Image Sizes and Upload Preferences

In the design stage I had decided there would be at least three different image sizes.

  • Featured – for the carousel
  • Secondary – for the posts on the first page below the carousel
  • Posts – the image on each individual post.

This meant that I would have to specify to the blogger/user in my channel fields what size image to upload. and then use Expression Engines file image resizer to resize all the images to specific widths or heights and whether to crop or constrain them.

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 12.31.01

 

The only thing that annoyed me was that I was unable to put a blurred black and white effect on the featured images as I think this would have added to my circus theme. I investigated that there was various plug-ins that would do this but all of them cost money. I researched quite a few and found CE Image, which looked amazing and can be found at http://www.causingeffect.com/software/expressionengine/ce-image if this was for an actual customer I would definitely have brought this Plug-in. Also CE Image would allow the image be cropped from specific offsets such as top bottom, unlike the built-in expression engine which does it immediately from the center.

Expression Engine

Now the website is designed, it was time to implement it into Expression Engine. Which was a daunting task. I learnt a lot during lessons and I knew this would be a great foundation, but I was worried that I wouldn’t remember what the difference between a channel and a status was. So What I did is I started implementing the site locally first as this is how we did it in lessons. I was amazed at how much I remembered, and managed to get it publishing posts pretty quickly. However what I found difficult was the small details, such as put featured posts in the carousel, which in the end required an if statement to get the JavaScript going. Getting the sidebar news post to not change in a post page ended up with using the tag dynamic=”no”. And there were other small things that cropped up or required a bit of special code to make it work. So sometimes I spent a lot of time on the small details in expression engine. I found the best way to solve a problem was to work consistently, and structured and try to see it as a challenge to be solved.

Bootstrap

As we had learnt how to make a responsive website in the last module I wanted to incorporate some elements of that into this site. However, while I want the website to look good, I want it to function as a dynamic website so I must not spend too much time on the design. Last Module I used gumby framework, and found it easy to use, but limited on features. So I knew Bootstrap had a lot of features and other members of our class raved about it, so I thought I would give it a go this time. It wasn’t as complicated as I originally thought and I’m pleased I decided to go along with this framework. It also has the function of automatically making certain parts responsive, so I allowed the framework to do all the work on the side of it being responsive.

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The only part of the responsive site that frustrates me is the full width carousel, the image is not responsive. And regardless of what I did I was unable to make the image responsive and for the title and sub text to be responsive with it.

Design

Now majority of my postcards were created for Self-Initiated, I can finish the design for my website. During my research of the circus theme I fell in love with an artistic font Fontleroybrown and luckily this was available as @fontface from http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/FontleroyBrown

With the colours I had tried a black background but it didn’t suit the coldness of the images so I went with a really dark navy and white, and then I remember feedback from my tutor that a highlight colour always brings attention to certain things and makes the website look more exciting. So after looking through my research again I noticed pink goes quite well with the circus theme. So my colours are as below

Webcolours

Reflection: Group Work

This brief has been split in two which has been difficult because it disrupted momentum and motivation of the group. It took a good few weeks for us to be all up to speed and focused on delivering a good product. However, I also believe the break helped us in bringing our ideas back to basics and helped us in coming up with something simple that answers the brief. As we all seemed to be over complicating things initially.

During the first part of us working on the brief, I took a very proactive role and encouraged everyone’s input, however sometimes this was stressful and not everyone always wants to include their input. So this time I allowed the two directors to keep everything moving forward, whilst I believe they still felt they could ask me to be a bit more pushy and get things done. Towards the end of the project, decisions were becoming more and more crucial and I help the group to make fair decisions and ensure people were happy with the tasks they had delegated to them. I also ensured that I was constructive in any feedback that I gave and that I was one of the first to provide comments in the last stage, and I also used the social media tools to encourage other people’s feedback.

The group was extremely creative with their ideas and really kept on top of communicating with each other, so we really felt part of a design agency. Working in a group can sometimes be extremely difficult as personalities can clash, however this was the best group of people I have worked with, they were all fair and contentious, whilst driving for a successful end piece. In any group you have some people who work differently, and I think this was one of our bigger struggles as a group, as certain members liked to work in advance, whilst others prefered to work at last-minute. However as the project manager I had to ensure the final product and presentation was the best and delivered in a  timely manner, so sometimes this would involve making decisions that would’ve potentially upset others. So I used my proactive skills in ensuring others could understand why the decisions had been made and that it was best for the group, but that their initial input was essential. This also helped ensuring there was no animosity so we could feel extremely positive as to what we have achieved as a group.

Reflection: Final Product

Initially the brief seemed like a daunting one, attempting to find a concept that would appeal to a young audience can be a tricky task as young people change what they like so frequently.

I understand my strengths do not lie in creating ideas, I can recognise a good idea when presented with one, but I really struggle coming up with one. So I relied on our Art and Creative directors to push the idea with the designers, I was available to offer constructive feedback on each idea and push them even further with questions relating back to what does the client wants and the brief.

We went through many many ideas until we reached our final idea. When Fliss came up with the idea of ‘Where’s Wally’ it felt like a stroke of genius, and it seemed so simple and really fit in with our discovery idea that would help answer the brief. I ensured Fliss knew what a brilliant idea it was and this great idea really helped the group become more motivated and excited about the final product at a time when it was crucial.

Once we had our final concept it was about implementing it, and we all tried illustrating but Glenn was so good at producing quirky and fun graphics, that the task lie with him. I think we were all concerned that leaving the final product and presentation to him would be too much work for one person. So everyone did a little research and Fliss put together the final presentation whilst Glenn worked on our Final piece, the rest of the group was there to offer their help to each of them and provide feedback. I think this helped us all feel involved and essential to our final piece and final presentation. After Glenn had finished the final piece, he made Fliss’s presentation fit in with our brand, but I made sure he didn’t change any of the information as everything Fliss had put in was important.

I was concerned that during the process that certain people seemed to take on a lot of the tasks, whilst others took a step back, unfortunately this is the case when working in a group, we are all unique and work differently. As a project manager I was there to ensure that the people who took on a lot of tasks felt supported and could unload tasks to me or other members of the team.

In conclusion, as a group we overcame a few problems, but we remained so focused on producing the best final piece that we could as a group. I am happy with how well we worked together and I am proud of our presentation and final piece. When we first started in the group we barely knew each other but now I wouldn’t choose anyone else to work with. I believe my role was essentially in helping everyone feel relaxed enough to communicate their ideas and help the group make decisions, in the end my role became more about communication and feedback and pushing teh group to achieve their best.