Mash-up Project Write Up
Initial group sessions go pretty poorly in terms of defining a theme for the project. Every lesson, different people and another set of ideas, blank faces and a scurry to get to the door at the earliest opportunity. Web spaces remained illusive, internet connections flicker and……. still no clue about how to make a WordPress blog. Retreat to the coffee shop.
Surprise and horror. We’re asked to present our initial concepts to the class by the end of the lesson which is already half over. For the first time we actually decide who is in our group and who is out, think about layout/structure and what kind of content we want for the site.
As Content Creation are having to connect this project with an earlier piece of work, there are going to be two themes that run side by side on our site. Some quick scribble sketches help us map out the basics for the site. There must be a clear and easy way to distinguish categories but the site must ultimately be identifiable as one magazine.
We really want to be able to post the two different types of articles at the same time on the home page, a layout like this one making it a possibility. However, everyone thinks that it would be best if there were two main images so that one side of the site does not dominate the other.
We identify that we want the site to be current and appealing to students/ people of a similar age to us. As a result of the up and coming student protests we are going to run a student political column and an alternative entertaining column……Like unsigned bands which is a particular interest of half of the group.
Outcome of the presentation:
Simple, a range of questions that we weren’t really ready to answer……How will we make money? What is the connection between unsigned band culture and student protest? Who are our competitors? And a debate about whether we think that it’s right for people who run political/alternative political websites to allow advertisement on their pages. Does advertisement risk compromising a site’s message/ look and feel? Robert points out that you don’t have to allow anyone to advertise, it’s possible to get sponsors from organizations that might have a similar ethos to your own. This might be difficult to arrange before a site becomes well known.
After the presentation we discuss what each person can work on through the next week. We need to be better informed, have a list of possible ‘sister sites’, competitors and start producing our content. The Content class are shooting a series of short interviews with international students on Friday, I offer to help with the set up and filming.
I set up a group on Facebook and add everyone in the group as a member. This means that we should be able to swap information really easily on the days that we don’t meet and also encourage everyone to pull their weight.
Meet Mohamad, Rory and Jane in the Study Zone and find a place to shoot the interviews. We have a range of Arazmus and full time international students which means that we get a wide range of answers to the questions that we ask, which is unexpected and interesting.
Personal Research Contribution:
A possible competator site that has an interesting article about the political voice of rap on the first page. A good example of the type of article that would bind our site together.
Following on from this articles i discovered Slingshot Hip Hop, a website and documentary following whole wave of young rappers emerging in Palastine who were using rap as a means to have a political voice. An ideal way to embed content and tie in other websites with our theme.
And finally another site and documentary with direct connection between protest and music, Sounds like a Revolution.
I also suggested that we should add a plug-in calender so that we could list events that users might want to attend like screenings of any connected films, for example Sounds like a Revolution playing at the Curzon in Soho. (Please note that this link will no longer show Sounds like a Revolution Listed)
Not Long to go until the formative assessments so i desperately try to find a theme that i’ll be able to make into something that will please all the different members of the group.
Layout is something that i can work with but am going to have to start modifying the colour.
The Group finalises the name Canvas for the site. Not bad.
Formative assessments have left us with another list of questions that need answering, again everyone seems unsure whether the double theme will make sense. Financially viability also another big issue needing to be addressed.
Back to scheduled lessons and i was hoping to make a start by customizing our theme in dreamweaver but plans change and Tim talks to the groups individually. This works out better, get a chance to discover new software, Mamp, a local host that could help me understand how to change pieces within WordPress coding.
Frustrating start, Mamp isn’t simple to set up first time. Fiddly. Time for coffee.
Mamp running, code isn’t simple, mistakes and mild panic. Coffee
The group are starting to worry about the progress of the website and want to see some things change. Green is chosen as a base colour for the site, i find the dimensions of the original header and start to make alternatives.
Not my best work but something to start building a colour pallet against.
Background colours changed in three separate pieces.
New header made a little larger to accommodate boarders that now appear to break up the site.
Group Meeting: The header needs to be redesigned to look less amateur. Everyone seems to like the colour scheme. Some suggestions that a picture of a canvas on an easel should sit behind the title. Would prefer to carry on without. Managed to talk the group around to having a grammatically correct tag line for the site.
After posting all of the new headers to the Facebook group, people start to choose favorites and i make these up with slight colour modifications before deciding on a finalised combination of colours.
Finally found the code that colours the 2pxl dotted line that i’ve being trying to turn dark green for about a week. The background now looks the way i want it. Final header approved by the group.
Images on the home page replaced by original photo’s taken by the group at the student protest. Plug-ins searched for easy and most stylish ways to present photo galleries and modify page orders. All articles submitted on the Facebook page, copied, spell checked where possible and uploaded to the right pages.
Final finished versions with advertising space for sponsors, rolling galleries for photo’s of the protests and video’s uploaded from You Tube. Page Menu order changed and button colours modified. Images checked for copy right or replaced with originals taken by the group. All video’s checked for fluid playback. Canvas is ready to be published and presented.
Home Page Screenshots:
Photo Gallery Example: