Thinking about redesigning my COETAIL website had me very excited. Excited because I love restrictions. Restrictions in a system such as WordPress make me want to know ways in which I can get the most out of the constraints. Twitter conversations with @Joe Teft, @itsallaboutart, and @anneinistanbul had sparked my interest making my blog look a little more professional and possibly less clunky. So I set out with this in mind.
Less is/always often more.
Images need to attract and connect.
Organization needs to be clear.
I figured this list was a good start.
My Site Before the Revamp
So – some through some analysis of the screenshots I identified a few things I wanted to change about the layout and design of my blog site. Number one seemed to be the clunkiness of the footer information. I didn’t want to have people to scroll down to get a sense of everything that might be available on my site. I wanted this information such as my twitter feed, etc. easily visible on the initial landing of the blog. I also wanted to showcase more of what I am about on the initial landing site. What am I really learning? and how might I use this blog as a vessel to really show this information in a way that others could use.
Out of the 16 choices I wanted something graphically oriented allowing me to express some of what I do every day as an art teacher. I think Magazino – the theme I have chosen does this in a good way. What I realized was missing was some polish.
Thinking about “good design” had me reflecting on how my own personal design decisions might impact my teaching. This year our school has adopted the new Core Arts Standards and working through these over the summer and early this year has brought to my attention the huge impact visual literacy really is amassing. The Core Art Standards are exciting as a Visual Arts instructor as they provide a framework which is really rooted in understanding not only what artists create, but also how they got there. There is a real emphasis on process and product and I appreciate this a lot as do many of my students who are worried they are not good artists. As I mull over these new documents with colleagues, and explore them in other ways with students I cannot help but be impressed with the connections between them and the work I am doing towards enhancing my own knowledge of Visual Literacy.
How do artists work? How do artists and designers determine whether a particular direction in their work is effective? How do artists and designers learn from trial and error?
Taken from: National Arts Standards, Creating Strand, Visual Arts, 2014
How does refining artwork affect its meaning to the viewer?
Taken from: National Arts Standards, Presenting Strand, Visual Arts, 2014
What is an image? Where and how do we encounter images in our world? How do images influence our views of the world?
Taken from: National Arts Standards, Responding Strand, Visual Arts, 2014
The After Effects
After many alterations (too many to screen shot – trust me). I feel like I am on my way towards revamping my site in a way that I can continue to be proud of and may attend to some of the goals I wanted to achieve. First thing I wanted to tackle was, “less is more”. To this end, I chose to use pages over widgets on my main site. You can see the pages are neatly organized in the menu bar at the top and definitely take away from the clutter and irregular shapes of the content in the footer.
I was hoping by keeping things organized at the top of each page I could allow viewers to move back and forth between content on the site.
A big part of my theme and site in general is the use of images to connect content and entice the reader into the site. With this in mind I want to ensure I am using really pertinent and excellent images. When I look at Nicki Hambleton‘s site I am always inspired to try to find ways I might be able to get some original imagery onto my blog. My goal for duration of this course will be to look deeper at some of the images I have already posted on this site and urge myself to work at finding the best image to connect with my content. I hope as I get better using sites such as compfight, photopin, wikicommons and other sites with easy attribution I will be able to add images to my site which really speak to the content I am producing. Likewise as I start to become a producer of images for sharing (another goal is to use my flickr account more) I know the content available to me is increasing every day! Talk about connectedness!
As I sort of alluded to – keeping things organized seems like a great way to allow others to get the most out of my site. Again, I have opted to try using pages vs widgets, my hope being that I can keep things neat clean and possibly compartmentalised or grouped. I am also hoping I can populate these pages with richer content that I possibly could using just widgets – this being said I am already having issues with how my twitter feed looks on a page. I was hoping to recreate a tweetdeck sort of look with things I am following alongside my own content but alas this still eludes me. Instead I went for a smaller height and dark background color.
Something I am proud of is how I created my own tag cloud by taking screen shots of archived tags and linking them on a page to the corresponding content they refer to. Probably clunky and old school but definitely doing what I want it to do. I also am pleased with the revamped Learning 2.013 page and added content that the group of teachers I attended with collaborated on. In keeping with the interest in Flipboard – I threw in a Flip it button – hoping someone might give it a try. I’d be interested to see what it looks like. Oh wait – I can try that myself!