Despite many adaptations to my project I feel that I am still on target to meet the final deadline. The comments I received for my prototype were mainly positive, however, there were definitely some aspects of my website I needed to re-think:
The prototype includes good functionality, which appears to be robust and error free. The prototype successfully demonstrates your ability to overcome the technical challenge of creating the final product. The animation you have included in the website is effective, creating subtle flourishes. You have made the right decision to keep the design of the interface clean and simple, allowing the work to be foregrounded.
Areas for Improvement:
As soon as possible, you need to demonstrate how the work will be displayed in the site. This is an essential feature that will make or break your project, so make you implement and test it next.
The module team would like to suggest that you question how central the map is in the interface of the site. Is this really the focus of the project? The location of the user is of value but the current design looks like a site that is primarily about geolocation, rather than about creative work and making connections. We also recommend that you think critically about the functionality you are offering in the site and how effectively it addresses your aim. Be careful that you don’t lose sight of the purpose of the project as you get caught up in the coding and design of the interface.
I have taken these comments on board and the appropriate changes have been made which have improved the product. These changes have involved removing the map embedded on the main page. Although the functionality behind this was complex, the websites main purpose is not to show the location of users. On reflection, I believe that for a couple of weeks I had slightly lost sight of my primary objective.
In addition to this, I have removed the ‘Co-working Spaces near you’ and the ‘Events and Conferences in [your area of expertise] sections. These were to be implemented into the map once a user has declared/allowed my website to use their location. When I carried out my research into Freelancers in Semester One I found that every participant had no more than 5 global connections. This was my reasoning behind integrating an interactive map with markers to show ‘Co-working Spaces near you’ and the ‘Events and Conferences in [your area of expertise]’. Co-working spaces are an effective way to meet other professionals and share ideas in the same working environment, and advertising global events would encourage users to network on a global scale rather than simply a national scale.
However, the problem I experienced with including these two sections was that the focus of showcasing and viewing freelancers online portfolios became completely unnoticed. Users were drawn towards the map, instead of discovering talented individuals. By removing the map and the two additional marker sections, my website reveals its main purpose and there is no confusion amongst users in regard to what the website is about!
I have made another major change to the back end of my website. I have had to restructure all the code containing pop ups to separate php files. I was experiencing some problems using the Foundation framework and I found it easier to remove this and start a new css file. Consequently, visually the website has changed considerably, however I feel that now the website looks attractive, appealing and most importantly more creative than the previous corporate feel to the site.
The tag line: ‘Go beyond your horizon’ I feel encapsulates the message of making further, wider connections, in what goes on to say ‘every area of media expertise’. The background image of a horizon compliments the message.
Some further changes that still need to be made to Media Link for it to meet its purpose involve styling the profile page, edit profile page, and portfolio page. Additional security/validation measures need to be implemented into each input box to prevent any risks of hacking or spamming. I also need to ensure that each page has a correct redirect so that if a user is not logged in, they are redirected to the index/landing page. Error messages for each form need to appear on the same page, instead of on a single html page in isolation.
The improvements I have made to the website to-date have given me some confidence for the Critique on the 5th of March. I will be able to demonstrate the changes I have made and the reasoning behind them. I intend to gain feedback on the design as well as taking on any other suggestions my peers might have. I will provide a print out of my Gantt Chart to show my timescale of tasks and prove that I am on target.
There are of course some tasks that I need to complete that were not originally included in the Gantt Chart. Because the complexity of Media Link has been reduced slightly due to the removal of the geolocation features, I was advised by my tutor to perhaps produce some advertising material that could form part of the launch campaign, such as promotional posters or flyers that could potentially be placed around various co-working spaces. This is something I will seriously consider now that the scope of my project has changed. However, this all depends if I remain on target to the production schedule of my website.
On evaluation, I feel that I need to increase my time being spent on the project during this Semester. I have managed to organise myself well in regards to my other modules so I can dedicate myself more time towards my project. I am extremely conscious that a deadline of the 11th of May does not mean finishing the product! I must ensure that I stick to my scheduled gantt chart of finishing the production of Media Link by the 14th of April. This allows me roughly three weeks to carry out debugging, testing, user testing, improvements, and preparation for the final presentation.