DESIGN REPORT

CONCEPT AND OVERVIEW

The overall concept of my website is to promote Amara Marafioti and her art label, Iamamara Illustrations. Amara is an Australian illustrator, working predominately in fashion and beauty. Her artwork are intricate, finely detailed pencil illustrations, incorporating pops of watercolour. They are bright and vibrant and feminine in tone and content.

Like Amara’s artwork, my website appeals to a niche market of women – that is, a group of creative and independent women, aged 15 to 25, who are highly educated and engaged with popular culture. These women look to Amara for portraits as she takes custom orders and inspiration from celebrities and popular culture. Some, but not all, of these women have heard of Amara and her art label from her already existing and established Facebook and Instagram pages. They know and like her artwork, and thus will visit my website to make the process of viewing and purchasing Amara’s artwork more convenient, effective, and cost and time efficient. As for the other portion of these women, who have never heard of Amara and her art label, they will visit my website to inform themselves of Amara’s style, method of work and versatility.

Unlike other similar websites, my website showcases both completed artwork and works in progress. It thus takes the audience behind the scenes of the artwork’s making.

VISUAL COMMUNICATION AND DESIGN
Various types of visual communication – i.e. typography, photographs, maps, illustrations, colours etc. are purposefully used to connect with my audience. My website leads visitors from one section to another based on the typography and font sizes. Typography and font sizes as shown below:

  • Heading 1

  • Heading 2

  • Heading 3

  • Heading 4

  • Heading 5
  • Heading 6

are used in my website for headings, subheadings and sub-subheadings. My choice in typography indicates subtle hints about Amara and her aestheticAmara is bold, but her aesthetic is clean, minimalist and modern.

Photographs “play an important role in advertising and marketing” (Neeves 2015). They “perform many functions from catching a prospective customer’s eye, simplifying concepts, enhancing the appeal of a product or service, or just pulling together an idea” (Neeves 2015). Stock photographs as shown in Figure 2.1, Figure 2.2, Figure 2.3 and Figure 2.4 are used in my website to ensure the growth of sales. High quality photographs such as these will create a good first impression. Large and responsive photographs will make an impact and draw attention. Iamamara Illustrations will come across as a trustworthy, serious and professional business.

Photographs as shown in Figure 2.5, Figure 2.6 and Figure 2.7 add personality and style, and give my website a more human and relatable feel. Good use of photography will help to increase and sustain user interest and user engagement on my website.

High quality photographs as shown in Figure 2.8, Figure 2.9, Figure 2.10, Figure 2.11, Figure 2.12, Figure 2.13, Figure 2.14 and Figure 2.15 are an important part of my website because they are photographs of Amara’s artwork, and, of course, if visitors like what they see, they are more likely to make a purchase.

USER INTERFACE DESIGN
I have designed the layout, interface and structure of my website to reflect Amara and best serve the needs of my audience, some of which include appearance, functionality, simplicity, fast-loading pages, minimal scroll, consistent layout, prominent and logical navigation, descriptive link text, cross-platform/browser compatibility, screen resolution and Search Engine Optimised (SEO) (Spritz Web Solutions 2012). My interface design may be seen below.

Following the tips for creating good user interface design (UID) (Coursaris & Kripintris), I

  • Selected a colour scheme of black and white, and only allowed photographs to be in colour to create a proper mood or tone – that being, bold, but appealing, clean, minimalist, modern, polished and professional (Pipes 2011).
  • Kept the design simple to allow visitors to generate a positive impression (Spritz Web Solutions 2012).
  • Allowed for adequate white space (Spritz Web Solutions 2012) to minimise clutter.
  • Used a consistent layout and repeated certain elements (Spritz Web Solutions 2012) to keep visitors on my website.
  • Kept link names clear and simple (Golombisky & Hagen 2010) – i.e. “Home”, “Portfolio”, “Blog”, About, Contact and Shop; made the link names match the title of the corresponding pages (Golombisky & Hagen 2010); made buttons and links look like buttons and links (Golombisky & Hagen 2010); made the logo a live link that takes visitors back to the Home page (Golombisky & Hagen 2010); and made photographs live links that take visitors to their corresponding pages to maximise user engagement.
USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN ACROSS DIGITAL PLATFORMS
Other digital platforms have been used to further extend my concept’s brand and to connect with my audience. For instance, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr are used to further advertise and market Amara and her art label, Iamamara Illustrations.

As previously mentioned, some of the target audience have heard of Amara and her art label from her already existing and established Facebook and Instagram pages. Like Amara’s Instagram page, my Instagram page aims to inform new visitors of Amara’s style, method of work and versatility. It also aims to illicit visual appeal and interest of Amara’s artwork. Another goal is to persuade visitors to purchase Amara’s artwork. These objectives have and will continue to be achieved by posting high quality, engaging images of Amara and her artwork.

However, unlike Amara’s Instagram page, my Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr pages intend to generate positive user experiences, higher engagement rates and faster growth, and increase word of mouth by encouraging user engagement and interaction, using many trending, but relevant hashtags to attract new visitors and entertaining visitors with good photographs that elude to new weekly blog posts about works in progress, behind the scenes or awards and publications on my website. Some of my Instagram and Twitter posts may be seen in Figure 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4

Visitors of both my website and my Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr pages may move across the different online spaces more conveniently, efficiently and cost and time effectively thanks to their corresponding links being easily accessible on all digital platforms. This coupled with visitors ability to like, share and comment help to make the user experience good as I can use this information to further develop and/or improve the user experience design (Marsh 2016). User feedback is key.

AUDIENCE METRICS
From looking at the statistics of my website, it is evident that at the beginning, there were no views or visitors due to the lack of promotion on social media and postings on my blog. As shown in Figure 5.1, Figure 5.2 and Figure 5.3 in May – i.e. once I started to promote the website on Twitter and post on my blog – my website started to gain more followers and views from all around the world.

In analysing my social media analytics, I realised that the number of likes, comments and shares that I received varied depending on the “tags” and “categories” I used. For instance, on Instagram, for my first few posts, I did not use hashtags. As a result, I did not receive any likes or comments. Following Week 9’s tutorial on Metrics and Analytics, I began to trial hashtags like #art, #artwork, #draw, #drawing etc. I found that once I started to choose my hashtags more carefully, I started to gradually receive more views. The same thing happened with Twitter just not to the same extent as Instagram.

I have to think hard about media content – i.e. what to post – and media platforms – i.e. where to post it – I require a high level of audience engagement for my findings to be accurate. Unfortunately, I currently do not have a high user engagement rate. This makes it difficult to determine what my audience want to see more of and what they want to see less of. However, in experimenting on Instagram, using different hashtags on different posts, I was able to get a rough idea of what worked well and what did not.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS AND DEVELOPMENT

This website is one that will constantly be updated as long as Amara continues to create new artwork. However, there are many aspects to it that still need to be developed further in order to make it more appealing to my target audience. In the future, I hope to, at some point, incorporate videos into the website. I aim to venture into new markets, attract individuals who are seeking to learn Amara’s method of work. I intend to make the website more responsive and up-to-date with the latest web design trends. For instance, image overlay hover is a element that I want to incorporate into my website.

Eventually, I would like to build an e-commerce store in hopes of selling her artwork directly from the website. This would be a massive improvement because I want my audience to be able to access everything on the one website. However, I am currently using a third party in order to sell her work. This would make it a lot more convenient, efficient and cost and time effective for the visitors. It would also keep them at ease as they know who they are buying from directly.

REFERENCE LIST

Coursaris, Constantinos K. and Konstantinos Kripintris 20 2012. “Web Aesthetics and Usability: An Empirical Study of the Effects of White Space,” International Journal of E-Business Research (IJEBR), vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 35-53, viewed 1 June 2017, <http://www.igiglobal.com.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/gateway/article/ full-text-pdf/62277>.

Golombisky, K & Hagen, R 2010, White Space is Not Your Enemy: A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating Visually through Graphic, Web and Multimedia Design, Focal Press, Oxford.

Marsh, J 2016, UX for Beginners: A Crash Course in 100 Short Lessons, O’Reilly Media, California.

Neeves, M 2015, ‘Why is photography important in advertising and marketing?’, Blog, 12 February, viewed 1 June 2017, <https://www.martinneeves.com/photography-in-advertising-and-marketing/&gt;.

Pipes, A 2011, How to design websites, Laurence King Publishing, United Kingdom.

Plumley, G 2010, Website Design and Development, Wiley Publishing, Indiana.

Spritz Web Solutions 2012, ‘Does your website have what it takes?’, Articles, viewed 1 June 2017, <https://www.spritzweb.com/resources/good-website-characteristics.html&gt;.