Jim
About the Author: It's just Jim 🐧 On this site, you'll find my posts in various forms: serious, playful, media-based, audios, and more! The underlying theme is identifying my slices of life to paint the present with my past on the site itself.

[Peer Review 2] Designs of Knitting ft. Lily Nordgren

In Lily’s website, the first visual impact is the soft golden yellow as the background with stark white contrasts for the content on the site. I will be Peer Reviewing Lily’s site called Knitting After Hours. Specifically, the design component is the main focus of this review. I will approach with a design perspective based from a lecture by Mauve Pagé in class as well.

[🍏 Positive Note!] I want to appreciate this title design. While I would love to learn more about why Lily chose this title, what it does from an user experience is that it makes it easier to remember and search!

First Impressions

From the main homepage, it is visually clean and uncluttered. I can find relevant posts I want to see under the menus, the posts are arranged on the homepage with images. The title of the website contrasts well with the background image to stand out which serves as a button to return back to the homepage.

Screenshot of Lily's homepage site called "knitting after hours."
Image of Lily Knitting After Hours‘s site and menu – 2022

If we look to the right column of the site (which can be seen in the screenshot above), we can identify ways to learn more about the author, a video (media) to watch and social media buttons to connect further with the writer and amazing creative individual behind Knitting After Hours.

Design Analysis

Colours:

As I briefly mentioned, the colours of this site is light blue, golden yellow/orange and white with an offshoot grey for the menu. This combination of colours works well as it is consistent across other pages in Lily’s site. Furthermore, the images that Lily posts along with her content, they often pops out from the niche background colour. No images are blending in with the background which would make it hard to see.

[🍏 Positive Note!] The design of this site with the choices so far help convey the positive, warm and cozy, yet a peek into the life of an individual knitting. It introduces the subject of knitting that is not one of my interests, in an engaging way.

As Kaptelinin states, “Designers can support the transition from controlled processing to automatic processing and, therefore, help the user take advantage of perceived affordances, by making sure their designs are highly consistent.” I found that Knitting After Hours is constant in the colour and visual design elements across their site (even mobile) from a consistency perspective.

Typography:

Lily’s site uses two main fonts which can be seen below. As I mentioned the need for consistency, this is another element of design across the site that is well done.

Screenshot of two font types: Serif and Sans-Serif.

It can be seen that the titles (like the website title) is a type of font with a serif, while the rest of the main content and posts uses a sans-serif type font. This differentiation is particularly interesting because my imposes one style of font throughout the site.

I find that both approaches in our sites serves its purpose within its own weight. The serif font used by Knitting After Hours takes more of my attention and if I was interested, I would read more into the post which the sans-serif font allows for ease of digitally reading the content. Whereas, my font across the site does not pose a problem by design. For example, my content irregularly jumps out due to the font choice where I did not want to happen. This would be a distraction rather than a consistency question.

Accessibility:

I have noticed the use of accessibility tools that turns the site into high-contrasting colours and font size adjustments. This is something that will inspire me to add a similar tool on my site as well! I think this further adds to the usability of the website.

Furthermore, I am happy to see that Lily includes alt texts in her posts that describes the image.

Screenshot of alt text codes of an image of the site I am reviewing.

Mobile Site Design

Briefly taking a look at mobile design, it is overall a fine website. The pages load without problems and can be access on a mobile device. For example, I was able to read about “4 Books and Movies for Adventurous Homebodies” without any issues. That said, one of the biggest elements that I noticed was the Menu is missing important topics like Academics, Recipes etc.

Mobile screenshot of menu with missing components on Lily's site.
Mobile screenshot of menu on a post where "admin" is still the default name author on Lily's site.

[🍎 Recommendation Note!] A potential area to look into is the mobile version of the site. Your mobile version works, but for example, your menu is not fully displayed. Going into WordPress back end and adding this is a suggestion I would make!

[🍎 Recommendation Note!] While I was looking at this, I noticed your author detail is ‘admin’ which Lauren had mentioned changing it to your name (or something else that is not default ‘admin’).

This can be done in WordPress back end as well under: Users > Profile > Nickname > Display name public as. 

[🍏 Positive Note!] I won’t dedicate a segment for credibility and authenticity, but I will address one design element I noticed. Something that Lily does well is linking her information in her posts to other sites which makes it easier to find or learn more about a particular topic.

Kissane mentions on the reading titled “Contents May Have Shifted” that “the network cracks books open and reveals their connections to other texts, it also produces new ways to understand reading.” This is truly essential to have as it enhances her credibility on her site!

Knitting Up My Final Thoughts

By looking at the overall design of Lily’s website, it is refreshing to see a simple site that serves as the extension of their creative freedom in their knitting journey. I will definitely stay posted to Lily’s site in the future.

While I may not be interested in knitting, there is content around knitting such as adventures and food that accompanies the topic of knitting. As a foodie myself, I thoroughly enjoyed reading how to make Caroline Cookies and Lily’s approach to Cinnamon Hot Chocolate. Mmm, now THAT is a combination that cannot be resisted!

Publications whose primary product is content, and who still don’t know how to handle digital. Now they’re letting a few big tech corps do it for them. They are giving up on the freedom and potential of an open platform, and moving into the walled garden of a few controlled native applications.

Travis Gertz, 2015 in the article “Design Machines

This design of the site avoids pervading mimicry of common site templates, as it carries the essence and careful design choices by Lily in order to share her knitting. At the same time, it uses common recognizable elements to navigate the site with ease. If you want some ideas or want to reach out further about knitting, Lily is obvious choice of the person to go to!

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