Online Journalism: Fridays 2009

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the class blog for Columbia College Chicago’s Online Journalism class: Friday edition

your presentations next week

As we approach the end of class, it’s important that we check in on your site as you prepare to populate it with content (or, in the case of the content that’s already there, evaluate its value). It is also a time to strongly consider the presentation of the site itself, and to fine-tune the look & feel, because content is only as good as the site that showcases it. And it’s also crucial, of course, that you consider audience at every juncture as well.

The format for this presentation will be similar to our last, with slides and a group presentation. However at this point you should also be able to walk us through various aspects of your site itself, and be able to answer questions about the content and the look/feel of the site overall. Because of this, we will reserve the end of your presentation for a walkthrough of the site. Prepare one of your team members to “drive” this walkthrough, taking over the projection computer. Map out what it is you want to talk about and highlight, however, so that your presentation remains professional and succinct.

As with last time, you will give both a presentation and hand in a report, signed by all group members.

presentation & report

The Site Idea and its Relationship to Content
–Be as succinct and clear as possible. Start with a one or two-sentence description of the site.
–Succinctly, how does content fulfill that mission?
–In other words: why are you featuring what you’re featuring?

The Content Itself
–What types of content do you see regularly appearing on your site? And why?
–Written pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Multimedia pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Interactive pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Social media: What’s your strategy? Why? How?
–How do you plan on grouping the various content types?
–In other words, what are the various sections or categories on your site?
–How do these categories work to clearly state at a hierarchical level what your site is all about?
–Give seven specific examples of content currently on your site and ten specific examples of content still to come.

Content and its Relationship to Audience
This is important, so I will bold it: invite five members of your targeted audience to preview your site. Get as much feedback as you can from them regarding the content. For this section include bios/info about the people you talked with for the report and give their specific feedback there. In your presentation include photographs of these people interacting with your site.
–Who is the audience you are targeting and why? BE SPECIFIC.
–What content do you think they are looking for online, and why would they come to you to get it?
–How did you come to this conclusion?
–When you previewed your site to audience members, what was their reaction to the content?
–How did they feel it could improve?
–What other content did they feel could go in the site?
–What other feedback did they get?

Look & Feel
–Why does your site look the way it does?
–How does your site classify and display content?
–How can a user access the various pieces of content–is there a menu system that makes sense?
–How does the way your site looks compliment the content?

Walkthrough

The walkthrough of your site should highlight the following:
–demonstrate the way that a user would access various content types
–highlight some of the unique ways your site is presenting its content
–show off your site’s look & feel and explain why it works the way it does
–demonstrate the categories your content falls into

Slides

Follow the same process as before in terms of uploading your slides to Flickr and creating a set and slideshow. Your slides should correspond to the major sections of your presentation. Create as many as you see fit.

Link your slideshow and paste your report in the comments of this entry.

Your presentation should be no longer than 10 minutes, including the walkthrough.

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Filed under: group project

4 Responses

  1. Sara Harvey says:

    SLIDESHOW: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukechicago/sets/72157617544911868/

    UkeChicago

    Andy Hannon
    Sara Harvey
    Brian Livingston
    Rachel Stapinski

    UkeChicago is a young resource and main connection for all things ukulele in and around the Chicago area. We aggregate and report ukulele news to provide information about events, places, performances, and musicians through text, video and photo content.

    The content fulfills the mission by educating members of the ukulele community in Chicago about musicians, events, performances and places to visit locally and providing news on the wider ukulele community.

    UkeChicago features local, national and international musicians and provide information on their tours, album releases, and general gossip because they are the celebrities that engage our community. We write reviews about local events, performances and places to get the community participating locally. UkeChicago also reviews music and try to post as much multimedia content as possible to our audience.

    The Content Itself

    –Written pieces: How? Why? What kind?

    Reviews: UkeChicago is on a mission to visit all possible uke community locations in Chicago and report on their activities from Hawaiian restaurants to small clubs. We also link to reviews by others on music and performances that interest our community. After each of our original reviews, we give a place or album a rating of one to five ukuleles that is an image at the bottom of the article. Our community will learn about new things and want to have experiences based on what we write. UkeChicago will learn about new places through our sources, researching the web and keeping an ear to the ground. For local places, we contact the appropriate people or show up on location to report with audio and visual equipment.

    Blurbs: UkeChicago also writes smaller pieces about other stories and links out to those sites. These pieces are reviews of shows, albums, and feature artists. We aggregate from these sources to show the Chicago ukulele community how large the wider community is.

    –Multimedia pieces: How? Why? What kind?

    Music Videos: UkeChicago has the unique position to provide news on entertainment and have the ability to combine the two. Music videos can educate the community on playing style and types of equipment as well as give the audience an art form they appreciate. The videos are recorded with a camcorder on a tripod or embedded from Youtube.

    Video Interviews: UkeChicago understands it is more important to watch someone speak than reading a condensed version of their words. Video interviews gives us the ability to show the real character and environment of leading Chicago community members. We will communicate with these members as we learn about them and ask to feature them through video where they can perform or talk about their experiences.

    Pictures: UkeChicago will incorporate images into our original, written content from documenting what we are writing about to illustrations that represent our ratings on reviews. We will use a camera or image editing application to create the images before posting online. Images help engage the audience and make written content more appealing.

    –Interactive pieces: How? Why? What kind?

    Map: UkeChicago wants to implement a map that gives audience members the ability to search for places to visit through our reporting and engagement within the community. Writing about clubs, restaurants and shops is not enough with all the resources online that we can use to show our community a visual review. Our audience will try new things based on our reviews and the information provided on the maps. The map will be made through Google and will have different media attached to the locations (images, audio or video).

    Calendar: UkeChicago also wants to have a calendar attached to the sight that has listings of local ukulele events, club meetings and shows. We want to keep the ukulele community engaged offline, and this is a great way to keep people up to date on events in Chicago. We can also use Google to create a calendar that can link out to other sites and hold descriptions of events.

    –Social media: What’s your strategy? Why? How?

    Twitter: Most of our regular content is aggregated from other sources. As the news hits the web, UkeChicago finds interesting stories and posts the links out to our followers. We also blurb about the stories and link them from the website. If an audience member has Twitter but not our RSS feed, they can get much of the same information. Our strategy is to get others interested in our website by linking to other, more prestigious sources. Audience members will start to associate our content with other news sources where they find ukulele stories.

    –How do you plan on grouping the various content types?

    UkeChicago hopes to have various types of content for each post. For example, our Aloha Eats restaurant review has text and an image that is normal for a magazine article, but it also has an icon that shows the author’s rating. In another example, An aggregated album review mentioned a song by the artist that was performed and posted on Youtube. UkeChicago embedded that video as part of the blurb. Each post is categorized by topic: reviews, musicians, events, links, media, ect. The posts are also tagged with keywords.

    –In other words, what are the various sections or categories on your site?

    Equipment
    Events
    Links
    Media
    Musicians
    Networking
    Reviews

    These are UkeChicago’s categories and clearly state what content is going to be offered in each. Some of the content uses multiple categories. If an article was written on an album release, it can be found under musician and review. Media contains videos, podcasts and images.

    Examples of current content:

    Aloha Eats Restaurant Review
    Jake Shimabukuro album review
    Baritone Ukulele equipment review
    YouTube acoustic Friday – post three videos chosen by the audience or editors
    Uke Zoological event preview
    Obituary podcast

    Examples of what’s to come:

    Feature ukulele community members: Terry Truhart Pensel and Elizabeth Gaylord
    Interactive Map
    Events Calendar
    Song of the Day – tab and video posts
    How-to: find the best uke for you or tune a uke
    feature old ukulele manufacturers in Chicago
    editors’ profiles
    Create original video content of street performances and event reviews
    Song collaboration
    What the Folk? A review of folk in Chicago.

    Describe the Audience

    The UkeChicago audience member is a professional musician to ukulele enthusiast who is looking for a place to find ukulele news and reviews from local sources to national buzz. The ukulele community member loves to listen to folk music, acoustic instruments, sing, perform and find others who enjoy the same things. The age range, professionalism, and background of this demographic is very diverse and expanding as the instrument regains its status as an amazing musical tool.

    –What content do you think they are looking for online, and why would they come to you to get it?

    We think that people in the area all have their small clusters in which they play music, but could benefit from seeing what others are doing, and we can bring all that together. Videos, reviews, etc are major parts of our site, and people know that because we are so small, if they want something, we will go out and find it for them and talk about it.

    –How did you come to this conclusion?

    From speaking to people in the folk/ukulele community as well as outsiders who would like a way in. That and just our own investigation online was unable to turn up too much.

    –When you previewed your site to audience members, what was their reaction to the content?

    The four people we spoke to were two musicians: Ben and Jake, as well as two of our outsiders, Connor and Austin. All around they seemed to like what we had so far, but would really like to see a lot more of it. The two outsiders were very intrigued by the Aloha Eats post and the Uke Zoologica, because they otherwise would not have found something to do. Now they have “a way in”. Our two musicians also liked these things, but would like a bit more of an open discussion for musicians like themselves to get together, and say jam. Overall, we received feedback that we need to do something, such a contest, etc, to really start building a consistent reader base, and really a community around this. They liked our color scheme and the general “feel” of the site, but again, the musicians felt things could be a bit tighter, to which we agree. We have started pulling together everything on our site to work with something else, and to give the user additional resources. Everyone expressed excitement in seeing what we can get, and feel that once we started getting similar and consistent content, as well as more communal content, they could see themselves coming back on a regular basis.

    Look & Feel

    –Why does your site look the way it does?

    The website has a light color background and dark text. It is easy to read. The embedded links within stories are a bright red color that distinguishes them between normal text. It is important that our audience has an easy time navigating through and reading content.

    –How does your site classify and display content?

    Each post is shown on the home page as a post stream from most recent to oldest posts. On the right is a sidebar of categories that directly link viewers to the types of content they are looking for. Bellow the categories is a tag cloud of the keywords we chose to put stories under if viewers want a more specific look at the content we are featuring. We have a couple pages: the home page, a links page and about page. On the about page we plan on having profiles of ourselves along with the currently posted mission. The links page is a way for viewers to see our favorite ukulele related websites without navigating through our delicious page.

    –How can a user access the various pieces of content–is there a menu system that makes sense?

    Our menu system is easy to understand. Each article is posted under a category it relates to: reviews, musicians, equipment, ect. If a story is a review of a piece of equipment you will find it under both corresponding categories. If someone wants to just poke around the site, they will see the full post stream on the front page and can simply scroll through the content.

    –How does the way your site looks compliment the content?

    UkeChicago was fortunate enough to find a very Hawaiian-like theme for our website. The colors are warm earth tones that complement the wood grain on the little acoustic instrument we love so much. The body of the site is centered on a simple flower pattern that resembles a typical Hawaiian shirt, and split in three columns. The posts span the first two columns on the left and the third column holds our side bar of categories, tags and links back out into the community.

  2. Mandy Treccia says:

    Find Yourself Columbia
    Erik, Jon, Mandy, Rosette, Zach

    The Site Idea and its Relationship to Content

    Find Yourself Columbia is a website dedicated to bringing student organization news and events to the Columbia College community. It helps students find Columbia by keeping them up to date the student organization events through a Twitter feed. It also allows them to experience events through video, audio and podcast coverage. Articles feature news and profiles on what different student organizations are working on and shows Columbia students what extracurricular activities are out there. Through our site content, we create a dialogue between the student organizations and the students of Columbia College strengthening the community around campus.

    The Content Itself
    Recurring content on our site consists of event coverage and profiles of student organizations. Our written pieces are usually news based and short, giving more current news about student orgs as well as their upcoming events. Written pieces also consist of profiles showcasing new student organizations as well as issues within the student organization community and Columbia. We’ve also used various multimedia to engage our Columbia student audience further by using video to show events and behind the scenes footage. We’ve created a podcast that will work as the dialogue between students and student organizations. Our podcast will cover events and get immediate event feedback from the students who attend the events.

    We have been using a Twitter feed to post upcoming events and also give updates when covering events as well. So far we have 60 followers, and have received praise for our event updates so far. In addition to Twitter, we’ve talked about adding a flickr link or possibly photobucket so people can add their pictures to the site from the different events. We also want to do something similar to yelp where visitors to the site can rate the different events they’ve attended or recommend new events.

    Our media is grouped by categories, which are usually general pertaining to the content or student organization. We have categories such as: SGA, New Student Groups, Culture and Soccer. We try to highlight the student group in the categories to give them additional recognition and make it easier for people using the site to find the groups and events.

    7 Examples on our site so far:

    -SGA Manifest news
    -Short feature on new student group: Chicago Coalition for the Equality of Gender through Art
    -Behind the scenes footage of Musical Theatre Collective spring show, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”
    -Short article and pictures from Latino Alliance Cultural Night
    -Launch of Ricochet podcast
    -SGA Lobbying article
    -YouTube video of “World Enigma”
    -Feature article on Columbia soccer team

    10 New story ideas:
    -Manifest feature: What are student orgs doing to gear up for the big day? Sneak preview.
    -Profile on student org. Students Helping Honduras
    -Q & A w/ LGBT club
    -Picture feature: Spaces at Columbia (new 618 building, Hokin, etc.)
    -Article exploring why some orgs are more active than others/more successful? (ie. Why ethnic clubs have stronger following? Why some orgs. fall through? Maybe show how to fix that..)
    -Video footage of 80s Prom Night event
    -Manifest coverage: video, podcast, photos
    -Feature on ASO Call-a-thon that happened April 29
    -profile piece on the newly elected SGA board and their plans for the next year
    -Video footage of Fiction Writers At Lunch readings

    Content and Relationship to Audience
    Our audience is 18-25 year old men and women. They are undergraduate and graduate students attending Columbia College Chicago. The majority of our audience members have part-time jobs outside of school. Our target audience either lives on campus or within Chicago. Our audience members have goals set towards graduation and landing their ideal jobs.

    Our audience is mainly looking for news and event information online. They want to know what is going on around campus and they want to be able to come to one place to get all of the information. They will come to our site because we will make it easy for them to find exactly what they are looking for and keep the information as up to date as possible.

    Lauren Masterson, 21, a junior, is a fiction writing major. She goes online looking for information about what’s going on at Columbia, upcoming events she might want to attend and is especially interested in readings, speakers and free events. She really liked the idea of the site and the layout and the Twitter updates. She was more interested in the videos and the quick blurb stories than the long, feature stories. She said we could improve the site by adding more pictures and including more stories about fiction writing events because she feels the group is virtually ignored outside of the department. Overall, she said she would come back to the site and said it was nice to be able to come to one site and not have to follow various links like Columbia’s website. She also suggested adding a calendar feature to make it easier for people to see upcoming events.

    John Dagys, 22, a senior, is a sports reporting and writing major. When he goes online, he is most interested in news and sports. If he needs to find something at Columbia, he checks his Oasis account and then Columbia’s general website. The first thing on the site that caught his eye was the RSS feed connection to In The Loop. He thought that was a great way to connect to Columbia and the sidebar was prominently placed. He also really liked the Twitter feed because Twitter is so popular right now. He said there was definitely a need for a website like ours and he liked the layout with the tabs at the top to make it easy to navigate. He suggested making an additional sidebar that listed categories so people would be able to find posts more easily.

    Anthony Crocello, 22, a senior is a radio broadcasting and public relations major. He spends his time online looking at news and has not spent too much time on Columbia’s website. His first impression of our site was that it was well-polished and attractive. He enjoyed the multi-media elements, especially the Twitter feed. He said every website should have something like Twitter to make it easier to communicate with the site’s users. To improve the site, he suggested making the mission statement clearer and easier for people to see when they first come to the site. He also suggested covering more sports events since the college tends to ignore the sports teams and most people do not even know they exist. Overall, he thought the site was great, easy to navigate and very colorful.

    Look And Feel
    –Why does your site look the way it does?
    The honest way to answer this question is that it’s still in the works. We’re still coming to terms with a lot of the programming and it’s taken many long frustrating hours to get as far as we have. The idea is there, however, and we feel it’s a good one. The site is easy to navigate and a quick glance can give the viewer quite a lot of information. It’s also designed to provide the audience with a quick, clear idea of what the site is and isn’t so they don’t have to waste their time searching for buried information of content that isn’t there at all. It’s also set up to be a starting point rather than an end point for people interested in student life at Columbia College. For this reason, the site is designed to function more like a bulletin board than a newspaper.

    –How does your site classify and display content?
    Content is classified in several ways, essentially breaking down the various interests of the student body. Each post is assigned a category that can be searched in the search bar on the top right corner of the site. The posts are usually short and the title itself should provide enough information to the viewer for them to determine whether or not to read further. Much of the event coverage is in the form of links to video or audio that the viewer can enjoy without reading through a lot of text. On the right side of the site are two widgets; the first displays an RSS feed from Columbia’s Loop site that viewers can link on for more information, the second is our Twitter feed. These widgets are in place to give a brief overview of what’s going on and where to find out more. They are there to direct people away, getting back to our idea of being a good starting point for information.

    –How can a user access the various pieces of content–is there a menu system that makes sense?
    There is a menu system at the top but the idea of the site that so far provides a brief introduction to the site. Still, a lot of information can be found under just a couple tabs. Viewers will find a link to the entire list of Columbia’s student organizations and several pictures to go with it. The purpose of the site is also made clear.
    The easiest way to find our about a particular topic is to enter something in the search bar, for example music, and all the posts that have been categorized as music related will show up. Otherwise, the viewer can simply browse the titles of recent posts. Most of the main posts will contain some sort of coverage from recent events while the widgets on the right will provide info and links for upcoming events. The viewer can link to any article on the Columbia Loop feed by clicking to read more, and can also click on our Twitter feed to follow us for direct alerts. We hope to include a new section for student dialogue as well.

    –How does the way your site looks compliment the content?
    I’m tempted to just say it’s student made and leave it at that, but I think there’s actually some truth to it. It doesn’t have the gloss or shine that a “professional” site has and it’s more bare bones than anything Columbia would put together. Part of the charm of the site is that it is a student production, put together by people who are not just the administrators but the audience as well. As a result, the audience isn’t overloaded with a wide variety of crap, they’re presented with a few stories/videos/pictures, and a variety of tools for networking with students and organizations they may find interesting. Also, nobody’s going to confuse our site for an official school site.

  3. Kaylee says:

    BAR UNDERGROUND

    slideshow: http://www.flickr.com/photos/organize/?start_tab=one_set72157617459984205

    Kaylee King
    Jon Nelson
    Nikki Way
    Kristina Wells

    Bar Underground is a site focused on the subcultures within some of Chicago’s best bars. We provide our visitors with insight on who’s going where and what’s going on inside some of the biggest dive bars in the city. We report about where shows will be played, great drink specials and write, shoot and record features on standout characters and trends inside the bars themselves.

    Our content strives to serve Bar Underground’s hip, but not hipster, visitors and give them the down low on some well-kept secrets in the city. We choose our features because they are things that, we think, not only the audience will like, but we ourselves think it’s interesting and would want to read.

    The site is devoted to a laid back, unpretentious feel… or as we say, “Pubs not clubs!”

    The Content Itself

    –What types of content do you see regularly appearing on your site? And why?
    We hope to continue our work in new media as well as written pieces. The Web is such a great vector for us to utilize our multimedia skills so we’ll definitely keep up with our podcasts and video segments. And, of course, continue to add to our Favorite Bars Google map. Our focus it to keep our audience coming back to find relevant, up-to-date information about their favorite bar and a new bar that they may want to check out – all through interesting content and different angled features.

    –Written pieces: How? Why? What kind?
    Our written pieces will feature interesting people in these bars. Reporters going out and spending some time in the bar and getting a feel for who are the regulars and who is a standout in the crowd will do this. We will continue this because we feel people still like to read a good article and it’s interesting to our audience because it gives them a deeper knowledge of their favorite bar and who really is going to it.

    –Multimedia pieces: How? Why? What kind?
    Video and podcasting will be a large part of Bar Underground. We’ll complete this by shooting with small video recorders, phones, audio recorders or basically anything we can get our hands on that has a ‘record button.’ We like using multimedia because it is such a great tool online and will get people to stay on our site longer and get more out of what we’re trying to say and work hard for. One specific example of a piece we would like to do is a video segment about the jukeboxes in these bars. Some of these bars have stacked jukeboxes with the perfect blend of classic rock ’n roll (The Beatles, Prince, Steely Dan, The Rolling Stones, etc.) and new, addictive dance and rock hits that steer clear of anything with the artist’s name starting with ‘Lil’ (Kings of Leon, Solid Gold, Doves, Neko Case, My Morning Jacket, etc.).

    –Interactive pieces: How? Why? What kind?
    We look to continue our expansion of ‘Our Favorite Bars’ Google map. The map allows users to click around and view pictures of what the bars look like and where they are. Users can also go into ‘street view mode’ and see what the surrounding neighborhood is like. We have this map saved and can easily add to it. We did this map for two reasons. Firstly, we believe our visitors will get something out of it and find it helpful when looking for a new bar to go to or see what is surrounding the bar (ATM, food, etc.) and secondly, we thought it added another layer of cool tricks that can add to the quality of our site.

    –Social media: What’s your strategy? Why? How?
    Bar Underground has a Twitter page (@BarUnderground) that will be used for mainly quick blurbs about what’s happening in town that night or if there is a cool show or event somewhere that not many people know about. Along with informing, I think we would use Twitter also as a place to link to interesting stories that pertain to what Bar Underground is doing and perhaps have a following of people that come to us, not only for bar secrets, but for interesting web content as well. Also, becoming a member of sites like Reddit or StumbleUpon who’s users would probably interested in something like Bar Underground. I think it would be really great if we became not simply a bar subculture site, but a site that is interested in the bigger picture of bar subcultures.

    –How do you plan on grouping the various content types?
    Our podcasts go in a section called “The Underground Blotter” and our written pieces run like a blog roll. Our Google map has a place on the right-hand side of the page in the side bar and each story links at the top of the page on the right. We have an RSS feed that folks who are interested in can subscribe to, that is placed at the top of our site. The sections and catagories of our site will be: videos, The Underground Blotter, Written Pieces, Calendar and RSS. These categories are helpful to our visitors because they know what they are going to view. We don’t necessarily think that one category is better than the other, but we know that they will find it useful to have categories.

    –Give seven specific examples of content currently on your site and ten specific examples of content still to come

    Hump Day in Wicker Park
    Trends: Photo Booths
    The Underground Blotter No. 2
    Our Favorite Bars Google Map
    Delilah’s: 2 Floors, 2 Worlds
    Empty Bottle: Anything But Empty
    Lollapalooza, a step up

    1. Video piece about the jukeboxes in these bars and what people play and why.

    2. A podcast about why people are going to these bars to watch sports, what kind of sports they watch, and why.

    3. Video piece of “showy” bartenders.

    4. Piece about unique bathrooms in bars, where to go that doesn’t have gas station-like ones.

    5. Piece about Diversy Rock’n’Bowl.

    6.Poll-Best bearded bartender- Bartenders. Beards. They go together so well, but which bearded bartender has the best barside manner in town?

    7. Story about after the bar spots- Flash taco. Love it, hate it, or love then hate it the next morning, this cheap taco stand is always packed on the weekends. Who goes there, how much grease can they handle?

    8. Food peddlers- It started with the Tamale guy who carries around a rubbermaid lunchbox full of spicy, greasy tamales. Now Wicker Park has it’s own cupcake lady who supposedly uses special ingredients. Would you trust these foodies?

    Content and its Relationship to Audience

    –Who is the audience you are targeting and why?
    Since the early brainstorming sessions, we have stuck with the same target audience. Men and women between the ages of 21 – 29. These individuals will have artistic careers – journalists, writers, graphic designers, photographers, individuals in film, painters, musicians, etc. And also people who work in local shops such as bakeries, clothing stores and art stores. This audience likes to enjoy the resources of their own neighborhoods to have fun. They go to concerts in their areas, they shop at local businesses and they hang out with their friends in their neighborhoods. For the most part all of their friends live in the same neighborhood as them. These people go to local pubs and drink cheap beers. They get quirky and go bowling with their friends and they are always up for the latest superhero flick. Our audience’s hopes and dreams do not reside in a desire to become famous or be the richest of the rich. These folks are good people who just want to go through life having a good time and playing the occasional Wii game. They love the things they do because these things make them happy. They don’t do things because it’s ‘cool’ or ‘other people are doing it’ but because these things truly make them happy and entertain them.

    –What content do you think they are looking for online, and why would they come to you to get it?
    We think our audience already knows about most of the bars we feature, but they want to know more about what’s going on in them. They will come to us to see (and hear!) about what is happening around their neighborhood and which one of their favorite bars they should pick that night. They want to know what band is playing where, is there a cover and what kind of events are happening in the bars. They will come to us to find it because that is what we focus on and that is what we enjoy too. We came to that conclusion because we, as a site, are interested in the same content our viewers are and think it will be successful because of that.

    –When you previewed your site to audience members, what was their reaction to the content?
    They really liked the design, but were not sure what information they would go to the site for specifically.

    –How did they feel it could improve?
    They wanted more interactive media and videos.

    –What other feedback did they get?
    We should be on facebook and create a group so that we can tag people that we interview.

    Look & Feel

    –Why does your site look the way it does?
    Our site has gone through three re-designs since its start. We’ve changed names once and have gone from blue, to red to black backgrounds. We landed on the current background because it has a Chicago-centric vibe with the Chicago stars and it has an edginess to it that fits both our audience and our content.

    –How does your site classify and display content?
    Right now, our content runs like blog roll. We would like to improve that and have more distinct sections of what goes where.

    –How can a user access the various pieces of content–is there a menu system that makes sense?
    Users can access our content by clicking the headlines or reading the pieces right off the front page. We have a small menu system at the top that is classified into three categories, Blog, About and RSS. Also, on the right sidebar there is a list of all the blog entries that makes it easier for readers to sort through and we also have a calendar widget.

    –How does the way your site looks compliment the content?
    We really believe our site’s appearance compliments it’s content because, like we mentioned earlier, the site is devoted to edgy and a little “rough around the edges” content. The site embraces that with its dark and bold colors and underground Chicago feel.

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