Category Archives: Redesign

In part three, I continue my discussion of McCain and his ineffective use of the web. This is part three of six.

Excluding 50% of Americans
John McCain’s website does not have a ‘Students for McCain’ webpage. In fact, last Spring he had only three people group webpages: Lawyers, Women and Veterans for McCain. But still today, there’s no “Students for McCain” webpage. What gives? This would lead one to believe that McCain doesn’t value every voter, and only values his three favorite type of voters: Women voters, Veteran voters and Lawyer voters. Sure, these three groups are probably the most likely of any group to actually go to the polls and vote… but why exclude 50% Americans?

A Logical Approach with a Community-Driven Approach
Barack Obama didn’t exclude all non-women, non-veterans, and non-lawyers. He has webpages for many ethnicity’s, sexual orientations, and political parties. He also includes: People of Faith, Kids, Seniors, Small Business, Labor etc. Most important to my discussion is that he has a ‘Students for Obama’ webpage. This, combined with Facebook, MySpace, Twitter social networks is giving Obama a huge edge with getting young people’s attention. Within each page there are blog posts particularly relevant to that category. That is brilliant because now someone in that category can ‘comment’ and discuss issues with people like them. Building a community is central to Obama’s website; from his various blogs on people webpages to ‘MyBO’ where voters can get involved locally through events and more.

Shaping Up (kind of)
Sometime in the past few months (late Summer), McCain decided that he should have pages for more people than just women, lawyers and veterans. Maybe he finally realized that not everyone in American fit into those groups. I’m theorizing that he took a gander at Obama’s set of people groups and trimmed it down a little, leaving out many important people groups. Ironically some of the them being: LGBT and ‘Students for McCain’. He might not agree with LGBT voters or even Student voters but you got to at least try and reach out to them. He strangely added ‘Bikers for McCain’ (probably because Cindy McCain is a biker girl). He also has ‘Americans of Faith’ and thought it necessary to add ‘Catholics for McCain’ as if Catholics aren’t American with faith. He’s even got a news article on that page titled “Obama’s Catholic Problem.” Maybe Obama should put a news article up titled “McCain’s Young Vote Problem.”

He’s got people group pages, but their iss no community aspect.
These people group page on McCain’s website don’t offer community opportunities. For example, Catholics can’t interact with other Catholics for McCain while on the ‘Catholics for McCain’ webpage. So the result is saying: “See, I can write articles pay people to write articles about Obama’s Catholic problem and get pictures taken with Catholics”; instead of saying, “Here are some important issues to Catholics and a blog/comment section so you can discuss it with other Catholics.” The side columns to any people group webpage on McCain’s website offer non-related items, while Obama’s side columns offer some people group specific steps that can be taken along with non-related items.

In part four, I take a look at the recent website redesign by John McCain and compare it to his previously all black website.

In part two, I continue my discussion of McCain and his ineffective use of the web. This is part two of six.

As I said in part one, I spent last Spring studying the presidential candidates and how I could create some ‘advertising’ to help one of the candidates. This was when the democrats were narrowed down to Obama and Clinton and the republicans were narrowed to Huckabee, McCain and Romney.

A side-by-side comparison of McCain and Obama's website through time

The Facts
I began looking at web statistics for these remaining candidates, especially the number of Myspace and Facebook friends. We all know that if you want to reach young people, you need to go to where they are most of the time: Facebook and Myspace. There’s a phrase in the Church that says, “God will meet people where they are.” The candidates need to meet young voters where they are: the web (specifically Facebook and Myspace). What I found is that Obama had 800,000 Facebook supporters while McCain had 117,000. Today, Obama has over 2 million supporters and McCain has 575,000 – this has to worry McCain when it comes to young people not being excited for a McCain presidency. Last Spring they were presumed to be the nominees, and yet were getting very different numbers in terms of young support – today is no different. If that wasn’t enough evidence, I looked at website stats from Quantcast.com and 88% of McCain’s website visitors were over 24. Today, Quantcast reports that 63% of his website viewership come from people over 34 years old. Today, McCain’s website draws 4.3 million visitors a month. That’s a lot, right? Well, double that number – 7.9 million – and that’s the number of visitors a month who visit Obama’s website.

I know, I know – McCain’s support lies in the senior citizens of America and they don’t use the web as much as younger people do. But the question will be: Will young people who support Obama via Facebook actually go and vote. Similarly, will seniors who support McCain actually go and vote. We shall see on November 4.

So, as you can tell, McCain has a problem with young voters. Not only because of the web statistics, but also because he’s not speaking to issues directly relating to them. He doesn’t mention much at all about technology, or college tuition. He wants to keep the Internet free (wow-who doesn’t) and for college, he doesn’t offer anything as substantial as Obama’s $4,000 tax credit for students. But I set out to find those issues that would connect to young voters, even if in a very indirect way.

My Small Contribution to McCain
I decided to pretend I worked for McCain and wanted to get young people to vote for him, because I could tell that Obama had the young crowd in the bag… and still does. The reason I decided on this was because I searched and searched and couldn’t find a “Students for McCain” website. No place for students to call their ‘online home’ if they were checking out McCain or were already Republicans. I set out to make McCain seem ‘exciting’ to more young voters.

My work in Advertising last semester resulted in this website: a blog style website that allowed students to interact with the campaign and each other on issues that were important to them. It also highlighted the lighter side of McCain via photos and video (videos no longer work since they were deleted from youtube). This website would theoretically allow students to take action and network with McCain via social networking websites, which was hidden or not there at all on his real website last Spring.

In part three, I will talk about what McCain has done with his website to reach a different audience.

I’m in a ‘Motion Graphics’ course here at Truman. Our first project was to use Wonder Bread as part of stop motion animation.

I chose to play on the fact that Wonder bread was the ‘first’ to sell sliced bread and is an american icon. So I focused on another series of American “firsts” – An African American getting the nomination of a major political party. My ad made the 87 year old company, Wonder Bread, a character throughout civil rights movement history and show that “wonder was there all along.”

The music is from the 2003 MO-IL Bi-State Band Concert. It’s titled “After the Thunderer” It was commissioned by our director, and I got to perform in the band under his direction on this recording. Also, this was first time to use Adobe Premiere.

Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media DesignerI just received the book MTIV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer by Hillman Curtis I skimmed through it and caught some insightful words:

A common mistake of designers is thinking of themselves only as visual communicators. We’re fortunate to speak the visual language fluently, but we also need to translate literal and thematic messages. In other words, we need to be bilingual. As a designer I need to listen and ask questions… …without (that), I’m as good as blind.

I’ve talked a lot lately about branding myself as a designer, so it was nice to hear what Hillman had to say about it. I came across the part where the author talks about designing his design firm’s website (hillmancurtis inc.) Hillman had some insightful words:

My thought was to design something bold and cutting-edge, so I studied the work of my peers: designers who I thought were doing new and exciting work. Still nothing was working. The designs I turned out fell flat, and every night I went home empty and depressed.

He goes on to say that his wife told him about a poetry conference she went to at which C.K. Williams said that when he’s creatively blocked, he falls in love with a master. He looks back to those who perfected their craft and takes cues from their mastery. For designers, that might be Paul Rand, Saul Bass and many others.

Who are you looking back to, that perfected their craft?

One of my new clients needed a logo, banner (6ft x 4ft)) and website. I’ve got a prelim. website done. This website led to another website project that I’ve not even started on. It’s for another drug prevention organization.

Now if I could only balance this work with my internship.

 

Two weeks ago I began an internship at August Home Publishing. I think I’ve learned more about layout and design in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years. Doug Appleby is the Assistant Art Director for Workbench magazine. He is the greatest designer I’ve ever worked with and for. He always knows how to push me to do more with my design, and his ideas never fail to work. Although, unlike professors I’ve had, he doesn’t tell me exactly what to change, he inspires me to see what I do and don’t like and we end up agreeing on what should be changed. Check out his website. He has some great photography.

Workbench magazine is one of five that August Home publishes. It is the only magazine that was not started by August Home, but was bought a few years ago. It is the only one of the woodworking magazines they publish that is changing their target audience to the 25-40, male AND female crowd.

Workbench is different now, because its look and feel is very similar to what you see on TLC. Before this switch in audiences, something like putting type on a vertical path or something on an angle would set people on edge… and I’ve heard that it sometimes still does. But to design for Workbench is to really understand the audience of younger male/females.

Something besides all horizontal text, white-bread photography and cluttered pages is needed to reach this audience. So, white-space, unique info-graphics, and innovative spreads are my best friend this Summer. My job is to redesign about fifteen articles that have been previously published in the past 4-5 years. These will be in a new book coming out in January of home-improvement articles about home storage. I’ve got two articles 90% done.

The design process at Workbench is a push and pull to go further with design and really get in touch with the audience, and also uphold the tradition of the magazines at August Home Publishing. I can’t wait for my first layout meeting with the art directors and the company president. It shall be interesting.

Oh, I also met Senator Obama two days ago. I shook his hand-how cool is that?!?! Check out my photo album from the Obama Rally!

I’ve got website projects in all stages of production. A recent website project for Truman Media Network (TMN) is being programmed right now http://transfer20.truman.edu. My goal for TMN was to make it very accessable to visitors. I took many cues from CNNs website.  Also this was a test in “making a website with an existing logo that isn’t very well designed” The best thing to do is to use much whitespace around the logo and let it stand for itself, and don’t try to hide it with texture background or large graphics near it.

My two websites for my portfolio are now done. The two clients I decided on were a church in st. louis and a blues guitarist The audience for each is drastically different, and I hope the design depicts this. There’s also a mini-site for the church for their three week message series titled “Questions” With the blues guitarist I tried making it distinctly different from another guitarist website I made.

I’ve got another freelance client that wants a website, logo, brochure, banner for their drug prevention coalition, Putnam County Partners in Prevention. This will have to wait until after finals week in order to start brainstorming.

Meadow Heights also needs a website redesign, which I need to get done with… Why do I never have enough time for everything? haha

Today I presented in Advertising about a proposed “Students for McCain” website that Anshu (group partner) and I felt was needed for McCain. The website is here. I suggest watching the videos, especially the one about everything that is younger than McCain, such as the golden gate bridge, velcro, mcdonalds… and on and on. Get this, Dick Cheney is even younger than McCain.

Another website/poster campaign that just went live is for “Information Security Awareness” This has been a semester long project to create posters and the website.

In about a week I will be moved in near Des Moines, preparing for my first day of work at August Home!!! SO EXCITED.

homepage001.jpg
I’m currently doing a freelance design job for the City of La Plata. Their website was in great need of a redesign. Check out a designed simulation of the homepage here. Currently, I am in the programming stage of this project. Website projects usually start with a discovery stage which involves meeting the client and finding out exactly what they want and who their target audience is. Next, I create a website design via Photoshop based on the discovery meeting. I then get their feedback based on what they feel will be a website visitor’s responses. It is important to ask not what “they” think of it but what their target audience will think. Personal preferences should never have a place in this stage, unless it is their personal website (even then, it is still about their audience). Then I get design sign-off and approval to go ahead with the website programming. After programming, the client should have a few days to look through the website as it will be when it goes live. At last the website is uploaded and live!

I got to shoot some photography for this project. Since it is for a small town, I took my camera down to La Plata and just drove around taking photos of their little town and all that it has to offer. It had just snowed the night before and made for some great photos. Look for them soon.

I was stopped by a fella while taking photos and he asked if I was redesigning the website (that’s how small the town is… everyone already knows me). He runs the Pulp Museum (the author of Doc Savage was born in La Plata) and is interested in a website for it. Funny how work just falls into my lap.

Latest Website Design
I recently posted this in a contest that was later cancelled. I’m begining to enjoy creating website for practice. I can mess up and learn from my mistakes while waiting for another website job.


video editing company

Yet Another Gecko
I’ve finally created a likable gecko for the gecKo mathematics project. The previous versions are here.

I made the feet smaller and curved it’s body