Online Notebook

M. Mancini

Week One

Cartoon Network

I love Steven Universe and missed the last few episodes. Cartoon network advertises that the episodes are available on their website, so let’s see if it’s true.

When you open the site, you’re greeted by links to videos and games. Once you shorten the page, it adapts to smaller screen settings, but eventually it’s just difficult to see where to go to watch videos (instead of having a hamburger menu, all the options are at the bottom in the footer.

There’s also a thing called UNLOCKED! And I’m still not completely sure of what it is.

On the regular desktop site, there are menus on the top that drop down when you hover over them. You can choose one of the icons of the main shows there, or you can click See All Video and go to Shows for a specific one. I want to watch Steven Universe, so I click on the icon and immediately see the latest episode! Amazing! Except when I actually click on it, it’s only the first 2 minutes.

In order to see the episode, you have to go to See All Steven Universe Videos and keep clicking See More at the bottom, the videos are tagged to show which full episodes are available (therefore I’m going to assume that UNLOCKED! is full episodes).

Over all, I think the site is functional, if a little confusing at first. The website can be overwhelming at first, but I have to keep in mind that it is targeted towards children, who have trouble focussing on one thing at a time (thus why the menus and all the graphics are so large and colorful). I will say some of it seems a little confusing and misleading at first, but it doesn’t take long to figure out what’s up.

7/10

LimeCrime

I'm obviously too poor for anything on this website, but a girl can stare and dream.

Going into the website, the first thing you see is animated oranges spreading and revealing the site. This is to promote the company's latest eyeshadow palette, the Venus XL II. In terms of aesthetic, LimeCrime seems to be known for their sort of "grunge" aesthetic, which is why the animated graphics seems choppy and reminiscent of early 2000's or 90's web graphics.

One thing I find interesting is that when the screen gets smaller, the website still seems to be functional. However, when it's larger, it gets complicated. The menus are also the one where you hover and then select from a dropdown menu, but when the screen is larger, it's difficult to select anything as the website doesn't seem to register the mouse being there. It's a race to select anything before it disappears.

Other than that, I think the website is mostly functional. It sucks though that it only functions up to a certain point, but otherwise it is aesthetically pleasing and gets customers where they need to be easily.

6/10

Week Two

SquareSpace

I’m in an HTML/CSS class I am way too dumb for. I’m going on Squarespace to look for a website I can steal the code for.

When you first get on the site, you see a series of aesthetically pleasing images going into small examples of website formats. Scrolling down, there is information on possibilities that are available to you with the website. At the top there is a menu, the Tour tab is a drop down showing what they mean, and the others simply change color as they direct you to other pages.

Under Tour, Websites you get more examples of website formats and accomplishments. The Get Started button above the fold is exactly what it says it is. Going back to Tour, you click on Domain and it takes you to a seemingly blank page with domain examples placed on the screen. It’s only when you scroll down that you see all disclaimers about copyright and claiming domains, as well as different payment plans and another list of the same accomplishments as before. Online Store is a little different is the sense that it does look more like a tutorial if anything, how to run an online store, how to look into analytics, etc. The same goes with the Marketing Tools tab.

Overall, the website is visually beautiful and very easy to navigate and function. If I wanted to use it to make my own site, it would be easy for me to (however I’m poor so you can be assured that I couldn’t if I wanted to). That being said, the only problem I have is how redundant the site can be. I understand that they are trying to sell me something, but every page I click on (even the homepage) has the same list of awards and accomplishments every single time. I think it would be better if they just kept the list on the homepage, or even a new tab for it.

9/10

tumblr

I’m cool, edgy, and have thoughts people need to hear! I’m going to make an account.

You get on the site itself and the site shows you an art post background (with the name of the user in the bottom right corner) as it shows you to either log in or sign up. I don’t know anything about this site and why I should sign up, though, so I’m going to click on the What Is Tumblr selection at the bottom. The site will scroll down and show you a graphic advertising it's simplicity. It will then immediately keep moving down before you can finish reading, though at least you have the option to go up by clicking on the transparent circles on the left side.

The site also shows a preview of how it'll function once you have an account. The latest update shows the background being much darker and heavily saturated with white text. While this may look good on a poster where you can glance and move on, this is proven to be a strain on the eyes if someone is reading like this more long, which tumblr is meant to be.

As for having a profile, a lot of the design options are frankly either ugly or not functional, so many users either code a new design themselves, or download free codes from users who offer them.

Tumblr was originally created so that people can share photos and writing with others, which made it great for writers and visual artists to share their work online and gain a following. As the site grows older, though, the algorithm has changed so that the only users being suggested are more popular blogs rather than blogs that are relevant to a person's interests. For example, if I am interested in taxidermy, instead of being shows taxidermy blogs, I will be shown a popular kpop blog. This has made it insanely difficult for talented artists with a small following to be able to grow.

All this said, I think tumblr has questionable design elements, and while it is somewhat functional on it's own, we do have to remember that XKit was invented by a user and the addition was made in order to make the website more functional than it is on it's own (including fixing the background color so it's not so much of a strain). It also has gone so far away from it's original intention, that people have been looking for alternatives for a while. However, we should consider that it is popular for a reason, and it has elements of sharing and posting that not many other social media sites have

A begrudging 6/10

Week Three

The Soda Parlor

Been craving milkshakes for a while now, but I want to do research before committing to a certain milkshake ideal!

The site has beautiful graphic design elements, and though while it is adaptable, the layout doesn't change too much other than getting smaller (and harder to read).

The website is a single page site, which quite frankly annoyed me for a little bit after I had put in all this effort to scroll all the way down and all the way back up for seemingly no reason. However, it is functional and it's easy to see all the menu options (even if the store has many more). Over all, I'd say just make the phone version's font bigger, maybe add a hamburger menu.

9/10

The Soda Parlor

The McElroy's are not experts, and their advice should never be followed. Travis McElroy claims he's a sexpert, but if there's a degree on his wall, I haven't seen it.
The McElroy family has many podcasts, their most popular ones being "My Brother My Brother and Me", an dvice show for the modern era, and "The Adventure Zone" a Dungeons and Dragons comedy campaign. This site is meant to host all their shows as well as have their merch.

I'm gonna say right now: I cannot get over how ugly this site is. The image for the header is nice, but the grid system and fonts they decided to use are a huge turn-off.

On the desktop version of the site, there are menus you can scroll over. For the Podcasts tab, it drops down and the way these shows are displayed is weird. It looks more like some of the shows have decpritions rather than there being five total shows.
Then if you click on them, you get some images with headers under them. I didn't know these were links at first glance, I thought there was just merch.

Speaking of merch, clicking on a merch link just sends you to a whole different website. Usually I don't mind this, but it was a little daunting at first before I figured it out.

4/10

Week Four

Killstar

Killstar is a fashion site dedicated to the goth style.

The site immediately gives the viewer the option for American or British shipment and sales, and while this is overlooked so often, it's also not an option on a lot of other foreign sites (such as AmiAmi, an anime merchandise store that ships from Japan).

The site's front page immediately showcases the latest products and scrolls down immediately to clearance and the instagram page at the bottom, as well as a description of the site's goals and customer service. Above the fold, though, the site's menus for the standard options. However, they are scroll-over and will immediately disappear if the mouse moves the wrong way for even a second.

One other thing I love about this site is the Journal section, which has photos that lead to articles showcasing the charities they take part in and different ways one can use their clothing and products. It shows the buyer several options aside from their original aesthetic.

Over all, the website is functional and has legible and aesthetically pleasing graphic design.

10/10

Fenty Beauty

Fenty Beauty is a makeup brand made by Rihanna. It's popularity came to be when they released their foundation collection, which included a wide variety of shades that were hard to find, especially for people with rich and deep skin tones.
Since then, Fenty has been consistently dropping high quality products in aesthetically pleasing packaging. However, the prices definitely showcase this being a luxury brand, which takes away the initial idea that this brand was made for "everybody."

As for the site itself, automatically you can tell it is aesthetically pleasing with it's colors and gifs, and it has a nice grid system that is easy to read.

The site runs like a basic makeup shop with selections for where to find certain products, but what I find funny is the Foundation Shade Finder tag.
Apparently it's a quiz and it's supposed to find your personal shade with a simple quiz. Once it's done, it recommends which foundation fits you and what products to pair it with. I still have no idea if the shade I got is too light or too dark.
It's a bullshit quiz, but I have to admit, it did serve it's purpose in getting me interested in the site.

One thing that is annoying, though, is that every time I click on a tab, a pop-up for a sale appears. I think having the pop-up is okay on the first page, but after a while it just discourages me from clicking on anything else.

8/10

Week Five

victo-ngai

Victo Ngai is an illustrator known for her work in the New York Times and Apple. This is her portolio.

Her work is all on the front page, immediately allowing the viewer to see previews of what she's worked on without having to search for it. Each thumbnail leads the viewer to another page where she talks about the assignment and her mindset for the design and the symbolism she decided to use. She also adds sketches and sometimes even videos of the drawing process, then she adds how the design looks in different mode of advertising.

Her About section comes with a photo of her and a client list, as well as awards she has won in the past. Her Events and Press sections are about the same, except the Press comes in screenshots of magazines she's been featured in instead. I think I'd prefer to see a list with links simply because I find myself wanting the read these interviews she's been in rather than just seeing she was on Cosmopolitan once.

As for her contact page, I feel it is almost unnecessary in that it only shows her email and the agency she's represented by. Since it's so little, I feel it could be combined with her About section instead, or maybe in the header along with her other social media.
Speaking of unnecessary tabs, the News section just links to a messy, outdated tumblr page that links to her instagram. Given that she already has her instagram on her header, I don't see the point in this tab anymore, especially if she already has an Events page.

Even though this makes a very beautiful and functional portfolio, I feel that the site's design and layout is a litle outdated and should be looked into so the audience isn't confused or turned off in the future.

6/10

Honyalala/Nantala Kantala

Honyalala is a Japanese artist best known for her work on a game called DRAMAtical Murder. She was hired after she made fanart for one of the company's games and they had her work on the characters, backgrounds, and all PR illustrations.

This website is her portfolio website. It's width does not adjust for mobile devices, and apparently the name of the site, Nantala Kantala, roughly translates to "something or other" according to someone on a forum about her work on linesandcolors.com.
Also, the icon at the top right links to her Pxiv page. Pixiv is basically like a deviantArt for eastern users. This is where the majority of her work is, and frankly it's mostly pornography.

The first tab is her about page, and she warns the user immediately that it is mostly adult content and underaged users should be careful. She also recommends that the user vew this page in 1920 x 1080 resolution.
The second tab is her artwork, same as Victo Ngai's she has icons that the viewer can click on to see the full piece and closeups on details. That being said, she only has 19 works on the site, and 3 of them are studies. The files are also so large that they take a few seconds to display the full image.

It's also worth noting that when clicking on the porfolio and onwards, the menu at the top disappears. The third tab leads to just an image, I can't tell if that was her logo or copyright, and the last tab leads to another seemingly outdated blog.

Honyalala is clearly a great artist with beautiful compositions and attention to detail. She was actually one of my influences when developing my style, and it sucks to see such an outdated, lackluster, unprofessional portfolio where she couldn't even be bothered to title it properly. I don't know if she was planning on continuing professional illustration jobs or not, but I can understand if someone didn't want to hire her because of this site, which doesn't even show up when you google her, only her Pixiv and Twitter pages that are full of porn.

It just goes to show that it doesn't matter how talented you are, if you don't have a good, or even respectable, portfolio it does not matter at all.

2/10

Week Six

Klim Type Foundry

The Klim Type Foundry is a site for purchasable fonts designed by this group. The first thing you see is a video loop of different fonts in different natural, almost alien-like textures.
In the Fonts section, it drops down to where you can see a list of options available. Clicking on one of the fonts will lead to a page where you can see the type in use, and some links to downloadable previews and an About section where the viewer can see how this font was made and the inspirations behind it. It's the same with their Custom tab.

Their In Use tab is self-explanatoryas it shows their fonts being used for different advertisements.

Aside from the video and the overall aesthetic, I'm disappointed to say there's nothing too special about this site. It is functional and pleasing to look at, but nothing that says "wow that's incredible".

7/10

Beyoncé

Beyoncé's website starts with a header image, currently it is a gif for International Women's Day, most of the images featuring fans at her concerts and models. Scrolling down, it seems she has pictures of contemporary successful Black people, although there are only three now, so it's unclear if whoever is running the site plans on continuing this. Clicking on these pictures opens up a new page where you can read about the person and their impact on the Black community. Beyond that, there are just a lot of photos of Beyoncé and her husband from instagram, clicking on any of these just shows you when they were posted and links to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you keep scrolling, a little arrow appears at the bottom right so you don't have to scroll all the way back up.

On the top right, there's a link to where you can join her fanclub. I entered information thinking it would take me to a page where I might need to pay, or some place where I can cancel last minute. It didn't. I think I accidentally joined the Beyhive.

It's around this point that I realize the site is a little annoying. Each link opens in a different page, so I ended up with 5 tabs open.

The site has a hamburger menu that opens from the side on desktops, and downwards on mobile devices.
The first tab links to her different albums, which you have to pay to listen to like people don't know what YouTube or Spotify are, and there are links to credits, lyrics, and documentaries, the latter being only available for the album titled 4.
the BeyGood tab shows charities and scholarships she has contributed to as well as links to the charity sites so you can contribute as well.
As for IvyPark, I was scared for a second because the site tells you to turn up the volume and beware of flashing images...but nothing came of it. It just leads to pictures of models and a link to the store, which has very little Ivy Park brand merchendise and mostly just concert tees and hats.
Vault looks like it's just another large compilation of photos, both public and personal photos ranging from concerts to pictures of her very young daughter.

While the aesthetic and functionality of the site are good, I do have to say it feels a bit underwhelming, and if it were me, I'd show more interactive links for fans and less personal photos, keeping those for personal social media rather than a professional site.

6/10