Design for Digital Media Environments – Final Evaluation

As the Design for Digital Media Environments unit is coming to an end, I feel that my team and I have appropriately and successfully met the unit-brief requirements set for our project. These were to create a Web-browser based application that satisfied the specific needs of our target audience, and to use database scripting language to link our application to an online database that would be affected by user input.

With these requirements in mind, my team and I designed and coded a website called Student Offers for Bournemouth University (SOBU), using a variety of PHP and CSS code. The website we created allows the user to see available offers and deals on a live feed. It also allows the user to sign in and post offers and discounts located in Bournemouth. I think our final website has a very clear target audience, with obvious needs that our website properly addresses.

The members of my team were myself, Adam and Hallam. I think we worked very well as a team since we all took an active part in creating the website and our attendance was great: none of us missed any of the important group meetings. We also went about working on the elements of our website in what I believe was the right way, as none of us spent too much time on just one task. This allowed us to focus on making sure that important aspects, such as functionality, were properly organised before we worked on the visual elements, like the appearance and design of the website.

The images below show our final version of the updated website for SOBU.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 21.24.16

Welcome Page

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Main Home Page

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The Offer Posting System

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My Posts

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Social Media Dropdown Menu

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About Page

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Register Page

updated nav bar

Full Navigation Bar

Our team combined our strengths in coding and design to create a website linked to a database. This allowed us to keep track of all of the users’ posts online. I find this one of the most effective and interesting aspects of our website, as it shows instant results that we can monitor.

When I started working on this project, I found coding in PHP somewhat challenging. However, in the course of the unit I developed a better understanding on how it works, as well as other websites and coding languages we used. These included phpMyAdmin, GitHub and Bootstrap.

If I had chosen to do things differently, I might have added some more visual elements on the sides or at the top of the page (e.g. more stylised logo or banner), as in the other student deals websites explored in my website research. However, this would have overcomplicated the overall website design. We decided that streamlined simplicity makes the presentation more user-friendly, clearer and aesthetically pleasing.

Overall, I am satisfied that our website has properly met all the requirements in the brief and pleased with how the final result turned out, in terms of its responsiveness, content and design.

Design for Digital Media Environments – Web 2.0

One of our lecturers, Rob, recently informed us about the more theoretical and critical side of our unit by telling us more about Web 2.0 and its history.

Web 2.0 is the current form of the online, Web-based technology that users around the world can interact with. The full term “Web 2.0” was coined and popularised by Tim O’Reilly in 2004. Although the term “2.0” suggests that we’re using an upgraded version of the Web, the term refers to the new features and changes that were gradually added to the technology over time. These important new features include faster network speeds, social media, user-generated content, uploading and sharing information and data. The following are only a few examples of the concepts and websites that Web 2.0 has contributed to the World Wide Web.

  • User-generated content in the form of text (blogging), images (Instagram and Pinterest), video and audio (YouTube).
  • Wikis, which are solely dependent on user-generated content and require users to collaborate by contributing and editing information (Wikipedia).
  • Social networking websites (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) that encourage users to make as many social connections to other users/organisations as possible.
  • Crowdfunding websites (e.g. Kickstarter) in which all the main projects posted to them are dependent on user participation and collaboration in the form of donations. This is done to reach specific money goals and potentially make projects a reality.

These features of Web 2.0 indicate that the web has gradually evolved into a worldwide tool for online communication, collaboration and interactivity.

Pictured above is a word cloud, featuring a wide range of words and concepts currently associated with Web 2.0. While many of these examples (e.g. “Focus on Simplicity” and “Joy of Use”) are generally considered advantages, there are disadvantages associated with this current state of Web 2.0. For example, as new forms of online communication and data storage emerged, so have new ways of phishing and hacking into online accounts. Other acts such as cyber-bullying have become more common due to the introduction and expansion of the social software of Web 2.0. Services such as Google and YouTube frequently issue new security methods (e.g. security keys) to prevent these online offences from being committed.

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