Designs and Trends of the Web

Webdesign, Layout, Website

New Trends:

As you may have noticed, the world is changing in the aspect of the web. Most sites are updated frequently and follow certain trends. A big one that we have talked about already with the inverted pyramid is that less text is appearing. If you look at SnapChat’s website, the homepage has six words, but the message is still portrayed in a fun and catchy way.

Other trends pointed out by Chris Lake are:

  • Video/ Moving backgrounds
  • Richer content with less words
  • Varied typography
  • Bigger images

These a just a few, but all are similar in the way that they are new. New ideas and creative ways to spark a readers interest. People read less and faster online so it is important to catch their attention and fill them in one the necessary information while you have it.

color_6Color is Key:

Another thing to focus on when creating content for the web and Brian Carroll points out is color choice. While red in America symbolizes passion, blood, life and grabs attention, in the Ivory Coast is symbolizes mourning. So, as little as color choice may seem, the devil is in the details as they say. Not only will you determine color by deciding who your target audience is, but you will also determine frequency. How demanding is your audience and how often do they want fresh content?

The Big Four:

Last but not least, you want to focus on The BIG Four.

They are:

  • Balance
  • Contrast
  • Unity
  • Symmetry

Balance:Poise

  • Elements should be in the right place.
  • There should be no competition for attention.
  • Mix heavy (pictures, graphics, headlines) and light (subheads, body, white space)

Contrast:

  • Should create: variety, interest, drama, a layout needs emphasis
  • Enemies are: dullness, boredom, sameness
  • Tools are: color, headlines, size, typeface, elements (photos)
  • Don’t make every picture the same size (mix it up)

Unity:

  • Make sure the layout belongs, that it works
  • Gestalt- hallmark of unity: the wholeness is greater than the parts

Symmetry:

  • Have proper proportionssymmetry
  • Show traditional presentations
  • Make sure it fits on a vertical axis

If you want more:

These were just a few of my favorite suggestions, but for more upcoming trends visit:

goo.gl/wQxtnO

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media

Social Media is EVERYWHERE! But how do you use it the right way?

social-media-overwhelm2

Help from David:

David Dubois explains it like a coffee shop. Everyone has a favorite coffee shop, if they drink the stuff. But, why is this particular place your favorite? Is it the people, scene, coffee? Think about it and then compare it to a social network site.

coffeeYou want your site to be yours viewers favorite place it. Make it their  virtual hangout with fresh, hot content, just like you like your coffee!

Also, keep timelines in mind… you don’t want to wait hours for that cappuccino, so don’t make your audience wait for a response either. Interaction is a key in social media and if we maintain a quick response, viewers are likely to come back, satisfied.

Share your content:

Great content is key, but without anyone aware of it, what’s the point? It is very important to get your content out there. Make it widely distributed, BUT be careful that you match the environment you are in. Don’t hand out a hot pink, heart shaped flyer at a football game, save that for Valentine’s day. Adding humor or emotion will also appeal to an audience. Also, give your advertisement practical value and people will be more likely to connect with you.

Use the appropriate type of Social Media:

The Kelley School of Business teaches us that some sites are for connecting existing relationships, like Skype, whereas others are to bond strangers in a social media relationship, like blogs. Make sure you are using the right outlet for your type of message. Building relationships is important for bloggers, which relates back to David when we mentioned replying in a timely manner. By building new relationships, new communities can form that wouldn’t have outside of media because of distance perhaps. Social media is a great outlet to connect will all types of people in all types of places.

social-media-honeycomb

The Honey Comb of Social Media allow you to see the building blocks of social media, not all have to be used, but they are here to allow us to make sense of how different levels of social media functionally can be configured- Kelley School of Business

The 4 C’s:

Lastly, remember the four C’s.

  1. Cognize: recognize and understand your social media landscape
  2. Congruity: develop strategies that are in correlation with the goals of the firm
  3. Curate: Act as the curator of your content and interactions
  4. Chase: Constantly chase information, keep that coffee fresh and hot

Good luck!

Creating Video Magic: How to Make a Good Video

Do You Believe in Magic?

boy-watching-tv

TV is one source of video that makes us want to watch

Magic is in videos because they contain the power to make us STOP and watch. Videos draw us in, they intrigue our interests, they make us watch them without losing interest. They have a power that other sources of media simply do not. BUT, they only contain this power if they are done right.

Types of Moving Graphics:

We must first understand the different forms of video:

  • Video– real time, moving objects
  • Animation– think cartoons
  • Motion Graphics– 3D effects, when the title spins or weaves on the screen
  • Software Simulation– Models instructions, for example:  showing a screen with a moving mouse demonstrating a task
  • Games- can entertain and educate
  • Photo Slide Shows- show people best and provide an emotional experience
  • Digital Storytelling– personal stories  or educational purposes

The Next Step- Story Board:

The key to a good video is planning. To plan well, create a story board which creates a specific and detailed timeline.

When creating a story board here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end
  • Clearly establish responsibilities for your team
  • Make sure the time put in pays off in planning an end result
  • Create an agreement among members so you stay on track

Story boards can be made in simple three-column format, on a powerpoint, or hand-drawn.

Here is a helpful video for more insight on making a story board:

Script Writing:

A script is KEY in videos. Scripts explain setting, theme, action, description… every context that you might need. They also prevent the ums, ahs, or likes that get placed into sentences as fillers. Make sure it sets the scene, describes the setting, and doesn’t sound forced or “written” and you are good to go!

Guidelines for Video:

Here are common mistakes to avoid when making a video:

  • Zooming in and out too fast
  • Not using enough sound
  • Taking more than 3 seconds per slide on a photo slideshow
  • Leaving out transitions
  • Overdoing the number of scenes
  • Don’t have a boring narrator

All in all keep your videos fun! Allow your viewers to get involved and be intrigued by your video by taking the time to in your story board to keep them in mind. Make sure you keep it simple and do not overdo effects or noises just because they are available. But, most of all enjoy the work you do. If it isn’t enjoyable for you chances are it won’t be for your audience either.

remember-to-have-fun

 

Why Images Need Captions:

The Importance of Text with Images:

BOOM! A popping image draws your attention. It makes you wander what just happened. It instantly intrigues you!

This is because all images convey meanings. The BOOM image conveys to me: Look over here, powerful, and shocking. To my audience however, it could portray totally different meanings and an author must be careful with images. A reader could see this and think gun shots, war, or comic books; none of which I am talking about now. This is why it is important to always know what you’re image could convey before you use it. Also, captions are key. I do not have one, so you do not know what I am trying to say with this, but if I said, Boom: Images Call Always Attention to your Article,  you might understand where I am going with this.

Images convey two elements:

  1. How the viewer interprets it or experiences it
  2. The context in which the image is seen

The clique that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is true in this case. We all see it differently and find it tasteful or not deepening on our social nature.

Our Culture Effects our Taste:

Struken and Cartwright go into detail about our tastes in their book Practices of Looking. They claim, “taste is not inherent in particular people, but rather is learned through exposure to social and cultural institutions that promote certain class-based assumptions about correct taste (49). So when we say someone has good taste, we just mean they were raised in a culture similar to ours. This is relevant to my blog because I use images to portray that we have shifted in our cultural norms over the years. What I find vulgar in America may not be in other countries or vise-veras. So, my blog and my tastes may be different to other people who don’t view my pictures as so risqué . How do I prove to them that we have become more vulgar and it is not for the best?

I need to be as effective with my images as possible. To help, Garr Reynolds advises several tips in his book Presentation Zen.

Some of the few that I really focused on was:

  1. Simplicity is the key in presentations
  2. Use reliable typeface (Caslon, Garamond, Baskerville, Helvetica..)
  3. Rotate my text effectively on a full-bleed photograph for attentoin
  4. Make sure I have text with the image to convey MY meaning

Here is one example he used that entails all four of these points:

Notice how different the message is with different captions on the same photo.

Notice how different the message is with different captions on the same photo.

  1. Simplicity-  Just the image and the caption is shown
  2. The typeface is legible and clear on a full-bleed photo
  3. The text is tilted to catch the readers attention
  4. There is a caption to portray what the author means with the photo

Out With the Old and in With the New: Media and Advertisements

Barrys_-_Out_with_Old-657x264

“UGH” our instant reaction when we see long paragraphs. “How many pages?” our first question when assigned reading. We have become creatures who only desire  instant gratification and crave short and to the point information. Because of this, we have become fans of the inverted paragraph.

The Inverted Paragraph:

Reading is hard for alinverted-pyramidl of us in this day and age. We look at words and just skim right over them. Because of this, the inverted pyramid has become the go-to with digital media. It is a system where the most important information is placed at the top and decreases in importance as the story goes on. Lynda Felder emphasizes in her book Writing for the Web that each paragraph should be based on the inverted pyramid as well as the whole essay (123).

New News:

With media being taken over by the web, we are leaving behind our ways of the past. Brain Carroll states in his bookWriting and Editing for Digital Media, “Newspapers     [are] the fastest shrinking U.S. industry” (212).newspaper-illo21

We no longer yearn for static information; interaction is what we crave. “We Media” is what we have become. We are literally part of the media. We comment, share, post, and have a part in what is going on. With more people online and a greater access to media however, we must be more alert.

Watch Out:

With everyone having access to the internet and breaking news instantly available, we must be careful what we trust. There are many false “breaking news stories”. One easy way to detect them is that anonymously sourced reports carry a high risk of being wrong according to BreakingNews.com (239). Also, do not trust anonymous comments. Some sites are even forbidding them. Huffington Post ,for example, makes users sign into Facebook or enter credit cared information to verify their identifty before commenting. This ensures that the comments don’t get out of hand. For my blog, I will be personally managing comments to ensure they are appropriate.

A Trustworthy Story:

How to tell if a story is trustworthy starts with ethos. We must trust the author and they must prove themselves credible to us. Check out their about me page, see if they have connections to other pages or previous credible work, and lastly how does their story look?

Elements of a good story:

Some things to think about while reading.

Does the story:

  • Start in the middle, and is it filled with action?Woman working at computer
  • Begin with a hook,  are you are instantly intrigued?
  • Use beautiful language like descriptive adjectives?
  • Does each paragraph ends with a cliff hanger, keeping you interested?
  • Is the Narration, Description and Explanation clear?

For the explantation in my upcoming blogs I will be following Lynda Felder’s advice by comparing and contrasting my ideas point by point. She recommends this because organization for the web is easiest this and also it creates short paragraphs which, as you know, readers prefer.

In Summary:

Types and techniques of news have changed just like advertisements and cultural norms have over the years. It is not news to us that newspapers are declining in popularity, but have we noticed that our conservative nature is too? Have we noticed that the word “news” has skewed from focusing on world issues  to focusing on what Kim Kardashian is wearing? Have we noticed how big of a change is occurring not in just the way we advertise, but in what we advertise? I have, and will be sharing my findings about this change in my blog. You can find it under Multimedia Projects.