Aesthetics & Audience Analysis Assignment

Since the site I am developing for this class is a portfolio site, which I am planning to focus on my social media and multimedia storytelling work, I looked at other portfolio sites for people in the Seattle area who do similar work as competitors. I chose to look at a site focused on Social Media StrategyDigital Media/Video Storytelling and Content Production & Digital Strategy (by an MCDM alum).

As for possible audiences for my own site as well as these competitors, I see:

  1. Prospective clients/customers: people looking for someone to work with them or their company on social media consulting or video storytelling production. These people would be most interested in seeing examples of past work, a resume or other documentation of experience, testimonials or reviews from other clients, and contact information.
  2. Other competitors/peers: people who do similar work and are looking to learn from or stand out from others. Their interests would be similar to a prospective client — they’d want to see examples of previous work/clients, as well as information about education/experience. This audience would also be interested in overall site design/layout and in keywords used in content, navigation, etc. as this will affect search ranking compared to these other sites.
  3. Prospective MCDM students: people interested in applying to the MCDM program and looking to see what current/former students have done/are doing. Like the other two audiences, these folks would be interested in examples of work/clients, as well as a bio or narrative that reflects how MCDM has shaped by professional experiences.

As far as design/content ideas, there are several elements of these competitive sites that seem worth considering for my own site:

  • Social media integration: two of the three sites I looked at have links to their social media profiles in the chrome of their site, along with email addresses
  • Bio/about me section: all sites have this in an easy to find place, and content-wise combine elements of their professional background with personal touches
  • Portfolio: some sites have a general “portfolio” area, others have multiple, broken out by area (strategy work, video production, etc.). Since I am highlighting different types of work with my own site, it seems like the latter might be a good way to go.
As for elements I’d like to avoid, one of the sites has a rolling view of past clients at the bottom of the page which I found distracting, another of the sites is very text heavy in every section, and another seems to contain more personal information than professional.

As far as the criteria that I’ll use to judge the effectiveness of my own design, I think it will be that form supports function. I definitely have a visual aesthetic that I am aiming for, but a site that looks great but doesn’t work properly will not be a success. My goal is to have a visually appealing site that is easy to navigate (and not just from the home page) and accurately reflects my own style as well as my work.

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One response to “Aesthetics & Audience Analysis Assignment”

  1. Kathy E. Gill says :

    A comment about Matthew’s site — Flash was VERY slow on my machine — home page load took >1 minute and clicking on link, nothing seem to happen. (Safari/Mac). Portfolio password protected! And the scrolling – just shoot me
    now! Amy and Kirk are both MCDM alumni and good examples.

    Think again about the audiences and revisit the sites to see how well they address audience issues in the “about” page.

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