Tuesday, 20 December 2011

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

In comparison to my preliminary task of creating a school website, my main website is more advanced and I feel in many ways is better. The first reason for this is likely to be that as I have created both my websites, my understanding of the conventions and codes that I need to follow had became a lot clearer. Therefore my second website is more conventional and works better, than the first, due to the increasingly knowledge along the way.

Additionally, my skill has also increased, as iWeb was a new programme to me I had little knowledge about using it. When I first started my preliminary site looked quite simple and basic. However by the time that I came round to creating my main website, I felt that it looked more professional than the preliminary due to my increased knowledge. I went back to my preliminary site, to make it more professional, as it looked poor compared to the main site.

Although my sites look reasonably well, it is clear that I am still inexperienced in website design, as not all parts were up to professional standards, I feel that my site works well though as it is similar in layout and style to the other sites that I have looked at. It is clear to see that their has been improvements between my preliminary and main website, which is likely to be due to picking up skills and learning how to use the chosen software.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

What have you learned about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

To complete my product I used a Mac computer, and iWeb software. If I had chosen to use a Windows PC I would be unable to use iWeb, as it is software that is only available to Mac. I would have had to find an alternative such as Dream weaver. This was a big advantage of using a Mac computer, as iWeb was very easy to use WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) software, where as alternatives such as Dream weaver would require knowledge of HTML, which is something, I didn’t know about. I have previously used a Mac, for my magazine project for GCSE Media.

Additionally, I used Photoshop, to edit my images and backgrounds. Photoshop is available to both Mac and Windows computers, so there was no benefit from using the Mac computer. However, I did find that from using the Mac with Photoshop and iWeb is that everything worked very intuitively together. For example I could do a lot of drag and drop between programmes, for example the main image on my homepage, I was able to crop in Photoshop then, drag it directly into iWeb, I was also able to do this with my logo and banner which I made in Photoshop.

I used Final Cut to edit my video that I took using a digital camera. This allowed me to crop out bits that I didn’t need, rather than re-recording the entire video. I hadn’t used Final Cut before but I found it very easy to use, and picked it up very quickly. I also used iCal to create a diary so that I could keep track of deadlines, this was similar to the way that I put dates into the diary on my Blackberry so again I picked it up easily. This helped me greatly as I could see what I needed to do and at what time I needed to do it.

Another piece of technology that was a great help to me was the Internet. I used the Internet to research other websites, so that I could get an understanding of what conventions I needed to follow in order for my site to be successful, For example I looked at four different websites and annotated them. I also used the Internet to download brush packs for Photoshop; I downloaded a brush pack called ‘Paint Splats’ which I used to create my background. Another way in which I used the Internet was to upload pieces of my work onto my blog.

I feel that there were little limitations for me with the technology I used, as it was all fairly easy to use, and I could complete all tasks I wanted to do with it. The only problem I encountered was with the built in layouts on iWeb, as they all looked like they had been laid out and caused my website to lack uniqueness, I had to work hard to prevent my website looking like it followed these templates.

Friday, 16 December 2011

How did you attract/address your audience?

Attracting and addressing my audience was one of the most important parts of my site, as if the site is not attracting and doesn’t address the audience they would be unlikely to use the information and advice. There is many ways that I attracted and addressed the audience and kept them engaged.

Firstly I used a bright coloured background, made up of green, pink, blue, white, yellow and orange. This would appeal to the audience as it is not dull and boring like the other websites that I looked at, bright colours are also usually associated with fun, and I wanted to represent my audience, as these are people that have fun regularly. The connotation of fun also takes the seriousness away from sexual health, and makes it seem that it is something that everyone worries about, and everyone can associate with. It makes the text look less plain as it is not on just a plain background, and makes the audience more likely to read and pay attention to all the information rather than just reading over it briefly.

Additionally, the typography on the page uses different sizes, so that the information is easier to read, than very small tiny writing that would disappear amongst the pictures included on the page. The typography is the main source of information on the page, as the pictures are mainly used to separate the information, so it is important that the typography stands out. I used mostly basic words that would appeal to the wider demographic so that they would understand what was meant and not loose interest, although the correct medical terms were used when needed to maintain an aspect of professionalism.

The words were positioned on the page amongst pictures so that they were less bulky and helped to break them down and could be taken in better. The pictures used could attract the audience as they showed people having fun, and added a less serious side to sexual health. One serious photo was used to reinforce the idea, that you must be careful. This photo was made to represent a child talking to their parent about sexual health.

I feel that my site does attract and address the audience, as it is very interesting and relaxed, however I feel that the text on the page could be separated up so that it is in bullet points or chunks, so that the audience can engage with it better.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Who would be the audience for your media product?

The audience for my media product would be young adults and teenagers, between the ages of 14-24, which was discovered through asking the people who completed my surveys age. I found the social classes to be A, B, C1 and C2 as although the information is adapted for younger people, the information is suitable for everyone. The target audience would be people who support online campaigns as opposed to face-to-face campaigns, such as visiting a clinic; this was again discovered through my survey.

The target audience would be very sociable people, as when asked ‘what do you mostly use the internet for’, 67% used the Internet for socializing. This suits the representation present on the website of the people being very hedonistic, and always seeking a good time with their friends.

I also found that my audience would be most likely to confide in a friend, (70%), again supporting the idea that they are hedonistic as they are always out with their friends and that they have a very close social friendship group.

Additionally, from my own observation I found that my audience would be people who are worried about their sexual health and seeking reassurance without being caused to have unnecessary panic by convincing the person that they have something they don’t. The information on my website is very calming, and tries to offer ways to protect and prevent and further ways to reassure yourself if you’re still worried, by visiting a clinic/doctor, this is suited to the audience as it provides them with what they want to see and hear.

In conclusion, my target audience would be people that are interested in having a good time, but also want to be safe. I found the people to not want to be ordered what to do, but rather suggested ways in which they can feel at ease and be helped.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

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

As my media product is an online campaign, it would be distributed online via a computer. In my early stages of research I researched into web hosting, and domain name registration, these are needed to distribute my website so it was important that I researched them. There are many different types of web hosting online, when researching I found a cheap hosting server that I would like to use to distribute my product, www.justhost.com. This had suitable facilities and was very affordable as prices started as cheap as £1.95.

After considering a using a free host website to distribute my media product, I decided that I would use a paid host due to the services offered were greater than that of a free host, and means that I would be able to include greater amounts of information, such as videos, images, and text, for just a small fee once a month.

This fee would entitle me to use a space on the server, which would distribute my website to the world wide web (Www). However before my website would be accessible I would need to purchase a domain name. I looked at many different websites that sell domain names, the prices ranged depending on the website, and the ending, for example, if the website is .com or .co.uk or .net.

Therefore, by purchasing a domain name, and web hosting, I would be able to upload my website to the Internet, and distribute it to other Internet users within my target audience. The internet is the fastest growing form of communication, so if I did choose to distribute my media product through this institution it would be more likely to be successful than if it were through a newspaper or magazine.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

The media product that I have created represents a demographic that is between the teenage and young adults age range, roughly around 14-24 years old. Within this demographic, the social classes represented are A, B, C1 and C2. Additionally, both genders are approached, as are all sexualities within this demographic. Different ethnicities are represented, which is something I have found on similar sites that I have looked at.

The way that my site has been constructed reflects who the people are that will benefit most from my site. This is done through the approach taken. A non-authoritarian mode of address is taken, which makes the audience feel at ease with the site and as if it is trying to help and not tell them that what there doing is wrong. This gives the feel that the people giving information on the site are more like a friend, than a parent figure, which is very important considering only 13% of people surveyed would confide in a parent with regards to sexual health. On the main page to my site, it says ‘sexual activity is common at almost every stage of life’. This makes the audience feel as if it is normal, and that there not wrong for doing so. This would appeal to the particular social group as they can relate to it, and it gives them the help they need in the way that the majority of them would want it.

Additionally the photographs used represent hedonistic teenagers and young adults, as one picture shows two teenage girls at a party drinking, a situation that can be related to by the audience. Again representing the particular social group, who are having a good time and do not want to be told what they’re doing is wrong, but just want help on how to say safe. The photographs on the contraception page are also very non-authoritarian, as they show ways in which to keep safe, whilst still doing what you want to do.

Unlike some other websites, that show pictures of what can happen if you don’t stay safe, that both shock and scare the audience as the image makes them not want it to happen to them, the approach taken makes them realise how easy it is to stay safe, and prevent any STDs.

The language used is also very representative of the particular social group as it is informal, although medical terms are used when necessary, this again appeals to them as informal language can be seen by the particular group as a put off.

In conclusion I feel that my media product represents particular social groups, through the language, images, approach taken, and consideration for different ethnicities and sexualities.

Friday, 9 December 2011

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

The website that I have created offers help on people worried about or suffering from STD’s. It was important that the site was conventional and appropriate to the situation. I feel that my site develops a lot of forms and conventions, but also challenges many.

Firstly, content wise, my website is very conventional, information is offered on how to get help and what to do, additionally more detailed information is offered on each of the individual diseases focused on. This is similar for the majority of other sites that I have looked at. Additionally, a clinic finder is offered on my site, this is a tool that I have seen on a few other websites that I looked at, so I believed it to be useful and included it.

Furthermore, a page is included on how to stay safe and protect yourself, offering various information on forms of contraception. Again, a majority of the other STD sites used this. As my website is a charity website, it would rely heavily on donations to continue running. Due to this reason, most of the other charity websites included a donation link/banner, which they could click and then proceed to donate to the website to help it continue running, I followed this convention and included a option to donate via Pay Pal.

On the other hand, in many ways my site challenges some of the conventions of a sexual health website. The sexual health websites all had a very plain, neutral colour scheme, whereas my site had a black background with various different brightly coloured ‘paint splats’ on it, which was created through Adobe Photoshop. This challenged the convention of a neutral colour scheme, however I feel that the background I chose is more appropriate as we have a much younger target audience, so it is appealing.

Additionally, the layout is slightly unconventional as we included a ‘click to enter’ page, where you click the condom to proceed. This was something that I did not see on the other sites that I looked at. Additionally the pages on our website included a lot more pictures, and less writing than the ones I looked at, however I feel that this makes the page more interesting for the audience.

In conclusion several of the conventions are followed, so that the site is appropriate however the layout and similar conventions were challenged to give a young feel to the site, so that it is more interesting for the target audience of teenagers and young adults.