I really enjoyed exploring the resources around Visual Literacy this week. It really made me look at everything (my blog, my presentations in class, other presentations, and the world around me) with a critical eye. I’ve been wanting to do a revamp on my COETAIL blog for a while, so with this new information in hand and design principles (CARP) to lean on, I’m going to give it a go.
Like most of us, I dove into the COETAIL course with great energy, reading, thinking and absorbing many new ideas. The act of blogging was a great reflective practice and I was quick to get the blog up and running. Wordpress was a new platform for me, but with the instructors’ videos and transferring other skills, it was quick to set up. With so much thinking around the early concepts, the blog site itself was set up in a functional matter and it hasn’t changed much since those early days. I was more absorbed with the content of my blog posts, rather than the blog design.
Here’s a screen shot of how it looked:
Here are some issues I have:
The banner image – As I said, this blog was created quickly at the beginning of course 1. This image is one of my favorite photos I’ve snapped. However, it is not at all connected to the purpose or focus of this blog. It is not a metaphor for teaching or anything smart like this. It’s just a nice, colorful picture that bring me good memories. So this was the first thing I want to change. I wanted an image that reflects the blog content and connects with the blog title – Tracy 2.0.
Density and Whitespace – There was too much white space around the top and top-right hand corner in the original layout. The theme of the blog was creating this effect, so I explored a variety of the themes to find a better style. In fact, I tried on almost of all of the themes. The ones I liked the most were Storyline, Sixteen, Magazino, and TwentyTen. However, there was at least one small thing about each theme that I would’ve liked to be able to manipulate further.
COLOR & CONTRAST – The blog was lacking in color except for the banner image. It was very much black on white. Too much white. Everything was swimming in white. While I do like simplicity, I think the blog was too bland. I thought to use more color would liven it up and provide some structure to the page so it didn’t feel like the text was slipping off the side of a snow covered mountain.
ALIGNMENT – This was not a problem on the original blog design as everything was aligned on the left side giving it a sleek and organised feel.
PROXIMITY – Again, too much white space and one scrolling blog meant that connections were hard to find between information and some of features of the blog.
So in the new design, I chose the theme Magazino. I used Picmonkey to make a Site Logo for the top of the page. I decided to use pictures of myself since this is a website about my teaching practices and reflective of my philosophies. I only wish that I could’ve extended the collage across further so there wasn’t so much white space. This was a limitation of the theme. I chose a black background to act as a border and provide some structural feel to the page. The Social Media Icons were a new addition which I think are important and align with the focus of Course 1 – connected educators and learners. The new theme gives an image to represent individual blog posts in close proximity which I think helps the reader to connect the information from separate posts and get a sense of the overall theme (visual literacy). Using Proximity to make connections may mean a viewer is more likely to go on and read other posts.
Here is a the new look:
After reading Michael Agger’s article Lazy Eyes, I’m trying to be more conscious of how much text I use, the length of paragraphs, and the use of subtitles, bulleted lists and white space in individual posts.
A last minute alteration to change the background colour to match the blue text of the blog titles and I think I’m done. Any feedback is most welcome…