Wireframe (Tony)

Simplicity is key.

I want my site to be clear and concise. It will consist of a timeline of runways, a timeline of stock prices, and my research and conclusions from the project. The “about” will just be a brief biography.

The timeline will have clickable photos with dates, titles, and information on how it relates to the timeline. The analytics will consist have several major brands and their stock prices over time. I might even add another pop up with information on each brand.

Heavily inspired by MoMA’s site.

Masculinity: a timeline of men’s fashion

I am researching the growth of men’s interest in fashion because I want to know if social media has had any impact on this trend. Formerly a female-oriented interest, there has been a greater increase in male fashion consumers within recent years as well as an abandonment in traditional norms for men’s clothing. I want to create a timeline which shows the shifts in men’s fashion over the years and compare it to another timeline of Google searches to see if there are any correlations.

For data, I will be using Google Trends and Google Finance. With Google Trends, I will be able to compare interest peaks and lows for search terms relating to men’s fashion. With Google Finance, I will be able to track stock prices owned by fashion groups over the past 15 years. Both of these tools are free, easy to access, and easy to pull data from and import into a visualizing tool. Knight Lab’s JS Timeline would be used as my timeline-builder for images and text.

My topic is a very design-based topic which would make sense to use a digital platform to see images, videos, and articles. However, analytics, especially stock analytics, have a variety of factors and correlation might not always equal causation. While I would be able to visually show changing aesthetics in men’s fashion, it would be difficult to say that this is simply because more men are interested in fashion.

I would imagine many #menswear bloggers on Instagram and YouTube, male fashion forums, and generally anyone who is interested in fashion would enjoy seeing my data. I’m heavily involved on several fashion related forums such as Reddit, KanyeToThe, and Styleforum which could also be hubs for sharing.

Implementation (Tony #2)

Our classes this week really made me think about the implementation of some of the features I want to have my project. During our in-class critique and website analysis, I was able to narrow things down and cut off certain aspects of the site. I was surprised to see a timeline Flash project that worked fairly well despite its dated program. From there, I realized that I wanted to create something similar, but more modern.

The buttons would be limited, the timeline would be interactive, and most importantly, I don’t want people to think about how to use it. I’m excited to get more into the sources and citation aspect of the course as well. As of right now, my main goal is to figure out how to implement that timeline if it is not a readily available theme.

Langston Hughes at 100

The Langston Hughes exhibition is curated in the Beinecke Library and is hosted through Yale University. The exhibition’s intended audience is anyone who wants to experience the collection through a multimedia format and see the files within the library. Langston Hughes gifted his papers, letters, manuscripts, and many more assortments of media to the library over the years which culminated into this collection.

While the general design is actually pretty great, the execution is a bit lackluster and is in desperate need of an update. For starters, the exhibit only works if you have Flash which is a fairly dated program.

The player has a Navigating category which explains how to use the exhibition which defies the entire concept of “Don’t Make Me Think!” A good online exhibition: 1) should not need a section to teach people how to use it, it should be intuitive 2) even it did, it should be clearly bulleted and not in the form of a paragraph.

Immediately after an intro video sequence (that can be skipped), it takes you to this screen that showcases all the media which, for some reason, cannot be clicked on. You must click Poet, Observer, or Artist (the differentiation is never explained) in order to click on the different pictures.

Clicking on a picture will open a small box that showcases a picture, some information, and occasionally some audio to describe the piece. This feature is great. It clearly states what the subject is, gives a brief overview, and provides relevant information. My only criticism is that it should move over to the side and be bigger. The entire player should be stretched-to-fit and not use Flash, but overall, the site isn’t bad. 

Aside from a complete structural overhaul, the idea of creating a multimedia, clickable timeline is great. There are a few tabs which displays important content, but no giant walls of text. For a Flash player designed in 2002 (from what I could tell from the Calendar tab), the site is pretty well designed.

I’d like my project to more or less be a more minimal version of this site. Obviously, it would not use Flash. I like the concept of having a few tabs of information for concepts and contact, but overall having it be very interactive and intuitive. Perhaps people could see men’s contemporary fashion and information about its major changes over the years through pictures, music media, and snippets of different articles.

Kill Your Darlings

The phrase “kill your darlings”, frequently directed towards writers, can also be advised towards designers. During the design process, Joshua Brewer states that there is a “risk of emotional attachment.” This can come from the feeling of joy after solving a problem or simply from the amount of time poured into the design.

When this occurs, the designer loses the ability to be objective about their work. They see their creation as the one and only answer, creating bias towards the answer. The design you make might not actually be perfect.

However, he also says that emotional attachment might not always be bad. While a lack of attachment will cause the designer to be more objective when creating there work, the process of creating the “darling” is crucial to the overall process and it might lead to a better solution. Best case scenario: It actually is the right answer and others will think so too.

Coming up with true examples for “killing your darlings” is pretty difficult. Nearly every interface and homepage update contains some example of this which relates to “Don’t Make Me Think” as well. Simplicity and efficiency reign supreme over cluttered, unstructured design.

Good demonstration of title hierarchy and blocking.
Poor example of letting too many design choices clutter usability.

There is a distinct lack of differentiation between personal and public content. This detrimental to both people with large followings and people who follow a large amount of celebrities.

Example of not fully killing a concept, but rather building on it to find an end result.

References:

UX Design Short – Kill Your Darlings

Redesign sample image

Visual Hierarchy, Information Architecture, and the new Snapchat Update

Project Proposal (Sort of)

I will be researching the growth of digital marketplaces and their influence on identity and masculinity in modern culture. Due to the rise of digital marketing and progressive landscape in men’s fashion, I want to figure out if there is a quantifiable relationship between the growth of media marketing and the shift in perception of masculinity. I am studying this because it’s my CIS Capstone Project because I have noticed a trend of men being more interested in fashion and that there is a growth of male “influencers” on social media and vloggers on YouTube. I believe this is an important topic to research as it not only illustrates a growing consumer culture, but also reveal how digital media can shape gender and socio-economic identity.

Process Reflection #1

I joined this course in order to develop my skills in data visualization, user experience design, and have a better understanding of digital humanities. So far, it has been incredibly interesting to see examples of beautiful visual storytelling such as Koya Bound and Snowfall. In terms of digital humanities, I definitely lean on the side that digital archival and design of data is necessary and valuable for the future.

I am a Digital Studies major with a focus on digital media. Currently, I am researching and planning my capstone project which will investigate the influences on personal identity through digital marketplaces and social media platforms. Through the growth of social media and online forums, it is only natural that the development of identity can be affected by digital factors. During this research, I will conduct interviews, analyze data from online marketplaces, and track the growth of companies. I want to be able to utilize the skills that I have learned so far into making a meaningful project which also has a beautiful, efficient design.