Hopefully, Dr. Swarts will feel comfortable using what is normally a personal "signal template" (i.e., the "comment box") to render a professional opinion. (Translation: Though his "comment" persona is usually personal, and his own blog entry persona professional, I hope he will be comfortable commenting using his professional persona.) :-)
I decided on this design by thinking about how visual, verbal, cultural, and technological mediation could help me create an identity of a movie to a particular discourse community. My thought process was roughly as follows:
- When you think of someone's "identity," what are some ways it is expressed in our culture?
- My thoughts initially ran to "identity theft." Okay, identity theft is usually referring to things like a person's name, address, social security number, bank accounts, credit card accounts, etc. I dismissed this as too specific to their "financial identity," if you will.
- I next thought, okay, what I'm more looking for are ways that we talk about what makes someone who they are: their background, their family, their achievements, etc. My first thought in this area was obituaries. But, what I didn't like about that was that it means the person is dead, and movies really don't "die." Old movies never die; they just collect dust-to-dust.
- So next, I thought of a person's biography, which can apply to people still living as well as those who have died. So that's how I arrived at using our "cultural notion" of what a biography is to give my movie, which is Sordid Lives, an identity.
- I thought about the discourse community of people who want to know something about a person, and how I could relate those things to a movie that I am personifying. That's how I came up with the categories to put in the navigation pane on the left. By thinking, "What would I want to know about a famous "person," if you will.
- In the visual realm, I wanted to have something on the page to further implant the "image" of a biography, which has traditionally been a book, so I carefully chose the bookshelf image I did to make the background field at the top of the page. I wanted a scholarly looking set of books, and I liked the first book "on the shelf" as it actually is a biography, and has a picture of the person it's about on the binding.
- At this point, I also thought about the program "Biography" on A&E, and considered making my page similar to the way they do theirs, but I actually wasn't impressed with their format. Here's their online biography of Dave Thomas. They are, afterall, a television program, and my assessment is that they do that best. So I decided to let the technological mediation device of standard homepage format and navigation drive my design instead of trying to mimic what they've done.
- I'm no artist, and took a stab at picking a background color that would pick up some of the color in the movie picture in the upper left corner, and from the picture of the books on the shelf, but more importantly, I wanted a color to visually set apart the text/links for navigation.
I welcome comments from my classmates as well, and I'm open to hearing, from everyone, what "doesn't work" for you as much as I am what does, if anything. My ego is not in this; I'm more interesting in learning something.
This is a partial site. I tired to do just enough to make my design points. There are only three active links in it.
John's "Identity Page" for the movie Sordid Lives