For CAGD 202 we were given the task of analysing and re-designing a website of our groups choosing. I was paired with Alex Herbert and Matthew Huckel and from our research we decided to re-brand and re-design Yours & Owls, a music label based in Wollongong that provides a service for artists to play at their locations and events and provides a service for their audience to buy tickets for their events.
Our design process took course over this semester and was handed in on the due date, we felt that our effort towards our redesign was a perfect example of our design rationale. We felt that it engaged with the audience and was based around being functional and easier to navigate than the original identity. In the beginning we took part in an analysis of our chosen website, dissecting it to find the navigational system, how the interface design is layed out and how the product interacts with it’s audience. Furthermore we moved onto doing drafts, and started generating ideas based off of our research and development. This is an area where we had a few problems and we had some difficulties in generating a solid identity from our development. We had a solid ground of research that allowed us to play with any and all ideas in order to make this re-brand POP.
Moving onto our process we began with our second assessment which was the analysis of Yours and Owls which lead to doing some self research within our groups to find at least 3 websites as examples of sites in need of a re-branding. What we needed to do was outline the websites and create a brief analysis of the webpages to supply to our group to narrow down our results to one choice. During our research we got together during class to discuss and show each other our ideas and chosen works. Referring back to my 2nd blog post, we chose the website and identity Yours and Owls, a music label in Wollongong that hires and hosts events for artists in the Illawarra area and surrounding which offers access to it’s two key locations Rad Bar, and Uni Bar.
For the task we were to split up in our group and focus on separate areas and combine our work together to form a presentation for our class to give everyone an in depth look into the architecture, design, and functionality of our chosen site. My part of the assignment was analyzing the website interface and navigation design of Yours & Owls.
For my part I had to go in depth into the interface template that it had, speaking on how content heavy the website is due to the product that it is presenting and how it worked alongside the timeliness factor of how it was all presented. One of the things that we all noticed was how the website was designed in the fact that it sort of was more ‘free’ so to speak, that it wasn’t based around an internal page, more so that it is built on separate pages, if that makes sense. With the site it is more so built around the homepage as you can see it reflected through all the pages aside from the actual internal pages which follow it’s parent site Moshtix. This does present some problems, however not serious problems, but the fact that the main site is constantly bouncing in between the two sites, but not actually having the functionality of an internal system for purchasing tickets, just piggy backing. In saying this it isn’t exactly that bad, it’s functional, but it has some inherit navigational problems that I will explain further in Navigation.
Moving onto the actual aesthetics and layout of the website we can deduce that the site is built around an 6 column grid structure and speaking on behalf of the main page we can see that the page is separated into two sections, them being the internal advertising and scan column.
One of our first initial problems that we identified was that during our research process is that the website was currently already going through an identity crisis. Our problem was that the website was currently changing its identity every week or so. This proved difficult however we still have screenshots of the original identity that we worked with. Now the key thing that didn’t exactly make it a harmful change was the fact that the whole website was not changed. it was more or less just the identity and moving of different items on the site, its architecture still stayed the same.
Going back to my work for the presentation I also worked on the Navigation design. What I found from my research is that Yours & Owls acted as a music hub for any and all bands under their wing as well as upcoming news and events from them. The main difficulty we did find with this, and even identifying it as a hub as this would mean that any and all links within the site would be within easy access. The main problem that we identified within navigation was that the site had very poor navigation. The lack of a searching function anywhere on the site is enough to validate a simple fix for the site, however there are numerous other factors within the navigation that need to be modified and even re-designed so that the website functions better and offers a greater user experience. Expressing it as such the menu bar is quite irrelevant. The navigation is actually really transparent, in the sense that when the user clicks on “music news” they are presented with the same information as on the home page. This does mean the user does not have to engage in a whole lot of digging throw links and especially so when one goes through to “upcoming gigs” everything is laid out very clearly however returning to my statement of “dead ends”, once you click on the product you wish for you have no way to return to the webpage aside from the back key for your browser.
The key problem that I found during my research is that the website doesn’t entirely offer an easy experience, it can be difficult to find one key item, and equally there are some things that need to be modified during our re-design that we will take into account. However going back onto this problem it did give us justification for the need of a re-vamp and re-design of the architecture and navigation so that it is far more user friendly.
another problem that i had to face was the fact that my computer was constantly erasing files and crashing during this process. I had completely lost my interim presentation and data which put a significant dent in my workload for the group. I felt horrible for this, and lead me to understand some of the problems faced within the work environment of a graphic designer where a lot of their work load is computer based and that events like this can happen; I made the simple mistake of not backing up my files properly, and paid for it. However I was quick to move on from it and re-engage with my peers and adapt my style that i had set to them and explain it and apply it to theirs. Ultimately we were happy with Matthew’s work, as well as a lot of key points from Alex’s, and some ideas generated from me.
For my example of the interim submission I was to present a simplistic design for the website, keeping close to “Ockham’s razor”, the idea of reducing the confusion and cluster that happens when not needed or over complicated objects can sometimes take away from a website or brand. The whole idea that simpler is better is something that I enjoy a lot, and in my opinion the simplistic website that only has its necessities functions better than one cluttered with links upon links, and pages that aren’t necessary at all.
Now in using this design, the website would have that space where the functionality for the user can be built, where the website can be built around the user. Before that we must also think about the audience that we are targeting with this brand, who are they? what do they do? what do they like? once we have this knowledge we are able to create a website that shall function appropriately for them.
From our research we did deduce that the Yours and Owls audience is primarily music buffs, and university students. Now what we also need to take into account is the attention span of them, or in general any web user who wants to get to their objective in no less than 4 clicks. A thing that was taken into account as well is the rise in social media opposed to actually using the website, we need to take this into account as well.
For my presentation I had hoped to present the use of multiple feeds on one screen, much like a photo gallery, however it was organized in such a away that it worked as a calendar. This meant that from one click you could see what is coming up within the next 3 days and be able to pick an choose quickly rather than navigating directly to the events tab, making the website an infinite scroller. An infinite scroller works in such a way that all the content is available within one page, simply using scrolling you could view all of it’s content that it has to offer.
I know the difficulties with this type of web page, one where it may take a while to load for slower computers and even mobile devices, but would work great on mobile application as we are already hard coded to scroll and scroll on our social media. How the site would work on computer would be slightly different, in that at the top of the scan column an advanced search tab would be in place so that the website can quickly filter content to the users choice.
During the past two weeks we were quietly working on our own within our group, sorting out what exactly we want to do. We have had different ideals on what we want exactly for the whole re-branding.
From when we met up in class for the past few weeks we engaged with Grant and he spoke to us about our predicament. We presented what we had which was pretty bare bones from the previous events with my computer malfunctioning. However going back to our talk with our lecturer he identified some of our key points that we all presented and suggested that we were to meet up with him later on so that we can discuss what we have, our identity and re-brand.
My re-design copy retains to our initial settings of an 8 column grid and kept to a color palette that we all agreed on from Matthew’s design of orange, black and white. These settings and colors meant we could have enough space and still keep a clean and simplistic design.
My design went back to my original concept for the interim presentation and ideas, however I kept to our solution for multi page rather than infinite scroll. I was hoping to encapsulate the idea of a calendar so that it retains back to my idea of a user centered design. My design featured a full advanced search engine that would allow you to select specific dates, different venues and input key words so that you could further refine your search.
I felt this was a necessity for it so that users could engage with the site easier than before, I also did some small refinements to the hierarchy they had before, however retaining to our original design.
Moving forward to our meeting with Grant we got an informative talk on ideas and implementations that we over looked in our re-design. One of the key things that was noted was our lack of scan columns, as this was a part of our design. Taking this away we hoped to allow a larger space for all of the content we had available for the website rather than focusing on the nitty gritty internal advertisements. This was thought of through Matthew, and when we heard the reasoning it did suit how we had the site greatly, but upon our meeting with Grant we gained knowledge of how in using a scan column we could further simplify our webpage for the better. Through our talk we used the idea of a scan column to feature our music news section, but equally to fill the purpose of providing the user with events that are popping up within the next few days so that we could lower the ‘click count’ on our page, further building its effectiveness. Our main goal was not a total re-call of the website, but refinement of the system.
Moving back to our meeting we learnt a great deal and I felt it was when we were our most productive, rather than using screens, having the ability to draw on our work in order to point out weaknesses or areas where improvement would suit more. This was a great learning experience for all of us, and we put forward the advice we were given into motion and further developed our project.
For our final submission for CAGD202 we supplied our re-brand and re-design of Yours and Owls, music label based in Illawarra that needed reevaluation and re-design of its current website. I worked in a group of three consisting of Matthew Huckel, Alex Herbert and myself, and we worked diligently in our re-design.
We set out to create a new website and new architecture for our selected website and create a website purpose built for the audience and their desires. Through our research we were able to create a character to base our audience, and from that we were able to create templates and play with various ideas before finally implementing our design onto our layout.