Thesis II: Final Blog Post
This semester was full of enlightenment and change, both in direction and deliverables. My contract evolved after its first submission due to a significant audience change. Originally, LifeMap was focused on the child’s journey through their eyes, supported by their foster and biological parents. I initially chose a tree to depict unity of many branches (people) in a child’s life. The color palette consisted of five colors and the typefaces were modern. My original deliverables were a website and packaging, a container to store memory making tools and artifacts. I was working with an illustrator to create age specific illustrations that would wrap my packaging. After an in-depth conversation with my instructor, he pinpointed the problem to my constant art direction dilemma: I had the wrong audience. I immediately sought out help from the Online Director and other professors on how to go about ‘saving’ my project.
I practically began from scratch, from redoing my logo and brand identity to shifting my art direction from illustration-based to photography. I choose a kite for my logo because it depicts the many ups-and-downs of life, as well as the constant traveling of foster children. My style is now photography-based, with duotones of my color palette. My typeface is rounded and is paired with a common typeface. My audience shifted to foster parents who can record memories of children ages infant to middle school. I switched the emphasis from packaging with memory-making tools and artifacts to a JourneyBook for (4) stages of life accompanied by packaging. Lastly, we concluded that a prototype website would work better for my concept than a live website, thus changing the overall point value. However, I didn’t foresee how the transition from live website to prototype would affect my timeline. Since I have never worked with Invision, I didn’t know that for mobile sites one had to upload and design a whole new prototype. Initially using Wix for my blog, I thought it would just identify screen size and I just needed to design the navigation.
This semester I started on completing 100% of my website and 50% of my packaging. After my deliverables changed, I decided to complete the website this semester and leave the JourneyBook for my directed study class. According to my contract, I need to have a Desktop Advance prototype completed, which consists of 17 pages, a tutorial video, and mobile site as well (NOT AN APP). I completed a total of 31 desktop website pages, along with 10 overlay pages. My original layout consisted of only four tabs but the parallax aspect taught me six navigation tabs were better. For my mobile website, I have a total of 57 pages, no overlay pages needed. I exceeded the amount of pages because the design called for it; there was too much information that needed to be presented that could not live in the original page count. After my user testing, I also added more pages (such as to the Events) because my audience expressed interest in it. In my contract it says the homepage will have a tutorial video but it was suggested I make a promo video instead and move the tutorial to the portal. I completed one of the packaging components (the duffel bag) for my second deliverable.
During the summer (and fall semester since I don’t have Thesis III until Spring 2018), I plan on researching inspirations and competitions for my next deliverable, the JourneyBook. This will consist of First Baby books, scrapbooking layouts, time periods between major events in the different age groups, etc. I will continue to expand the website, such as adding screens to create reminders for foster parents (i.e. dance recital on XX/XX). I plan on creating the tutorial video for the website portal page. Also, I will continue to contact packing companies who will partner up with me to create a prototype for my duffel bag. And lastly, I plan to work with Invision to solve my parallax issues.
In conclusion, what I learned most this semester is how reluctantly changing my thesis was of great benefit in the end. When I first presented my project, I had some holes in my thesis which I was willing to accept suggestions, but wanted the elements that were solid to be hands off. Once I was told my audience was wrong, I kept reanalyzing why and how it went wrong. I say I reluctantly changed it because I was fearful of the huge impact it would have on my thesis, especially at such a late stage (in my head at least). However, after speaking to others, I began to understand why this was for the best and was grateful it was caught in time. For the next couple of semesters, I plan to be more open and try not to get so anxious when professors suggest a huge shift in my thesis.