the content on Assiduous Aesthetic, the general audience for this blog would be jersey designers, graphic designers, and soccer fans. Quentin has done a great job at choosing a niche that is specific enough to generate a targeted audience, which allows for lots of potential for marketing. His series, “My World Cup Redesign”, offers two redesigned uniforms for each soccer team in the world cup. He outlines his reasoning and rationale behind his design choices, and offers pictures of both the current uniforms and his newly designed uniforms. This content could be marketed towards those who are interested in the design of soccer uniforms. In general, the marketability of the content on Assiduous Aesthetic is high, especially around the time of FIFA. Being one of the most watched sports events in the world, Assiduous Aesthetic has the potential to have a lot of traffic driven to it. Mary Meeker (2018) points out that as the digitized world strives towards more creation, the competition will breed commercialism. The jerseys that Quentin has created have the potential to be monetized and marketed not only to international teams, but also to local soccer teams looking to redesign their jerseys.

The design of Assiduous Aesthetics provides clear calls to action regarding its content. On the homepage, there are three buttons that each call for the website user to explore deeper into the content that the blog offers. The first one says “Explore what happens when I fuse together soccer and graphic design,” the second one says, “Find out more about me and why I’m taking this project on,” and the third one says, “Take a look at my other work for Publishing 101.” Each of these calls to action not only works as a helpful guide through Quentin’s site, but also gives a quick snapshot to what his site is really about. Below this, Quentin provides a few links to his work. This gives users an easy way to explore his content without having to go through the hassle of navigating the site. Josh Constine (2016) wrote about how Facebook Messenger climbed its way to obtaining one billion users. He wrote that people were drawn to Messenger as it became easier and more convenient to use (Constine, 2016). Because Facebook values improving the day to day lives of its users, it prioritizes making their app easy to use, therefore attracting crowds (Constine, 2016). Similarly, Quentin has prioritized making his blog extremely clear and easy to navigate, which will attract and retain readers of his content.

Pulling from advice given by Travis Gertz (2015), I think that it is important for Quentin to take risks in the design aspect of his site. Not letting metrics and a need for high traffic produce a desire for normalization is essential for presenting content in new and innovative ways (Gertz, 2015). Although Assiduous Aesthetics is easy to navigate, it remains simple. Simplicity is not necessarily a bad characteristic, however, I think there is opportunity for Quentin to incorporate his love for design into the fabric of his blog. A unique design will allow for marketing opportunities on social media that catch the eyes of his potential audience.

Altogether, Quentin’s blog seems to have a clear direction in terms of content, and a solid audience. Reaching past a simplistic design approach will really give Assiduous Aesthetics the ability to market his designs in a unique way.

Peer Review 3

For the last peer review, I have been given the opportunity to review Cherie Lau’s website. Cherie has a wide variety of content about women’s beauty. Ranging from makeup to skincare. When I open her website there is a large header with aesthetically pleasing cursive writing saying Cherie Lau. Underneath, there is a subheading “Share my small obsession with all things beauty”. From this I am quickly able to understand that this is a website about women’s beauty.

 

(Cherie’s menu bar and header)

Something that I find when scrolling through Cherie’s website, is the  wide variety of topics. This isn’t ideal when finding a focussed audience. One criticism I have about Cherie’s website is her menu bar. Currently there is: Makeup, Skincare, Travel and PUB 101. What I don’t understand is why there is a travel button. This confuses the audience because above she tells us her website is about beauty; however, travelling has no correlation with women’s beauty. Also, when I click on the travel menu I am directed to a blank page. I suggest scratching the travelling part from your website and focus on women’s beauty. Having a wide variety of topics to discuss does decrease the marketability of your website. Reading through Cherie’s articles I find that there is a very broad range in topics. For example, in her skincare menu some of the topics Cherie writes about are: Would I Repurchase, Is your skincare working and Skincare Products I’m enjoying. I believe it would be easier for the audience to navigate through her website and be able to find what they want to learn if she added menus like, product reviews, how to apply products and my routine.

As I read some of Cherie’s posts I see that she has built a strong online persona. She has done this by telling her audience her personal opinions and some of her personal stories. My impression of Cherie is the she is someone that is passionate about beauty and knows her stuff. If I was into makeup I would like to read her interesting blog posts. This is a very effective way in getting an audience to come back to her website. Cherie has also shared her Email, Youtube and Instagram accounts that appear on every page. This is a great way to connect with her audience even more. Both social medias allow Cherie to better market herself.

 

(Cherie connecting with her audience)

PEER REVIEW #3 – Street Stories

Mariah Craig’s website Street Stories: Perspectives of the Vulnerable is an online storytelling space that seeks to shed light on the beauty and pain present in a marginalized neighbourhood in Surrey. Currently, Mariah is in the process of completing a series of three interviews with those employed by Nightshift Ministries, the context of her work.

There seems to be a disconnect for me between the site’s goal to tell the stories of the marginalized and displaced in Surrey and what it is currently doing. The organization, Nightshift itself, appears to be the main focus of the website at this moment in time. I imagine that as Mariah becomes more familiar with those in the community that the focus will shift to the site’s intended focus: the stories of those who are served by the organization.

Further, I am not certain who Mariah’s intended audience is. Possible future volunteers or donors for the organization? Friends who want to stay updated on her new experiences as a volunteer? In any case, making the exploration possibilities more obvious for users would benefit Mariah’s site. Victor Kaptelinin discusses the importance of affordances in design, explaining their purpose: “to denote action possibilities provided to the actor by the environment”. I found myself wanting to organize the information that was coming at me at first glance of Mariah’s site. The posts on Mariah’s home page are an assortment of interviews with Nightshift workers, a post about her first volunteer experience with Nightshift, and an essay about Humans of New York, a storytelling project that her site is largely inspired by. The overload of information on the first page did not make the “possible uses [of the site] immediately obvious” (Kaptelinin). Mariah’s site would benefit from separate pages to aid in categorizing the assortment of material on Mariah’s site. For example, explicitly informational pages that seek to foreground Mariah herself and Nightshift Ministries could be separate pages instead of one among many posts.

Mariah’s site might also benefit from a social media platform that is directly linked to her work at Nightshift. At the moment, her personal Instagram account is linked to her site and has no direct intersection with the theme of her site.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the interviews that Mariah conducted. I really got the sense that those being interviewed have a real heart for the people suffering from addiction and homelessness in Surrey. In this sense, Mariah is capturing moving stories for her readers. One thing I wondered about, however, is the format in which they are being represented. The typical interview style is not being deployed here, in which the interviewer asks a question and the reader is able to see verbatim the reply given by the person being interviewed. I find that approach much clearer and easier to follow. My recommendation would be to use that format as a foundation and then have Mariah write freely discussing the way that the interview affected her after the initial interview.

Peer Review 3

For my final peer review, I will be reviewing Erika Cocco’s blog, The World of Irish Dance.

Erika’s blog documents her journey to become the Western Canadian Regional Champion in Irish Dance, while also educating readers on the training and work involved in being an Irish Dancer. Her homepage is simple yet appealing; it shows her blog title, main menu, a white background, and a massive picture of her dancing. This picture adds some needed colour and visuals to her homepage, and as one of the first things viewers see when they go to her website, it creates interest and its tagline makes the focus of the blog clear. The typefaces she uses on her homepage work well together and complement her blog’s simple aesthetic.

I did notice a few things on her homepage that could use some improvement. Her Instagram widget does not work, as I tried to click on it and could not reach the site. I would suggest that she fix this so users can check out her Instagram and see some dance-related pictures in addition to learning more about her life outside of Irish Dance. Erika also has a Recent Posts widget, which is helpful for users, but it mostly shows Pub 101 posts, which are not the reason why people would visit her blog. She should update it to show only her dance-related posts, as that would make it easier for viewers to find what they are looking for. Additionally, the blog posts on her homepage are underneath a Recent Posts section, which is confusing as she also has her Recent Posts widget that shows different posts. I would recommend that she remove the Recent Posts tag above her homepage blog posts. Lastly, she has a Category widget, which is very helpful, but it is underneath her other widgets, and would work better underneath the search bar so her viewers could easily choose what they want to read.

Erika’s About page is very informative and helps me get to know her and understand the purpose of her blog. It is very effective at drawing readers in and piquing their interest in her blog. Beside the About page is an Achievements section, where you can select different competitions and see where she placed in them throughout the years. I like the idea of it, but I wish these posts talked about her experience in each competition instead of just listing her placing, as it would make the reader more interested in the results.

Her blog posts are very interesting, and I really enjoyed learning about her experience as a dancer; however, a few changes would make these posts even better. The typeface she uses is very small and hard to read, so I would suggest making it bigger, especially since her pictures currently take up more space than her text. I noticed some grammatical errors in her posts as well, so it may help if she proofread them before posting to make them look more professional. Her posts also contain long paragraphs that would benefit from being broken up into smaller sections. I additionally noticed that it says the author of her posts is “admin”, which appears impersonal, so I would recommend that she either remove this or change it to her name. Erika’s posts are also quite short, with some of them only consisting of one paragraph, so I would encourage her to write longer posts to tell her audience more about her experiences, as I am sure they will be eager to learn more about Irish Dance.

Lastly, I noticed that Erika has not posted on her blog in over a month, which makes it difficult to attract and maintain an audience. Michael Warner discusses this in “Publics and Counterpublics”, stating that publics “commence with the moment of attention, must continually predicate renewed attention, and cease to exist when attention is no longer predicated”. Erika’s blog would benefit from her keeping up to date on her posts, as it would maintain her audience’s interest and keep them coming back.

Overall, Erika’s blog is very interesting both to Irish Dancers and those who would like to learn about Irish Dance. I would recommend that she make a few design changes to make her blog more visually appealing and user-friendly for her audience, and that she keep up to date with her posts to keep viewers engaged and encourage them to revisit her blog.

Peer Review #3: “Lessons of a Design Student”

Jason Chung’s blog “Lessons of a Design Student” has the potential for marketing opportunities, but he may need to narrow down his target audience to better understand what type of marketing would be the most appropriate for his website. Currently, Jason hopes to target an audience of all ages, but it is difficult to make a design that appeals to both children and professionals.

(Jason’s current target audience).

Matthew Stadler’s talk on “What is Publication?” could help Jason think about his audience more critically. At 1:20 in the video, Stadler (2010) explains that “publication is the creation of a public.” Stadler does not mean that everyone will be attracted to a website, but rather publication gives people the opportunity to create a certain type of public. Further on in the video at 5:35, Stadler (2010) also reminds viewers that “publication requires relationships and conversations.” In order for Jason to have meaningful conversations on his website (between himself and his readers), he should try targeting a certain age group or a group with a certain level of design competency. Since this blog is written clearly from the perspective of a “design student,” I would expect Jason’s target audience to be 18-25-year-old design students or people considering entering the design field, but it is possible to target a younger or older audience. He could also try looking at his Google Analytics to gain a better understanding of the audience he is already reaching (on Google Analytics, go to Audience, Demographics, Age).

If Jason’s target audience is interested in going into the design field, he will have a wide variety of marketing opportunities. He could potentially place a sponsored advertisement for a university that offers design courses, such as SFU. Jason could also have affiliate advertisements for software such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator (but this may be contradictory to his post “Design Software is Just Another Tool”). He could also have affiliate advertising for design books. If Jason decides to have any form of advertisement, I recommend he puts a disclaimer somewhere on his website that explains how he makes money from these advertisements. As Tom Bleymaier (2013) argues in his critical review on Maria Popvova’s advertising techniques, “it sure seems like [readers] should have all the information at hand to make their own choice.”

While Jason considers monetizing his blog, he should also consider altering his design to better indicate his desired audience. I recommend installing the plugin WP Hide Post. His POSIEL posts are not related to his blog’s topic, so I would recommend using this plugin to hide the process and assignment posts on his homepage. This will help his audience find his design posts faster. Jason should also consider adding colour, a header image, or a background image to give his website more flare. I have only taken one design course, but graphic design is very visual and, as of right now, Jason’s website is more text-heavy.

Beyond the lack of photos, there are lots of other design elements that are working well on Jason’s website. His website has a really strong sense of balance. The content is center-aligned, which leaves a lot of white space on the right and left sides of the screen (both on his homepage and on his blog posts). As Mauvé Page (2018) discussed in her design lecture to our class, white space is important for a variety of reasons. White space makes the page feel less cluttered, and also makes big blocks of texts feel less daunting for readers. Jason’s blog is mostly filled with text, but the white space makes the homepage feel clean and tidy rather than overwhelming or cluttered.

Even though the balance and use of white space are working well on Jason’s blog, he could use more contrast on his homepage and blog posts. Mauvé (2018) recommended “[using] contrast to create emphasis.” Contrast can be created through “colour, texture, size, and shapes” (Mauvé 2018). Jason could create contrast on his homepage by having an interesting header or background image. I noticed that Jason has a post called “Start with Sketching.” When I took IAT102 (Intro to Graphic Design) last summer, the course also emphasized the importance of sketching in graphic design. Since sketching is a big part of design, it might be interesting to have a bunch of different sketches as the background image. Just an idea!

Overall, Jason’s website is coming along nicely. Focusing more on his target audience and contrast on his homepage could help him increase his blog’s marketing potential.

 

Works Cited

  • Bleymaier, Tom. 2013On Advertising — Maria Popova. http://on-advertising.tumblr.com/
  • Page, Mauvé. October 2018. “Some Considerations for Web Design and Type On Screens.” Lecture at Simon Fraser University for Publishing 101.
  • Stadler, Matthew. 2010. “What is Publication?” Talk from the Richard Hugo House’s writer’s conference, Seattle, WA. May 21, 2010. https://vimeo.com/14888791

Peer Review #3 – Piece of Cake

I had the opportunity to review Anissa’s blog, Piece of Cake. The name of the blog is very clever as it fits well with the content. I applaud her on taking this commonly used phrase and making it meaningful by creating relevant content.

I would suggest adjusting the tagline so that it states “tips and tricks for event planning on a budget” instead of “tips and tricks to party planning on a budget” since the content encompasses more than just parties as it includes birthdays, weddings and holidays. With the adjusted the tagline, it would create a transitional flow with the about me section as the tagline and the first paragraph of this section would be more connected. The remainder of the about me section provides a personal perspective as to why she has chosen this topic for her blog. It is evident that she is passionate about and has a strong interest for event planning. This passion is essential in marketing her blog to her intended audience since this is what separates her blog from others. Unlike Toast which did not have a clear mission statement, Anissa’s tagline acts as a mission statement as it lets readers know what the objective of her blog is (Carpenter, 2016).

Moreover, consider removing the home category since clicking on the name of the blog, Piece of Cake, directs readers back to the homepage. Also, the usage of three different shades of grey on the homepage makes the page seem busy. I would suggest using two consistent shades, a light, and dark grey so that this ensures what Mauve Pagé called unity through colour consistency (Pagé, 2018). Furthermore, the aqua on the homepage seems out of place since it was only used once. I would suggest incorporating more of this colour so that it creates what Mauve Pagé called rhythm (Pagé, 2018). Changing the colour of the “subscribe to newsletter” button from grey to aqua when a viewer is hovering over it would be a subtle yet effective way to accomplish this.

The ability to let readers subscribe to a newsletter is great. I would suggest adding a brief description of what the newsletter will entail so that potential subscribers know what they are signing up for. I applaud Anissa on setting this up as it is a great way to establish readership of her blog. Additionally, it will strengthen her relationship with her audience (Nederkoorn, n.d.). Although it is a rare commodity to see someone actually read a privacy policy, I did not see a way to access it on Anissa’s blog; this may deter readers from subscribing.

A social media presence is a great way for people to discover and share Anissa’s blog, however, since the accounts are not very active, they are taking up valuable real estate on her homepage. If she decides to keep these icons, I suggest moving them closer to the about me section so that after reading about her users are more inclined to visit and follow her on social media. Currently, the icons are situated in a spot where they seem out of place with a large amount of white space above and to the right of them.

Moreover, I enjoyed the content posted on Anissa’s blog as I found the post about Pumpkin Carving Stencils to be very useful as I had never considered poking small holes and using a stencil to carve my pumpkin. I wish that I had viewed her blog earlier so that I could have implemented this a few weeks ago for Halloween, but I will definitely keep this in mind for next year. Additionally, there was a post which seemed to be missing as I received a page not found error; this was the Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe. However, the Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe reminded me of an article which dealt with the legalities of copyright for a recipe book (Henein, 2015).

Overall, I found the content to be clear and concise; this is very helpful because when you are planning an event there are many things to do in preparation of it, so time is of the essence. I believe that it is very helpful to have the content structured in this manner so that readers know exactly what they need to do and still have ample time to prepare.

In Anissa’s process post from week six, she mentioned that her intended audience is young and middle-aged women. However, I think that her intended audience encompasses many more people especially since there is a variety in the content which she is publishing. I believe that her intended audience and entails anyone who is planning on celebrating a birthday, wedding or holiday and is looking for tips and tricks. Regardless, the content is relevant to her audience.

When it comes to the usability of the blog, I recalled Mauve Pagé’s presentation where she mentioned that a seamless experience across all platforms holds high importance for viewers (Pagé, 2018). With this in mind, I viewed Anissa’s blog on my phone and noted that her entire blog was well optimized for mobile devices. Additionally, it features quick loading times which also holds value for viewers. Lastly, I would suggest adding a site icon so that when viewers pin the blog to their browser it is easier for them to identify the blog.

Ultimately, Anissa’s blog has been designed in a way which makes the content appealing for her audience. If you are interested in reading more, click here!

 

References

Carpenter, S. (2016, May 13). The Toast Is Toast: Literary Humor Site Shuts Down Over Ad Revenue Woes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelbycarpenter/2016/05/13/the-toast-is-toast-and-its-devastating/#2845909a48f6

Henein, P. (2015, October 27). You Say “Tomaydo”, I Say No Copyright Infringement: Recipe Book Not An Original Compilation. Retrieved from https://www.casselsbrock.com/CBNewsletter/You_Say__Tomaydo___I_Say_No_Copyright_Infringement__Recipe_Book_Not_An_Original_Compilation

Pagé, M. (2018, October 2). Mauve Pagé. Presentation, Simon Fraser University Vancouver.

Nederkoorn, C. (n.d.). Should you write blog posts or email newsletters? Retrieved from https://customer.io/blog/blog-post-or-newsletter-content-marketing/

Peer Review #2; ‘D Blog’

‘D Blog’ is a fascinating blog that displays artwork around the world in different cultures at its finest. Denny is a very talent creator, he speaks so passionately about art, it is very refreshing. 

Denny has taken his blog to the next level; you can tell that art is a passion of his. His blog speaks wonders of his travels and the art he has seen across the world, and it is fascinating to see how different yet the same as it is no matter the country. I enjoyed his blog post titled “Vallea Lumina,” I loved the way he captured the colours and lights with his words. If there were no photos attached, I still could have imagined it with his colourful verbiage. The images add so much though, looking at it as a spectator there could not have been more perfect photographs in place. I enjoyed how this article tied in some of his personal life as well, as we learn he went to Whistler with some friends for a getaway.

As for the general aesthetic of his blog, I think it’s beautiful, and he has it laid out in an accessible format, the whole way the blog is structured makes it very comfortable to use. The ‘about’ page is short and sweet, everything you need to know about him, plus I like how he added his email so his viewers could get in touch. One thing that stood out for me was the use of images he chose to use per post. I liked the variety used, some cartoons and others real photos, the range of them stood out and made every post especially different. On the right-hand side below the search bar, he has categories for each of his posts, which I found very useful for navigational purposes. I noticed if you scroll to the bottom of his page you can see his social media, which I found to add that extra step for his viewers and to make it easy and accessible for them to keep updated with him and his life.

Overall I think Denny has done a fantastic job with his blog so far; I had a hard time coming up with things that Denny could improve on. If I have to choose something maybe to add a few more personal touches, and perhaps a homepage photo? I would also love to see some more colour, he could add a personal touch by adding in his favourite colour as the header background, just a thought. I never used to be a big fan of art, I never called myself an artistic person, but after reviewing and looking at Denny’s blog, it indeed has changed my mind. The way he describes art make me have a better appreciation. Keep up the excellent work Denny!

I look forward to your next entry.

http://dennygu.com/

PEER REVIEW #3

For this week, I had the opportunity to review Jasmine’s blog, based in Vancouver B.C. The header is very simple and takes up a large portion in the first page of her blog. The simplicity of blog title, “just jasmine” gives me an impression that her blog’s goal is to deliver her audience a view on her every day life which reflects on what kind of person she is. 

She currently has about 5 blog posts and there isn’t a consistent theme, but they are heavily based on her personal review on topics including female empowerment, Vancouver chocolate fest, and etc. From her home page, it’s quite difficult to understand who exactly her blog’s target audience is. However, she describes the purpose of her blog in her About tab, which is “a fusion of things that interest [her], [her] thoughts, and the things [she] enjoys , eating/drinking/doing”.Similar to what I mentioned earlier, it seems to be a mixture of many things integrated to produce a lifestyle blog. Jasmine’s blog has 4 categories: About, Blog, Food and Beauty. The “blog” tab seems to act as her home page, but in a different format as to what we originally see when we enter her direct URL. A question I have for her is where she is categorizing her posts on “Here’s to Strong Women”, and “Is the Indian Wedding Industry Out of Control?”. These posts do not go under any of these categories, and I feel that she could build a category for these kind of posts that revolve around her personal review on societal issues. As a reader, I feel that her simple design on distribution of content within a small space is very efficient.

P.S. make sure to change the URL for “Here’s to Strong Women” because it’s currently set as http://jkallu.com/blog/517/.  When there’s set of numbers at the end of the URL, it could be perceived as less people friendly. By having the audience easily recognize and pass around the post URL, it improves the SEO so I highly suggest Jasmine to alter this right away. 

Although she already has 5 blog posts, I could view all of these posts at the top of her home page without having to scroll all the way down. She uses a carousel of thumbnails of each post ordered from newest to oldest, making it easier for the user to navigate through her content from the beginning.  

As this week’s peer review is focused on marketing of the blog, my tip to Jasmine is for her to further understand the role of social media widgets in her blog. When I first started to create my blog, I thought that including social media widgets in my blog acted as a way to promote my social media accounts and gain potential followers (really!). However, I recognized that if my blog has no relation to the social media I’m sharing on my page, there’s no purpose. Everything that is posted and displayed on one’s online space must relate with the purpose of the blog, or else it becomes out of context and unnecessary. Jasmine attached her Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest account on her page. Instagram could be a very useful space to share content that doesn’t have to exactly be the same with her blog posts, but used as a space for people to further view her posts that follows the theme of her blog. Facebook can also act as a platform in the similar way as Instagram where the audience can connect with her to enjoy her future posts. However, when it comes to her Pinterest account, I was slightly confused in terms of relation with her blog. Her “pins” only consists of three posts and they’re heavily based on DIY content which becomes off-topic from the goal of her blog. In addition, her last-pin was made 41 weeks ago which means that she hasn’t been recently active. I suggest Jasmine to remove her Pinterest widget if it’s not an active space for her audiences to connect or have strong relation with her blog. 

As a student following a similar lifestyle concept blog like Jasmine, I like the content she produces within her online space. She doesn’t simply rave about the food and music she consumes, but she discusses and shares quotes and phrases that empower a specific group of people in some of her posts. It’s good to see how her blog content she produces makes the reader learn something new at the end of the day. Keep up the great work Jasmine! 

The post PEER REVIEW #3 appeared first on Honestly Naomi.

Peer Review #3 – Goode Eats

With a witty play on one of my favourite food network TV shows, Lauren’s blog “Goode Eats” is well developed and shows her online personality well.

As Lauren states in her “Audience” post, her intended audience is most likely foodies living in the Vancouver area. Goode Eats is an extremely marketable blog towards that audience, since her blog is about, well (if the Food Network pun title didn’t ring any bells to you) –  food.

The content Lauren produces on her blog is really well suited towards her intended audience. She posts about places where she goes to eat and details her experience very clearly, adding pictures and her own fun reactions and opinions. The pictures added to her posts of the beautiful decor or the appetizing looking food makes them engaging and fun to read. As well, the tone that Lauren writes her posts in is very simple, easy to understand, and amusing. Going through her whole blog, there has not been a single post where I have been bored and felt like I wanted to click away (not even the process posts for some odd reason!).

Her blog is not only appealing to her intended target audience, but I believe it appeals to quite a lot of people – take a look yourself! Simply just looking at her pictures of food and reading her blog has made me hungry and wanting to visit the places she posts about.

A small problem with her content is that there are quite a few grammar errors scattered throughout her posts, some of them being typos or just oddly worded phrases (they are quite minor so it’s not a big deal) but they are scattered throughout too many posts to link specific instances of them all.

Another thing Lauren does extremely well in her blog marketing wise is that when she leaves a favourable review, she links the addresses and websites of the places where she goes to eat. This optimizes her chance of getting affliates and sponsors from places who may want her to review it in the future! She also lists the prices of the food she orders which is good for any prospective foodies wanting to eat at the places on her blog so they know what to expect budget-wise! Lauren also fittingly is leaving hashtags at the bottom of all her posts – a smart move which increases the possibility of her blog showing up through a search engine.

Overall, Lauren’s blog is very solid from a marketing perspective.

Design wise, her blog is quite easy to navigate and looks very cute. The logo Lauren has made and uploaded as her header fits extremely well onto her theme and it makes the blog seem much more cohesive and professional! The combination of the cutlery symbols + type outlining what is on her blog is wonderful for branding and is in fact what many small companies do when starting out before gaining recognition (because when starting out a logo itself is not recognizable enough to an audience). There are a few minor issues with the navigability, however.

One is that the names of the top menus are a bit confusing.

After clicking through them I can understand what the ‘Get Your Grub On‘ and the ‘You Cooked?!‘ categories are (although I suggest taking out the You Cooked?! category if there are not going to be any cooking posts), but I am still not exactly sure what the Get Your Buzz On category means. That could be confusing to a reader opening your blog who does not have the patience to click through the categories to figure out what they mean, so I suggest renaming them something that is better understood.

The Instagram-esque grid sidebar gallery full of pictures of food is a nice touch! The feed doesn’t clash with the blog theme at all, since the pictures are all earthy, muted, natural colours (which is what seems to be the overall colour scheme of her theme), and the preview pictures of food look delicious, keeping a potential reader of the blog’s interest.

As well, Lauren links her actual Instagram below, which is a smart marketing move especially for foodies, where Instagram is a major platform for gaining an audience. Something I would suggest design-wise, however, is to either add more social media links where the Instagram widget is, or to get rid of that widget and link the Instagram account separately. This is only because the widget container looks quite empty, having a black border around the Instagram link but nothing else filling the space making it look empty and a little bit awkward.

Overall, Lauren’s blog “Goode Eats” does amazingly well, and very appropriately tailored to suit her intended audience. Her blog is super cute, really engaging and I loved going through it! From a marketing perspective, her blog does a good job selling itself to the reader, as well as giving herself the possibility of promotional opportunities from places she reviews.

Peer Review #3

For the third peer review, we were told to review the “website’s marketability to their intended audience group” of one of our assigned peers. I was assigned to review Helen’s blog which is mostly about her life, as well as “sharing fun DIYs, fashion inspirations, fitness tips, and more”. From my point of view, her audience group would most likely be consisted of girls from the age of 12-20. Although her blog is mostly about beauty and leans towards girls, the idea of DIY’s is great because it’s suited for anyone. I’m not sure if her content is only relevant to females, but the post about “Crafts” and “Lifestyle” could be significant to anyone.

From my perspective, Helen’s blog has the potential to gain many viewers! The posts about the reviews of products and clothing are great to inform readers if the products and clothing are worth buying. For example, she reviewed the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil and a bunch of Active wear. These reviews are great because if anyone is uncertain on whether a product works or not, they could read the reviews Helen has posted. I also love how Helen goes in depth of the each product and tells her audience how it works, if it’s worth buying, and where to purchase it. This is just a suggestion, but maybe once Helen gains enough followers, she could allow her audience to recommend different products to review. Another suggestion is to review products that are trending on the internet and possibly new products that people are hesitant to try. Although the products Helen chooses to review are amazing, the following could increase if she review things people suggest, know of, or have been wanting to try.

I’m uncertain if Helen only wanted her post to appeal to girls, but an idea to gain a following for both genders is to make more DIY’s or just life hacks the posts would interest anyone.  The “Lifestyle” posts are also another way to gain a male followers and the idea of posting about her favourite YouTubers is suited for a broader audience.