So it is clear that my site is very illegal. I knew this, as dealing with nerdy culture is an area plagued with fair use issues and copyright grey areas. By creating this site and writing for it, I realize that I love it and I want to pursue it. I believe this site is useful in pursuing my career, so the idea of monetization is present. Therefore, I have no problem making the necessary changes to reduce obvious copyright. Let me explain:

I remixed my background and the images I use for my title cards. Thankfully, what I have primarily discussed are popular franchises. I replaced them with stock images that are free of copyright. I also learned to pay very close attention to the footer of websites now, as that is usually where the copyright notice is. However, the readings have made the prospect of preserving my site for a potential career as terrifying. Nash’s article claims that the success of websites, or any form of publishing like this, is incredibly lucky and minimal. Part of me also knows that, but, if I don’t at least try, will I be able to chase my dreams? Corny, I know, but I think this website is incredibly important. I know that my chance of success is minimal, and I know that what I do, the “scrappy, 19-year-old undergraduate student with dreams follows his passion”, is faulty, overdone, and quite frankly, not unique. And saying that it is overdone, faulty, and unique, is overdone, so I am going to stop it now.

What I think also resonated me in Nash’s article is the dissemination of literature being educational. Books are not terrifying, nor are they dying. In fact, print media has gone up recently (though this is due to prohibitive digital technology and the colouring book trend). My site is also meant to broaden the mind to the artistic form of pop culture media (shut up Nolan). Furthermore, the written word is a very powerful thing. If I cultivate a following whatsoever, that means I have a group of dedicated followers and fellow creators. I have a group to command and do my bidding, like the king of a small nation. Of course, I wouldn’t do that, it is an incredibly stupid tactic that would blow up in my face in the long run.

I think it is important for me to respect the amount of control I have with my website. I can publish, free of any constraint. I am wholly individualistic. And Doctorow’s article encourages this self-publishing. But I believe that praise comes from the lack of censor or control. The only censorship I do now is profanity and copyright. I like to keep content legal, but still pleasing for my audience. Now that I know copyright customs, I can be much more cognizant of what I expel unto the world. I have to worry about not offending people unjustly, what the entire planet sees about me, AND not getting sued for millions and having my whole life ruined?! This is going to be hard work!

John Green’s article, however, seemed to be targeting cheap publishing methods. Not necessarily my website in particular, but Amazon’s practice of charging very cheap for novels. I believe my content is exempt from Green’s disdain, as I do not charge a cent. However, if monetization comes into play, then will that lead to the book falling in popularity? I know it sounds hypocritical after I previously just said it would not die, as their power lives on. The audience receives content for free, and I get paid. They keep returning because it is free, and I get paid more and more; a perpetual cycle. But Green brought up something that was interesting, and it was that Self-Publishing could be flawed, as the lack of professional editors and publishers can lead to worse work. I never thought of that, maybe because I had the youthful mindset of “sticking it to the man.” So if I can create a flourishing business…then I may need an editor to handle copyright.

Clay Shirky’s article reminded me of so many copyright issues I see on Youtube and the Streisand Effect. The Streisand Effect is when something gets silenced, but because it got silenced, more people wish to see what that thing is. The Streisand effect is deadly on Youtube videos because you can (illegally) download videos and re-upload them. If enough traction and poor publicity come from a publisher attempting to silence or remove videos, then it is pretty evident that whatever got silenced is pretty significant. That 14-year old who distributed content was not trying to harm the brand; he was trying to show love for it. Yes, piracy is terrifying for publishers and copyright companies, but, is it so harmful? Introducing private DRMs for your PAYING customers does not encourage them to pay more. It has the adverse effect and increases piracy. People are willing to pay for a convenient service. Reading books digitally can sometimes have a bunch of hurdles for the reader to endure, like buying a $100 device specifically for reading. Buying a physical copy, however, is much easier. You purchase the book; you can read the book. No government surveillance DRMs, no paywalls, no issues. People are willing to pay for a convenient service. Movie piracy decreased when Netflix was released because Netflix is such an excellent service that pleases its customers. People will pay for conveniences, and it is why so many cable networks are swapping to a streaming service. Streaming services can be taken anywhere, so people have anything they want at their fingertips. Call this gluttony, or “failure of society,” or “young people are the anti-christ,” or whatever you wish to, I think it is a sign for cable networks to adapt or die. Copyright networks are under the same fire. If availability becomes more prevalent, copyright holders are going to struggle to protect their brands. Hell, there are thousands of YouTube videos pointing out the flaws of copyright, and the hashtag #WTFU (where’s the fair use), shows the injustice and the abusive power of copyright. I believe that copyright should change. However, I do not know how it could or what measures we must take.

A common complaint I received from my Professor and Pheby Yeung was poor navigability on my site. Therefore, in Tutorial on October 13th, I fixed that issue. I finally discovered the difference between a page and a menu! Very exciting. So, what I did, was create a page for my four general topics: My about page, my PUB 101 Assignments, Reviews, and Opinion Pieces. Those will always sit at the top of the menu bar. Anybody can see them, no matter what page they are on.

After that, I made even more “subpages” for the original pages. These were “Books”, “Television”, and “Video Games”. I put these three as sub menu’s under the menu option “Opinion Pieces”. And finally, under the subpages, I put individual posts. The increase in categories means that the viewer can see more of what I post in sections that they enjoy. If a reader wishes to hear what I say about a TV show, my posts are under that menu. If readers are looking for a specific post, the search option is still there for them.

I was thinking of implementing some custom code in the future that allows me to tag posts to specific pages. However, for now, I believe the system I have developed is serviceable for the reader. I was also contemplating adding a page specifically for videos, but, that is also for the future when/if this takes off at all.

I am not skilled enough to think of a segue for the readings, so I will discuss them here. My bad. I am fully aware of Gamergate and the problems it can cause. I followed it for a while in 2014, and I know how volatile the video game community can be. They do not like it when you say things they do not like. I can relate to this article, because my content is very similar to A lot of what Gamergate was about (they say it is for “ethics in games journalism”, but it slowly devolved into harassment and a muddy mess that made absolutely no sense). However, I stay strictly apolitical and passionate about video games and TV. I hope I can absolve my content from vitriol. But it’s unlikely since I just mentioned Gamergate and my opinion on what it is so now I guess I’m political? Ah, well.

I have a confession. I read a LOT of fanfiction when I was younger. But I certainly don’t regret it. I read a lot of Fallout Equestria and that book was like 600k words. It was endless. I read the My Little Pony version of Ulysses when I was 15, it’s nuts. Well, it’s nowhere near as complicated. And it was actually good. But I like fanfiction. A lot of what I do is similar to fanfiction. I write about nerdy stuff that I love, and hey, I can’t knock it. They are using an established Universe and expanding it in their own right. I do a similar thing be instilling way more meaning into things than I should. I like fanfiction, and I like to read it. I have no problem admitting it. I do not think fanfiction should be feared. I think it should be embraced. Plus, horny, 15 year old girls writing romance fanfiction reeeaalllly isn’t THAT bad. It just comes with the age. I was like that too when I was 15.

I related a lot to It’s complicated, as I used social media to formulate communities in high school and University as well. I would talk to my friends while playing games a lot in high school, and it was great. We were able to communicate from all over the world everyday and discuss how our days went, what we learnt at school (not really this isn’t the 50s), and current events. It was great. I really believe social media can make a huge difference in people’s communications and bonds. I have had a lot of intimate and deep conversations with friends over text message that helped me a lot emotionally.

What’s up with that Draco kid? In fact, what’s up with all the Slytherins? J.K. Rowling has probably gotten this criticism like, I don’t know, 100000 times now, but just an entire house – a fourth of the school is just dedicated to being scumbags. Draco learns absolutely nothing and doesn’t redeem himself at the end of the seventh book. And I get it, it’s really his father influencing him, he only knew about the Dark Arts as a child, etc. etc. But it doesn’t really explain the rest of Slytherin. Just look at the house’s defining characteristics: Gryffindor is Bravery, Hufflepuff is Kindness, Ravenclaw is Intellect, and Slytherin is…cunning? I know Dumbledore says it’s BOTH cunning and determination, but the word cunning connotes mischief and wrongdoing.

Anyways, I digress. When I’m around my family, I always hear them say “Oh it’s Harry Potter season, I’m going to re-read all the books!” Because there’s apparently a Harry Potter Season. Move aside Fall. But they made me realize that I haven’t actually read ANY of the Harry Potter books. I’ve seen the movies, but that was at too young of an age for me to remember. After seeing all these Harry Potter jokes, and not being to participate in family conversations, I decided to read them all. At the time of writing this, I have finished all of the books from late August to late September. I slightly cheated and listened to audiobooks during my work shifts, so not all of it came from my eyes reading the page. Sorry!

I will be reviewing each individual book, and in this post, I’ll go from Philosopher’s Stone to Prisoner of Azkaban. Let’s go.

Philosopher’s Stone:

You know, after reading so many novels for school with complicated diction and deliberately confusing prose, it’s nice to actually read a book for fun. That’s not to say that the novels I had to read for English classes weren’t interesting, they could just be confusing. College novels beg to be analyzed and picked apart. Because of this, they exclude the casual reader. But Harry Potter isn’t like that kind of book/girl. Harry Potter is incredibly welcoming and easy to read. In fact, I read two-thirds of it in a day. One-third was on the toilet (Too much info?) And the other third was read in transit towards school.

Pardon the pun, but the book was magical. I didn’t go in expecting high art, and I was very satisfied with my reading experience. Knowing what I know about writing techniques (which isn’t much), I enjoy the style of J.K. Rowling. Rowling’s prose may look simple, but she employs subconscious methods to entice the reader even more. At the end of every chapter, I always said to myself “man…I want to keep reading!” whereas, for many novels in school, I say “200 PAGES TO GO. I CAN GET THROUGH THIS.” I haven’t had that pure love for reading in a long time. J.K. Rowling makes her chapters long, usually around 20-30 pages. Within those chapters, there is ample time to tell the story and build the world of Harry Potter. The Diagon Alley Chapter is a great example. This chapter is where Harry and the reader are first introduced to the world of Magic. It is a fantastic introduction that also sets up many plot moments. Rowling also does not shy away from blatantly divulging her prose, and that is awesome! At least, it is for me, because I’m sick of the “BY SAYING NOTHING, THEY ARE SAYING MORE” junk.

The Diagon Alley chapter is essential to suspending the reader’s disbelief about Magic. What I mean by this, is that when the reader sees a teacup turn into a mouse, they nod their head and go “alright”. A poor story would have a moment like that, and take the reader out of the narrative. However, Harry Potter takes its time to firmly, and entertainingly, immerse the reader in its world and characters. Without the Diagon Alley chapter, the rest of the series would fall apart.

I’m talking about these little moments because the novel overall is a simple read. I mean, the parts introducing and explaining the world of magic are infinitely more interesting than the story. However, this is the perfect introduction to Harry Potter. A simple enough story that is entertaining for both kids and adults. I mean, the novel’s openness worked on me, and I got sucked into all of it, so it must be doing something right.

Chamber of Secrets:

This one I didn’t enjoy as much as Philosopher’s stone. But I still enjoyed it a ton, don’t get me wrong. However, I’m slightly distasteful because the story on this one was really simple as well, but it didn’t have the added benefit of introducing magic to make it more interesting. That trick was already used. However, what this novel did expand on, I found intriguing as well. New characters like Gilderoy Lockhart were hilariously smarmy, and old characters like Hagrid still retained their charm.

The issue I have is with the mystery plot and the conveniences of the monster. The monster just paralyzes students, which seems a liiiiittle lucky for a basilisk. Also, Harry thinks to himself “I wonder what the beast of Slytherin is…” while looking at Slytherin’s logo, which has a snake wrapped around an S. I-I wonder too, Harry. However, I already knew the story from the movie, and I already knew the mystery instantly, so it was hard for me to get suspenseful. The mystery aspect was ruined for me personally, and I think that will ruin the story for a lot of people. That’s because the book is almost 2 decades old, and every mystery novel is eventually spoiled over time.

If the mystery is spoiled, that doesn’t mean the book is ruined, though. One can still appreciate the narrative weaved by the narrator and notice the little hints placed throughout. Yet, the overall story is too short to accommodate this. That’s because Rowling still has to establish the world, introduce new characters, and further the overarching plot as well. There isn’t enough room to make this book’s story interesting.

Again, still a good book, but I don’t perceive myself re-reading it in the near future.

Prisoner of Azkaban:

Now this book was MUCH better. I already knew the story from the movies, but the book added so much more to it. Gone were those weird, racist heads on the Knight Bus in the movie. The introduction was great, pushing Harry to the limits, and showing that he gets a free pass for transgressions because of his status. The story overall was much better, and I felt it was woven into the narrative more than it was for Chamber of Secrets. Chamber’s story felt like is was dissociated from the world building, Strong storytelling is able to further the story with every line, and make use of every word and sentence to either strengthen the characters, build the world, or further the plot. I feel that Prisoner of Azkaban does this much better than Chamber of Secrets.

I also LOVE the setting of Azkaban. This torturous, wizarding prison shows that the Wizarding world is not solely fun and games. There are underlying consequences and responsibility when it comes to wielding magic. Wizards are dangerous, and they are capable of causing incredible damage. I also love the Shrieking Shack and the past developing more with Harry’s father and his friends. There is so much world building and plot development in this book that fascinates me.

I should take the moment here to say how easily it was for me to transport myself into the role of Harry. Harry, is a siphon for the reader and is meant to relay their thoughts onto the page. This was so welcoming to me, as I’m too used to unreliable narrators. Harry doesn’t keep any secrets, and by diving into his thoughts, Rowling makes use of the literary technique of “questions”. Harry always asks questions. Questions get the reader thinking about those same questions. Many chapters end with Harry asking a series of questions that allow the reader to subconsciously reflect on the material they just read. These aren’t questions at the end of a textbook that you skip/flip to the back for answers. These are questions the reader ACTUALLY wants to answer for themselves. The reader becomes a detective, in a way, using Harry’s ignorance as a means to overcome the mysteries.

Rowling also keeps her sentences simple. Like this one. For effective writing, you usually want a 1.7 syllable/word ratio for the whole book/article/whatever you’re writing. Notice, how even as the books get larger and larger, the sentences are still fairly short and succinct. This is why I said Rowling’s writing is deceptively simple. She secretly knows this trick and uses it constantly. The simplicity is good because it allows the reader to get sucked into her creations even more.

Conclusion:

Harry Potter is pretty dope, man. I love the world that the first three books establish, and while I think the overall stories are fairly weak, I believe that problem is mitigated by the fantastic prose and fascinating creations and creatures that Rowling conjures up. In my next article, I will talk about the gargantuan Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix.

After my first pretentious website design critique, I am ready for another one. I am observing Pheby Yeung’s site, aptly named phebyyeung.com. However, I will specifically be looking at design decisions made by Pheby and critiquing (and complimenting!) them. Let’s go.

The first image I am hit with is this:pheby-yeung-part-one

Let’s analyze this very first image without scrolling. What catches my eye immediately is “Pheby Yeung.” It is clear that this is going to be her personal website. I like the decision to have both a blog and a gallery. Blog connotes even further that this is a very personal site, and the decision to include an “about” page on the very first page allows a complete stranger to learn about Pheby and gain a base understanding of her content. I also enjoy the sleek look and the lines separating columns of information. This intro page acts as a gateway to the rest of the site, but it is a welcoming gateway.

I will start with the blog section. The black text on a white background supplies a stark contrast that enhances readability. The simple and sleek look of the entire site is very minimalistic, but it’s not too bombastic. This site is a personal blog, so it should reflect Pheby. However, a problem I have is with the font of the actual posts. It is grey on white, and that makes it difficult to read. I had to squint to read the text presented to me, and I believe it should be a little bolder. Furthermore, I do not think the whole page is used entirely. Perhaps the design works very well for mobile sites, but for a desktop look, 40% of the screen is not even used. Here is what I mean: pheby-yeung-part-2

I believe that Pheby could benefit from a “menu” or “pages” option on the sidebar. It would allow her to organize her content more thoroughly while also making use of the sides. Perhaps she could add in some custom widgets as well to personalize her site to fit her goal. I have tested her site on my phone, and it looks splendid. If Pheby’s primary design goal is to create her site for Phones and Tablets, then it is a rousing success. However, for my shoddy desktop computer, it just looks barren.

I like the decision to integrate her Instagram account to her site in the gallery section. It allows for snapshots of Pheby’s travels and personal life and allows the viewer to get to know her more. They also provide some much-needed colour to juxtapose the white background. What is pretty smart, is the “18000 words” section. When I first looked at each picture, I was like “why are there no captions on these? I am a stupid guy I need words to explain my pictures.” But then I realized the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and there were 18 pictures in the gallery. Now, if my math serves me correctly, 18 x 1000 = 18000. The point of the pictures is that there are no words, and the viewer has to formulate the meaning on their own. Excluding words is an intelligent design decision, as it led me to creating many stories for each image. Interestingly, the stories I told in my head allowed me to formulate how Pheby’s journey’s went, and it makes her personal blog all the more intimate.

In conclusion, I am confused as to whether the minimalism of Pheby’s site is intentional or not. Smart decisions like not including words for the pictures say that it is intentional, but the huge gaps of nothingness on her blog posts, and the odd font decisions say otherwise. I believe what Pheby was going for was a sleek look to match her personality, and I believe she succeeded somewhat.

 

My audience is nerds. At least, I believe it is. Maybe it’s broader than that. But, I already knew the audience that I wanted. I want those who are interested in video games, cartoons, and movies and I want them to comment and join in on the discussion. I want to take established concepts within these public spheres, and add a different perspective or spin on them. For example, with my Modern Cartoon Post, I wanted to take a different angle which opposes the socially accepted nostalgia blinds. It is so easy to say “everything sucks now, it was way better when I was a kid.” I do not believe that to be true at all, so my aim is to critique and discuss topics that have never, or barely been discussed. For example, when talking about Harry Potter, I want to talk about my experience reading it for the first time, because I just finished the seven main novels two weeks ago. At least, that’s my attempt to differentiate myself.

I also enjoy creating videos, and I enjoy creating videos about my posts. The media is the message, so I reach two public spheres using two different platforms. There is a difference between the readers of video game analysis and watchers of video game analysis. However, by reaching these two spheres, I can conjoin these two preferences with my passions.

Also, I want my content to be appropriate and readable for anybody. Already I have picked a specific sphere to work with, so I wish to appeal to that sphere as broadly as possible. For example, I do not include profanity. My lack of vulgarity allows my semi-professional posts to look a bit more semi-professional. More importantly, it allows me to share it on my public social media without fear of vilification. I can share this on my facebook and twitter; both of which are present to my parents. Though this only brings my audience to a potential hundred or so people, that is still better than no audience at all. Furthermore, the length of my posts stays roughly around 1000 words. That allows for reads that are poignant and quick. I recently removed the “essays” section because I do not wish to write it, and I’m fairly confident that strangers do not want to read it.

Although I specified that I want nerds as my audience, I attempt to reach smaller public spheres with my posts as well. The posts/videos I strive for are analytical for dedicated fans, but explanatory for newcomers as well. For example, with my Pokemon post, I reach two – possibly even more – public spheres. The general one I reach is the Pokemon community. I appeal to their love of every Pokemon and the brand itself. However, a more subtle sphere I critique is nostalgic fanboys/girls. I reach out to the counter public of all Pokemon lovers and vouch for them. And I probably turn off the fans of the first 151 Pokemon. With any writing, you attract and repel any public sphere. Because of this, I have learnt not to please all audiences, because it is not possible. By speaking my mind and opinions, I will automatically reach public spheres of fandoms, and repel others. And that is perfectly okay.

While formulating my persona public sphere and community, I wish to be inclusive of all races and genders. A politically driven friend said to me “Nolan, why are you writing about games and media? It’s make-believe and theoretical.” To that, I say that my primary goal with this site was never a politically driven message or deep, artistic meaning. I created this site for escapist entertainment. And that’s why I believe I can reach a larger audience. In my posts, I include no hatred towards any gender or race, as my focus is solely on nerd culture. After all, the public sphere I am trying to appeal to is already limited, so why limit it further? Are there many transgender fans of Arc Rise Fantasia? Probably not, but there are still some, so why exclude them? My content is accessible to anybody with a working internet connection and a passion for nerdy culture. There is no point in my vilifying any specific subset of an already small public sphere.

I’m Jealous. I really am. Children have so much access to so many more opportunities and art forms. With the advent of the internet and exponential technological progression, software and entertainment have been constantly improving. Is your child struggling with math? There are 1000 apps that can help him out for free. Have a child who’s getting bullied at school? There’s usually multiple counsellors and support rooms to help them out and develop healthy relationships. But these serious topics aren’t what I’m jealous of. I’m jealous of the great cartoons that kids have to watch today.

I grew up in the scariest decade for cartoons: the 2000s. Even more terrifying, I grew up in Canada, which, in its rich 149-year history, has not produced a single good TV show. Our highlights include Johnny Test (shudders), Angela Anaconda (dies a little inside), and What’s With Andy (that kid may be a sociopath). The first half of the 2000s had a lot of great cartoons but then…it just stopped. The cartoons that were excellent, weren’t there anymore or they were past their prime, and the major cartoon channels didn’t have many standout shows. There were certainly good shows, but nothing that was defining, except maybe Avatar The Last Airbender. But what I think killed the 2000s was the advent of Flash Animation. Flash made cartoons much easier to mass produce, and that led to a cavalcade of garbage television. I remember at the end of my childhood, clinging onto Spongebob re-runs, because everything else being shown was so depressingly bad.

The Canadian Hall of Fame.
The Canadian Hall of Fame.what-s-with-andy-whats-with-andy-39876998-1191-670 johnny_test_logo

Adult cartoons in the 2000s were also hit-or-miss. There’s the obvious South Park and early Family Guy, along with more cult hits like Futurama, Venture Brothers, and Harvey Birdman. But…there was SO much garbage as well. Piles and piles of 18+ garbage. And I watched it as a kid because I thought I was cool. I got none of the jokes in Robot Chicken, but I kept watching because I was desperate for something to entertain my dumb child mind.

I watched less and less Television and started watching anime online instead. It was totally illegal, sure, but all of the episodes were there, I didn’t have to wade through toy commercials, it was amazing! Youtube also became prevalent in my life in 2006. I had that for my entertainment, I didn’t need 6teen and Iggy Arbuckle anymore!

And that’s how I ended my childhood cartoon career. Small highs at the beginning, long depressing lows in the middle, and recompensation at the end. 2010 was the year I stopped watching cartoons. And what a terrible year to stop.

Because 2010 was the year Adventure Time, Friendship is Magic, Regular Show, and Young Justice premiered. Four stellar cartoons all marking significant changes in this decade’s cartoon trends.

Adventure Time, was what started this landslide of great content. It was an immediate hit when it first came out because of its zany humour, fascinating world, bright colours, and nostalgic qualities. It was darker, more surreal, and more self-aware than other mainstream cartoons before it. It didn’t stray away from death, and it allowed its relationships to be explored more openly. Episodes are relatively cheap to make, but that’s all the better, because the potential of this show is endless. The serious subject matter presented for a children’s show marked an alteration that reverberated throughout many shows after it.

Regular Show, too, marked a more mature tone, but also a relaxed and welcoming vibe. It focused mainly on humour, and wanted to be a comedy show. The jokes and references were broad enough to reach audiences of multiple age groups without pandering to them. The show struck a delicate balance between mature humour and great stories. It’s a show that invited its audience to stay and watch, and it did not shy away from its weirdness. It was unapologetic with its content, and it, along with Adventure Time, marked a significant shift to expressionism of ideas. Before, cartoons usually had to fit a mold. If you were a high school show, you usually had archetypes to fill. However, Regular Show is just two lazy animals working in a park. Its premise matches its relaxed tone, and its reserved setting is wholly unique.regular_show

Young Justice came along 2 years after The Dark Knight and helped show that superhero content was not just pulp-ey schlock. It can have a message that reverberates for people, it can have serious stories and topics. You can remain faithful to the source material, or you can break away from it and create your own fascinating stories. It’s an excellent, and surprisingly mature show that focuses on interpersonal relationships and drama.

And Friendship is Magic helped boom fandoms and show that even shows that on the surface look like trash, can actually fantastic. It created “bronies”, which fostered and created one of the most vocal and tight-knit fandoms on the internet. It’s also good flash animation! That’s the exact opposite of every Flash show in the 2000s.

And let’s not forget Legend of Korra, Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, the list goes on and on. Kids shows are becoming much more open to serious content, and that’s fantastic. Kids aren’t stupid, whatsoever. In fact, kids have surprisingly more openness and understanding that most people think. Steven Universe is an opportunity to openly display and discuss Lesbian relationships and companionship. It is a show that shows children not to ostracize or hide your feelings, but rather, embrace and understand them. That’s an important message, especially for children, who are often so afraid to cry or show emotion out of fear of insult.

Needless to say, the standards have changed for cartoons greatly. Cartoon censors and restrictions have lowered, and the bar of quality has been seriously raised. Children are being challenged intellectually and morally. Gone are the days of black and white characters. Gone are the days of slapstick and crude humour. Children are now entertained with captivating, intriguing, and challenging material, and it is a change very much for the better.

Source of Featured Image: http://wallpapersafari.com/steven-universe-desktop-wallpaper/

The tutorial on September 30th really made my website feel inadequate. Seeing custom fonts and deliberate design choices to match affordances, I had to take a good look at my site. With the tutorial and the help of Alex Barker’s critique of my site, I was able to make some changes to match the vision I wanted even further.

I initially started off with trying many options in the “customize menu”, not thinking too much of the importance. However, as I learnt in the readings and the tutorial, a site needs to serve a specific purpose, and not fall into a generic template. Therefore, I removed the Pages and Menu option on the sidebar. They led to pages with no text and made my site confusing. Removing these two also made the sidebar more presentable, and allowed the “search”, “calendar”, and “archives” widgets to be viewable without any scrolling. I hope this makes content more subconsciously available to the reader.

Pages and Menus. I spent way too long trying to discern a page from a menu. What I decided to do for now, since there aren’t many posts on my site in total, is to abolish pages and stick with a menu for my content. Plus – I didn’t notice this at first until Alex pointed it out – the menu at the top scrolls along with the user, so as they read posts, they don’t need to waste precious seconds scrolling back up to click on a menu to read more. The top menu bar is an affordance for the user. However, Once the posts for PUB 101 pile up, I’ll make a page specifically for them. But for now, I want a sleeker design.

Another critique provided by Alex was the giant post message on my website’s front page. At first, I thought it was ugly, as it was just a rectangle of colour and text. However, when I made my post about Newer Pokemon, the image became the featured image for that post. It became a much more pleasant and professional looking design. Another benefit I found from playing with the “rows” feature, is that I can have many posts on these rows as I want. They can even link to pages, so when my content starts to pile up, I can present articles I’m most proud of, or I can link to a page with many articles, so the reader does not have to scroll through my front page. Although Alex suggested I remove the rows, I decided to keep it, because it stayed in tandem with my appealing and colourful look.

front-page
Front page with the post

In trying to mold my own affordances for my site, I was concerned with the visibility of my Website’s title. It is at the bottom right corner. I thought it was slightly hidden, but I came to three reasons to leave it as it is. Firstly, the website’s title is “Nerdy Knowledge” and the URL is nerdyknowledge.com. Therefore, the user already sees the URL and tab and understands it. Secondly, I can choose which post to feature with “rows”. By featuring posts that I wish my website to center around, the large image provides immediate understanding of my content. I keep the featured images presentable while trying to avoid stock photos, in an attempt to strike a balance between presentability and originality. The large featured post also immediately takes the reader to the completed version, meaning they can view Nerdy Knowledge at the top left there. In addition, the title of the site and its subheading are with the always present menu as well, so the reader is subconsciously presented with it no matter what. My brand is always there, and I always leave my permanent mark.

My final revision was altering the About page. I decided to cut out a lot of pages on my website for now. I cut the “essays” section, because I really don’t want to constrict myself to a specific format. There’s enough of that in University. I also got rid of the “podcast” option because none of my friends wanted to do it with me…that’s the actual reason and it’s really sad, I know. I kept “articles” and “Opinion pieces” because they are short and snappy. They allow for expression of my thoughts, and they are not limiting whatsoever. They allow me to personalize my space and create the welcoming, analytical persona. Plus, they’re easy to make videos for as well, so it’s two birds with one stone!

I cleaned my site’s look up a lot, and learned many features provided by WordPress. I will likely start my own customizing through coding, to truly create a work that is my own. However, for now, I am happy with the sleek, presentable style that Lesse Lite allows for!