It is time to consider how to contextualize all of my posts over time by developing the header, theme, widgets, fonts and colors of the pages. I looked at over twenty well-known sites with the belief that I would find some of the best graphic design available online. As I took notes on what I saw, it became clearer to me what I prefer as both a consumer, and creator, of online media. I began by reading the criteria and the judges comments for the Top Blogs of 2011. These were good goals to consider, and to set, as I considered design elements. The following video is my summary of how I would revise my blog and the description of the sites that inspired me are discussed below.
It was productive to first look at sites as whole messages before considering individual elements. I loved the idea of presenting information “above the fold”, a concept from the newspaper field. The core idea was that the the most important or gripping information should appear on the top half of the physical paper since this would be on which a newspaper buyer would base a purchasing decision. This T-shirt company had a great blog. As the Top Blogs judges said, everything you need to see is available at once above the fold. By clicking the topics, you were drawn down into the rest of the stories, or the below-the-fold zone. I liked that each story had an image on top. That hat made me interested in reading more of the pages. This also helped with navigation. I found that I preferred the simplicity and statement of the larger header image to start. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) also used this approach for some of its rotating headers.
If an above-the-fold model would help my communication best, then the header is the first element to consider. While each designer created a unique page for each customer, similarities quickly became apparent. The best headers were large, usually colorful, and frequently dynamic. The SWRVE site is a super example. Again, the MOMA site was great. One of their rotating headers included the logo which appeared in a vertical slide, followed by the main image which was assembled from three or four vertical pieces. It was a memorable piece of work that I would try.
I found a few great rotating headers and occasional videos. The fading rotating header at Sueddeutsche, though an ad, was cool. I liked the blue background and the close up, above the fold, photo of February 17, 2012. Though not a good fit for my site, sometimes custom headers really stood out. One of the blogs that received praise from judges was For the Love of Nike. How did she make theheader? It looks like a photo with the blog title over the top. How do you change fonts from the set offerings? Quirky site but still formatted well and the colors and graphics help to make it memorable. The Jaguar site was similar. Great, large image that rotated with above-the-fold presentation. Harrod’s incorporated three, large colorful images and easy navigation along the top. I admired the banner for BBC. It was clean, red, and the mildly abstract globe communicated modern and comprehensive.
Widgets are one way readers may interact with the site.The New York Times format easily integrated their widgets. The element I would adapt for my blog is the Global Spotlight section in the upper right. Two headlines scrolled left every several second with small navigation buttons. I see that the BBC had the horizontal scroll on the upper right which linked to video features.
Theme, or setting, was the final element that I considered. Overall, the Versailles site uses many elements that would be valuable to model my own blog after. It has great colors, seasonal photos, and images that make me want to look around. I did not like the HSBC site. It was a lot of text with little information from the font, colors, or images.
I would like advice on color. I would like bright colors and white space to show them off. Speaking of color, Tiffany’s Valentine’s site set off a great shade of red against white. The rest of the year, though, it appears that they use their signature color to set the tone. The site for the Paris Dakar race had several good elements. It included a great, above-the-fold photo which made me want to follow the links. Easy navigation along the top and earthy colors suggest desert and mountain, rugged racing environment. Interestingly, no motorcycles or race vehicles appeared above the fold. I am impressed with Jeff Utecht’s Twitter homepage. He has crafted a background with an easy-going photo of himself positioned on the far left, white background. He was clearly aware of how to best include a photo of himself considering how a Twitter homepage is formatted. This created an environment that many Twitter accounts lack.
With these samples in mind, I am ready to contextualize my postings.