Project 1 Step 1—Due Monday, October 5

Project 1 Website Redesign Step 1
Analyzing the Existing Website

To begin our Project 1 redesign of the New Jersey State Parks website, we must first analyze the existing site to in order to see what’s working and what needs to be improved. The website is located at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/.

As part of your analysis, fill out the worksheet linked to this post. The worksheet will ask you to consider the following:

  • How are the design (formal) elements of line, shape, space, texture, value and color used?
  • How do formal choices affect your perception of the principles of design?
  • Does the design take into account the considerations of designing specifically for the web?

Be honest in your opinion but also analytical. There may be both good and bad things about the site. Be sure to support your opinions with specific examples. Use the elements of design as building blocks for discussion of the principles and considerations of web design.

Sample Worksheet Response

If I were writing about balance for the Yale School of Art Website, I might say

The Yale School of Art website is unbalanced. Irregularly shaped text boxes cluster on the left side of the page. This creates a heavy concentration of visual weight unmatched by the void space to the right. From top to bottom, the lines implied by the edges of the text boxes do not correlate, which further destabilizes the composition.

Worksheet

Below are two links to the worksheet. The links go to the same content, but one document is saved as pdf (a universal, printable format) and one is a docx (editable in Microsoft Word). You may print the worksheet and legibly write out your answers or you can download it and type them.

Although the worksheet contains a lot of questions, it’s because the process of visual analysis has been broken all the way down in order to hone critical observation. In most cases, spending two or three minutes on each question is sufficient provided you put careful thought into your answers. Why should you bother about thoughtful analysis? Learning how to evaluate and critique visuals is a crucial skill for any designer. Plus, it sets you up not only for this project, but for your writing assignment later this semester.

Worksheet in PDF Format

Worksheet in DOCX (Word) Format

Also Highly Recommended

It is highly recommended that you study a bit more about the elements and principles of design before filling out the worksheet, especially if this type of analysis is relatively new to you. Below are three links to help.

The first contains notes from my in-class lectures on design and web-specific considerations.

The second is a manageable guide to visual analysis with clickable examples.

The third is a nifty little website about design; click through the links to the left of the page to read more about the elements and principles.

By the way, here’s a design-related riddle for you:

Question: How are lists of design elements and principles like snowflakes?

Answer: No two are exactly alike.

Hey, I didn’t say it was a funny riddle, but it is a true one. No one can seem to agree on a universal set of definitions; silly academics! FYI: your worksheet uses the elements and principles as specified by Salem Community College.

Need More Help?

Please post your questions as a comment on this post. You can also contact me via e-mail for additional help, and I will do what I can to help you to succeed with this project. After all, everyone deserves the opportunity to make strong portfolio pieces in a design class!

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