What are We Looking At Here?

To start, I looked at the “Into the Woods” site that produced by University of Mary Washington students, Maureen Sullivan and Sarah Kinzer.

I have to say, that I quite like the aesthetic of the site, as it seems very professional looking. The menu bar is very clean, and the pages themselves have a good mixture of links, images, and quotes.

I feel like the structure and professional look of the site indicates that the students did a great deal of research and were definitely enthusiastic about the work they did.

That being said, the pages seem to be a bit short. Between the somewhat short pages and the great quantity, it feels like maybe some of the pages were separated just to fill out the site. Further inspection shows that each page is still quality work, but the impression of ‘quantity over quality’ is still there.

Second, I looked at the “Morning Sun Community” site created by the students from Keene State University, Miles Duhamel and Savannah Robert.

Right off the bat, this site seems to be the opposite of the UMW site for this course.

Each of the pages are filled with text, with almost no images or links to actually draw away from the paragraph after paragraph of type. I can definitely appreciate the work that went into typing up these lengthy pages and the various citations therein.

Additionally, they included a separate page where they have short biographies for themselves and what their perspective on the course was. This seems particularly interesting as it offers an opportunity for the students to actually provide an insight into the perspective of those that created the site.

What looking at these sites tells me, is that our site definitely needs images and hyperlinks to break up the monotony of a wall of text. However, we should not let the various effects and images overshadow the text itself.

Additionally, personalizing our site a bit more to offer viewers a chance to understand our perspectives on our choices could prove useful.

Visiting a COPLAC Course’s Project Website

For this week’s blog post, I chose to view a website created by a group of COPLAC students from the Spring 2017 semester. The class that I was most interested by was “Making Strange: Constructing Identities & Making Sense of Our Surroundings.” The course’s description really drew me in and made me think that I would probably like to learn more about what is considered “strange” and how “strange” is constructed. If you would like to learn more about the class, you can click here for the class overview and links to their project website. After viewing the different projects on the course’s website, I decided to look into the one titled “Strange Video Games and Digital Art.” This site was fun, full of color and beautiful images, and jam packed with information. Unfortunately, I did not give myself enough time to read through the entirety of the project website, but what I did read was truly fascinating with a really nice narration. I also enjoyed that the text fit so well with the images that were chosen! The website itself was broken into categories full of blog posts on each subject they chose to analyze. This structure worked for the site, but having so much information on one page seemed a bit busy and overwhelming for me. I would have liked to see the pages broken down into other pages instead. There were other moments as I was viewing the site that I felt like it was just too busy either because there was so much content on the site or the complexity of images with certain font colors looked like too much was going on. Overall, I really enjoyed this site despite it’s business. It was very informative and aesthetically pleasing.

Something that I really loved about the site was how images were laid out in relation with the text. This made me feel like I should be adding more images to break down my analysis. The amount of content that was provided within the site was also surprising! Although I am working on my own without a partner on my website, I definitely feel like I should be adding just a bit more text and definitely a bit more analysis. I only wish I had more time in my personal life to make all of my ambitous plans come to life on my site. My favorite element of the site was how artistic it was through out. This is something I have been trying to play with on my own website already, but part of me wants to keep adding more artistic elements! As I continue to build my site, I hope to end up with something just as as nice as the “Strange Video Games and Digital Art” one.


Good evening!

As I was looking at Kathryn and I’s website, I couldn’t help to ponder about possibilities. I am really digging the black and white aesthetic still. I feel this will stay for the final product. The black and white really sets the tone of our project: scoping the past. I could not imagine a better color duo for our research. I suppose we could do a primarily purple background as those are our school colors; however, our focus is on the content of our findings which is purely historical. Hence,  black and white works best to parallel our research.

Our header

I would like our subheadings to the decade’s information to be a bit more dominant in the website as that is our primary focus. We want to focus on content. The only dominant thing on our page is the picture which is fine, but I feel we need to reassert our focus. I will tinker with that idea soon for finalization.

I also need to make the Pre-1950’s history tab to be at the beginning, before the 1950’s rather than at the end. I feel it fits best in numerical order since we are focussing on the evolution of the decades.

Other than those two revisions, I feel we are on the road to success!

Carley W

Blog Post 10: I’m eating smarties right now

I chose to visit the Geneseo website on the social life of books.

For a quick summary one of the past professors in library and information sciences was a WWII soldier who when promoted worked to preserve texts. This professor donated texts to the university upon his death- one of which is the oldest text in the library.  Older texts such as these donated ones have individual characteristics detailing the printing process- such as watermarks viewed with back lighting.

What I enjoyed the most from this site was how engaging the text and analysis was. You could tell the passion the creator had for libraries and the printing of older texts. This reminded me that I need to improve upon my own analysis and work towards drawing in and engaging the audience. This analysis that I have now is the bare minimum and needs to be added to.

Side note smarties are great.

Those who have come before

Our assignment for this week was to look at a project website for a previous COPLAC class and evaluate it. I visited the Midwestern State project cite from the class “INTO THE WOODS”: EXPERIMENTS IN COMMUNITY, SUSTAINABILITY, AND THE EXAMINED LIFE — FALL 2017.

I visually enjoyed the website setup. The pages were clean and easy to navigate. Even though the author mentioned not being able to get as many pictures as they would have liked, the visual aids were well placed so nothing felt lacking. The story itself about the sustainable community was interesting. I appreciate how they talked about their struggles with getting in touch with the community. As sustainability is often ill defined, I would have appreciated more discussion about it in general.

Since the navigation was very clear and understandable, I would like to copy that in our website. Overall, this was encouraging as this project website is similar to my goals for our project.

Review of a Previous COPLAC Student’s Website: MSU edition

For this week’s blog post, I chose to analysis the Spring 2017 MSU website for The Social Life of Books.  As an English major, this course came onto my radar last year when two of my friends took the course.  I will be reviewing their work!

What’s working:

I really like the theme they chose.  I think it offers a good, clean backdrop for their information.  I also really enjoy and appreciate how much information is given on each page.  They only have six pages, but each is treated as important as the next.

On the 19th Century Books page, I like how each picture can be clicked on and more information is displayed.  I don’t love that you cannot go back to the previous page easily.  It takes a second to load.  I wish it were more interactive on the home page for the photos.

I also really like their resource page and how organized it is.  Everything about their website is well organized and easily navigable.

How this helps us:

What I’ve learned from looking at this site is that mine and Catherine’s information just needs to stand out a bit more.  Not that it doesn’t already, but each page needs to be its own stage.  The information should really shine within each page.  So, I think we just need to do some more analysis here and there and make each organization page look its best.


Blog Post 10: Site-Seeing in the Past

This week we were instructed to evaluate websites of COPLAC’s past.

The first website I decided to visit was one from my own school, UMW, from last semester for the COPLAC course titled “Into the Woods: Experiments in Community, Sustainability, and the Examined Life.” The first thing I was impressed with was the photo gallery header on their home page. It was the perfect way for them to display what their website contained to help make their overall point. The photos with their captions acted like an overview in a way. We might implement something similar in our home page.

The one thing that I think their website is lacking is engaging content. As I clicked through each page (and there were a lot of pages) I noticed that the structure was mostly a quote followed by a small paragraph and that’s it. Only a few pages included a picture or two but those pictures were small and seemed tacked on at the end. I would have liked to see slideshows or other tools that we learned in our own class and larger pictures with more text. I just felt that most pages were bare and a few of them could have been combined into one page to better support their thesis.

The second website I decided to visit was the Montevallo website from spring of last year for COPLAC course titled “The Social Life of Books.” The theme the students chose for this website was extremely simple and didn’t make much use of the screen space, but their page layout was extremely appealing to the eye. They had a good balance between text and image so their wouldn’t be blocks of text and then several images. That is something I think we need to incorporate more of in our site. The balance is present on our home page and our national androgynous page, but we rely heavily on an embedded timeline or slideshow for the other pages which leaves blocks of text below the embedded feature. We might pull a few images out that help support our argument in the text to help break up the sea of words.

While I was really impressed and learned a lot about the history of Montevallo’s College Night (which is similar to UMW’s Devil Goat Day), I was confused by their pages under their production books tab. It seems the earlier years have a lot of content that the site’s authors were able to scan in and include, but there’s an information imbalance between that and the recent years. Perhaps this is because the tradition no longer needs such diligent record keeping because it digs into records of the past, but if that is so, I would have liked to see an explanation of that rather than only information on which team won: purple or gold?

Overall, I am impressed with both websites. They did quite a bit of research and I am glad to see that our website is coming up to the same level of academic scholarship as websites of the past. We obviously still have quite a bit of tweaking to make sure our thesis is fully and clearly supported, but with about two weeks before our final presentation I am confident we will get it to an equal level or better than the websites I reviewed today.

Looking at Other Websites!

Alright, let’s start with UMW‘s site.

Their project centers around the fashions of the 80s and how they reflected the increasingly fluid gender identity spectrum and the introduction (resurgence from the 20s kind of?) of androgynous fashions (which I’m super excited to read more about!).

I love the background picture you’ve got going, very flashy and colorful (just like the 80s).

I still have more this-is-what-we’re-doing-verbatim to add to our own site, and I really like how you managed to outline (not quite the right word?) your project on your home page without making the whole thing sound bland.

God rest the strange immortal soul of our beloved David Bowie.

Your site is super easy to navigate but I do think your page names could use a little spicing up – probably just personal preference but, while National and Local mean about everything they need to, I want something that pulls me into the article like a panicked Spongebob on a fishhook. I’d also say that titling your home page something other than “Home Page” could really give you some color.

And the credits page is a great idea, just to consolidate all your resources! Obviously make sure you cite them wherever you use your information, just to be thorough, but I like that a lot.

Okay, next.

*drum roll*

*Reaches into hat, draws name*


First impressions: I like the layout you’ve chosen, it’s very sleek and professional.

But, beyond that, it doesn’t look like you’ve done much (which I totally understand my babes).  I’m not sure if the uploads and how they’re laid out right now are functioning pages or posts, but it’s not the most intuitive layout. The pictures you have for the 70s are absolutely hilarious. Long live bell-bottoms!

I have the memory of a goldfish on all of the drugs, so I don’t quite remember what you’re project was going to be about, but if it’s about the 70s I am seven thousand different kinds of down.

You can do it, JSC! I believe in you!!

And so does this goat.

Related image

Do your be-e-e-e-est. 

Blog Post #8: More Website Feedback!

This week I’m visiting two more of my classmates websites for feedback.

First, I’m looking at UMW’s site comparing national trends of the 1980s with the trends on their campus.

The overall aesthetic of the site looks great, and it is easy to navigate. I look forward to reading an introduction to the project on the homepage of the site  once it has been written. The slideshows and timelines are a great way to give an overview of the information that you are presenting. However, in the national women’s trends timeline, I would’ve liked to see images that corresponded to the event better. For instance, show an image of Olivia Newton-John in the “Physical’ video, Jane Fonda in one of her fitness videos, Janet Jackson in the 80s. These are all about videos, so could you use a still image from the videos? It would probably make your point more clear. Also for the national trends, it would be nice to have images of average people embracing these trends. The part about androgynous fashion was really interesting, and the excerpt from the interview with McCluskey made a really great point when he said that the closest thing that we really have to androgynous fashion is jeans and a t-shirt. I like that you are acknowledging that this is a complicated topic. It seems like this page is focused on more overt instances of androgyny, but the interview gave you a way to analyze androgyny in everyday fashion. What trends do we see both men and women embracing equally (perms, oversized glasses, oversized clothing in general)? Also, the oversized clothing could work with his point about how androgyny is not entirely possible because the person’s body is always visible underneath–oversized clothing makes it harder to see the shape of people’s bodies. Sorry for that long, stream-of-consciousness mess, but this is a really interesting topic, and there is a lot that you all can do to fully explore androgyny as a concept.

Next, Montevallo’s project comparing 1980s campus fashion with today.

Looking at your home page, I can tell that you intend to look at trends that are shared between now and the 1980s. It looks like plaid will be one of those trends, but are there others? You mention androgyny on the home page, which would be an interesting idea to explore, but keep in mind that this is a very complicated topic, as UMW has made clear on their site. I’m excited to see which trends you will be exploring! My other comments are nit-picky things–hyperlink the source for history of Montevallo, give some context to the photos on the 80s page. Also, are you planning on writing more about the present day? I’m unsure if this page is finished or not. Currently, this section needs more analysis, and relies too heavily on the writing in the newspaper.

For both sites, it is clear what you are hoping to accomplish, and you’ve chosen really interesting topics!

Checking out the Project Websites Part Two

As deadlines are quickly approaching in our Fashion and Identity course, my classmates and I have been working on perfecting our project websites. This week, I viewed my colleagues’ websites once more, and I must say, I am really impressed. Everyone’s websites are looking pretty good so far. In a post two weeks ago I looked over Montevallo’s and MSU’s website, but two other sites that stood out to me are the ones from UMW and USAO.

Abigail and Corey from UMW focused their website on the fashions of the eighties. I loved how their bright, multi-colored header image contrasts and flows with the simplicity of the black and white found throughout the site. This totally reminded me of patterns from the nineteen-eighties! The top menu is also nice and simple, leading the viewer to the most important topics on the decades fashion. I like that the website displays both national and local fashion trends of the decade, as well. Something I learned from my project was just how different local fashions are from the popular “trend.” The UMW website also seems to come to the same conclusion. Another piece I think works really well within the website are the timelines. These run smoothly with nice images, context, and a great breaking down of the fashions within the text that followed. I would like to see even more iconic events for each timeline. Overall, the website was easy to navigate, fun, and informative. The one thing I was momentarily confused by was when I clicked on both the men’s and women’s fashion trends pages. I was expecting to have an option to go to the national and local trends pages from the introduction pages without having to go back to the dropdown menu. While I really do not feel like it is necessary to link the national and local trends pages to the introduction pages, I think it would be a nice touch to add in order to direct the viewer where you want him/her to go.

The second website I viewed this week was created by Will and Kyra from USAO. Their website focuses on space-age fashion in the nineteen-sixties. I found the topic they chose for the project really intriguing partly because I am living for sixties fashions right now, and also because space-age fashions were so unique and like nothing anyone had seen at the time. I think the futuristic fashions of the sixties helped to promote creativity and art in the fashion industry. Fashion was no longer about what was logical or realistic to wear but about making an artistic statement. Something that I loved about the website was the choice of images and the narration found throughout. Both of these elements made it a joy to navigate the website. Something I had trouble with was deciding which pages I should look at first. Is there an order to how the site should be looked at? The pages on science and space exploration were fun and help to give the audience some background information, but I would love to see more about the fashions themselves once the site is complete.