Monday, December 16, 2013


I am so excited to announce that I officially have a website!

Please make sure to check it out at (or you can just click here!) and let me know what you think!

I have really enjoyed having a blog for this semester of Digital Communications, and I look forward to keeping it updated!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Personal Favorites

I am so excited about this post, because . . . it's all about me!  My favorite aspects of websites, my favorite designs, even my favorite colors - all are important features of any website of mine.

I checked out and felt like I was planning a party!  So of course, what is the first step to planning a party?  The guest list!

There are tons of important decisions to make when it comes to designing a website.  Who is my audience?  Who am I catering it to?  Why?  And most importantly, what decisions do I need to make in order to cater to my intended audience?

In my case, my intended audience is targeted to interest graduate school committees, future or potential employers, and internship opportunities.  So, my website needs to be polished and professional, to attract such an established audience.

The next step is to figure out the party (read: website) objective.  Simply put, my objective is to impress each of the above audiences.

So what's the strategy?  What is my party's entertainment going to be?  How can I establish and successfully complete my objective?

There are a lot of contributing elements to interesting these audiences.  First, I think a strong resume is essential.  It builds the argument for my experience (another very important element.)  I also think it would be really helpful to have my work, writing, etc. easily available for review on the website.  That way, with the click of a mouse, my audience can see the pieces that I want them to look at.

However, I don't think it's all about content (though I definitely think content is THE most important element!  It gives the audience the most to work with). I think the site needs to be easy to navigate, clean, clear, attractive, and organized.  I think it needs to have tabs to allow the audience to find the information they want to - maybe separate tabs for my experience, resume, example pieces, links to my videos, my contact information, links to my social media, etc.  I want my website to put everything out there - to show my audience my very best, and even more.

One element that I didn't think about until Professor Price mentioned it is "applicable life experience."  What a great idea to put on my website!  For example, I am hoping to attend a 3 week long Study Away in New Zealand this May.  The trip is all about media and culture in New Zealand - so my experience on the trip would likely apply to my future career.  That is definitely something that I want to be able to bring to the table on my website, so a tab for "applicable life experience" is a fantastic contribution to the site.

For my website design inspirations, I had so much fun checking out websites that I thought communicated effectively.  Here are some of my favorite elements!

I really appreciate how clean and simple the tabs are - really articulate.

I love the little blurbs about each person, and how readily available the contact information is!  Both of the above examples come from Melbourne Promotions - the site is available at this link!

In this example, I really appreciate that the title is BOLD and stands out, and I love the organization of the tabs across the top line.  Very accessible and organized!  Click to view the full blog 

I love the tabs, and the picture is beautiful and striking.  It definitely makes the website standout.  I also like the links to social media that this provides!  Check out the entire site here!

All of this "party planning" also caused me to become obsessed with logos . . . Here are some of my favorites!

I found all these logos through  Check out more through this link!

So. Much. Fun!  This definitely made me want to design a logo for myself - kind of to brand myself!  I will have to get going!

What are your suggestions for branding yourself?  For attracting these types of audiences?  What else should I aim to add to my website?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Know Your Audience

Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, an article by Janice Redish, easily lays out several techniques and step-by-step descriptions of how to write effective, attractive, web content.
Her first tip (we [audiences] all interpret as we read), is about writing for the exact audience you intend to reach.  To do that effectively though, you first have to understand your audience . . .

Janice Redish’s 7 Steps to Understanding Audiences:
1: List your major audiences
2: Gather information about your audiences
3. List major characteristics for each audience
4. Gather your audiences’ questions, tasks, and stories
5. Use your information to create personas
6. Include the persona’s goals and tasks
7. Use your information to write scenarios for your site

Pretty simple steps, right?  Easy to follow?  Redish goes even more in depth, breaking down these steps, but I think they are pretty self-explanatory.  It is definitely interesting to think about the importance of each step, though!  Without targeting the correct audience, web content will not reach anyone effectively.

For instance, think about the audience that Seventeen magazine seeks to reach.  Probably girls between the ages of 13 and 20.  How does the magazine do that effectively? 

Bright colors, fun articles, fashion advice, do-it-yourself hairstyles, relationship Q&As . . . the entire content of the magazine looks to gain teenage subscribers.

Think about Family Circle magazine now.  Who is Family Circle trying to reach?  For the most part, the editors and publishers target their magazine’s content towards women with families – moms with school-age kids.  How does Family Circle do this?  By knowing and understanding its audience!  By recognizing that the people they are targeting to subscribe to Family Circle are interested in things like recipes, home d├ęcor, and balancing grocery lists.

It’s all about the audience!  If you were designing a web site, what content would you put on it?  What audience would you be targeting?

Monday, November 18, 2013

User Experience

Jesse James Garrett's article "User Experience and Why it Matters" begins with a strikingly accurate anecdote, detailing just about everything minor that can go wrong at the onset of a work day.

Incorrect alarm clock.  Running late.  Seemingly broken coffeemaker.  Car gas light on.  Long line to pay for gas.  You get the picture.

The overarching, umbrella that each of these minor (but when combined, enormous) problems stem from is user experience, according to Garrett.

User experience, huh?

Garrett says in his first chapter:

            Every one of the previous cases of “bad luck” could have been avoided had someone             made different choices in designing a product of service.  These examples all demonstrate a lack of attention to the user experience: the experience the product creates for the people who use it in the real world.  When a product is being developed, people pay a great deal of attention to what it does.  User experience is the other, often overlooked, side of the equation – how it works – that can often make the difference between a successful product and a failure.”

Let’s break this down, shall we?

In short, according to Garrett, user accessibility, user friendliness and the like, all boil down to user experience . . . how it is for the user to use the technology, the product, etc.  How it works on the outside.

Garrett goes on to describe the various aspects of user experience.  For example, a poorly constructed product would naturally negatively affect user experience.  Likewise, the context of a product also affects its user’s experience – whether or not it is functional.

As Garrett importantly asserts, “The world’s most powerful functionality falters and fails if users can’t figure out how to make it work . . . . simply put, if your users have a bad experience, they won’t come back.”

And, even worse, if consumers have a lousy time with one product, they will often look to another product, likely a competitor’s, instead.

So what can I take from all of this?  I have to say, I absolutely agree with Garrett.  As a consumers and a user, I find myself unbelievably frustrated by products that I don’t consider user friendly.  In fact, I would attribute the wild success of Apple products to the very notion that their products are user friendly – much more so than their competitors!


What do you think?  Do you agree?  What has your experience as a consumer been?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Print Journalism in Greenville

How is print journalism affecting Greenville, SC?  Check out the video below to see!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Online Editing

Chapter 6 of Brian Carroll's work Writing for Digital Media focuses on the idea of online editing, from both the perspectives of design and publishing.  Carroll brought up several excellent points, and I want to highlight and discuss each individually, below.

Carroll asserts in one of his first paragraphs:

 "Online publishing is not at all like editing for print, at least in terms of job responsibilities.  In print, there are clear distinctions between roles and duties among writers, designers, editors, and copyeditors.  Media convergence online is blurring and blending the job descriptions and responsibilities traditionally assigned to writers and editors.  Even hotshot page designers need to know how to write a declarative sentence; writing skills are not optional" (Carroll 120).

His assertion stating that writing skills are not optional was of particular interest to me.  Am I the only one who notices the constant spelling, grammatical, and content errors spread across Internet websites?  To what writing skills is Carroll referring to?  

Certainly, there are well written pieces available on the Internet - but because anyone can "publish" his or her work on the blogosphere or create a website, I definitely feel as though writing abilities and quality is decreased on the Internet.  Something to think about . . . .

I also enjoyed Carroll's online editing step-by-step directions.  I found it very appropriate and useful for people who edit and publish their work independently on the Internet.  In particular, I enjoyed his recommendation to define the style of the website or Internet source that content is published on - I agree it makes a difference to how the piece should be edited.

The case studies Carroll featured in this chapter were also quite informative.  I especially appreciated Case Study 3: Error Prevention Project in Brazil, because I found the idea of training writers and editors to learn how to prevent errors really interesting.  If we start with educating children as they learn to write, perhaps writing skills will only be enhanced and nourished as they grow up.

What do you think about all the various elements of online editing?  Do you think it is the same or different than print editing?  Why?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


In my last post, I talked a lot about the importance of editing.  In particular, I focused on the unbelievable amount of behind the scenes work that editors dedicate to film productions.  Editors have the unique ability to manipulate the story they have, into the story they want to tell.

So do storytellers.

The storyteller is the person who is – what else? – telling the story!  It’s the narrator, but it is not necessarily always very obvious as to who the storyteller is.  See, not all storytellers tell their story via voiceover, or having a main role.  The storyteller is just the perspective the story is told in.

In “Point of View,” an article by John S. Douglass and Glenn P. Harnden, the authors further explain the importance of the storyteller’s viewpoint.  In a sense, they explain, the viewpoint demonstrates how the entire story is depicted.

Think about the last time you and a friend saw something significant happen.  Take, for example, a confrontation between two of your suite mates, that you and your roommate both saw happen.
Think about the different angles you saw it happen at.  Think of the distance between you and the incident, versus between your friend and the incident.  Think about what you knew about the people involved in the incident, prior to the incident actually happening.

It’s likely that when either of you would tell the story back, and actually go through it play by play, you may have noticed different things.  You may have differing opinions about who is right and who is wrong.  Maybe you saw something happen that the other person didn’t.  It’s all about the perspective.

This article reminded me of the proverb we’ve all heard – before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?  It’s very important to put yourself in other people’s shoes . . . to think things through . . . to see where else the story can go.  That’s why it is so important to have a storyteller.

The questions this brings me to though, is why do perspectives sometimes differ only slightly, and other times differ completely?  What causes those differing interpretations?  Can they be prevented?  Also, I wonder how perspectives are taken into consideration and context when witnesses testify in court cases?  Perspective can change so much about a case, after all.