It is a fact of life that one’s content is not for everyone. I believe in order to garner a primary audience/following outside of one’s unconditional support system (i.e. friends and family), there are certain basic considerations to keep in mind – certain points that might even draw in people who otherwise would not have consumed that specific content. As I break down my thoughts on Ziky’s incredibly creative blog site Chaotic Thoughts In A Loft, found at http://adventureswithziky.ca/, I will be considering the elements of both design and content accessibility, originality, and aesthetic.
The first thing I noticed about the blog is that its Home page does not contain any posts. This is the first blog I’ve visited that has had this feature, and I think it is a nice and unique touch. The home page has a green background, with a little explanation about the blog’s name. The use of friendly language, emojis, and pictures of the writer/creator provide a sense of ease and familiarity to the reader, and make the blog “homey”, exactly like how Ziky describes it. In terms of design though, the black text color on the green background can be difficult to read – there isn’t a clear contrast between the two colors, which means there is also little natural attention drawn to the text. Additionally, the color scheme and size of the photos take the spotlight, diverting attention from the main purpose of the home page: informing the viewer what to expect.
The About Me page was super cute! It definietly showcased Ziky’s interests and chaotic energy. Once again, her usage of colloquial language and seemingly random (but very feel-good) pictures allow the reader to feel familiar – and consequently comfortable – with the writer. The use of these pictures to build a connection with the audience, while maintaining personal privacy (by lack of social media integration) is pretty clever. By breaking the anonimty barrier between the reader and the writer, the reader is more inclined to be receptive to and engaged with whatever content is written. The design elements for this page are basic, but easy on the eye, making the viewer more prone to staying on the page. Unlike the home page’s chaotic color scheme and picture placement (which might have been purposeful on second thought, as the theme of Ziky’s blog is supposed to be somewhat chaotic), the About me page uses black text against a white background, and also has the – very endearing – photos aligned properly.
Combining the information given on the first two pages (Home and About me), it seems like the intended audience for Ziky’s blog would be someone who has an interest in art and movies as hobbies. The approachable and informal atmosphere created tells the viewer that the blog will most probably be a virtual space for meeting and communicating with like-minded people, rather than gaining critical analysis skills for movie/art dissection.
The next 3 pages, Blog posts, Process Posts, and Academics all share the same color scheme, font size, style, and colorn, and layout. The title of the psots are presented in a clear and bolded format – each title seeming explanatory of the post content. Beneath the short excerpts for each post is a attention-grabbing CONTINUE READING button, colored in bright yellow. The color flows well with the rest of the page, while still standing out and drawing in the viewer’s attention to it – this is a smart way to subtly push the reader into clicking the button and possibly engaging with the content. Gibson and Pick‘s remarks ring true to Ziky’s design choice, saying “It is not sufficient for a good design to be rational and logical. Great, intuitive designs are those that us directly, and correctly what we can do with a thing.” The intuitive design, exemplified by the bright-yellow CONTINUE READING button in Ziky’s blog shows “direct perection of possibilities for action”.
Furthermore, the categorization of the different posts on the blog is obvious and easy to navigate between, making all of the content easily retreivable, and the time spent on the blog convenient.
Regarding Ziky’s writings, as presented in her blog posts and process posts, they carry the same informal language seen in previous pages, drawing the reader in since it feels like the hearing of someone’s verbal monologue, rather than going through their written thoughts. The film reviews were short and concise, but provide the reader with Ziky’s personal thoughts and opinions; with little additional crumbs of food-for-thought here and there, which further engage the reader. Moreover, the incorporation of Ziky’s doodles into her posts make it all the more personal and enjoyable.
With all that being said, the question is: How marketable is Chaotic Thoughts In A Loft to its intended audience?
Personally, I think that it is very marketable. The nature of her blog reminds me of homey Tumblr blogs where poeple would find a lot of friends with similar interests, kind of like how Danah Boyd described the usage of “networked technologies” to build “networked publics” that act as “meaningful imagined communities”. Although her writing addressed teenagers’ virtual presence, blogs like Ziky’s also showcase that what is shared online “cannot be seaprated from [the people’s] broader desires and interests, attitudes and values”.
My initial considerations for growing an audience were based on digestability of the content – either by “dumbing it down” or respectfully using “accessible language” – to allow an easy experience for anyone regarding the topics presented. In addition, I was looking for a congenial, accessible, and intuitive design scheme. After all, the credibility of a blog with a black background and red font presenting information on the current political climate is highly questionable. Not only does design inform one’s assessment of content credibility, but it is also often the first thing that catches the eye. The pictures, color scheme, font style and size, as well as the layout of the website must appear cohesive and pleasing to the eye.
As I’ve analyzed three of my classmates’ blog sites and made decisions about my own blog’s design and content, I realize the accuracy in Mike Caulfield‘s outlook on what constitutes as digital literacy. I would say most of my decisions and comments are not driven by design theories, UI/UX research, or communication studies – the majority of my choices are based on the somewhat now-intuitive elements pertaining to online presence. Caulfield acknowledges that “there’s skills and a process… But the person who has immersed themeselves in the material… over time in a reflective way starts the rpocess iwth three-quarters a race’s head start… Abstract skills aren’t enough” when it comes to analyzing online information and websites.