Archive for the ‘ Assignments ’ Category

Slash Film Website Analysis

By Graeme Coleman

SlashFilm.com (“/Film”) is a website dedicated to “blogging the reel world.” In other words, it’s designed to provide its audience with relevant news, reviews, and trailers about current and upcoming films. The site started out small in 2005, but has since grown and earned some well-deserved respect in the film industry. “/Film” has gotten attention in marketing, print, television, radio, and online . “/Film” has even been chosen to cover multiple film festivals. Since I am creating a film review blog for my research project, I felt like this site was imperative to analyze.

Rhetorical Design

As I stated earlier, “/Film’s” primary function is to provide its audience with interesting and informative news, reviews, and trailers for current and upcoming films. Its audience is very broad; it basically consists of anyone who is interested in modern movies and news about their production and cast. The site is in a blog format, with a header at the top of each page, making it very self-explanatory; the information easily attainable by users. “/Film’s” slogan, “blogging the reel world”, is  a great play on words which sums up the site in a nutshell: a blog about the film industry. After surfing the site for some time, it becomes apparent that the their are no rhetorical undertones of any policies you are meant to pick up; it’s apparent that “/Film” is a genuine blog made by people who love film and want to share their perspectives on it with the world.

Interface Design

The site is extremely easy to navigate. As mentioned, the site is in blog format, with a consistent header at the top of each page. There is a large “/Film” logo in the top left corner of each page that allows you to return to the homepage at any given moment, as well as a Google search bar on the top right corner of each page. This interface gives users total control of their journey on “/Film” because of its self-explanatory and simple design. When navigating from page to page, you are always greeted with the exact same format, and big pictures to accompany each article. As far as consistency goes for interface design, it gets 5 out of 5 stars. “/Film’s” identity is kept static throughout your entire tour of the site.

Finding evidence of the “W-4” was effortless. The “Who” is always clear. The writers of each article are credited with their name underneath the title of every piece posted. The “What” was also very clear; all posted content on the website is film-related, whether it’s news, reviews, or trailers. All content posted has a straightforward title, including the name of the film(s) it is regarding. The “Where” is a little less obvious. But if you scroll down on each page, the list of contributors to “/Film” appears, which states where they are from. Also, at the very top of each page, above the main header, there is an “about” and “contact” link, where you can find out where the site is based. Lastly, all pieces that are posted have the date of their posting underneath each title, giving you the last of the “Ws”: “When.”

Site Design

“/Film” has a basic site design, allowing you to focus on the entertaining pictures and articles in the center of each page. Every page consistently has the same header with navigational links to your desired destination. The content is comprehensibly provided in an organized, linear blog style, starting with the most recent stories at the top. You will never find yourself forced to navigate through unwanted information, which is nice (and somewhat refreshing); users will find it easy to locate whatever functions they are searching for. The simple purpose of this site is to entertain and inform people who are interested in film, and this site stays loyal to this purpose.

Page Design

The layout of each page is unchanging, keeping the site easy to use and reliable. In the top left section, users will always be able to find a large “/Film” logo, which will bring them to the homepage. The contrast of content in the foreground with the plain, white background keeps your eyes focused on the content in the middle of the pages and film-related advertisements on both sides. There is enough white space between content that it keeps the site clean and not too cluttered. Users will benefit from this site’s stress-free, simple and consistent page design. The blue, grey and white color scheme of “/Film” blends nicely together, and it isn’t too eye-catching (or too much of an eye-sore). This allows you to stay focused on the main content in the center, which remains the same length from page-to-page.

Typography

“/Film” has a consistent type style throughout the entire site. All content is in light-grey, Verdana, 12 point font, which blends nicely with the main grey, white and blue hues visible on the site. Headers are larger in size, and all content is very legible. There are some blue, underlined hyperlinks on specific terminology and titles throughout the content, allowing the viewer to go deeper into information and understanding of those hyperlinked words, should they not understand them or need further clarification. There are also hyperlinks to a “comments” and “read more” section for each story. The typography is very traditional and easy to read.

Editorial Style

The editorial style of “/Film” is highly clear and concise. Ideas, points, and opinions are very coherent, making each article an enjoyable read. There are a few film-related terminologies used, but sometimes have a link to them, describing what they are. There are a lot of references to actors’ prior works and other movies, but each article gives you insight to why speaking of these references is relevant, and these references generally give you a better understanding of the film or storyline they are discussing. All content is extremely interesting; each article is told with an opinionated and straightforward tone. When authors tell it like it is, a trust between them and their readers is built. The immense knowledge that these writers have, and include in each piece, gives them strong credibility.

Graphics and Multimedia

As stated earlier, there is a nice, simple header and banner at the top of each page, consisting of “/Film’s” name/logo. Other graphics on the site are also found on every page. All advertisements are film-related and found right beneath the header and on both sides of the content, which sits in the middle of each page. Within the content, there is always one picture or trailer to accompany each story or review. You will find a sufficient amount of multimedia if you go to the “Trailers” heading, where trailers and related discussions are provided in abundance. All advertisements are relevant to the film industry, and all graphics and multimedia are eye-catching and interesting. This aspect of the site is amusing and keeps you captivated.

Overall Impressions

Overall, I found “/Film” to be exceptional; it supplied me with what I was looking for, and it was very easy to use, due to its consistency and simplicity. “/Film” has fascinating content for multiple aspects of the film industry, making this website compelling to the point where film fans will lose track of time getting caught up reading about upcoming films and watching trailers. Lastly, but certainly not least importantly, I praise the fact that their stories are told with an honest voice.

Very Aware Website Analysis

By Jennifer Hanson

Very Aware is a film review and news blog run by Scott Hutcheson.  A number of contributors write for the website, and upcoming film releases are reviewed, and trailers and movie posters are posted.  The “Columns” section of the website features news and commentary about the world of cinema.

Rhetorical Design

The website is aimed overwhelmingly at film fans; particularly those who read reviews and follow film news.  Big budget films and independent films are covered, which allows the website to appeal to a wide demographic of film fans.  TV viewers are a secondary audience, as there is a section featuring television news.

Very Aware seeks to entertain and educate film fans.  Going to the theatre is expensive, and informative reviews help visitors determine how to best spend their money and time.

Interface Design

The website uses a blog template; likely a WordPress template.  It is very cleanly designed; the navigation bar at the top is clear, and it’s easy to navigate the website.  This navigation bar is on the top of every website, so it is easy to go from page to page.

What this navigation bar lacks, however, is a “home” button.  The “home” page links to the latest articles and the most recent interviews done by the website.  As the interviews are often buried within the “news” section, the interview links on the homepage are valuable, and the fact that one must click the banner to return to the homepage may be confusing for visitors at first.  Separating the “news” and the “interviews” on the navigation bar may be a good idea.  There is ample space on the bar to add another two buttons, and it would make navigation slightly easier.

The latest reviews can be found in the right sidebar, which offers a convenient shortcut for visitors who are looking for a recent post.

The “who” is always made clear, as the author of every written piece is credited.  Their bios are easily accessible through the navigation bar or found at the bottom of articles they’ve written.  The “what” is also clear; the website consistently posts content about film or television, specifically news, interviews, reviews and content promoting upcoming films.  “Where” isn’t particularly clear.  While the author bios do state where the authors are from, “where” doesn’t seem to be a priority.  The website is based out of the United States, and most of the films reviewed are American films.  Every written piece is categorized by date, which is valuable to the audience as it allows them to read the most timely articles first, or search through the archive for an older review.

Site Design

The website is broken into different categories: News, Reviews, Trailers, TV, Columns, Posters and About.  Each category has its own “homepage”, where the most recent posts can be found.  Every post is categorized well, and this system allows visitors to determine which type of content they would like to access.

The home page is very visual; no full articles are posted, but various images, and blurbs about their most recent articles are posted.  This works well for their intended audience, as the blurbs allow visitors to get a sense of what an article is about before clicking the link to it.  Each blurb sits next to a thumbnail, and the thumbnails are integrated cleanly.

Graphics

As the website is a film website, graphics are used heavily throughout.  Photos from films are placed in every article and review.  They appear next to the article title and article “teaser” on the “news”, “reviews” and “trailers” pages, and within the written pieces themselves.  They are well-integrated and encourage visitors to read the articles.

Advertisements appear throughout the website, as well.  Many of them are fairly discreet, but there is one that consistently appears below the header of every page.  This is an awkward place to put an ad, especially since the ads are often animated.  It is distracting.  One ad that often appears is one for Netflix, and the colours in the banner are similar to the colours in the header.  The ad is also larger than the header itself.  This can lead to a negative first impression for a first-time visitor.  They may get the sense that the website is “full of ads”, and that it is not worth their time to visit if they will be bombarded with ad content.  Such a prominent space would generate considerable ad revenue, but those who run the website must balance that with the potential hit their reputation will take for having such a glaringly obvious ad right next to their header.

Editorial Style

The writing is straight-forward and very casual, which allows it to be accessible to a wide audience.  Each author lists pertinent information (such as the name of the film, director and stars) at the beginning of each post, and continues to list performers throughout.  There are no links in the reviews, which is ill-advised, and there are few links in the news stories.

Typography

The font used throughout the website is consistent and easy to read.  The authors also add bold formatting in the form of titles and subtitles throughout their posts.  This aids readability and makes their content look polished and professional.

Multimedia

Film trailers are regularly posted, and they are generally embedded as YouTube videos.  The trailers are sized well and do not interfere with other elements on the website.

Overall Impressions

I felt that the content of Very Aware was well-written, professional and valuable to its primary audience.  The website itself is easy to navigate, and fairly clean, but a poorly placed ad does detract heavily from its visual appeal.  In the review portion of the website, it would be a good idea for the authors to incorporate more links into their posts.  This will make it easier for the audience to get more information about the movie and its stars.

While working on this piece, Very Aware experienced considerable downtime.  Those who manage the site were very good about tweeting updates, but the downtime itself was quite concerning.  This does call into question the reliability of their web hosting.

Overall, Very Aware is a great resource for film fans who are interested in staying informed about the film industry through news, interviews and film reviews.

Graeme’s Technology Narrative

I’ve never been particularly drawn towards technology, but that’s not to say I don’t frequently use it to a point nearing obsession. I wasn’t significantly interested in technology growing up. I didn’t play video games like most other young boys, nor did I watch much television. My imagination was always running wild, allowing me to create my own fun. I liked to build forts, fight pretend monsters, and all sorts of interesting things that only children can get away with (without looking insane). I would often run outside and knock on a friend’s door, inquiring if they would like to play with me. It’s quite bizarre, because I imagine kids don’t do that anymore. They are probably already messaging on Facebook or texting each other with their mothers’ iPhones – if they don’t already have their own. Either way, I chose to create my own fun out of my surroundings and through socializing instead of engaging with technology.

In my preteen days, before text messaging diminished the significance of phone calls, I would spend countless hours on my house phone every night, talking to my friends. It was sort of a trend, to talk on the phone with your friends about complete nothingness. This trend turned into a habit for me. My dad coached both of my sisters’ soccer teams (as well as mine), and when I would go watch my sisters’ games, I would borrow my dad’s cell phone and talk with my friends while watching the game on the sidelines. I consider this to be my first significant encounter with my technology.  The fact that I started to want to use it, even when I was out, exposes the beginning of my attachment.

By age twelve, I was demanding my own cell phone. My father worked for MTS, so he got a great discount on phones, and both of my sisters had one – so you can believe I put up a good argument. I understand that I am the youngest sibling, and that my sisters didn’t get theirs until at least the age of fourteen, but I couldn’t help feeling left out. My parents ended up getting me a basic Nokia cell phone (a brick with an antenna) as a gift for doing well in school that year. At the time, texting wasn’t as popular as it is today, so I stuck with phone calls. Most of all, having a cell phone made me feel cool. Who doesn’t strive to be “cool” during those vulnerable years?

When I reached junior high, MSN Messenger was the latest thing. Leisurely phone calls were out the window, and replaced by instant online chats, through MSN. I can’t speak for all young teens, but most of them want to be popular. I think this was where my addiction to technology came in. Back then, it seemed like the more you socialized with your friends, the closer you were to them. Every day after school, I would use my household computer and go online to chat with my friends. I wasn’t necessarily intrigued or attracted to the technology part of it, but I used it obsessively, as a means to fulfill my social desires. When my oldest sister got her own personal laptop, I would use it whenever I got the chance. I loved the nature of being able to use it anywhere in the house, where I had some privacy. It was how I felt about cell phones compared to house phones, but with laptops compared to computers.

When I began high school, the Facebook trend was spreading like wildfire. MSN was practically abolished, and everyone was using Facebook to socialize and network. I can still remember when I made a new friend in grade 10, named Kassia. I asked her what her number and MSN were so I could contact her. She laughed at me and said, “I’ll just Facebook you!” I told her I didn’t have Facebook, and she giggled some more. I went home that day and created an account. I can shamefully say I have used Facebook almost every day since. The convenience of being able to socialize with your friends and look at their photos, with just the touch of your fingertips, was unbeatable. Of course, I value face-to-face socializing much more, but when it comes to humans these days, it seems that convenience dominates.

As the ever-so-convenient socializing tool, Facebook, integrated itself into everyone’s daily activities, so did texting. Phone calls had over stayed their technological welcome. People liked to be able to do whatever it is that they are doing, without having to fully interrupt themselves over a formal phone call. Again, convenience dominated. Due to my love for socializing with my friends, I found myself spending a lot of my time in front of a computer and cell phone screen.

For as long as I could remember, I have had a love for writing, but I didn’t want to be just a writer. I wanted to go to school for a career where I could incorporate writing with a social job –  so I decided to enter the University of Winnipeg and Red River College’s Joint Communications Program. Since I knew this program consists of an endless amount of writing and studying media, I decided it was a good decision for me to splurge on some technology. With a little help from my parents, I was able to get a smart phone (which have also become “essential” items in the past few years), and with the help of Manitoba Student Loans, I was able to afford my first computer ever: my Macbook. This was the beginning of my obsession with – and attachment to – my smart phone and Macbook.

Let’s start with my first obsession: my smart phone. Smart phones aren’t just neat little gadgets, they have multiple, useful facets. On my smart phone I can text quickly, go on the Internet anywhere in the city, access my Twitter or Facebook account, etc. I can basically contact any one of my friends at any moment, just through this tiny device. I have never been one to be intrigued by technology, but it seems like using it is the only way to have this extent of social capability.

Now, for my most prized possession of all: my Macbook. I know that people shouldn’t attach themselves to material goods, but I cannot help myself when it comes to this. Macbooks are just so spectacular. Here are just a few reasons why: they have insanely quick speed, extremely long battery life, countless cool applications, a screen so bright that you resemble a fly to a lightbulb, a keyboard with letters that light up in the dark, and, well, they are just so damn pretty! It’s gotten to the point where I miss my Macbook if I am away from it for more than a day. I’m not proud of this, but that’s the way it has become. I probably sound very materialistic right now, but that’s not exactly the case. Since I am a writer, I love to use it for writing, reading, researching, and doing schoolwork (for the most part). Also, since I am in love with movies, I tend to watch them and play a lot of trailers online – but that’s another obsession story.

Here I am, admitting my obsession to my cell phone and Macbook to you, and although I am only attached to them because of my social desire and passion for writing and media, they are still technology. So, inevitably, I guess I am obsessed with technology.