27 Feb

The big colour debate: gold/white or blue/black?

99% of my Facebook feed last night consisted of arguments about the colour of one (terribly over-exposed photograph of a) dress.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 08.10.02

Personally, I can only see white and gold. I see no black at all. But a little editing shows why people can see it both ways…



On the left, I only see white and gold. On the right, I see black and blue. In the middle, the original, I now see a similarity between both left and right pictures. Basically, it is all about perception – and this is why I find colour so fascinating.

My other half is colour blind. I really enjoy this, and often ask him what colours he sees when I’m working on a project. It’s easy to forget that most people will see a different version to you. How much of this is ‘taste’ and how much is ‘perception’ I have no idea. When deciding on paint colours in B&Q, after much disagreement, my husband jokingly put forth the idea that maybe we both like the same colour, we just see them differently.

This could well be the case. It is not beyond the realms of possibility. Throw into the mix that there are different types of colour blindness and it becomes increasingly impossible to know just what another person sees.



So where does this leave us from a design point-of-view?

Well, you will generally know if you see things differently to everyone else. I will always remember back in art college, an ex-student working as a children’s book illustrator came back to show us his work. He was colour-blind, and his work was extraordinary. It had a palette that was subtle and unique in a way that I would struggle to produce. He had to have some input with his colour choices though, if I remember rightly.

There is, and will always be, a collaborative effort in the best design work. Design is about creating for somebody else, and we all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Your preference is just as valid as anybody else’s. Equally, if other folks see black and blue, that’s a consideration you should probably factor in!

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25 Feb

Web Dev: Colour

To get a feel for the site I want to create, I put together the following moodboard. I think my favourite thing about it is the fluid illustrations, and the line that represents movement so effectively. I want a feeling of fun as well as elegance.


I then put together a few colour palettes, some based on my idea of ballet and some directly taken from images I found on the web. I used Adobe Kuler to do this (now Adobe Color CC). I wanted to keep quite a feminine palette, but there is research to suggest that a lot of women prefer the colour blue or a green-blue mix so this also features in my tests.

colourPalsI also found this poster on Behance by Madhiya Qureshi that I think has a beautiful quality to it. Ballet and dance is all about movement and fluidity. I want to capture this in my design.

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25 Feb

Web Dev: Target Audience

Before I begin designing, I need to know who I am designing for. I quickly mind-mapped my target audience.


There are a few points from this that I need to remember when designing the website.

  • Location is very important – make sure to use these tag words for SEO.
  • Parents will be more interested in exam information/educational aspect than other demographics.
  • The target audience is mainly female.
  • Parents are often short of time, so navigation has to be clear and quick to find information needed.


Photo by imagerymajestic (freedigitalphotos.net)

Photo by imagerymajestic (freedigitalphotos.net)

Megan Johnson

  • Part-time administration assistant
  • 36 years old
  • Married, with two children
  • Lives in Heathfield

Megan’s priority is her family life and she is their main care-giver. She likes to give her children (both school aged) the opportunity to take up many extra-curricular activities. She has a strong focus on their education.


Megan is looking for a dance school in her local area, but hasn’t received a recommendation from anyone at her children’s school. She decides to search online to find one nearby, so types “dance school heathfield” into Google. Anita Gunn’s School of Dancing website comes up in one of the top searches (note – currently it doesn’t feature at all. SEO is going to be crucial to the success of the new site). She clicks on the link, and is impressed by the exam and award information. She decides that this will be beneficial for her children, so views the timetable and phones the number on the website to make plans to sign up.

Search terms

The terms I envisage people typing into Google (or other search engines) that I need to target are “dance school”, “ballet school” and “ballet classes” followed by the location. Location is very important here, as we are targeting quite a broad area.

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20 Feb

Web Dev: Client Vision & Competitor Analysis

The first thing I did was put together this client specification (using a form developed by Clearleft). It highlights the main goals of the project, what the client wants to achieve from the website and some usual hints as to where to begin my research.

I started by taking a look at the client’s current web presence, screenshot below.


My first thoughts are: it is a simple, one-page information screen. The colour scheme is consistent and the images are relevant and well presented, but it needs updating. There are far too many fonts being used too.

I then looked into competitors websites, to see what they did well, and what could be improved. The screenshots below show particular elements I like about the other websites. This is including the large flat-design visuals of the SCA, and the relevant imagery/gallery styles featured in other dance school websites.


The colour seems to be an interesting one; ballet and dance is mainly associated with pink, but other colours have become more popular for dance schools setting a trend and becoming more modern. I’ll look into this more later when I research colour palettes.


I then quickly assessed a couple of these against some main usability heuristics (Jakob Nielsen), and put them in a chart below. The current website is clearly due for a complete redesign.


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16 Feb

Web Dev: Project Plan

website design and development

website design and development

Project details

Title: Anita Gunn’s School of Dancing

Brief description of website: This website is for a ballet school for children, based in Broadoak, East Sussex.

Project aims: To create a website to replace the existing, inadequate design. It will need to attract new clients, and inform existing ones of term dates, exam dates etc. It will also be a showcase for the school’s successes.

Size of project: 4 pages – home, calendar/dates, gallery, contact.

Photography/video will need to be gathered/produced.


Technology options: Hand-coded, possible framework options. HTML, CSS, JavaScript and option of JQuery.

Ongoing cost estimate: Domain (£3-5 per year) & hosting costs (£5-10 per month).

CI264 Activity Plan

Start date: 24th February 2015

End date: 14th May 2015

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14 Feb

She spent all day writing this blog post, what she wrote will surprise you…

But probably not that much. It’s always a let down, when you click on links posted on Facebook designed specifically to get you onto their site. Otherwise known as clickbait.

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 10.23.45

There is still a lot of debate as to the exact definition of clickbait. Some people define it as anything that is designed to get you to click. Others will call any article they don’t like or disagree with clickbait. It is definitely up there as one of the most annoying day to day elements of the internet and social media. If they really had something interesting to say, they would put it in the title. The problem with this tactic is, yes you will get views, but you won’t get shares unless you have something worth sharing. You’ll also manage to annoy people in the process.

I think the worst kind are those that mislead. Closely followed by those that don’t really say anything and end in an ellipsis. Often coupled with a picture of someone doing something, but you can’t quite see what. Clever.

I have had to train my curiosity to combat this. And if nobody clicked on this type of headline, wouldn’t we see less and less of it?

Please, if you see a headline such as “She spent all day writing this blog post, what she wrote will surprise you…” don’t click on it!

Lesson learnt.

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