I am reviewing my classmate Youngmin Daniel Won’s website, “Raincouver Sound”, for the second peer review. From what I know, the premise of Youngmin’s blog is centred around music reviews, which interests me as someone who avidly listens to music. Upon arriving at this site, I am intrigued by the design elements including the photo used, the main colours of black, red and white, and the overall mysterious and dark aesthetic. While going through Youngmin’s blog, I wanted to keep in mind Mauve Pagé’s (2021) best practices for designing a website, which include “balance, rhythm, proportion, contrast, [and] unity”.
The overall layout and design of Youngmin’s blog is good, with nice balance throughout the posts. It seems that he has a strong theme, but few customizations have been made. Upon situating myself with Youngmin’s “Signify Dark” theme, I noticed that the front page photo that he uses is a stock photo that comes with the theme. As Gertz (2015) identified in his article, “the cover gives us a hint about what’s inside, and teases out our emotion, begging us to read the rest” (para. 87). While I really like this photo and think it fits in well with Youngmin’s aesthetic, I think it would be a good idea for him to choose one of his own photos, perhaps of himself, with a similar look to it. This would bring a sense of individuality and uniqueness to his site.
Screenshot of Youngmin’s Featured Home Page Photo
In creating a site identity, Youngmin has done a good job in maintaining his aesthetic. For example, Pagé (2021), in her lecture, explained that the colour palette and photos used should be consistent. The photos that Youngmin uses, within each of his posts, are very good quality and fit in with the dark vibe of his blog. They are also well-proportioned.
There is good consistency in the structure of Youngmin’s blog, which Pagé (2021) emphasized the importance of, as well as repetition, which Bernstein (1998) identified as “a valuable cue, for repetition always signals intent and artifice” (p. 41). It is clear and fairly user friendly to find each of his posts through categorization, including Blog Posts, Process Posts, Mini Assignments, Peer Reviews and eventually, Essays. However, the categorization is set up in such a way that if I simply click on the “PUB 101” section of his blog, nothing comes up. The same can be said for his blog posts, which he refers to as “Artist Showcases”. This is nothing that a little page tweaking and recategorization can’t fix!
Screenshots of Youngmin’s Pages
I think that Youngmin’s blog would benefit from the use of various interface elements that make the blog a bit more fun and inviting. Kaptelinin (2014) in his reading described some “examples of user interface elements… [like] clickable buttons and tabs, draggable sliders, and spinnable controls, as well as other elements that more or less directly suggest suitable user actions” (para. 11). I think adding something like this would be a strong addition, in order to feature some of his posts and bring energy to the blog, since it already has a dark feel.
There is also consistency in the typography used on Youngmin’s site. His font is quite legible, which is an aspect that Pagé (2021) emphasizes when discussing typography. The colour of the font is white, which is great contrast from the dark blog, making the content easy to read.
As for social media integration, while the buttons for Twitter, Instagram, and Email are there, they do not lead to Youngmin’s socials. Instead, they seem to be the stock accounts that came with the WordPress theme. I think it would be useful for Youngmin to link to at least one of his social media accounts, or provide a way that his audience can contact him other than by commenting on his posts.
Youngmin’s blog is intriguing, but there isn’t much content to be viewed. However, the content that is there is quite interesting. After exploring the site, it is quite cool to find out that Youngmin is reviewing local music and artists, as this is quite a unique take on music reviews. While I didn’t realize this at first, this now brings new meaning to his blog’s name “Raincouver Sound”. I think this is quite a captivating and sensical blog name.
The editorial design and portion of Youngmin’s blog is good, but lacks in the amount of content that is present. I like the way that Youngmin writes about the reviews, and his style of writing fits in well with the identity and theme of his blog. In fact, I found myself wanting to read more! I also wanted to know a bit more about who Youngmin is, as the creator of the blog. I think a good design decision would be for Youngmin to add an “About Me” section, so that his audience is able to connect with him on a deeper level when viewing his content.
Gertz (2015) pointed out that “when we design with content the way we should, design augments the message of the content” (para. 87). I think this is important for Youngmin to take into consideration in regards to both the design of his blog, as well as the editorial portion. There is certainly consistency and unity throughout Youngmin’s site which I think is one of his strong suits. Ultimately, Youngmin’s blog is quite interesting and will be improved even further with a few additions and considerations, as I have mentioned above.
Bernstein, Mark. 1998. Hypertext Gardens: Delightful Vistas.
Gertz, Travis. 2015. “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse.” July 2015. Available from: https://louderthanten.com/articles/story/design-machines
Kaptelinin, Victor. 2014. “Affordances.” The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction. https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/book/the-encyclopedia-of-human-computer-interaction-2nd-ed/affordances
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