For the third peer review, I am reviewing Vasili Soursos’ website, Philosophy in Films which is a blog that touches on the themes and messages in films, through a philosophical lens. Immediately I was intrigued as I enjoy watching movies, however, I have never thought about the deeper meanings, especially in that regard. Not to mention, I also quite enjoy the sound of his title; it is catchy with the F sounds.
I think Vasili has done a great job at indicating to his viewers what his blog is about, not only through the title of the website but also through his informative yet concise tagline. Nonetheless, I think Vasili has chosen a great topic to turn into a blog. It is very unique and niche, making it one of the few websites to do such a thing, attracting more viewers. Vasili has taken films, and philosophy, which I am sure are two things he is passionate about and has intertwined them together, summarizing the movies but also incorporating philosophers’ ideas. In this way, Vasili has a “presence online [he is] in control of” (Watters, 2015, para 13).
Through Vasili’s posts, he also includes quotes at the beginning and throughout the entries which gives his posts something a little extra. I will also say that I appreciate how he makes the text size of the quotes bigger, to signify that it is separate from the body text. This also provides really good “contrast” to his posts instead of having a long entry of grey body text (Pagé, 2021, 7:45).
One thing I would suggest to Vasili in terms of content is adding more to the about me page. If it weren’t for the google spreadsheets, I wouldn’t know who the face behind the blog is. He says, “I write film analyses…”, who is I? It may also be good for him to tell a little bit about himself, beyond just his name to create an online identity (Chittenden, 2010). I believe that this will attract users, making the experience more personal and interesting. As Suler (2004) explains, “as you move around the internet, most of the people you encounter can’t easily tell who you are” (para 5).
Usability and Design
I like the color scheme that Vasili has chosen. It is used well throughout the website. For example, he has yellow boxes around the “Read More” buttons, which signifies to a user that it can be clicked on. Furthermore, those yellow buttons turn green when hovered over, providing “tactile feedback” (Pagé, 2021, 29:20). With that said, I think it would be useful for Vasili to add a signifier at the top of his page to instruct viewers to scroll down, indicating that there is more beyond the title and banner image. I say this because that is all I can see when I go to website, making me think all I can do is click the menu options in the top right.
In terms of the look of Vasili’s website, I was attracted to the images, both in a positive and constructive way. That said, I think Vasili does a great job of sticking to an overall look and theme with his featured images. In all three of his Entries, Process Posts and Mini Assignments, he uses photos that have a more washed out, old, and grainy look and feel to them. The only photo that stood out to me, that I think could be altered a bit better, is the one in the first Mini Assignment, as it is more saturated than the rest. Nevertheless, I appreciate the cohesiveness. Moreover, I think that Vasili should add featured images to his Peer Reviews as well, to maintain the cohesiveness of the rest of the blog. Maybe Vasili could include images of the sites of the people he is reviewing or find images that relate to what their sites are about. I think that the screenshots or images can be easily edited in a way that matches the rest of the images he has chosen.
The last thing that I noticed about the images on the blog was the fact that the images that pop up naturally when you go through each menu item, seem like stock photos (the banner image as well). I am not sure if these images directly relate to the information being portrayed on the blog. I also noticed that sometimes when I click from section to section, the background image does not change. I feel as though this can confuse a reader. Did I switch pages? However, other times, the image does switch, and it changes to something completely different. I think it would be a lot more simple if each page had its own stagnant image.
I noticed that Vasili does not link out in his blog posts. For example, in his blog post about The Social Network, he could have linked out to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. I think this is important because “search engines rely on pages that contain links to find and identify content” (Brightplanet.com, 2014, para 5). In other words, “hyperlinks aren’t just the skeleton of the web” (Derakhshan, 2015, para 26).
From a marketing standpoint, I think there are tons of ways that Vasili could monetize his website! It’s the best site for it! Because “simply relying on display advertising might not get you all the way to where you need to be to be (Vara, 2015, para 4), I think Vasili should look into other options! For example, I think that could Vasili could add a Netflix or other streaming service widget to his site that allows him to directly link the films he writes about. If interested, he could even reach out to companies that may want to offer a financial incentive to continue to review and recommend films. (Bleymaier, 2013). I also think it could be cool to rate the movies at the end of each of his entries and link out to Rotten Tomatoes, maybe even starting a partnership with them. Another idea could be signing up for “Amazon’s Affiliate links program” to link out to different philosophers’ books. As Bleymaier (2013) mentioned, through these programs you can make money off of whatever people buy using that link. With that said, however, if Vasili wants to take this route, it is important that he informs his viewers of the money that he can make when they click on these widgets and links.
Overall, I think that Vasili has several ideas that he could look into to monetize his website if that is what he is looking for. His website and film topic are the perfect place for collaboration and other advertising programs.
Brightplanet.com. March 27, 2014. “Clearing up Confusion – Deep Web vs Dark Web” http://www.brightplanet.com/2014/03/clearing-confusion-deep-web-vs-dark-web/.
Tom Bleymaier. 2013. On Advertising – Maria Popvova
Derakhshan, Hossein. 2015. “The Web We Have to Save.” Medium.com. July 2015. Available from: https://medium.com/matter/the-web-we-have-to-save-2eb1fe15a426
Suler, John. 2004. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html
Pagé, Mauve. 2021. Lecture video retrieved from https://stream.sfu.ca/Media/Play/3f05ee3224c243648667fa94f072992f1d
Vauhini Vara. 2015. “Survival Strategies for Local Journalism”, https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/survival-strategies-for-local-journalism
Audrey Watters. 2015. “The Web We Need to Give to Students.” https://medium.com/bright/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713#.4d7j8rs6x