Concept & Overview of Website
The concept of Frame by Frame Illusions revolves around movies, as the title is a play on how they are a series of images that are strung together to create the illusion of movement. This is both in a literal sense as it revolved around the subject matter and how most people interpret them as a quick illusion to pass the time. It is my intention to convince the user to look past that barrier of illusion through my content.
Doing this allows users to gain a new appreciation of film and look past the perspective of movies as a quick way of passing time and notice the passion behind it. A demographic of 12 to 30+ who enjoy movies can experience a variety of honest reviews, both written in-depth discussions of current or old movies and video featured articles that include a brief movie description and a hyperlink to the video uploaded to my YouTube channel. As knowing your audience is critical (Brookes & Quesenbery, 2010), the most important element is to bring new content other than just reviews, which are articles about unique film experiences I’ve attended and what they mean to me as a fan of movies and as a young adult living in Adelaide.
Visual Communication & Design
For the design of the website, I utilised a vintage look that goes with the theme of the website. Audiences would find this look distinct as it captures everything that a new user would need to know about the website based on the imagery and style. It would be appealing as it creates a “Throwback” identity for the website as it is a celebration of movies as the articles help initiate a visual message. (Brooks, 2010)
As the title alludes to a nostalgic view of movies, I integrated various methods of designing the website to communicate the concept to the audience. For example, I made the banner of the website reminiscent of a filmstrip and chose the layout of the title, a brief description and social media widgets/ home page shortcut in the individual film cells. This was done to make the colours stand out against the grey vinyl background as it is determined by the effect that this tone has upon the individual user. (De Fiore, 1988) (Refer to Figure 1).
To continue the old school look, I made the icon/ logo of the website a black filmstrip projector in front of the same grey vinyl type of background with the website name’s acronyms. (Refer to Figure 2). This was done to create a consistent theme, while also making the banner and icon distinct and different from each other.
Other designs for the banner included the projector making a light beam that spells out the websites details or making the icon a filmstrip cell. Based on the Gestalt principle of figure/ ground (Johnson, 2013), it was decided to make them different from each other to create a symbolic meaning behind the logo and banner to stand out in the foreground and background. As the icon is what contains the images, and once the user clicks the icon, it reveals the content through the banner, which displays the information about the website.
User Interface Design
For the layout of the website, I wanted to create a basic structure for audiences and users to understand as the idea for the website was to put more emphasis on the content (i.e. the articles) rather than the website itself, based on the concept of “User interfaces should help people remember essential information from one moment to the other” (Jonhson, 2013). When designing the wireframe of the website (Refer to Instagram post above, or Figure 3), I wanted to utilise a homepage that featured the most recent articles and the main menu that included separate categories. The menu would include a home function, an about section, individual sections for written and video reviews, a section for original projects, and a contact page. It would also include drop down functions to categorised sections, such as a series the article is identified in or the month or year it was published. The WordPress website theme that was the closest to my ideal design was Baskerville 2, which included my desired features for the website (Refer to Figure 4).
When deciding on a layout for the articles, I referred to other websites or blogs that share a similar theme to my website and integrated the simplistic, yet familiar look that websites in that nature are known for. By using an eye-catching title, as well as a relevant picture before the article, this establishes a familiar environment. For the video articles, a hyperlink to the video on YouTube was used on the page, which allows the user the option to watch the video itself on the WordPress website rather than linking to YouTube. This creates a convenience factor for users as they can watch the video straight from the website rather than having to open a new page.
User Experience Across Digital Platforms
To increase the Frame By Frame Illusions brand, content, or name recognition, various social media accounts were used including YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. YouTube is a website that encourages content creators to showcase their skills in performances and editing. As the name of the WordPress website was originally the name of my YouTube channel, it felt like a good opportunity to collaborate the two platforms as it would expand the content featured on the website as creates a variety of written articles, video featured articles or a combination of both. For example, a review series created for the website called “REVIEW-SPECTIVE” provides a variation of written reviews that would present detailed/ analytical thought processes of the subject matter. However, the video portions of “REVIEW-SPECTIVE” have 4-5 minute summaries of my thought process that is intended towards users who prefer visual and audio mediums rather than having to read large paragraphs of writing.
Twitter and Instagram are useful tools as they are social media platforms that reach and communicate to a wider audience when content creators have made something new or have come across something interesting and would like to share with their audience. For the Frame By Frame Illusions website, it allowed for an interactive experience as I could speak to the audience that was looking at my content rather than being secluded to writing my articles and sending it out to the vast space of the internet and hope that someone comes across them.
It also provided interactions that allowed my brand to be known past sending messages to my followers. For example, I noticed that on Twitter, writer and director, James Gunn, of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, liked and retweeted various tweets people were sending to him by including his username and the film’s promotional hashtag. I decided to do the same and the experiment was successful as he liked my tweet, which gained attention towards my account. (Refer to Figure 5). Another example is that on Instagram, I made a post that used 10 hashtags relevant to the post, which earned 26 likes. (Refer to Instagram post, or Figure 6)
The Frame By Frame Illusions Wordpress website has not gained many followers as only two accounts at this time is following the site and has little to none interactivity with the articles as they each have zero likes or comments. However, the brand is building momentum in terms of views. In total, the website has reached 265 views and 54 visitors. Apart of the reason for why the website has gained those views could be due to me sharing hyperlinks on Twitter and the website could have potentially been circulating and bringing attention towards the articles.
As the website is at the “Grass root phase” of development, in which it is home-grown and hasn’t reached an audience beyond friends would look at the website as I share it. A good indication of this scenario being likely is the fact that the highest statistics of people in the world looking at my content are from Australia, which is 259 views. However, other views include people from America (3), Nigeria (2) and Canada (1). (Refer to Figure 7) Looking at these statistics and seeing that it is being viewed in opposite parts of the world, this could mean that if I were to consistently release content and be a part of various activities to do with movies, the brand could potentially grow larger and reach a bigger and diverse demographic.
Future Directions & Development
Overall, the Frame By Frame Illusions website and social media brand associated with it has become a rewarding experience. It has allowed me to expand my knowledge of social media interactions on Twitter and Instagram as I found both to be unneeded and pointless as I felt that I had nothing to say on either. However, as the website has given me motivation to consistently create content, I found that the platforms are useful to make people more aware once I have released something new.
I want to continue writing articles and making videos for Frame By Frame Illusions as I have many unused ideas that I don’t want to go to waste. However, I feel that in order to continue building an audience, I will need to do more traditional reviews and then intertwining my stories. I also want to experiment with different themes for the website to take out limitations on the current theme. A Twitter feed featured on the right side of the page, for example, is something I want to utilise to make the website feel more interactive rather than a standard blog.
List of Works Cited
- Brooks, K, Quesenbery, W 2010, ‘Chapter 1-Why Stories’, in Storytelling for User Experience, pp. 6-21, viewed 18 May 2017
- De Fiore, G 1988, ‘Drawing with Color and Imagination’, Watson-Guptill, pp. 21-31, viewed 19 May 2017
- K. Ching, F 1990, ‘Drawing, A Creative Process’, Van Nostrand Reinhold, pp. 26-33, viewed 19 May 2017
- Johnson, J 2013, ‘Chapter 2 – Our Vision is Optimized to See Structure’, in Designing with the Mind in Mind – Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Guidelines, 2nd edition, pp. 13-27, viewed 20 May 2017
- Johnson, J 2013, ‘Chapter 7 – Our Attention is Limited; Our Memory is Imperfect’, in Designing with the Mind in Mind – Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Guidelines, 2nd edition, pp. 87-105, viewed 20 May 2017