Sunday, 30 January 2011

Artefact One Evaluation

I have observed 7 students interacting with the ipad/ipod using the application brushes to gain an understanding of how the art education system and the creation of art has been developed by new web interfaces. I have chosen to interview and observe 7 students at Ashfield School using the ipad/ipod to create a piece of artwork based on their current theme for their A Level.

Personally, I created this artefact to give me the opportunity to understand how emerging artists are using this new medium. Overall I think that it was a successful artefact because the students had a limited time to express themselves with an ipad therefore they acted impulsively. Through this impulsive artwork I got to see how the ipad could be used within the education system as a sketching tool. However the only disadvantage of the interview and observation process was the distraction of the camera as this generally made students nervous. I altered this slightly throughout the process so that they worked in groups, one student would be creating the artwork whilst the other was interviewed. I found that they felt more comfortable and their minds were taken off the camera so that I got their true opinions on the ipad as an artistic medium.

Throughout the process of this artefact I have been trying to achieve a sense of what place the ipad has within the art education system. To me this artefact revealed that students are looking for something that mimics everyday art processes, such as using a pencil etc. However they like games that new web interfaces offer them.

With my next artefact I will consider a broader range of students with an anonymity factor so they don’t feel under pressure. This could possibly give a more natural response.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Artefact One Continued...

After the filmed observation and interview I got each student to fill out a few brief questions. I had to alter them slightly as I had to change the artifact slightly due to deadlines that the teacher told me about that day. Instead of getting the students to do both a digital and hand drawn drawing I had to compare their digital drawing to a hand drawn piece of art work they had already created as they had limited time with their deadline.

I had to change a few of the questions on the spot but the students answered the following questions for me-
1) What was your first choice of tool?
ipad or ipod
2)Why did you choose this particular tool?
3) Have you used either one before?
4) If so, how often?
Once a week
Once a month
5) Did you find the medium easy to use?
Didn't make a difference whether it was traditional or digital
6) What was your favourite tool and why?

Here are the responses that I got from the students:
1) All students but 1 choose the ipad other the ipod.

2) Student 1-I choose the ipad because it's bigger so I thought it'd be easier to use
Student 2-There's more control with the ipad
Student 3- Ipad has a larger screen
Student 4- Because the ipad is more accurate, easier and quicker to use
student 5- Larger screen
Student 6- Larger screen
Student 7- Easy to use, quick

3) 2 out of 7 people had used the ipad before

4) 1 out of 7 had used it every day the rest had never used the ipad before.

5) 1 out of 7 found it easy to use. However one said he could find it easier with practice as he's used to using pen and paper.

6) (Favourite tool)

Student 1- ipad because it's larger and easy for fingers, more space
Student 2- I prefer to use 3d mediums as they provide an image that can be seen from different angles
Student 3- The traditional tools (pen, paper, pencil) because its easier and quicker to use and you can get used to using it quicker. There's only so much you can do on the digital so you can't really do as much as you'd want
Student 4- Traditional pen, paper and chalks. It's easier to shade and you know where the lines will be
Student 5- Traditional because tone and definition of an image is easier to express
Student 6- I prefer my normal way of working with chalk, pastels and pencil because it's easier to do fine detail and show soft textures.
Student 7- Didn't really have a favourite, feel a brush tool that is force sensitive would be better as it would mimic the real thing.

From doing these interviews and small questionnaire I feel I have gained an insight into how the next generation of artists function with traditional tools and new web interfaces. To me the most interesting thing is that they are all looking to create art work in the easiest way possible, to them this is photo shop on a laptop as it is two technologies that they are used to that allows them to define their artwork.

Also although it wasn't filmed I had a chat with a few of the GCSE students who told me that they prefer using digital tools. Out of a whole class only one student preferred using pen and paper. Also none them really used art apps on the ipad/iPhone but all of them love using the angry birds apps and other games on their phones. Maybe I could look at merging apps and games together to challenge the boundaries of art apps?

Friday, 28 January 2011

Artefact One:ipad drawing experiment

Today I went to Ashfield school to observe and interview a range of ALevel students to gain an understanding of their perception of the ipad and how it affects their artwork. So it would benefit the students I got them to produce a drawing on the ipad/ipod based on their ALevel exam theme so it was fresh in their minds. The themes were shells, global warming and every day to extra-ordinary. As a comparison against the work produced on the ipad I took photos of their current artwork that is produced by traditional tools, such as pen, pencil, paint etc on paper. Generally the students spent 5Min's using the ipad/ipod to create artwork. Although this is a short amount of time to compare digital artwork against work created using traditional technique over a longer amount of time I feel that it is was a good idea to let the student use the tool for short bursts of time. This is to enable them to express themselves impulsively and to see how easy the ipad is to use.

I have filmed (well Steve filmed-thanks Steve!) the interviews so I could understand how easy the ipad was to use as well as how the students feel about it as a tool to express themselves. My biggest question is if they felt that it affects the formal elements therefore the quality of their drawings. Also if they had used apps before and if this affected their performance using the ipad as a creative tool.

To make the observe fair they all used brushes. Below is their work compared to traditional forms of their artwork.

Student 1:
  • Interested in 3d, ipad doesn't allow for that. She wants to experiment with angles.
  • Prefers drawing
  • Nervous about using ipad
  • Didn't feel like she could 'connect' with the ipad
  • Feels like she's missing out on being able to add tone.

Student 2:
  • Hard to get used to the navigation
  • With user experience easier to use
  • Too slow to create pencil marks etc
  • Not like photo shop
  • Likes mixing traditional techniques with digital
Student 3:
  • Student doesn't see the ipod/ipad as an art tool. See it as a platform to launch games (angry birds)
  • Easier to use because you don't have to clean up but prefers drawing
  • Miss details like shading that hard to create in brushes
  • Less messy, more convenient
Student 4:
  • Appearance created is too harsh
  • Different type of skill and look so would use it as a different platform for artwork
  • Good for jotting down ideas and sketches
Student 5:
  • Most confident at using the ipad as has touch screen computer at home
  • Feels its more responsive and works quicker than other touch screen devices
  • But it still slows you down, doesn't allow for higher standard of work
  • Would like to see it work more like a paint brush- if u push down harder it'll create a thicker line rather than heat sensitive
Student 6:
  • Never used ipad before.
  • Prefers traditional techniques
  • Trouble with functions on ipod
  • Would rather use a pen on the screen so it's more realistic to how she would normally draw
  • Don't like the ipad as student feels that she hasn't got enough control. Doesn't want to have to think too much whilst drawing, just want to express themselves
Student 7:
  • Hard to control. Needs to be less sensitive to functions and more sensitive to drawing
  • Needs to get used to the touch screen to draw
  • Doesn't use apps
  • Needs to be clearer to use

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Wish upon a star feedback!

These are the favourite mock-ups of Wish upon a star. No matter what they want to keep the hot air balloon as a button.

This is the fundraisers favourite but they want me to experiment with the background being more faded, like a water mark. They feel it is still too prominent at the moment. They want the text to stand out more, maybe highlighted with a star?

In this mock-up they like the rounded edges and the balloon. They want me to experiment with the background and merge it with the above mock-up.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

1 more mock-up

Another mock-up for Wish upon a star! I am pleased with this mock-up so far. I have made the photos as well as the donate button a prominent feature of the page so it makes it quick and easy for people to donate and immediately lets people know what the charity is about. I think that this mock-up finds the line between corporate and personal design by mixing the illustration with the structured background.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Another Mock-up...A different style

I like this mock-up because it has a child-like appeal with the hand drawn textures that both adults and children can relate to. I have made the donate a prominent feature of the page by using contrasting colours. I would also animate the stars surrounding the hot air balloon to grab peoples attention. Also I have added a subtle graphic of children skipping together to let the audience know what Wish upon a star is about. I have also made the navigation easy to follow by including a painted mark behind the navigational text when you click on each page. This will let the audience know where they are on the website.

More Mock-ups For Wish Upon A Star

I think as a whole this mock-up works as the banner with the logo and navigation stands out due to the contrast between the blue and white. It also replicates their logos colours therefore replicating the branding. I have experimented with different backgrounds and illustrations of people to give the charity more options to show what they are about. I have chosen to experiment with a wand as a donation button because it will allow people to connect what wish upon a star does. It is also a symbol that is associated with the charity through their many events.
This is another version but I don't like it because I think the background is too harsh against the illustrations. i was thinking about doing a collage of all the different activities that the children get to do through Wish upon a star.
In both of the mock-ups I have used illustrations that are purely hand drawn to see how they would look with the rest of the design. if the charity likes any of the illustration in particular I intend to emphasis them with digital illustration techniques.

Also I have used a different banner that will use bigger photos that the audience can flick through in a slide show manner or that will change with a set time. The is also a blue text box that will over lap the photos to tell the audience a bit about what the events are etc.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

What makes charity websites successful?

How many of us have gone on to a charity website and not found what we have been looking for? Or got bored of the LOOONNNNGGG donation process?! The key to solving this problem is to make the website more accessible and user friendly. According to research consultancy firm 'Think' over 60% of people fail to find what they are looking for on a charity website (Wiggins,2010). For more information see

"Simplifying websites can lead to huge increases in the proportion of visitors to the site that go on to make donations,"

"A lot of people who have a bad user experience of a particular website will never visit that site again."

This leads me to the question of how I can simplify my website design? According to Chameleon (a online marketing company) placing more emphasis on the donation section of the page produced more successful outcomes.

This shows that the donation rate for UNICEF went up from 1 in 10 people to 3 in 10 people donating.

This tells me that I really have to focus on how the audience can interact with the donate button, how easy it is to do and how long it takes. I could draw attention to it in multiple ways, such as an animated object, having the donation as part of the navigation and as an image to make it more accessible.

Mock-up developments

I have merged the 2 mock-ups that the client likes and made subtle changes to both in regards to The donate button, navigation and faded backgrounds. I am also going to create some more illustrations to help send the message ti the audience of what wish upon a star is about.

Mock-up One:
  • Strong, bold donate button
  • bigger logo
  • Faded background to make the content stand out

Mock-up Two:
  • Hot air balloon as a donate button.
  • Faded background to make it look like a night time scene
  • Added star to represent wishes

First Client Meeting: Feed back!

The two mock-ups that Wish Upon a star like:

I had my first client meeting with Wish Upon A Star to get feedback and confirm a few requirements that they need for their website. I took in the 3 mock-ups that are featured in the previous post. The general response was positive. They liked the illustrations as they represent what their charity is about-uniting families to give their children their ultimate wish. Although they liked the illustrations they felt that the layout needed to be structured to find a balance between a plain, structured website that will attract corporate businesses and the general public that look for a 'fun' aspect to keep their attention. They liked the idea of the donation button being an animated hot air balloon. They want it to be animated with hot air underneath it is the mouse is moved over it.

Although Wish upon a star liked the layout of the first mock up (with the polaroids) they felt that it had been done before by other charities.

New goals that have arisen from the meeting
  • Create a website that corporate businesses will be attracted to.
  • Merge the illustrations with the layout from the 'pink' website.
  • Experiment with different donate buttons
  • Experiments with different types of background (faded, textured etc).
  • Research what corporate companies are attracted to
  • Do some more illustrations of the families looking at the children having fun. This will tell people that the charities focus is about the families enjoying watching their children enjoy their wish.
  • A way of highlight where you are on the website. Highlighted text when on a certain page?
What Else does wish upon a star want?
  • Latest events in banner
  • interactive map
  • glimpse of events on the homepage as an intro
Also during the meeting it was mentioned a lot that Wish upon a star's main competiton is Rays of sunshine. 'Wish' aspires to have a website that is like theirs. They like how it is linked to multiple social networks, the information is separated so that there isn;t an over load of information. They like the contrast in colour and the faded background. They also like the idea of an animated icon that gets people to donate. Also the navigation is clear as the user automatically knows where they are on the website as the navigation text is circled once clicked.

Monday, 17 January 2011

One more Mock-up...2 versions

With this mock-up I wanted to combine a structured layout with a creative, 'fun' look that will attract a broad audience. I made the background out of tissue paper as I want to experiment with re-creating a scrap book look that hold memories of the children's lives and want the charity represents. The background is going to tell a story of how Wish upon a star grants the wishes of terminally ill children. I have chosen to do the illustrations in a linear, childish manner so it doesn't over power the content and fits in with what the charity/ website is about.

The header is one of the most important things of the mock up as it would be a slide show of the different cases the charity has helped with therefore instantly informing the audience about what the charity does. The donate button is also in a prominent place to that it makes it quick and easy for people to donate.

I have one one mock-up with the centre in white to make the text stand out more. It makes it easier to read. I think I prefer the first one as the white content area gives it a multi layered effect.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

First Mock-ups

This mock-up is based on a children's book style scene. I think using the illustrative skills will draw in both adults and children therefore appealing to a broad audience. I have used the original drawings to mess around with the layout and use them as an initial guide for the client can get an idea about the style the website could be completed in and the layout of the website. The hot air balloon is a very important part of the website that will allow people to donate quickly and easily. At the moment I prefer this mock-up as it attracts a broader audience and automatically tells the audience what wish upon a stars goals are. I think this website would make full use of my skills both technically and through design.

I have gone for a completely different style for this website as it is simple and clean cut. I wanted the photos to represent memories that have been created by wish upon a star. i would make the photos into an interactive show that would reveal different stories. I think this website need more work. Maybe change the colour/tone of the navigation bar.

Illustrations for Client website

Below are a few illustrations that I have designed for a landscape based mock-up for wish upon a star.

The hot air balloon would act as a donate button as it is a sign of hope and one of the activities that could be done as a last wish.
An illustration to represent the unison of families. I plan to place this image of father and son watching the stars as a sign of hope.
A hills scene that would go at the bottom of the site.
A man trying to catch a star or 'wish'.

More ideas-Wish upon a star

I have been thinking about what Wish upon a star is about. A mind map has helped provide me with an out to get my ideas flowing. I want to create a website that the audience can enjoy visually that also informs them of the charities goals whilst providing them with an easy way to donate.
The logo has got to be a part of the design, which means I have to create something that goes with a navy blue and sans-serif font. Below is a design that I have focused mainly on the navigation. I am thinking about doing navigation that lights up when selected to keep the audience interested. Also I have placed the a series of boxes in the header that would show the audience 3 simple steps of how to donate.
This wire-frame is all about building the content into a scene. I have chosen a night time scene with bright stars in the sky to represent hope therefore a wish for each child in need. Wish upon a star is also about bringing families together for a moment through all the hospital visits etc so I want to include some illustrations that represent families uniting together to share their child's last wish.
This idea is based on the idea of creating a children's scrap book of memories that all the family can share and something that everyone can relate to. It would have stickers, photos on etc

Monday, 10 January 2011

Smashing magazine tips on charity websites

Smashing magazine has published an article about non profit charity websites that has given a lot of tips about how to attract people to donate and inform them quickly. My charity website needs to make it easy for people to get involved, find out Wish upon a stars cause and allow them to donate quickly.

The donation button is going to be a big factor of the website as it will attract people to donate regularly. The process needs to quick and simple.

The site needs to be media friendly. I intend to use this through widgets but offer good ways that smashing magazine suggests is to make the information easily accessible to journalists, bloggers and any one that can generate hype. Also make sure that the organizations purpose is instantly apparent.

A way to achieve ALL of this is to make sure that the design revolves around the content and the charities mission not the other way around. Another challenge that will add to this is that I have to abide by their print design, which includes their logo. This will ensure that their brand remains consistent therefore people will find them more recognizable.

Below are a few websites that I think use unique yet clean design to promote themselves successfully.

This website makes good use of space however my favourite part of this is it's slide show in the title. It adds an interactive element that people can relate to. Slide shows are a popular way of getting the audience to interact with the charities cause but this website does it particularly well through its use of colour and speed changes with the mouse. Donation link very prominent in the header.
I like this website because it is strikingly clear what their purpose is and how we can help. The website is also made more personal by the people in the title that make it clear that it can affect any one, any where, any time.
This website uses striking colours and graphics. It also has a easy to use navigation that makes use of this. The main part of the website I like is the subtle use of space beneath the slide show as quite a lot of information is presented with a tone change to highlight it and simple illustration to tell the audience quickly what the information is about.
I like the simple header and navigation making it easy for people to find what they require.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Made Like Gaia...The design

Here is an updated version of my portfolio. I've made a few small touches, such as the widgets the logo is made more prominent by the sign Incorporated into the logo design. Also I've added a bold, colour introductory sentences so that the target audience automatically know what my website is about and what I can offer. I have also changed the illustration, which I am going to continue to work on. For the background I used ink to represent 'brainwaves/ideas'. I want to add tools that I use to it and maybe a few other things that are important to me that sums me up as a designer.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

More wireframes for my portfolio

Vertical slide show with animation along the side to express my creativity?
Also a paper/ homemade style portfolio to show that I can work digitally and for print.
3rd wireframe of a landscape with tools/things that make up my style.

Maybe at the bottom have a 'cut out' style set of information that will sperate the information and make it interesting to look at.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Initial client wire frames

Donation button has to be the main focus and easy to use. Widgets will also be a big part of advising the audience how to donate and how to become part of the charities community.
Centered content so that an image/illustration can inform the audience what the charity is about.
Animated headed separated into small boxes to grab the audiences attention and inform them about different sections of the charity. One box can be a donation box that will be brightly coloured so it is instantly recognisable.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Design process in the real world

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how I am going to transfer my skills I have learnt from my degree into real world design situations and have come across this diagram that I am going to implement in my up coming client project.

I found it on I really like rustymonkey's approach to website design to the client through using their own unique design traits to tell the clients story. They produce impressive pieces of artwork through the creation of their website yet they are also informative.