Content

A major problem that Warren, Sabine and I faced was what should be added to our content apart from the main story as well. Should we have some audio, music to set the mood and personalize it further or should we add a few videos to demonstrate our recipes as we were cooking them ourselves anyway. We thought of adding photos of both the recipes and personal photos of Sabina as this was her blog and her story. Then we decided against it. All in all, there was a lot of things that could be done and were thought about in the form of great ideas but it was always a tough choosing how much should be done and how much was enough without over-complicating it for ourselves as well.

Another problem we faced with content was having one voice as it was a story of one person that we tell, from her point of view. All our writing styles differ and it was hard to get a flow going with our content. It ended up being very disruptive in our first draft of the story itself.

To un-complicate the process for us as well as get some good answers I turned to RMIT’s amazing library where I was able to pull some great academic writings which helped me solve my answers.

Digital Storytelling: A Creator’s Guide To Interactive Enteratainment by Carolyn Handler Miller was a great read that I found in the library. Truth be told I just skimmed through it but what I learnt from this book was that, if storytelling is done using socail media, using realistic characters who can be very relatable are more often than not more popular amogst the market online. Also authenticity is craved amongst people on social media and the more the character comes out of real life, the more success. One must concentrate on the character themselves as well as what is trending. you can find more information related to this in chapter 9: Social Media Storytelling.

 

Advertisements

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/