- Concept and Overview.
The central concept of this website is to be able to freely post several blogs related to personal experiences I have been through. It is more like a personal diary being shared with others. By doing that, I hope I would be helping people that are grieving, that are away from home, and people that are passing through a difficult time, by empowering them, relating to them, and sharing with them. My intended audience is teenagers, people who have lost someone, readers, other bloggers, and immigrants since I am one myself. People who are grieving would want to read my blog to feel understood and to be able to have someone they can relate to. Being an immigrant myself, I think that many immigrants can relate to what I have been through, benefit from solutions, and can start seeing things from a different perspective which will make things easier for them. In terms of innovation, my website like many others is for blogging; however, some things make it unique, such as the fact that everything I write on my website is based on experiences I have had to deal with and I take all the images I use in my posts.
2. Visual Communication and Design.
After doing some research, I decided to use soft colours on my page, and that is why I chose the colour blue. The colour blue is known to be a very soothing colour and helps in managing stress and making people feel comfortable. The design of my website makes it easy for readers to find what they want to read without feeling overwhelmed. Due to the grid-like structure, it is easy to navigate through the website. Using personal images related to every single post helps my readers get a better understanding of what the post is about. The use of personal images communicates with my audience emotionally. By adding click buttons, I designed the page in an eye-catching way, therefore keeping the reader interested. Image shows what takes too long to read, and writing names what would be challenging to show. The blue colour is used to highlight specific aspects of the overall message. “Writing an image and colour lend themselves to doing different kinds of semiotic work; each has its distinct potentials for meaning and image may just have the edge overwriting.” (Kress 2009, p.1) When it comes to influencing, emotion is the main objective.
Moreover, nothing – not even words or pictures – intrigues more to people’s emotions than colour to generate a positive or adverse user experience. Most people believe that a white background is always satisfying, but that hypothesis is not correct. Even a subtle accent colour can provide huge rewards when improving the user experience. So that is precisely why I chose blue for my background. I chose a light shade to keep the reader comfortable.
3. User Interface Design.
For my website’s theme, I used the Gazette since it is a clean and flexible theme designed for personal blogs. It allows me to highlight specific articles on the homepage and to balance readability with great use of photography, all in a layout that works on any device. Gazette also supports the Site Logo feature, which helps me brand my site and include my own logo for my audience to feel that it is a unique page. I added widgets at the bottom of every page to help my audience click the follow button to follow my blog posts, another widget to subscribe and receive notifications by email when I post a new blog, and the last widget shows my readers how many hits I have received on the blog. By using tags for every post and categorizing my posts, readers are quickly directed to the post they want to read, and they do not have to search through the posts. I customized my menu into three sections only; home, about, and contact, to make it simpler for my audience. A menu with several options would complicate it for the reader. There is also a widget which I use, which shows people what blogs I follow, this shows readers what I read, and they might find some of the other blogs interesting too.
4. User Experience Design across Digital Platforms.
Social media data is one of the most crucial spaces of the swiftly rising data market. The expectation connected to the business models of companies like Facebook and Twitter is their privileged access to information, including the resulting relevant insights into the perceptions of users and voters will make them irreplaceable in the future. (Puschmann and Burgess, p.44). For my website, I created a Twitter and an Instagram account. I tweeted regularly updating my audience on the latest changes I have made to my website and notifying them about my latest posts. I used several hashtags to make sure that my tweets were being targeted to my audience and not just to everyone. The users that were following specific hashtags that I used saw my tweets on their feed before others. I made sure to post on my Instagram account as well regularly. Every time I would post a new blog, I would share a picture of it with the title on my Instagram, and I would add the link to my bio. There is no doubt that I also used hashtags on Instagram such as #blogging, #blogger, #writing, #blogs, #australia, #adelaide, #teens, etc. Instagram works similarly to Twitter, the use of hashtags is important for engagement, and that is exactly what I was trying to achieve. I gained more and more followers, the more I used hashtags. I even used my personal account to have more people redirected to my post.
5. Audience Metrics.
Our activities and actions are continuing to be quantified. We can quantify the actions and reactions regarding others too. Most of us ponder about social media each day and produce some analytics considerably. We also generate data without thinking about it. So, I used statistics from my Twitter and Instagram account to track the engagement. I found out that the posts that I shared on my platforms performed best when I used hashtags and when I regularly posted. I was really active in April but not as much in May and June. So, I had more visits on my WordPress site, more engagement on my twitter account and Instagram in April than May and June. I also realized that the majority of my visitors on WordPress are from Australia. Some posts performed better than others on Instagram because of the time I posted the post and because of the different hashtags I used. However, the engagement on my page decreased from May to June because I was not as active in June. The same thing happened with Twitter; I got fewer impresssions and fewer profile visits than May in June.
6. Future Directions and Development.
I plan to keep on using personal images and content and to share my content on all my digital platforms to make sure people know about my site and blog. I would use more in-depth content and maybe better pictures to attract not only readers, immigrants, and teenagers but also photographers. I would also start being more active on all my social media platforms to make sure I am getting engagement, and my audience is becoming aware of the regular blog posts. Based on the statistics I got, I will start working more on the timing of posts and the hashtags. To move forward with this website, I also need to work on the design making it more appealing and unique. I need to increase the content and add a gallery with images to attract different types of audiences (such as photographers).
McAlindon, K, Neal, J, Neal, Z, Mills, K & Lawlor, J 2018, The BOND Framework: A Practical Application of Visual Communication Design and Marketing to Advance Evaluation Reporting, Michigan State University, USA