a few of my favourite things...

This is my "best of" blog posts from everyone in the class... I really enjoyed all of them, but here my favourite posts from each blog. because I love food and I think that food and VDDI have a very intimate relationship. because it is a good distraction and provides a lot of great sites to reflect on because it gives a great overview of an entire web experience because of the simplicity of black and white… I love it! because it provides some really great resources… believe me, there’s lots! because it provides resources from our peers…worth a look

my blog review...


I was immediately drawn to Paul’s work because he can do so much with so little. The idea of taking a concept and being able to visualize it and then design a logo to incorporate all aspects of the concept is absolutely brilliant. There are a couple integral parts to being an expert in VDDI: the first part is being able to visualize the concept in your head, and the second part is to the ability to interpret that concept using the tools you are given.

Magazine or Book?

Being a food guy, I loved the idea of incorporating food into the blog post. I had some really great feedback in the comment section. Some of the comments were about my ability to create a picture with words. This is something that I feel I need to improve on; however, it was very encouraging to get that positive feedback from my peers.

Me or you? Lots to learn…

I create the picture within that post. I was particularly proud of my ability to learn a new type of expression: typography. This was one of my favourite parts of the course, designing that picture.

It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white…

Another opportunity to tie my love for food and wine into the course, great! Most of the time when I surf the web, I would see a website that I liked but didn’t really know why I liked it. After reviewing this post, I realized that a few weeks into the course, I was looking at things with different lenses. I was more critical, I asked more questions, I wanted to know why they used that colour, why the picture was there, why they chose that font etc..

You win…

I think this post builds on the last one, where I now understand why design decisions were made. By looking deeper into the meaning and questioning every detail, I am able to gain insight into the minds of the designers. The course builds from week to week and it is nice to see that my posts reflect that.

Doing laundry…

This is a really neat analysis on the use of colour. While I was writing this post, I couldn’t believe how everything made sense. I thought maybe tide was just lucky that they used orange and yellow, but no. These colour decisions for major brands are well thought out and have a lot of planning behind them.

Design evolution…

I really enjoyed putting together this mock-up for the class. I was really surprised at what I was able to put together. While I was building the mock up, I found myself questioning every decision. Why green, why that shade of green, why icons, why pictures, why those pictures, does it look cluttered… everything that was taught in the course was going through my mind.

Flawless evaluation…

Now I am able to properly evaluate a website. I have the knowledge and the tools to breakdown the different properties of a website that make it appealing to the eye. This post was a personal critique of a website that won an award.

I love the idea of creating a design blog to reflect the course. I have really enjoyed this exercise and reflecting back on the posts, I feel as though I have gained a much greater understanding of VDDI.


flawless evaluation???

I took a look at the Web Marketing Association’s WebAward for Outstanding achievement in website development winner in 2008 – Justyna Collections Catalogue. From our reading, a checklist was provided by IBM’s Web Design Guideleines – Ease of Use. I wanted to put this site to the test and see if it would have a flawless evaluation.

Is the purpose of the site clear?
Yes – to look at different fixtures

Does the site clearly address a particular audience?
Yes – younger, professional women, looking to upgrade their home
The grey background and sleek feel throughout gives the user a feeling that these are elite pieces for your house
Is the site useful and relevant to its audience?
Yes – it provides details and pictures of all the products, all the information you are looking for
Is the site interesting and engaging?
Meh – the pictures are great to show you what the products look like; however, there is not much engagement other than clicking on pictures. Maybe if there was a way to upload a picture of your bathroom or even change the colour of the sink and backsplash.
Does the site enable users to accomplish all the tasks they need or want to accomplish?
Yes – you are able to compare all the different models, pick which ones you want, then find a dealer closest to you to purchase. It would be nice if they had a built in “shopping cart” to summarize all of your choices to make check out easier.

Can these tasks be accomplished easily?
Meh – you can compare and look at products with no problem. Once you want to buy something, that’s when it makes things a little tricky. You have to find the dealer closest to you, then phone, and schedule an appointment to come in.
Is the information organized in a way that users will expect and understand?
Yes – sorted by room in the house – kitchen, bath and shower, then sorted by product
Is the most important information easy to find?
Yes – all the specs and pics are easy to find on the home page and subsequent pages

Is textual information clear, grammatically correct and easy to read?
Yes – the gray background provides a canvas for the easy to read white-light grey text
Do you have a clear idea of what the site contains?
Yes – information about fixtures
Do you always know where you are within the site and how to get where you want to go?
Yes – they provide easy to follow back and next buttons
Is the presentation attractive?
Yes – it is a very sleek design, clean cut, nice lines which complement the upscale, sophisticated brand image
Do pages load quickly? (Optimization)
Yes – all pages and pictures load almost immediately
Is the site accessible?
Overall - Well designed. The look and feel of the website is right on target with the company's brand image. However, in terms of easy to do business with, that is where they fall short. If this website's interactivity was turned up a notch and each user could checkout and buy a product easily, this website would have had a flawless evaluation.


design evolution...

The evolution of my sample website - the grid.

1. Basic grid – keeping things simple – 2 focal points, 1 main and 1 secondary
2. Addition of photo gallery and colour highlights at top – focal point 1
· Need high quality pictures to give the user a real feel of being in Peru
· Want to inject some colour to represent the vibrant culture
3. Addition of icon menu – focal point 2
· I was inspired by the design of the iPhone
· It is a very clean lay-out with metaphorical design principles in mind
· The initial background green is selected to represent freshness and lush tropical forest
4. Addition of header
· Peru is in red for contrast and add some ‘pop’ to the website
· The green colour is continued in the header with a wavy bi-colour design
· The wavy design is meant to represent the various altitudes of Peru
5. Addition of background image in icon menu
· I realized that the green I chose was horrible – not giving me the feeling I wanted to give the user
· I found a really great high quality picture of a tropical leaf
· The tropical leaf incorporates many different shades of green and adds even more of a tropical feel
6. Addition of new colour highlights at top of page
· I thought the new colour highlights are much more vibrant and add much more to the feel of the website


doing laundry...

Tide isn’t trying to portray the concept of doing laundry, but the excitement of having a fresh and clean wardrobe.

The idea of doing the laundry is not the most exciting thing in the world. With this in mind, Tide decided to go with a predominately Orange and Yellow colour scheme with a little bit of blue. The major colours, orange and yellow represent: excitement, fun, cheeriness, joy, sunshine and summer.

There is one example of metaphorical design on the home page of Tide’s website.

At the bottom, there is a place where you can find out more information about different products and cleaning tips. On either end, there are arrows that imply there is more to see. When you click on the arrows, new products/information cycle through.


you win...

I found a copy of a marketing magazine in my office the other day that had a list of companies that won all different types of marketing awards. There were a few that particularly jumped out at me and had me thinking of this course.

The ad that I want to focus on was created by DDB Canada, based in Toronto for Bosch Home Appliances. The point that Bosch wanted to get across is that they had more efficient appliances compared to their competition.

The theme of the advertisement was the damage that all of our appliances are doing to the environment. When we describe this theme in words, we think of fog, haze, darkness, pollution, garbage, dreary etc… A couple colours that come to mind are black and brown.

In terms of layout, I think we can clearly see why it won an award. Talk about simple. One beautiful picture, depicting what the future may look like if we don’t do anything about the environment, that really makes you feel bad for what we are doing to the planet. The text is aligned horizontally – along with the horizon in the picture. There is quite a bit of white space used in this ad as well that guides your eyes from building to sky to the text.

I especially like how the BOSCH logo pops out of the advertisement. Great use of colour contrast.


it doesn't matter if you're black or white...

The reading that really jumped out at me this week was the one on Whitespace. Even though the analogy of the river was corny, it really did make perfect sense. The space around the text and pictures helps guide the eyes throughout the site.

The Black Estate, which is a winery in New Zealand, uses white… well in this case black space… to create invisible signals that lead the viewer’s eye through a design.

Notice how you are immodestly drawn to the word Black. This is an interesting play on words too since the text is actually white. The black theme is felt throughout the webpage due to the creative use of space.

The website is presented in such a simple way. It is very easy to locate what you are looking for. Your eyes are guided from wine bottle, to title, to description and on to the next. Clear simple layouts make it easier for the eye to work

If you are creating a webpage for a client, if you are hired on by a company to create a website, keep in mind that this website is a direct representation of the brand. Every time someone goes to that website, they are taken on a journey into who the company is. The Estate Black website designers do a great job of using the whitespace to create a feeling of sophistication and elegance for upscale brands.