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As I entered Dylan’s “The World of College Football” website, I immediately noticed that the website is clean and easy to follow. Most of the content is center-aligned, leaving a reasonable amount of white space on both the right and left sides of the screen. As Mauvé Page (2018) discussed in her design presentation to the class, balance is an important design feature that stresses the importance of a “visual equilibrium.” Dylan achieves this equilibrium through a symmetrical design that is easy to read due to the amount of white space. One slight problem I noticed in the symmetry of the design is on the homepage. The image currently placed near the top is slightly aligned left. This is an easy fix–align center, and the visual equilibrium is restored!

Even though the website has a really clean design, I think more colour could be used to give this blog some personality. A good example from our readings that demonstrates the impact of colour is Travis Gertz’s “Design Machines” article. His design shifts between neutral colours such as black and beige, which sets up the viewer for a surprise resistance to the “corporate beige” of design (Gertz, 2015). In a sudden burst of colour, Gertz (2015) reminds readers that “Humans are unpredictable mushy bags of irrationality and emotion.” This website does not need a sudden rainbow image to appear across the screen like Gertz’s article; simply adding colour to the header may be enough.

Another way Dylan can add some personality to his blog is adding an image to his “About” section. The written part of his “About” section is great–I think it’s great he included his favourite teams, which could bring out some bias in his posts–but this page feels extremely plain in comparison to the Home Page and Posiel sections. Tara Chittenden (2010) points out in her article “Digital Dressing Up” that there are “two kinds of audience: the bloggers’ known social networks (e.g. family members, school friends) and a ‘public’ audience, largely unknown, whose presence is only discernible through the comments they post.” Those who are considered a part of the “known social network” might not need a picture here because they already know Dylan and presumably have an interest in what he is writing, but the “unknown” audience might want a little more. Mauvé Page (2018) also informed our class that viewers respond well to faces and emotions; Dylan should choose a photo of himself that shows his enthusiasm for the sport.

When looking at some of the blog posts specifically, I noticed some visual elements that made the posts more exciting to read. For example, in the post “Playoff Hopes Almost Killed in Death Valley,” there is a picture of the regular season schedule.
This image grabbed my attention as I was quickly scrolling through the site because the title “regular season” is bolded and the list breaks away from the formal paragraphs in this article. This use of contrast is effective because it grabs the viewers attention and indicates something they might be interested in. Another image that caught my attention was in the post, “Playoff Hopes Fade Away For Many in Week 6.”
This image also contrasts with the rest of the article, and I enjoyed seeing a chart to quickly explain his playoff predictions rather than having this simply written in the article.

The effectiveness of the visual elements led me to reflect upon Erin Kissane’s article “Contents May Have Shifted.” Kissane (2013) reflects on the changes occurring on websites: “video and audio features have become relatively common on newspaper sites.” I found the idea of videos and audio features on professional websites interesting because it reflects a desire of users. Many people keeping up with the news (be it sports or otherwise) enjoy features like videos. It would be really interesting to see how Dylan could incorporate video or audio content into his site–perhaps linking to some footage from the games he is discussing could increase interest.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed looking through Dylan’s site. The first month of the course for me was spent desperately trying to adjust my theme and layout. If he experienced similar issues, they are no longer evident. Dylan has established a solid base for his blog; my suggestions should be easy additions to his blog.

 

Works Cited

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