Today we met and found ourselves at a crucial stage in our group productions, Using this time to further discuss our webpage and housing structure for our photo project. Myself, Brandon and Ray all sat down together and took part in an very in-depth discussion, various different ideas and propositions were made from each of us which were taken on board and considered. We all felt that we have reached a stage in our production that means that we need to fully pin down our website design and agree on a method for portraying / communicating our brief effectively to the audience.
Website structure and design was our main agenda for today’s group meeting, we began the discussion by creating various possible web sketches that we could use, debating design, functionality and appearance elements of all; especially limitations of each.
Whilst discussing the website in further detail as a group, we all agreed to stick with a simplistic design to add emphasis to the the images and removal of branding, it is also important to keep the website simple in order to create easy navigation and to represent a simple design that is free from advertising and branding in order to avoid contradiction between our project aims and agenda. Although we generally aim to keep the design simple by using a plain colour scheme of whites, greys and blacks, if this impacts on the functionality of the website then we may need to reconsider this; although not drastically, we still need to bare this in mind.
We are also in the process of trying to decide which format to present our images in, we initially decided to use a GIF format to show the before and after effects because we want to create a reveal of sorts. Due to this reveal we also later considered that a role over image would be most appropriate, we want to give the user a sense of control and to feel as if they have the option to see the removed adverts or not; we want to create a sense of reveal that is controlled and enforced by the viewers.
Although after further consideration, we have stumbled across a function that allows two images to be split interactively, so that each section/layer of the image can be revealed by the user, we feel that this function will be most useful in our project because we feel that functionality, appearance and user control are important elements of our website.
As a group we were very confused about the layout, structure and navigation of the website itself. We made various different attempts and designs to try and combat this, our first initial design was very basic and simple due to concerns over what can realistically be achieved in the time we have but also due to a stark contrast between the website and presentation of the images, to emphasis the absence of branding.
Another design involved a landing page that is split between the ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ sphere, users would choose either an navigate though the locations and images. The screen would be split in half and the background would feature primary images of textures of the ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ spheres (eg. Carpet-private and tarmac-public). The ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ sphere buttons would be surrounded by other image based buttons that would feature an object from an images that is hyperlinked to the sequence of images from that location (eg. ‘Private’ shampoo bottle). We considered the deign of the buttons that are linked to each section, we debated on directly addressing advertising by making the buttons appear branded themselves. However we were concerned that the structure of the website will lead to unnecessary blank pages so we decided against this design.
We developed our design further by focusing more on the appearance and functionality by looking at how we will present the images to the audience, we looked at contemporary examples of websites and discussed a variety of different approaches to revealing the images and absent branding.
Briefly discussing issues around censorship, we quickly touched upon themes of censoring and power relations, we felt that our project could explore censorship and screen mediation, by providing a means to either censor or break from censored material however we decided to not base our project completely around this but to keep particular aspects in mind when creating our website.
We initially considered a product approach to marketing the images through a use of glasses, a product that reveals a different reality in itself; the glasses will be interactive, the viewer will be able to virtually put them on to reveal the normal, untouched images and when the glasses are worn the manipulated images would be revealed. However, I personally felt that we should focus more strongly on contemporary media and how it is pervasive in our day to day lives. I felt that creating a website that markets an application that allows you to add various filters to you’re images that will remove brands, logos and adverts. To further develop this idea we conducted research into applications such as Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and GTA Online to gain an insight into the structure and design of existing and contemporary media to influence our own.
Websites such as Snapchat and Instagram both have a very simplistic yet effective design, Snapchat’s website opens on a simple branded interface that allows you to navigate through the website by clicking on the clearly placed brand logo then navigating to another page that features snapchat displayed on an iPhone then paired with two large and clearly marked download buttons. Instagram features a similar interface that features the same design but with a different colour scheme; it is particularly interesting that websites of similar functions feature very similar web designs and interfaces. We also looked at websites such as WhatsApp, again including emphasis on the mobile functionality of the app, but its simplistic design works effectively although unlike Snapchat and Instagram it features a more information based interface. We aim to take various aspects from websites such as Snapchat and Instagram; it has become increasingly clear that by shifting our focus to a more social image based interface appears more applicable to our initial aim to create a simplistic website that is striking. I have come up with a sketch of a potential design for our website as seen to the left of the page. I feel that by incorporating reviews into our interface would be particularly benificial for allowing different interpretations of our project. We could potentially post reviews that spark confusion, inspiration or controversy as a way of allowing the viewer a personal interpretation of our images and website.
We briefly considered aspects such as Image mapping but doing this in dream weaver; considering techniques such as this could be incorporated into our project in various ways.
I feel that as a group we have both decided that the best way we want to display our images, we wish to use a before and after style composition but with an interactive drag bar, to give user control over the navigation and use of the website. Here I have found an example of this technique from the Adobe Muse suite. I am unsure as to whether we will use programs/interfaces such as Adobe Muse, Wix or Weebly because I feel that we are limited in many ways because most websites mentioned above do not allow access to the internal coding making it difficult to creatively and freely design a web interface that fully meets all of our requirements. Although this is something to be considered in greater detail later on.
Due to the developments in today’s meeting we began to reconsider and explore different ways of presenting and capturing our photographs in relation to online website structure and navigation. Ray had to idea of altering our original method from blurring and removing brands to covering them with objects of interest or objects of nature to raise awareness to advertising. However we considered and debated this and decided against it as we felt that the removal of brands and marketing would be a far more effective way or bringing attention to the issue of pervasive advertising in today’s increasingly capitalist culture.
We are now at the position of readdressing the composition of our images, considering further development to our images by not only breaking them down into public and private sphere but also to try and capture the images in the context of a scenario or scene; we are trying to find a rational way to navigate through our images. However I feel that due to our website being based around existing sites that incorporate image filters, and possibly creating a marketing page that promotes our product.
Although we are sure of some things at this stage…
- Images are to be presented in a before / after style, preferably with an interactive drag bar.
- Images are to be sectioned roughy into the ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ sphere through their locations and content
- We are to roughly base our website on existing ones such a Instagram and Snapchat; Satirical/ironic approach to brands and advertising will raise awareness to its pervasive nature.
- Images need to be revealed at the control of the viewer/user through gradual or chosen reveal
There are still a number of things to finalise however I feel that we have made a crucial development and are now closer to executing our project, due to our plan alteration, we have now realised a greater potential for social, theoretical and inter-modular connections; we are now beginning to realise the full potential of our project, We plan to theoretical connection between this practical project and our Experience and Identity module by analysing our project into the context of taste, identity and class through consumption of brands.