For the second peer review, I am reviewing Brianna Carniel’s website, Brutally, Brianna. Right off the bat, the website catches my eye as the title is an alliteration. Though it would be nice if she made use of a tagline, to give her viewers a little more intel of what they should look forward to, as the title doesn’t evidently give it away.
The main color Brianna uses is a pretty pastel which is very inviting. Nevertheless, while take a closer look to her color scheme I think it would be more cohesive if she would limit it to three main colors: black, white and lavender. Thus, I would suggest she change all of her body text to be black as well, instead of the grey. Overall, however, I believe there is good contrast between the white background and purple headings, not too light, not too dark (Pagé, 2021, 5:52). It is also nice to see that Brianna has used her main color choice of lavender throughout her website such as in the categories of her posts and the “READ MORE” buttons. Furthermore, I couldn’t help but notice that when you try to copy something, it gets outlined in lavender – love it!
To help Brianna with the overall consistency of her site, I would suggest she try and stay consistent with the sizing of her featured images. For example, the photos for the three blog posts are all quite different, which decreases the “rhythm” and “proportion” elements of the website (Pagé, 2021). I think this could easily be fixed by adhering to “repeating elements” (Pagé, 2021, 4:11). A good example of this being done well is with the first two photos in her Process Posts category. Here, they are both small and the same size. Furthermore, it could also be helpful to try and stay with a theme when choosing images so that they are all unified. For example, the red featured image in the first process post doesn’t really match the vibe of the rest of the images, nor does it really go well with the pastel purple. I think a quick edit of the background or even making the image black and white would make a huge difference.
One thing I noticed in terms of layout, was that for some reason, when you first go on the site, on the home page, there is a lot of “white space” or “negative space” (Pagé, 2021). I was wondering why the purple didn’t go directly down the sides (view screenshot below). However, when I went to Brianna’s About Me page, it looked a lot better; there was less white, and the purple followed from the top. I am not sure why that is, but it creates a weird and displeasing “visual equilibrium” (Pagé, 2021). My eye wants to see the purple go down that line, however, it is obstructed. Furthermore, I noticed Brianna has a “PUB 101” category under “ACADEMICS” which seems a bit redundant. I think she should choose either one or the other as the menu heading and have the four categories underneath.
In terms of usability, I see that Brianna also has links in a few places that are purple, making them stand out, however, it would be cool to see some of the links in the references purple as well. I also think the purple signifier in the menu and “POST COMMENT” button is a good addition. Overall, I think Brianna’s website provides a “good user experience” (Pagé, 2021, 27:59).
Brianna’s choice of typefaces is pretty consistent as it looks like she only has two or three. With that said, I think it may look even better if she were to change the typeface of her title to something more similar to her text titles or side bar headings. However, because she only has 2 typefaces I don’t think it causes that much of an issue. My only suggestion is that she makes sure her title typeface “matches [her] blog” (Pagé, 2021, 45:05) and corresponds to the “personality” she is going for. Moreover, I think the weight and type sizes are good, and the leading and line length (or column width) make it easy to read. Here, I would suggest making the headings of each post bold (ex. “PROCESS POST WEEK 1” etc). Currently, it is hard to differentiate what is important information or the “main point of focus” (Pagé, 2021, 7:46). I would consider making these an H4 so it differentiates but the difference is huge. As Pagé (2021) says; “if you have too many primary and main point of focus, then you don’t have any contrast” (7:45).
Moving further with the typography, I think Brianna makes the lower-case trend work really well, however, to remain consistent, I would suggest changing “MY PINTEREST” and “FOLLOW MY INSTAGRAM” to lowercase as well. Also, if possible, I would change the “POST COMMENT” button on the very bottom. Further, I also like the use of periods and it is nice to see that Brianna remains really consistent with that. I think that everything “works together as a whole” (Pagé, 2021, 8:22).
The way Brianna has integrated her social media such as Pinterest and Instagram is great, as it gives her audience a preview while also filling in white space and creating “balance” (Pagé, 2021). Not to mention the photos that Brianna reposts and shares are very fun and colorful making me want to get to know her more. I think having these plug-ins there helps with the overall “unity” of her website (Pagé, 2021, 8:15). There is an association of “harmony” between her socials and her featured images (Pagé, 2021).
Overall, I think that Brianna’s website is really inviting and user-friendly! I think she has created a “place that invites visitors to remain” and has designed a website that “engages and delights them” (Bernstein, 1998, p. 8). As Bernstein (1998) suggests, “designers should strive for the comfort, interest, and habitability” and I believe Brianna does just that. That being said, if you
want to explore something simple and efficient, are looking for lighthearted content, or are in need of a good laugh, Brutally, Brianna is worth checking out (Stadler, 2010).
Bernstein, Mark. 1998. Hypertext Gardens: Delightful Vistas.
Matthew Stadler. 2010. “What is Publication?” Talk from the Richard Hugo House’s writer’s conference, Seattle, WA. May 21, 2010. http://vimeo.com/14888791
Pagé, Mauve. 2021. Lecture video retrieved from https://stream.sfu.ca/Media/Play/3f05ee3224c243648667fa94f072992f1d
Featured image created with Canva