Peer Review #2
Upon landing on Cassidy’s blog, the first impression I got was a mysterious vibe that intrigued me to explore more, which I found very interesting. The home page features a quote from Emily Dickinson, “That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet,” which probably reflects Cassidy’s perspective on life. Furthermore, I appreciated including a YouTube video, The Most Dangerous Game – Alan Watts on Life’s Illusions, which provides a deeper understanding of morality, life’s meaning, and the human experience. This video was thought-provoking and resonated with me, making me ponder the meaning of life for my self.
The About Me page features a photo of Cassidy between two photos of the SFU Burnaby campus. This likely indicates her bonding with university, which I found it very creative. However, if the intention is to showcase SFU, the pictures are not clear enough for the people who are not SFU student. On the other hand, Cassidy might want to demonstrate her interest in soccer or the place she lives (since one of the photos is the residence area of SFU) which both scenarios are a little ambiguous for me.
I enjoyed the mashup video of Cassidy’s moments, experiences, and acquaintances. It was a really engaging way to introduce herself, her lifestyle, and her personality. For the About Me page, I would have preferred some textual content as well. This would include a short biography of Cassidy and a brief description of what this blog provides to readers. For instance, for mini assignment 2, I would like to know the reason behind choosing Wanda Maximoff as her guest for the blog.
Overall, I believe that her blog is about the meaning of life, her personal experiences and lifestyle, but there are no contents other than those in PUB101 that can help me understand the main concept. However, there are two sections on the navigation bar named My Muses and Lifestyle. These categories contain some headlines such as “Life is an up-and-down rollercoaster”, “Athlete Who Can Do Both”, “Adventurous Soul”, “Things You Should Know”, and “Mental Well-being”. Although there is no content yet for each of the headlines, the headlines themselves help me understand the overall direction of the blog. Which is as I mentioned before, possibly about her lifestyle and personal experiences.
Layout and Customization
I appreciate the imposing hero image and the overall Purplish gradient color of the website, which is both tempting and mysterious, and matches the overall mood of the blog. Especially when blended with the cool cover image of Alan Watt’s video.
As our Guest speaker, Mauve Pagé mentioned “contrast” as one of five design principles last week, I especially like how the white background of Dickinson’s quote contrasts with the overall color scheme of the home page. This contrast caught my attention and drew me into reading the quote.
Since this blog is about Cassidy’s lifestyle and personal life, putting a CTA button for About Me on the hero image is one of her thoughtful decisions. This will help the readers directly connect to her About Me page and get more information on her characteristics.
The article by Interaction Foundation of Design on Affordances, examines the perceptions and actions that users can carry out with products and systems based on their physical and perceived characteristics. Cassidy’s blog design elements, like the overall home page mood and the CTA button on the hero image, afford viewers the opportunity to explore the blog. They also enable readers to find out more about her lifestyle and experiences. Cassidy’s blog utilizes some web design affordances such as multimedia elements in order to make it easier for users to interact with the content and explore creative ideas.
On the home page, there is a headline that says, “What you have been missing” and includes her most recent blog posts, which despite reading all her blog posts, it still shows me what I have missed whenever I refresh the home page, which is confusing. I believe the headline should be changed to “Recent Posts” or something similar.
In the left-side widget, she includes recent posts, recent comments, and categories, which makes finding these things easier for readers.
Also the logo she designed for her website, as well as the establishment date on the logo, are both very personal and stylish.
Social Media Integration
I enjoy using the YouTube videos that she has provided on her blog, as well as the social media icons located at the bottom of the home page. However, it would be beneficial for her to link her accounts to these icons. This will allow her followers to easily access her social media accounts, making it simpler to engage with her and stay updated on her latest content. Additionally, by integrating her social media accounts with her blog, she can increase her online presence and reach a wider audience.
I appreciate the use of multimedia elements on the blog, such as the video on the About page and the embedded YouTube videos.
In terms of typography, Cassidy has made some wise choices with the typefaces used on her blog. The use of italic format for quotes is an excellent touch, and the size differences between headers and body texts are reasonable. However, using more than 2 or 3 typefaces can be distracting and lower the sense of consistency.
I would recommend that Cassidy stick to 1 or 2 typefaces and play with different formats, such as bold or regular for the headers and using a unified typeface for all the body paragraphs.
,For example, in the process post 1, the use of a bold font with shadows makes it difficult for readers to read the content. Choosing a simpler, more readable font would be a better choice for the body text.
Overall, as the Mauve Page guest mentioned, the typography plays a crucial role in the readability and overall aesthetic of a blog. By keeping the number of typefaces to a minimum, and choosing easy-to-read fonts, Cassidy can improve the readability and consistency of her blog.
From what I have observed, Cass has not used a WordPress template for her personal blog. I have not found the name of any templates at the bottom of her blog, which suggests that all the customization and design decisions were made by Cassidy her self. This is highly commendable, since she created her own unique layout from scratch. Her use of an original design has allowed her to arrange the data and add her own creativity and personal touch to the overall design, which in my opinion effectively conveys Gretz’ point of view in his article “Design Machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse”.
Gretz offers a thought-provoking perspective on the impact of standardized design templates and copycat culture on the digital world. He argues that the widespread adoption of similar design layouts and templates is contributing to a loss of originality and creativity in modern web design.
Gertz suggests that many websites are simply replicating successful designs without considering the specific needs of their users or the unique aspects of their brand. He encourages designers to break away from these standardized design templates and instead create custom designs that are tailored to the needs of their users. Gertz’s article is relevant not only to web designers but also to anyone who creates content for the web. As he notes, much of what is presented online is simply “crap content selling crap.” By prioritizing originality and creativity in web design, we can encourage more meaningful and valuable content online.
Gertz’s article also highlights the importance of creating unique and customized designs that reflect the specific needs of the website’s users. In addition, Gertz emphasizes the unique aspects of the brand. While standard blog templates may be easy to use, they can also contribute to a loss of originality and creativity in web design.
Usability, accessibility, and navigation
According to the Nielsen Norman group article about Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design, having a navigation bar, sidebar, and category pages are all great examples of thoughtful accessibility decisions and category pages are all great examples of thoughtful accessibility decisions to provide a nice user experience. However, it might be a helpful suggestion for her to change some of the sections mentioned in the navigation bar and sidebar. For instance, having both peer reviews and Posiel content on the navigation bar makes it difficult for readers to understand that peer reviews are part of the Posiel content. This is all for the PUB 101 course. To make it more structured, the author can add a hierarchy to the information architecture of the menu to organize the posts.
In addition, for the side bar, it would be better to add more prioritized categories and options, such as categories, tags, or monthly archives for our types of blogs. Currently, they are mainly for the PUB 101 class, and we don’t usually receive comments. Other classifications would make better sense to the readers.
Also, the other thing I liked so much is the bar under her post headings, which includes the author’s name, date of publication, number of comments, and the parent category. It is clear and professional and is an excellent addition to each post.
Finally, using the accessibility widget on the side for extra options for readers who need them is a very helpful feature.
In conclusion, Cassidy’s blog “COMPLETELY CASS” has a very appealing aesthetic and layout, and the content provides a glimpse into her personal life and interests. However, there is room for improvement in terms of adding more textual content to the About me and Home page, to provide more clarity on the primary purpose of the blog. Additionally, simplifying the use of typefaces and ensuring that all the social media icons are linked would improve the overall user experience. Overall, I enjoyed exploring Cassidy’s blog and I look forward to seeing how it develops week by week, Thank you, Cassidy, for providing such an enjoyable experience! 😉
Gertz, T. (2015, July 10). How to survive the Digital apocalypse. Louder Than Ten. Retrieved March 7, 2023, from https://louderthanten.com/coax/design-machines
Kaptelinin, V. Affordances. The Interaction Design Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2023, from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/book/the-encyclopedia-of-human-computer-interaction-2nd-ed/affordances
Page, M. (2023). Web Design and Type on Screens [PowerPoint Slides]. Department of Publishing, Simon Fraser University.
World Leaders in Research-Based User Experience. (n.d.). 10 usability heuristics for user interface design. Nielsen Norman Group. Retrieved March 7, 2023, from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/
Website accessibility archives. APLN. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2023, from https://apln.ca/category/website-accessibility/