This website was journey that I took to further understand the concept of a user interface. I thought the idea of presenting it as a website would not only be clever because a website is the very definition of a user interface, but also because it would give me a chance to practice the concepts that I am learning as well as see the problems that arise when creating something that can be used easily by a customer or client. When studying the idea of a User Interface, one of the main concepts that I was continuously finding is usability and ease of navigation. Many phones and products are coming out that are just not easily accessed by the normal consumer, and following in its path is print and media. If the user can’t enjoy it, there is no reason to manufacture it. I attempted to capture this concept through a site that is easy to navigate and access all of its features. When creating a document or any kind of media, it is important that the viewer is engaged in the information. I achieved this through the moving graphics as well as giving the audience contrasting perspectives of a good interface as well as a bad one. The audience can not only see the interfaces that they are learning about, but also be engaged in interacting with them as well as understand why they are bad, not just because I said it. Type fonts were very important when creating the initial layout of the site. I actually went through many different ideas about how I wish the site to be perceived. I ended up with the happy types and colors almost as if it is a story book. I believe that children’s books are the root of all user interfaces. This is the first “device” that they are able to learn from. Of course that idea is becoming outdated as my eight year old sister wants an Ipad, but I feel like a children’s story captures the idea of innocence in a user interface. The type is almost a printer press idea reflecting the idea of the book. I also did the main definition in multiple fonts. This was not a whim decision, because I actually had both of them ready to go and made the decision last so that I was sure behind my reasoning for this. The colors are playful and a lot of fun to work with. My goals of becoming a children’s pastor definitely began to seep through the pages as I created them, but I like the way that they turned out. This site taught me a great deal about the creation of a user interface and the steps that I must take to make everything that I create attainable as well as understandable to my viewers.
The idea of helping children who are being abused has been a statement that I have been working on sharing for many years. This assignment was a perfect opportunity to create my own propaganda poster, if you will, to help raise awareness to the fight. Working with many children, I have seen the scars of child abuse and have had to take personal responsibility and report situations. That is one of the hardest things you must do and sometimes you people need encouragement in order to do the thing that they know is right. My seeing this on a poster, t-shirt, or sticker, I want people to know how important it is to speak up. When creating this, the idea of a child that can not speak for themselves was paramount to getting the message across. I wanted the audience to feel a strong emotion. Keeping it black was one way to portray that emotion. With a full color image, the child and text would get lost and it would not be as strong of an impact. I also tried red and orange, but then the audience felt attacked by the girl instead of wanting to help. In contrast, I tried blue, but this made the audience ignore the image and not feel as if it was a call to action. I had to be careful that the audience did not feel disgust, because some of the early concepts had lashes or cuts that were on the basis of horrifying not love and affection. With the small girl, the audience could make a real connection to her. I had to get an image with perfect eyes. As odd as this might sound, I created many mock ups where they looked good, but the eyes were not strong enough to really get to my audience. The little girl has such a piercing look that it catches your eye and it is only then that you read the words. That is a very important aspect to this piece, that the audience notices the girl before the words. We are not just stopping child abuse to lower a statistic, we are doing to help children, and therefore, a child had to be the driving force behind this image. This image successfully conveys all of the emotion, pain, and love that I want the audience to feel for this little girl when they pass it and stop and think about the small child that they see everyday with bruises or burns and it give them the strength to report it and do what they know is right.
When I began this project, I thought I would be able to write a short script, create some frames and it would be done. Unfortunately this was not the case. The script and finding resources to back up my findings was much more difficult than I anticipated. A lot of what I ended up going on was personal experience that I have found while working on client based sites. The â€œPigs Before Swineâ€? strip in the book is actually pretty close to a conversation I had with a client after I had just created her site. After the actual script was ready, creating the layouts that I envisioned in my head was not difficult through Photoshop and InDesign. Now it was time to create the actual images that would fill the box. A lot of the images, with concern for time are images that were pretty close to the idea I had in my head for the project, but I would like to go back and hand draw them myself. Some of the most successful pages are the one where I planned to get picture from other sources and I found the ones I wanted such as the Peanuts comic strip. I used the ideas I learned from this class to shape the project so that it would be very specific to the target audience. The reason that I created a comic book was first of all so that I would not be creating a boring manual that you can find all over the world wide web. The second reason is because the people who create websites often like comic books. I am a webdesigner and this applies to me so I am allowed to make that generalization. This would be a great piece for a web designer to own and have on standby when creating a website for a client. I always work best with a checklist to be sure everything is where it needs to be, and this is a perfect way for that to happen. This project has taught me a lot about how an idea can evolve and change from the beginning to the end and how different ideas can influence the decisions you make with it. Many of the talks I had with you helped me narrow down the insanely broad idea that I had for this project. By putting the many hours into the planning stages of this site, I was able to save myself even more later when I knew exactly what I wanted to see on the page. This book still feels a little rough and I will definitely be going back in the future and massaging out many of the small details that I believe would make this a product that many designers would want. I feel like this project captured the intent that I was going for and that I was able to use the different ideas and skills that I have learned throughout this class to produce it.
Creating an overall layout of your work is never an easy task, and this was no exception. Wanting to create something that could show all sides of my personality and skills was a difficult task. The cover photo itself went through six different edits where some were to active, others too much fun, and others I just looked stuffy. Creating the about page was fun for me, because it was a chance to reflect on what I wanted to portray myself as and it was a great place to start when creating the site. Many times, I would go back to this page and read over it to see if what I was putting up was a clear perception of what I wanted to be. The design page was a lot of fun to put together and construct. I got the chance to go through and find old work that I either really enjoyed or showed some of the skills that I have. One image that comes to mind is of the boy in the field. This is no great art piece or drawing, but it is the introduction frame to an animation that I created for a group of seven year olds that loved it. The poster that is up, or the bike riding giraffe all show a different set of skills, whether Adobe Illustrator or Lithography, compiled I feel like that page of a few images is a perfect portrayal of my work as well as my character. If I were to go back and further sculpt any of the pages, the curriculum page would definitely be it. I would want to add a few more examples of out of class work and maybe take out the website frames. For the purposes of this, I left them, but they will probably not stay there long. They say pictures say a thousand words, well I always like to have videos on hand to tell millions of words. The video that is posted was probably one of the best days of my life. For potential employers, this shows that I enjoy having fun, work well with kids, can plan an event myself, and that the kids participating enjoyed themselves. I have used this video for many interviews in the last six months and they have all come back positive. I added some other pages that are important for contacting me, as well as seeing a live look at the work I am doing. I have posted my Facebook information many times on the site because many of the employers that I am attempting to be hired by have a very strict social media policy. This portfolio has caused me to step back and look at my work not as separate pieces, but as a whole and I can see that with each little piece they define me as a person, an artist, and as a teacher.