layout

RU Blog Critique: Kim, Nicole, Angie, Pat

After looking at the Rutgers Admissions Blog, it is an interesting blog that shows prospective students who are interested in applying to Rutgers what the school and campus have to truly offer. The blog is mostly from a student’s point of view; therefore there is no bias towards one side.  Students can talk about the positives and the negatives of the school. Many of the posts include really great advice and tips from a diverse group of students.  Students can be diverse in age, majors, ethnicity, etc.  One student’s experience at Rutgers can be the complete opposite of another student’s college experience because of their differences.  The blog allows prospective students to view both sides and help them make the ultimate decision.

The Rutgers Admission blog has a nice title banner.  The background color appropriate since the school color is scarlet red.  The tag cloud has its pros and cons. A pro is that you can see what the hot topics are.  For example, Rutgers has a very strong pharmacy program; therefore pharmacy is larger than some of the other words in the tag cloud. The bigger the word is, the more the word is used in the blog.  However, the group agrees that the tag cloud is distracting because it makes half the page seem like it’s cluttered with random words.

The titles of the posts are creative, but do not give a good description of what the post will be about.  In addition, many of the post do not have tags.  When a post doesn’t have any tags it is hard to locate key words.  The tags help the readers get a sense of what topics the post will cover.

Another negative about the site is that is has a long loading time.  The site easily crashes as seen during class.  It seems like if 20 users visits the site at once, the site will shut down.  When the site crashes, it will be less likely for a reader to revisit the page due to inconvenience.  In addition, some browsers were unable to view the comments to the posts.

We also notice that the tag cloud goes all the way down the page, and the post list ends half way down the page.  It would be better if the post list goes down the entire page and the tag cloud should be shorter.

Lastly, we suggest that the blog has more pictures on the home page.  This will make the blog more attention grabbing and attractive.  Usually in magazines or newspaper, there is a large picture on the front page to capture the reader’s attention.

RU Admissions Blog

Overall I love the idea for this blog! I think it can be very helpful for the new incoming students and I wish I had known about it when I was entering RU. It is an easy way for new students to get answers to some of their questions in a very informal, not intimidating way. Many incoming students are nervous about a lot of things coming into college and this is a bridge to helping them adjust. They are able to ask questions or may not even have to because they are probably already answered somewhere in the blog. Not only is it beneficial to the incoming students but also current students. It is a way to share experiences they feel fellow classmates should hear about. It also provides a way to keep students involved and make them feel like part of a community. It is also nice it was chosen to be a blog vs. a different type of writing because blogging is informal and students do not have to worry so much about what or how they are saying things. Instead of speaking to professors they are speaking to each other, which makes it easier to understand each other. Something else that is very helpful about the blog is its set-up. The page is easy to navigate and if a student has a specific concern they want to learn more about all they have to do is look under the tag cloud and click what they are interested in. Once they do, they are brought right to the page where those concerns or questions were addressed. Something that could be changed would be that along with the tag cloud they were provide better categories on topics. The cloud is helpful but categories would be even more helpful.

Blog Layout

Mahd, Kristen, Emma.

Blog Content: Entertainment; movies, actors, television shows, music, books, etc.

Layout:

As soon as you open up the website, the title big enough to catch eye. Navigation bar above the fold, located near the main headline. Main article heading would be big, and then an excerpt would follow. For the rest of the articles, there would be a title, a thumbnail picture, and then a snippet of the article with a read more. Use of infinite scroll, where all the stories and images are on one page. However, static navigation bar. A “back to top” button on the bottom of the page with other important information.

Banner of some sort on the top, like some type of logo on the left. Wrapper of the webpage would be a color, but where the pictures and text are would be white. Individual archive for each category for each page (ie. one for movies, one for actors, etc.).

What DiCioccio’s Paintings Can Teach Us About Blogging

After taking some time to look at Lauren DiCioccio’s paintngs, I think they are really good examples of how bloggers should want to layout their blogs. I have come to this conclusion after reading the “10 Blog Layout Tips” article we had to read for homework. A lot of the tips the article gives can be seen in Lauren DiCioccio’s paintings.

This first tip given in the article is vertical alignment. The point of the tip is to make sure everything in your blog fits in it’s rightful column. This is to make sure nothing looks like it is randomly sticking out and to keep your blog looking neat and organized. If you look through Lauren’s paintings, you can observe that they all contain vertical alignment.

The second tip given is having white space in your layout. You want to have white space, or sections/columns of your blog well spaced, so that it is easy for your readers to read. In Lauren’s paintings, all of her paintings have white space. Her columns are filled with colors and they are also well spaced so you can easily identify separate columns and paragraphs or images.

I am skipping down to tips 6 & 7 because tips 3, 4 and 5 ( uncluttered sidebars, accessible info and short description) are elements we can not necessarily draw an accurate comparison to blogging, since these paintings are made up of dots and not words.

Tip number six is typography. Typography is having a low amount of fonts in your blog. I think Lauren’s paintings are a good representation of consistency with fonts because in all of her paintings, for the most part, the dots are the same size.  There are also only dots, so the consistency of shape is also made throughout the paintings. We do not see any squares or triangles mixed in. Sometimes there are bigger dots to represent a title or quote perhaps, but other than that, there is consistency of shape and size with the content that is representative of the words.

Tip number seven is colors. You want to add color to your blog to make it appealing and to draw attention to your readers. Lauren’s paintings are a good example of the addition of color because her paintings are filled with a variety of colors. She places colors in the dots and sometimes the images. This in combination with the white background really makes her paintings stand out. The colors really capture your attention while looking at her paintings. That is what you want to achieve with a blog layout. You really want to be able to capture a reader’s attention and the use of color is a very simple way to do that.

These are just a few of the tips that resonated with me after looking at her paintings. They really do set a good example for how bloggers should look to layout their blogs. If bloggers are having trouble envisioning a nicely executed blog layout, I think they should look at Lauren’s paintings because they are definitely a great representation of what a blog layout should look like.

Blogging and Art: Lauren DiCioccio

Lauren DiCioccio’s paintings replicate random pages in magazines and other publications of work; the words are replaced with small blocks of color so that an ordinary page becomes art. An entire page is replicated so that depending on the original article or image, Lauren’s pieces become dramatically different. They all display the different layout of a publication and it is somewhat easy to distinguish between the types of articles Lauren painted.  As we said in class, one looked like the credits from a movie or the front page of a magazine where the editors’ names go. Another looks like a magazine article, possibly with an interview (as evidenced by the highlighted block quote).

I think Lauren’s art can actually teach a lot about blogging. Despite Lauren using eye catching colors, the use of the colors is so prevalent that the eye is no longer attracted to certain words. Everything has color so that what catches your eye is the white space and the shape that the words (blocks of color) take in the paintings. It is no longer readable so what truly catches the attention is the format and the layout. Certain pieces are just massive blocks of colored dots. There is one piece in particular, called Vanity Fair MAY08 pg 269, that shows what was originally three columns of text. Nothing stands out, there are no pictures, no quotes, and the first letters of the paragraphs don’t stand out too much. There is no pause or break in the colored dots so it just becomes one big image and your eye isn’t drawn to any specific place. This becomes more clear when compared to another piece of hers (the eighth one shown in the slideshow). The format of this piece is much more attention-grabbing because it utilizes its white space and its layout in a pleasing way; a picture begins the article, there are three small columns of text, a giant quote in the middle of the page and three more small columns of text underneath. When a new part in the article begins, the first letter of that paragraph is big and immediately discernible.

By studying Lauren’s paintings, it would be much easier to find the kind of blog layout that you want for a blog. You could study each one and see where your eye is immediately drawn and then you could try to replicate that on your blog layout. Obviously, layout depends on what kind of blog you are running but her paintings are still rather useful if you are going to be using mostly words or if you will occasionally post pictures to accompany your words.

Lauren DiCioccio’s Paintings and Blogging

Lauren DiCioccio’s paintings, though without words, can say a lot about blogging. Most of her paintings seem to be of layouts of different types of media, ranging from books to magazines. Each of the color dots looks like they represent words that could be found in any of those forms of media.

This is important to us because it shows us how layouts are important to the people viewing them. Because we are so used to the way different forms of media works, we were able to make inferences as to what each of her paintings represented. The line of dots on the very top of the pieces are obviously titles, the large mass of dots are most likely images, and so forth.

With DiCioccio’s paintings, we are able to see visually just how catching each different type of layout is for the people looking a particular medium. Without words to guide us, we can still tell if something is visually appealing or not. For people who blog, their goal is to get people to want to visit their site, read their material, and keep coming back. If they do not have a visually appealing blog, no one would ever want to stay on the site longer than they really need to. They would probably just pass over that blog and move on to the next.

DiCioccio also inadvertently shows how color and alignment is important. To start with, it may just be a stylized thing for her, using the color combinations that she does. But another part of being a visually appealing blog deals with what color to use in your blog so that people wouldn’t mind looking at it for a long periods of time. If you have really lurid color combinations in your blog, trust that it will be cancelled out of in a split second.

With the alignment, DiCiorccio shows how if things are aligned properly, the page looks neater and less cluttered. Her entire works are made up of clustered dots. If she hadn’t arranged them in the specific way she did, it would have just looked like a mess. Instead, they took shape to mean something more than just dots. This concept can be used for blogging because by setting up texts in a precise way with proper alignment, the blog page looks neater and more reader friendly. It makes it easier to navigate and accessible. This is also the case with setting up pictures properly too. Adding pictures could be difficult when you want the text to match. Alignment comes into play here. By putting text and pictures where they look the best improves the overall quality of the blog and makes people want to visit and revisit a blog. Her use of white space is also quite telling with blogging as well. It shows just how much white space is needed for certain mediums without taking too much room or giving too less of room.

In conclusion, though it doesn’t seem like it, her works shed a lot of insight into practices that are beneficial to blogging.

Dicioccio’s Paintings: A Look Inward

This is actually a very interesting question…What can Lauren DiCioccio’s paintings teach us about blog style and layout. I think the most obvious thing I’ve gained from viewing her paintings is a greater respect for the placement of information in a space. She forces us to view information in a way that takes away it’s actual meaning. We begin to see the bits of information as colors and shapes rather than ideas and thoughts. This is incredibly interesting and offers a great way to explore what is appealing to a reader subconsciously rather than consciously. Almost like a dream, her paintings bring forward these subconscious views of everyday articles and force us to think on what other factors might motivate us to like, dislike, or pay more or less attention to any given piece of writing and presentation.

The use of so many different colors is an interesting choice. I’ve been looking at these pictures, trying to decide whether the colors ACTUALLY relate to the same specific letters in each of their instances, or whether she has randomized them. I love that the bolder contrasts in color seem to point to areas on the page where an image might appear to be most effective. This of course is just how I see it, and may not be the same for someone else. Something that really jumps out at me is the minimal use of the color white in most of her paintings.  There are obviously some dots that are white, and not just areas of no text. However, with so few of them, I wonder if these are areas of the painting she wants to call some sort of attention to.

Again, as far as layout is concerned, I am in awe over the level of thought these images provoke. The painting which brings to mind a sort of braille like quality, also brings about a fantastic contrast between what would normally be black writing on a white background. The resulting pop that comes from the contrast of so many colors against the white background again forces the viewer to remember how important the negative space within a document is, relative to the words on the page. I’m given a much better understanding, even if it wasn’t her intent, on the importance of the negative space, and the placement of the various elements of my work. I must also say that it is slightly off putting to see the pages that are almost completely covered in color. As an individual with ADHD, this perfectly translates the feelings I have when I am trying to read an article or a post and am constantly being inundated with new information which is both distracting and unwanted to me.

I know my thoughts are a little bit messy on this topic, but I am not sure if any of these ideas I have are anywhere near Dicioccio’s intended meaning. Either way, these are excellent, thought provoking paintings no matter how you choose to view them.

Paintings

In my critical response to the articles from last week I mention how important the use of color is in blogging. Color is all about where you want the eye to be directed when someone is viewing your blog. The same goes for paintings and Lauren definitely knew this while composing her paintings. She uses a lot of color in all her very abstract work. Her use of the dots allows the reader to make what they want out of her work. Since none of her work can be made out for sure what it is, it leaves it up to the viewer’s discretion and that can be appreciated by them because they get to view how they want to. I think this is a good tip for our blogs because maybe we should be posting certain things where the viewer gets to decide since giving the reader power is important. Although this could maybe work against your blog if you are not running an art blog since some people, like me, prefer a definite an answer or knowledge. I like to know what I am looking at and so if it is not art, I feel like I should be able to perceive it for what it is. I often get frustrated when I am unsure of what something is. Then again I am not very big into art and so you can see why I feel this way. Something I did find interesting about her work is the fact that some of her paintings have complete pictures in them such as watches and a reoccurring lady. It has me curious as to why most of her work is dots but then there are the occasional pictures. Something else I noticed is that she uses the same lady in all her pictures. What I take from that is that that lady is very significant and so she always uses her. She symbolizes something in her work I just do not know what that is. Overall I think she bases a lot of her work off of color, which is very smart considering color is one of the biggest components of any type of work.

Nude Media

I guess I had never really thought about nude media in the context, or really (if I’m going to be completely honest) at all.  It’s really interesting to see how an authoritative site such as the New York Times can have its information misused and stripped down to it’s base.  With each manipulation, the article loses more and more authority until it literally becomes a summary.

The short article emphasizes presentation and format and how that correlates with the authenticity of the information you’re presenting.  This is something that I’m not necessarily sure the first thing some bloggers may think about. The way a blogger or a publisher may view their information could be completely different than how it will later be perceived by the general public.  Because of the huge dichotomy between print, e-article, and e-mail friendly versions, there are bound to be discrepancies in not only formatting, but content and the way it is viewed by the intended audience. It’s interesting to think about all of this, because in an age where everyone relies so heavily on media to get our information, it’s becoming more apparent that we have to take into consideration both content and context.

As amateur bloggers, I’m not too sure how nude media could effect us to the same extent as it did the New York Times, but this article has definitely opened my eyes to the issue.

Blog Layout

I was very informed after reading these two articles. They represent how to make the perfect blog and they give you information on both the more and less obvious aspects as to how to layout your blog. Some of these tips may be common knowledge which is what more of the first article, “Tips for laying out Blog Posts” focused on. Then there are more technical tips most do not know and this knowledge came more from the second article “10 blog Layout Tips.” Both present great tips in order to have an eye-catching blog!

In the first article, “Tips for laying out Blog Posts,” it is all about how to catch a person’s attention through visual concepts. These concepts consist of things such as colors, images, fonts, all the things that draw a viewer’s eye to something. I figured this was a very important aspect to blogging but I did not realize actually how much until reading these two pieces. The tip that interested me the most from this article would be number three, which was collages. I would not have guessed that collages caught the eye more than a single picture. My reasoning would be because there is a lot to focus on rather than just one picture. Turns out I was wrong! Not only are they attractive to the eye, they help speed up the loading time of a page from the consolidation of the photo. Everyone can agree that they are much happier with a page that loads quicker rather than having to wait! So this tip actually serves two purposes, the practical purpose and the fun purpose!

Then on the opposite side we have the second article, which basically gives tips on things that most people would not already know about. These are more technical things that many people would not realize that it actually does make a difference such as, white space, vertical alignment, typography and so on. These things focus more on how to set up your blog so that your viewer has an easy read while also being able to easily navigate through your page. You might think things such as a cluttered page may not matter but you would be wrong! Small things like this do make a difference even if it may be a sub-conscience one. I wanted to point out that there was a reoccurring tip I came across and that was colors. Using vibrant colors in order to direct the reader’s eye to where you want it to go has come up in both articles making it one of the most, if not the most, important aspects to a blog in my personal opinion. It makes sense when you think about it, in order for a reader to stay on your blog and actually get to the point of them reading your posts, they have to be interested enough so that they do not click out of it first. In order to do that your layout must be eye-catching so the little things such as colors matter just as much as the actual information that is being provided and so it is worth it to really contribute to all parts.