Monday, 10 May 2010

Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

I feel I was more enthusiastic about this task than my preliminary site. I still feel the first site was effective and had a certain good quality, but compared to the new site, our group tried a lot harder and so the product was better. We were more devoted to the new task and showed our new devotion by staying after hours at school to get all the work done, and research it all together to guarantee success.

I learnt how to create borders and why it is important to keep a consistent house border style using colours found either in the picture or in other parts of the site; this create a constant theme throughout.

I also learnt how to spot conventions of other sites and how to apply them to my own, to create an effective yet original site. I also learnt how to work a number of iMac programmes including iWeb. Another thing I learnt was the importance of audience research and questionnaires/surveys.

How did you attract/ address your audience?

We started off by doing primary website research, looking to see the conventions of other websites devoted to animal conservation. This helped us easily establish what we should ensure to include in our site to make it as simple yet effective as possible, and easily reached by the public.
The audience we aimed to target our site at were specifically those between the ages of twenty one and thirty, after primary research. We decided as a group, however, to still try to aim for other ages, and so we decided to design our site aiming at all ages as well as specifying the particular group we were hoping to attract.

The particular language we used on our site is formal yet simple and used in such a way that anyone can understand it. We aimed to appeal to all audiences and so we knew the simple language would appeal to people of all backgrounds and intellectualities.
We stuck to colours we associated with zoos, such as greens and blues. We found out through research that these colours were calming to an audience and so would be very welcoming to any of our potential guests and donors.

We placed our logo in the far left corner of the page and a navigation bar near the top of the screen, which was a consistent theme placed on each page of the site in order for our users to be able to steer themselves easily around the site.

Our font size was a size 12, which is big enough for users to read but not too big to make the page look distasteful. Our headers were set at size 23, in order to clarify the difference between the header and the writing below. It is important for our site users to be able to easily distinguish the difference between the header and the remainder of the text.

We hoped for the public to be able to use our site freely and easily. We were confident with the product we have composed and know it will be appealing to the public. Additional help from our subject teacher helped us to ensure we covered each aspect of what was needed to create an effective site.

Who would be the audience for your media product?

We handed out over twenty-five questionnaire surveys to several demographics and worked out who we thought our target audience would be. We were careful to ensure that the questions we used were not biased and clearly stated our aims of looking for the public’s preferences and behaviors.

The surveys helped us clearly establish who we should aim for our target audience to be. We discovered that those between the ages of 21-30 receiving an income up to twenty thousand pounders per year we more likely to donate on a regular basis to animal conservation charities.

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

'Cambridge Animal Sanctuary' is the media product I will be evaluating. It is a charity website and its function is to promote my made up zoo and to receive donations from the public in order to keep my zoo in operation.
I looked at the website for the London Zoo for inspiration on how to design my site. Their format was attractive yet simple as the navigation was easy, which is essential to the average internet browser. An example of this would be to use the same site menu bar located somewhere on each page. This bar would contain links to other pages on my site, such as ‘home’ and ‘donate’. An example of the London Zoo page is shown below.

I created a website template which followed trendy styles, often used by many other sites. For example: We placed our logo at the top of the page in the far left corner with the initials of the zoo. We fashioned the logo using ‘Photoshop’, principally the word processing tool.
As I mentioned before, conventionally it is accepted to have a navigation bar near the top of the screen and our site is no different. The bar is repeated on every page to make it consistent and easy to use for any site visitors. Beneath the bar sits a small gap in the page which is used to emphasize the separation between the title bar and the content of the page so as not to confuse any online guests; its indirect job is also to spread out the page in order to keep it looking organized and efficient. We created our own footer, using a selection of photographs related to the zoo. We believe this keeps our page looking innovative, because it is a feature we did notice on any other sites during the research stage. Our footer is shown below.

The content of the website was the creation of my group and me. We generated all of our photographs, icons, and page layouts.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

With Cambridge Animal Sanctuary being an ‘Animal Conservation’ charity website, this means that it is aimed at people interested at nature and animals, children, as well as people interested in global warming and other natural topics.

The website is not designed for people who want to save endangered species’ but for the people interested in the animals currently being conserved in the sanctuary. This means that the charity has a more personal effect on the people, because it is specialist to the zoo itself, not just any zoo.

Although all of the pictures are of animals in a foreign conservation, they are all pictures of animals that would be in the conservation if it was real. There are no pictures of animals in distress (cages, hurt, etc.) because I believe that if we want our audience to donate, they are more likely to do so if they see that the money goes to a good cause and is used wisely. Also pictures of distressed animals would take the personal touch from the charity and the fun, happy themes that the website currently has. Here, below is an example of a page which has images of the animals in their new habitat; Cambridge Animal Sanctuary.

The website appeals to anyone interested in anything natural, which could be animals or even the planet. The current climate means that the world is changing and this is making big news, making more people conscious of nature. This means more people would be knowledgeable and interested than in recent years. The philosophy behind the website is for people who enjoy seeing animals to donate in able to keep the Cambridge Animal Sanctuary open and in business.

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this production?

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this production?

Using both hardware and software, I have learnt a hefty amount of knowledge about using new and old equipment.

Apple Mac
: Although being a windows user, having used the Macs in media studies, it has inspired me to purchase an Apple Mac of my own because, normally speaking, Macs are more reliable, better value for money, faster, simpler to use and support better programmes and applications. iWeb and iLife make the designing and creating of a website on a Mac simple. If I had my own Apple laptop, then it would have been far easier to complete the website, because I would have been able to take home the file and work on it at home.

Photographs: As well as taking a few pictures on the school cameras; my group also used a simple mobile phone to take the majority of the animal photos. It is remarkable how highly pixelated mobile phone cameras have come in the modern time. The ‘Samsung Pixon’ has an 8 megapixel camera and its quality rivals any digital camera or professional camera. With a red-eye detector and flash, its high tech qualities are an asset to the website.

iWeb: As a person with no previous experience on how to create website, iWeb is an exceptional way to get started. The fact that making a website on iWeb means you allows you to start your design completely from scratch and use trial and error methods in order to get the image you want. Simplicity is iWeb’s main focus and this is noticeable because of the lack of coding required to make the site. No HTML codes are necessary to be typed by the user but iWeb manages to integrate basic HTML codes automatically. E.g text boxes. As simplicity is its main attribute, it is not professional enough to be used by a qualified website designer because where iWeb gains in some areas, it lacks in others, for example there is no tool which allows you to add a ‘viewer hit counter’ to your site; which is a convention of most websites nowadays. But other than these minor flaws, iWeb is fantastic for the usage I needed, as a beginner on an Apple Mac.

Adobe Photoshop CS4
: Photoshop itself is the most advanced image correcting programme available to the public, however it is very complicated and mastering being able to use it, is a task itself. However, it is the best for a reason, and this is because literally any effect can be done to any image, along with image defining and editing. Because of the pictures we took at the Animal Sanctuary were already of high quality, there was no need to edit them, thus resulting in using Adobe Photoshop CS4 very little. Having said this, I learnt how to change backgrounds of images and crop foregrounds, so skills were learnt in the little usage.

What kind of Media institution might distribute your media product and why?

What kind of Media institution might distribute your media product and why?

The website I have designed is designed for the charity or conserving animals and endangered species’. Many animal charities or companies that support animals may want to help with the distribution to show to their public that they also care about the issue.

Popular online search engines are almost always willing to allow a smaller site to post a small link or search bar that links to the search engine homepage, to promote popularity of the search engine. This would also be a great way to distribute the website as most sites would be keen to participate in the ‘hits for hits’ plan put forward by the smaller site. In exchange the main search engine will promote my site because of the deal.

TV and Radio, although costly, are proven to be popular forms of media, through adverts. By paying for short audio clips (for radio) and short visual commercials (for TV) in appropriate slots, the money spent on this advertising would instantly be earnt back in donations from people watching and listening. The adverts would have to be in a convenient and popular place though, for maximum public donations.