Category Archives: Network Aesthetics

Website Evaluation Essay

Saad Chaudhry

KC3289

Kingston College

BA Digital Arts

Network Aesthetics

Assignment 2

Website Evaluation

20/01/16

Word Count: 1,098

 

Website Evaluation

My collaborative networking site would focus on art because it is an area I have some knowledge in. However, it was difficult to pinpoint a central area of art. I researched various art websites e.g. Pinterest, Behance and Dribble, but found they were quite similar in scope and purpose. I was interested in the concept of users showcasing their work and receiving appreciation, interpretations and comments. I wanted this aspect for my site, but needed a groundbreaking difference to stand out.

After a sudden realisation, I was struck with an idea as to how to proceed. A specific online location for community and socially driven artists where users upload work, obtain feedback, but could also collaborate on a storyboard where they would upload illustrations attaching famous quotes and dialogues. Thereby creating a rolling storyboard. This would be a continuing collaboration between creative minds enabling discovery and exploration of others artistic abilities.

I received feedback for my website concept and though it was seen as an interesting idea, the thought process was that by adding the storyboard idea to a site for showcasing work was not in the users’ best interests, as the site was intended for all areas of creativity and not just illustrators. There was also no guarantee how many people would use the storyboard concept, and without the users contributions, this idea would fail. After much thought I also felt the combined use of the website as a showcase for work and creating an on going storyboard was not enough of a hook to attract visitors to my site. Carroll (2014) states:

“carving out a niche area is more effective. The best bloggers focus on specific interests, the narrower the topic, the better. This leverages their own expertise and experience in the area.”

Carroll, B (2014, p.183).

I decided to omit the storyboard idea because keeping this concept would not create an interactive environment for all participants. My website was still going to showcase work, but now it needed another original concept where users with shared interests could socially engage.

A lecture on 7th October 2015 about how Facebook’s membership was initially restricted to university students inspired me on having my website for university students to showcase their work. After some research to see if a social networking site aimed specifically for students would be beneficial to them:

“students often spend a large amount of their free time using social media, so if this tool could be used effectively for academic purposes it would be a great resource.”

  • (Tella, 2015, p.211).

I had found my concept for a niche and specialised site where people with common interests could come together. This would become a One Stop Shop for university art students, a place where they could get advice, chat, upload work and find information. The question now was if it would be relevant as a social networking site and if there was any further advantage to students coming together.

Howard Rheingold, a critic, writer and teacher specialising in modern communication media, talks about the “powerful combination of social media and peer learning” (Rheingold, 2015), reinforcing my idea of a powerful purpose behind my niche social networking site where a greater interaction between students from the creative fields provides a greater sense of community spirit.

I also wanted to involve potential employers and enable them to upload their details and register on the site. This would enable them to view work from the next generation of creative minds and maybe find suitable employees. Unfortunately, I had to cancel this idea because after sending a few emails to potential employees, the response though positive, was not so encouraging for the uptake of their using the site. I converted this idea to having a link for graduates to register as mentors, something not quite adopted with other social networking sites.

I finally had a concept and a strong vision for my website. It was going to be a site for art students to converge, interact, provide relevant information and where a sense of belonging to a specific community would enhance learning and consequently allow individuals to increase their social network, as stated by Bargh, McKenna, Helliwell and Putman (2004) “social networking relates to indices of psychological well-being, such as self esteem and satisfaction with life” (p.582).

To create the site I bought my domain name (easy enough process), ‘saadchaudhry.co.uk.’ I decided to use WordPress with BuddyPress combined with a number of other plugins. I customised the site to make it more personal and after experimenting chose the Colorways theme. This gave my website a modern but simplistic appeal. I added the plugin ‘ifly chat,’ which allowed users to converse in real time. Other plugins were added to upload media and add friends. Links were added so students could navigate easily to artistically helpful sites. There was a lot of trial and error deciding and experimenting with a variety of plugins to create the site how I had visualised. During this process my mum registered and used the site. This was very successful but unfortunately the day the students tried they kept getting a log in error. It was very frustrating because my dad had registered the day before to test the site and it had worked fine. It was thought it was a technical glitch. I contacted the students but in the meantime had other family members register and use the site the same evening. Success, and my social networking site had started to take shape.

The ‘ifly’ chat was successful because after people had registered to my site they were able to converse. The plugins were used successfully and my site now has a variety of media uploaded and comments attached. The links to useful sites also worked well. I wanted a link for graduates to register as mentors but was not able to make this workable. Throughout this process I have learnt to visualise what others might want, rather than just what I would want to see on my website. I had to put myself in the shoes of the user as well as the administrator. This was hard at times because I didn’t always want to do so much research, favouring the easier option(s), but I soon realised the importance of my role as administrator and web owner, where I tried to make my website with the audience in mind, envisioning the interests and expectations of my users. If I had more time I would add much more information to the site and also make it look more aesthetically pleasing and user friendly.

 

Bibliography

Bargh, J., & McKenna, K. (2004). The Internet and social life. Annual Review of Psychology55(1), 573–590.

Carroll, B (2014) Writing and editing for digital media. New York: Routledge

Tella, A (2015) Social Media Strategies for Dynamic Library Service Development. USA: IGI Global

Rheingold, H (2015) Peeragogy Handbook. Chicago: Pub Dom Ed Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

Network Aesthetics – Week 13

This week we continued with working on our websites and presenting our sites to the other students so they could register and show some activity on the sites. Most of the students sites worked fine but there were a few hiccups. I had a major hiccup. No one could register on my site because after entering their details the site kept rerouting them to the log in pages and they would have to wait 20 minutes to renter the site. So annoying but matt said these technical faults to happen. He told the students to try when they get home because by that time the site should start working. I also facebooked them as a reminder when I got home.

Network Aesthetics – Week 12

We were given further advice about Assignment 2 and it was clarified what was expected for the essay and for next week where we would have to have at least four people registering on our websites and using them.

I was also given feedback for my website. Matt liked my images and helped me with some ideas for frontend submissions links.

We continued working on our websites.

Network Aesthetics – Week 9

Website feedback

It was feedback day for our website presentation. Matt told me that I had a good strong presentation. It was well structured with a clear purpose. It was also easy to follow. The use of font and big titles was also good. Matt liked the academic research I had shown to support my website idea. Matt felt I had a strong concept. I had also shown some technical information, which was liked. The questions from the audience also showed they were interested and I was told I answered them well.

On the negative side I had too much information and needed to condense the contents on each slide. Having more bullet points would have been better. The presentation also needed to be paced better so the audience would remain engaged.

Matt felt I would be getting marks in the 60+ range and maybe higher once the final marks were verified. I was very pleased with this as I really struggle with presentations because of my speech and hearing impairment.

 

Network Aesthetics – Week 8

This week was all about our presentations. It was a nervous day and as the hours counted down till the lesson was due the nerves really began to take over. Matt helped with an email in the morning giving us some settling thoughts so I just had to keep reminding myself of this and persevere with the thought that the presentations were going to go ahead no matter what, so I might as well get in the right head space.

I was quite confident that I had covered the criteria of the assignment in my presentation but was wondering if it might have been too much information. I had a games presentation last week and did not have enough detail so did not want to make that mistake again. Trying to create the right balance of having the criteria fulfilled I think I had all the relevant information plus a little more. Even though I wrote up the power point with references and quotes when I presented I had simplified a lot of the words for me to say because with a deaf voice I really struggle to say most words and talk for a long time consistently and continuously.

We were also recorded and were told that we would get our individual videos for our own reference. Facing the camera was even more nerve racking but I have learnt that you have to do whatever you have to do.

All the presentations were very interesting. There was a lot of variety of website ideas and most people seemed to have strong ideas the direction they wanted their websites to take. The question and answer sessions after each presentation helped clarify everyones ideas.

I was quite nervous about my presentation but it went ok. I felt I messed up a few words here and there but I stuck with the script and managed my presentation within about 10 minutes. The questions asked were simple enough to answer but I did struggle to hear what was being asked so was not sure if I answered correctly.

All in all it seemed to be quite a successful day for most students and we were all glad it was over. Just waiting for feedback now….

 

 

Research for website

This is an email I wrote to various companies. The original idea was that I wanted to create an employment link on my website for university students. I received some replies. They thought the idea of my website was a good one but they all used other methods to find employees so were not willing to register on my website. In the end decided to scrap this idea.

I am a second year university student. I am working on an assignment to create a social networking site for university students in the creative field. They will be able to upload their work, give feedback to each other and maybe even collaborate to further their creative minds.

I would also like to involve potential employers and have them upload their details and register on the site. This would enable them to view work from the next generation of creative minds and maybe find suitable employees.

I would be grateful to have your feedback on this and if you would be interested in registering for free on the site when I have it up and running. This is an assignment and there are no costs involved. (The assignment is still being finalised by the lecturers and this might only ever be a prototype).

Thank you for taking the time to read my email and hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you

Sa’ad Chaudhry

Replies

Dear Sa’ad, 

Thank you for contacting BBC recruitment services. 

Although you’ve stated this service is free of charge, you would still need to go through BBC Supplying.

Please see our ‘Supplying the BBC’ website for details on how you can work alongside us:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/supplying/

It sounds like a very interesting concept and we’d like to wish you the best of luck with it!

Kind regards,

BBC Recruitment Team
Email: recruitment@bbc.co.uk
Ext Phone: 0370 333 1330
Int Phone: 0800 082 8080
Text Phone: 028 9032 8478
www.bbc.co.uk/careers

 BBC Recruitment is committed to continuous improvement, so we would welcome your feedback on our service.If you are internal to the BBC, please leave your comments at http:home.gateway.bbc.co.uk/bbcpeople/hrdirect.shtml

Sounds like a good idea, but we have a small, stable staff of 6 so it would not be useful for us—best wishes, Steve

 
Stephen Mooser
4727 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 301
Los Angeles CA 90010
 (323) 782-1010
Description: 2011_SCBWI-logo-web-home