Audience Analysis – Sonder Melbourne

Sonder Melbourne is an experimental short non-narrative film for online platforms like Youtube and Vimeo, targeted at people traveling to Melbourne or just trying to find an understanding/experience of the city online. I am trying to create a new age film to replace outdated advertisements targeted at a younger market who don’t want to hear why it would be a good idea to visit the city, but are looking for an experience that will excite them. The goal of the film is to create an immersive experience of what it would be like to be in the city itself. I want to use it as the most powerful tool to create tourism and inspire people to come experience everything the most livable city in the world has to offer. The film itself will explore the wonders of Melbourne through the diverse culture present here, discovering the life, the vibe and the unfathomable thoughts of people who make this city come alive.

 

Sonder means the realization that every person around us has just as much of a vivid imagination and world as we do. The film is not a traditional documentary nor the verbal telling of a story, it is a discovery, an unguided meditation, an immersive experience of Melbourne and it’s people. The story is built through imagery jumping from location to location, from coffee to skateboards, from the river to the ocean and had a backdrop of various peoples’ thoughts and Indie Melbourne music. The fast movements, the excitement, the experience is what will set the film apart.

Audience - New Directions

This image is the original research I had on what my audience would be. But since, I have narrowed it down slightly more by realizing that my audience are also people who like to meditate, which is another way for them to find themselves and their inner piece. When meditating they use guided meditations and are always looking for new ways to discover. They are very modern and strive to find something new to watch, to read or even to feel. And when they do, they show their friends to share their excitement.

I plan on creating this film using 12 weeks that make my next semester and would like to officially launch it online in October, 2016. Being a single short film, it goes online all in one go, after which according to the still-in-discussion-stage marketing plan, marketing of the video through word of mouth and creating a buzz on social media is the way forward. Hopefully, upon success, by the start of December, tourism websites would like to use it to inspire people as well.

I hope to find that the audience shares, likes and comments on the film and that there are discussions on sites like Twitter and Facebook about it. In the long run I hope to achieve my goal of using it as a new type of film to increase tourism, hence proving that there is a market above commercial art.

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Spice Up My Life

 

Spice up my life is a story about a fictional Indian girl who is on a path to self-discovery. She uses various spices to change her luck. Indian culture is very aphrodisaical in nature and every spice elevates a different outcome in our lives. This is the thought, from which our story originates. Sabina, our character, is an odinary girl from Delhi, but when she gets left at the altar, she decides to leave and travel the world as no other Indian girl, her stature would do. Her journey is full of suprises waiting to be read. Along with her story, find her recipes, all with a trick and discover the spice you need to change your life.

Aesthetics:

The aesthetics of website building was probably the toughest part of our project. We actually managed to design more than one website and put it up for peer vote, to help us decide. We had one that had a very commercial look to it. It was aesthetically perfect but it wasn’t warm and inviting for our viewers. Which is what a BLOG must be. The other website was much plainer than the first and probably ignored some aesthetic rules. But at the same time, it gave out a warm bloggy vibe. In the end, that’s the one we decided to go with.

The points we kept in mind while building this website were white space, pastel colours to act warm, keeping in mind the emotions of the story, easy accessibility, better interface and easy maneuvering. It was very important for us to give it a personal aspect and that is what we wanted to reflect through our website. It is the one point we kept in mind throughout.

Content:

Coming up with this story was a long process but I think it represents a part of us all, i.e. Warren, Sabine and I. Mixing all of us into one character was a tough but very interesting job. We decided to treat this story as a website/blog. With a total of ten blogs, released periodically, chapter by chapter, our story unfolded with a new recipe each time to engage our audience. It wasn’t just a story but also a recipe search site as well as a study into spices of India and the qualities they exude.

Every blog starts with a personality or adjective that Sabina thinks she needs to add to her life. Then we tell you the story covering why she needs it and end with her special recipe. An example of a spice and it’s personality is cinnamon which stands for love. Both Sabine and I have travelled India largely and the story tells some experiences taken from our lives, while Warren, as a nurse, has always worked around Indians and was able to relate to this girl. We had a lot of fun with the story and even got together every week to cook a dish used in our blog, so we could photograph it.

We all wrote our blogposts individually but then edited it together so as to have one voice for our character. I think this really helped us and solved a major problem of a common voice that we were facing in the starting.
The entire blog is copyrighted by law through the builder website called Wix. Our copyright mark is situated at the bottom of the website. We decided not to use creative commons for this one and all the content generated has been done by one of the three of us and is legit.
The main aim of the story is a message to all women in India to follow their dreams.
Technology and Social Media:
We used a website builder called Wix which makes creating websites much easier. We were able to design every thing to the very last detail which gave us a lot of control over what we were doing as well. On the home page, we put a timeline which tells you the linear format of the story but also the recipe in each chapter if that is all you need. This makes maneuvering much easier. Also a search bar is situated at the top right which lets all search the website. Each post is tagged appropriately. You can view all of our fictional character’s social media on our website and even read a summary on the about me page. An Instagram page, Facebook page as well as Twitter page were designed for our characters. We had numerous friends who followed our posts and kept advertising her website on her social media as well as ours.
While Sabina’s social media posted everytime there was a new post, our pages were used to spring the project and marketing image to our friends, calling them to visit and subscribe. We also sent out two newsletters to all our followers at the start of our project as well as at the end, calling them to view and follow our story.
Marketing Image:

marketing image

I designed the marketing image and am actually quiet proud of it as I think it’s very warm, welcoming and aesthetically correct. It reflects our theme as well as sets the cooking mood that we want to inspire.

We posted this image on all of our social medias to hit as many of our audience we could. The use of hashtags should also hopefully pull more viewers as the hashtags that we used were ones I discovered during my hashtag research for the class.

Team Work:

As I have mentioned before, this project was the perfect collaboration between my team members, Sabine and Warren, and I. We were all part of everything as a team but also had our personal roles defined. Sabine took part in the overall look and design of our website. Warren was boss of the content whereas I made sure of all the copyrights, widgets and apps on our website. I was also part of social media along with Sabine and Warren, all of us taking a platform each. I would say that we divided according to our expertise but ended up doing a little bit of everything.
Though it may not reflect to the normal eye looking at our digital story but every last detail has been thought of including the lengths of the blog posts and it was and could only be done through great team effort, awareness and togetherness. I think I had the best and most vocal team to work with.
Overall, I think it’s a project all of us are mighty proud of and have worked very hard on. I just hope everyone enjoys it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Aesthetically wrong?

Screenshot (21)

OR

Screenshot (22)

I think one very relevant issue that we have faced with our digital project is the website design. We were always at block heads about it since our project revolves around blogging a story about an Indian girl and her path to self discovery, but at the same time acts as a website to discover new recipes. We weren’t always sure if the design should be more commercial or creative on a personal basis.

We have always read that a good website design isn’t something that just looks appealing to the eye but also something that enhances performance, astonishes the audience and is equally amazing with functionality.

“A good design is always the simplest possible working solution.” – Anders Toxboe

Eventually, we turned to the internet to research what the professionals think. From what I found, I have compiled a list here of everything we had to keep in mind while developing our website. This list has been taken from various resources, all referenced below.

  1. It needs to be functional
  2. Appealing to the eye, so bring out the creative thinking hats
  3. Intuitive – basically explains itself and isn’t very complicated for the users
  4. Long-lasting – don’t use elements which you think will go out of style like blinking lights
  5. Unobstrusive – Make it self indulgent but leave some space for the user to form an expression as well
  6. It needs to be thought through to the last detail
  7. Focused on the product and not the design itself
  8. As simple as possible
  9. Use of whitespace – Negative Space or whitespace is the empty space on your website. You want to give just the right amount of this to make your website less cluttered as well as aesthetically beautiful. An average of 30% is generally good.

Apart from focusing on the look, other aesthetics that we should be looking at included page layout, colours we used (apparently, every colour brings out a reaction, which is something you want to be careful with as a lot of that may depend on someone giving your website a real look through) as well as font and contrast of all the elements together.

Though these were all really good to start work on, it still didn’t solve our problem of going more creative like a personal site or more conservative like a commercial one. So, we started looking up examples of similar websites/blogs out there. Using my RSS feed, I found some examples:

http://cookingwithamy.blogspot.com.au/

http://www.indiancookingblogs.com/

http://thecookingblog.blogspot.com/

http://vidyascooking.blogspot.in/

These were some more relevant to our theme, and if you notice they all have a very commercial, kind of free, almost boring designs. I started thinking, and I knew that this is definitely not what we are looking for because these sites didn’t really engage me or give me a feel good factor to stay on them long enough. They lacked personality. These were just recipe sites and I couldn’t really muster any care for the stories behind them. But then, talking to my cousin, I came across one she suggested. It was her own site and she owns a restaurant in India that she used this website to promote. She has a lot of followers and they love her.

http://www.nomadbaker.com/

I absolutely loved it because it really brought out her quirky personality and I had a great time reading through it. It was perfect and my research came to an end here. Now, this website doesn’t really follow all the rules that I listed above, just the important ones and I decided that when it comes to aesthetics there are no real rules that you have to stick to, just some logic mixed with a little bit of design and fun can do the trick.

We made our website keeping functionality in mind but the biggest trick I believe that we discovered was to be honest and to put in a little bit of us into it. Aesthetically wrong? I don’t think so.

 

 

References:

http://ui-patterns.com/blog/What-is-good-design\

http://www.shire.net/learnwebdesign/aesthetics.htm

http://www.southboroughwebsitedesign.com/bestpractices/p2-aesthetic-website-designs.htm

http://dbanerjee.com/aesthetic-website-design/

Hashtags

Over the past month, I have been doing quiet a bit of research on hashtags as I am in charge of the Twitter page for the story we are creating for our CMWP class. Twub has been really helpful, so much so that I actually did not need to use any other search website. Our digital story is about a fictional Indian girl who is in love with spices. Spices have a lot of attributes which are believed to contribute to our lives. For example, cinnamon is a spice for love, often referred to as the Queen of spices. Our story follows her journey of self-discovery as she cooks various recipes to help change her life around.

For this I was succesful with hashtags like indiangirl, recipes, spiceandherbbible, travelindia, goa and a few others. I came across a lot of what people write or enquire about and got some great insights not only for our story but our audience research as well. I discovered that tomato and coconut based curries are more looked at or discussed than any other type. I also found a lot of stuff which added to my knowledge of the indian girl mindset. Being an Indian girl myself, you would probably find that thought really funny, but our story is about a very different girl who grows in different circumstances altogether. My most important or helpful discovery was what I actually got when I searched spiceandherbbible, which was a suggestion on the search bar. It turned out to be a book that people were discussing but I actually got a website name of one of the posts which led me to an entire list of spices and what they stand for.

All in all, I think my hashtag research really helped me out and I would suggest that you all try it out too for your projects. More than most times you find stuff which might not do anything for you but if you keep an open mind, the least it will do is tell you what audience you are looking at.

Audience Research for my media project

Warren, Sabine and I are working together on the Indian Media Project together. Our idea is to form a story about a girl who seems to meet all sorts of wrong people she can’t seem to click with at all. Tired of putting herself out there again and again, she builds a website to find the perfect partner and since she can’t get it right, she appeals to people on the internet to help her pick a guy. This is an idea built upon the custom of arranged marriages in India. So to digitally arrange a marriage, we require two different kinds of audiences – one who would put themselves on her website as candidates and another of the people who would come come and vote for the ‘perfect guy’.

Candidates

Age group – Between the ages of 23 – 35 years

Country – Australia

These are probably people who have used the internet before as a space to find someone they like or date. The target audience will be masses already on social media websites for dating or marriage like Tinder, 123-matrimonials, zoosk, be2, eharmony, etc. The maximum number of people use Tinder as their chosen dating app. The number of people in Australia who are currently on Tinder is around a million.

“When I reached out to Tinder with what I thought was a novel idea, I was informed by the company that the app is responsible for more than 1000 engagements. Couples from various age groups, careers, parts of the country, and religions who have met ‘Tindering’.”

http://www.elle.com/life-love/sex-relationships/advice/a14166/tinder-dating-app-marriages/

There are a lot of people out there on dating sites who are not interested in hook-ups and one night stands but have no where to be. Our audience are all these people.

They categorise as people who are working well paying jobs, live a comfortable lifestyle and have settled down.

Voters

This would be easier to define.

Number of people on a social media site – over 10 million.

Age group – 20 to 35 years

Students, romantics (you can get numbers from the number of people who watch a lot of romance movies) and women in particular.

References and other interesting reading material:

http://www.elle.com/life-love/sex-relationships/advice/a14166/tinder-dating-app-marriages/

http://national.deseretnews.com/article/1999/5-tinder-success-stories-that-will-make-you-believe-in-love-all-over-again.html

http://www.cnet.com/news/tinder-sparks-half-a-billion-matches/

http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/culture/features/11621/

http://www.culturalindia.net/weddings/arranged-marriage.html

So if you like the idea and would like to sign up or just send across some ideas or data you think can help us, please do so.