Web Design Analysis

Overclocked ReMix http://ocremix.org

COLORS
The colors of OCR are fairly standard for the site, which has maintained the gray/orange color scheme for almost seven years now. It evokes a very professional tone, with the bright orange inviting a splash of color that jerks the white and gray out of total sleep-inducing boredom. Other small pictures and icons splatter the page with color, but never distract from the overall, strict professional pattern. Overall the site maintains a fairly sleepy presence with the most important elements injected with the orange flare to draw eyes quickly to them.

RHETORIC
OCR maintains a fairly high level of professionalism throughout its rhetoric. Though the actual language may be more relaxed at times, overall, it is very organized and professional. Much of the language on pages that aren’t regularly updated is very meticulous and carefully written, while the song write ups and other more frequently changed elements feel more off the cuff and alive. Exploring the Overclocked page gives the impression that the site is run very professionally, but they still know how to be personable and have fun.

RELATIONALITY
Overclocked ReMix’s relationality is where it shines. Where the colors can come off as dull or the language can be viewed as stuffy or mixed, OCR’s relation to itself and the greater community is unmatched. The orange used to highlight important content is always centered around user generated content, such as song titles, forum posts, or album releases. Use of pictures and symbols always is subservient to user content, and the largest parts of the site are almost always dedicated to user or staff products, not site content or advertising. While the homepage can be a bit overwhelming, almost all of the content on that page is user generated. OCR relishes in any chance to promote its users and their goals. Even sections that pertain to OCR’s partners and special events are not anywhere near as large as the sections for the site’s user content. It is clear, without any description or dedication, that OCR features users above all content on their pages.

AFFECT
Overall, the affect of the design is one of professionalism and promotion. Overclocked ReMix is a site dedicated to its users, because for over thirteen years, the users are the ones who have kept the site going. People who come to OCR are bombarded with user generated content, all of which is presented as professional and engaging material.

xkcd http://xkcd.com

COLORS
xkcd prefers an extremely limited (some may even say minimalist) design, especially with regard to color. The very simple pastel blue with white instantly conjures images of graph paper, which the very first xkcd comics were drawn on. Overall, the design’s color expresses a noted disinterest in exciting or new design, trading in cutting edge style for tried and true methods.

RHETORIC
To fit with the minimalist design, the site is also quite devoid of text, with most of the text used for attributions to license, other comics, or information about the site. The text is simple, quick, and just slightly humorous when appropriate.

RELATIONALITY
The author of xkcd, Randall Monroe, is a man of math, science, technology, and life. These things permeate throughout the comic in the most subtle and intricate ways. From the extreme minimalist design, the little bits that he places within and outside the comic give microscopic viewports into his life. To fully understand xkcd is to understand not only Randall Monroe, but the world as it is presented to him and how he deals with it.

AFFECT
xkcd is a website that you can either pass over without a second glance, or something you just have to sit down and tinker with. I prefer the latter.

The Escapist http://www.escapistmagazine.com

COLORS
The Escapist utilizes a palette of black, blue, white, and just a pinch of yellow. The dark blue and black are used to organize the content, but fail to do anything but smash the content all into one chunk. The yellow is used so very little that it fails to even appear to be part of the main color scheme. Several other shades of blue, yellow, and green appear at various spots in the site which only further calls into question what is content and what is used to separate the content. Add the use of pictures for almost every link and the front page appears to be just a mess of links and pictures than an actual website. There is almost zero coordination between the colors and the design, leaving the user to fend for themselves as to what is content and what is not.

RHETORIC
The site is filled with flavor text for almost every picture, but none of it really seems to do more than try desperately to get a user to click it. There is very little indication as to what the site is for or what it is about. However, the wealth of content is a big plus. The site never fails to present something new and interesting at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, this comes off as gimmicky. The site seems to not have a solid groundwork and as such, it scrambles to keep readers’ attention with lots of moving, colorful images.

RELATIONALITY
The Escapist has a severe lack of relationality. Everything is just smashed together and left to fight each other for attention. There is not enough whitespace for all of the content, leaving the page clustered and gasping for air. There seems to be a very big focus on community, with comment tickers on every story, but nowhere to register to join said community except for a small button at the top of the site. Speaking of the top of the site, the very top of the site is an ad. Not a banner or a picture about the site, but an ad. I view this as extremely bad design. The very top of the website should always be something about the site, never an ad, and certainly not an ad for the website you are currently on. None of the different sections are labelled very well, leaving the user guessing what it is supposed to be. Overall, the site suffers from having too much content and not enough places to put it. I would recommend a serious redesign of this site. As it stands now, it comes off as a massive overload of content with no real message, meaning, or communication.

AFFECT
The bad design works very hard against a site that is brimming with excellent content. The videos are some of the best on the web, the articles are usually very thoughtful and engrossing, and the news stories are always interesting and promising. However, the design makes the site appear to be choking on that abundance of content.

Compose Digital Media – http://www.digitaltrishacampbell.com/composedigitalcourse_vulnerability.html

COLORS
The colors portray a very sleek, organized look. The mix of gray, blue and red on white is very clean and the large whitespace offers excellent organization. The shades of red and blue are complementary to each other, which creates very obvious lines of attention for the eyes to follow. The colors work excellently to present information quickly and clearly.

RHETORIC
The site maintains a professional tone throughout, and clearly stands as an educational website. The language is quite meticulous if somewhat vague. The vagueness is perhaps on purpose to stir creative expression. Despite the large sections of text, the site never feels overwhelmed by words, and most passages evoke a serious thought of effective word choice. Overall, the rhetoric creates a sense of professional welcome and personal injection, which the colors seem to reinforce with large whitespace. The site almost seems to encourage users to plant their own images and thoughts into it.

RELATIONALITY
The biggest obstacle this site faces is with its relationality. Despite excellent choice of colors, organization, tone, and presentation, the site seems to stumble with the relation of one section to another. The main content section reverses the standard text relation by making the headings mixed case while the paragraphs are all uppercase. This would work fine, except that the sidebar on the right flips back to a more standard setup, with all uppercase headings and mixed case for the content. This creates a conflicting design that can confuse the reader by presenting similar elements with completely opposite formatting. To make matters worse, the sidebar is quite large, possibly distracting the user from the main content and even calling into question which side of the page is the main content and which is the sidebar. A smaller sidebar or smaller text in the sidebar may alleviate this problem. Another major weakness in the design is also one of its main strengths. The gratuitous whitespace used to separate and organize the content leaves the page very bare. While this encourages creative thought and is somewhat inviting, it is also extremely boring. By simply adding a picture or two to each page, the site would gain just a pinch of personality while maintaining the inviting atmosphere it needs to keep people reading.

AFFECT
Overall, the affect of the design is one of pensive openness. The site invites free thought and expression, while simultaneously laying down the rules, methods, and outlets of that expression. It achieves the goal of presenting an inviting atmosphere with a structured, professional outline and clear communication. Various discrepancies in the organization and formatting are small and easily fixable.

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About cerrax

Butcher. Baker. Candlestick Maker. And world-class cheese. http://www.cerrax.com
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