Sunday, 19 May 2013

Video-centric: The EYES Website (that nearly was)

Initially the EYES web series concept proposal was going to be hosted on an original website that would demonstrate the EYES web series franchise presence on the internet and how it would engage with my intended target audience.

 

As I knew building an original website would take up a considerable amount of my time, I started work on it back in November. Following a meeting with the University's Publishing Lab, I invested in a domain name eyeswebseries.com (and got another one free eyeswebseries.co.uk) and a web hosting package through 1&1, it was a special offer package that gave me 6 months free if I signed up for a year.

My original 'Video-centric' plan sketch for the website.

However, due to my other work commitments and devoting the whole of the Christmas break to researching my dissertation, I was not able to devote any substantial time to the website before Christmas. Therefore, the actual building of my website did not begin until the end of January. In addition to hosting through 1&1, I started to build my website on Wordpress.org using a wordpress theme I had purchased on themeforest.net.

The way that I kept describing  my vision for the website was 'video-centric' and, as such, the design of the website would need to place the pilot episode and other video content at its center, as the episodes of the web series is its primary content. While searching for website templates to use, one in particular caught my eye. 'This way' is a theme that epitomises the term 'video-centric'. 

I was always prepared to invest some money into the website.

Below are images of the template's operations as a demonstration website

 
'This Way' enables video content to be the body of the website.


As shown above a video is the background of the website.






It has a playlist function that gives the template a Blu-ray main menu feel. 


It has a popout menu, again adding to the Blu-ray menu feel.



Other pages/sections of the website appear as modules over the main video.
Again, like a Blu-ray main menu.

The template's are customisable.

I saw the EYES concept working very well within the 'This Way' theme! The whole aesthetic of the 'This Way' template and its alignment with my video-centric stance was something I really liked. 

A Blu-ray menu with the film playing in the background.

The Blu-ray menu feel of its presentation ensures that the content is always playing and always present; this has an awful lot in common with my vision for the narrative of EYES as being cognitive and something that is continuously very active and always moving. Also, It would have nicely fulfilled the marking criteria for my website:

Website: show good awareness of target audience through the site design; website design should reflect the content of the project, so that the two things work together to tell a story.

Below are slideshows of the some of the Posters and Visual Design Elements I prepared for the project and which would have been incorporated into the website. These images together with the images of the 'This Way' theme should give some idea of what the eventual website would have looked like. 

Additionally, I have some items stored in my EYES Website notebook.





Ultimately, the reason why I was not able to complete the website was due to problems installing the 'This Way' theme into wordpress. I spent a great deal of time trying to solve this problem on my own; when that didn't work, I contacted the chap who made the 'This Way' theme via his forum. He was able to provide me with instructions for how to fix the problem, but it would have required a great deal of re-coding and time that I didn't have. Therefore, I believe I took the right decision in abandoning the website. It was an instance where an element wasn't working in the current paradigm - therefore, I discontinued it. 

However, I did briefly toy with trying to build a simpler website from a free wordpress theme, to fill in for the 'This Way' website. 


This is closer to my original sketch for the website.

Again, though, I abandoned this concept because I was having trouble changing the mechanics of what is essentially a basic blog template into something that is closer to being video-centric. While I was able to engineer this particular theme to look something like my original website sketch, I was not able to make the operations of the website work the way I wanted them to function. Again, this would have required a great deal of coding!


While the loss of the EYES website is disappointing, ultimately, it has worked out rather well. Firstly, I haven't yet completed a final cut of the Pilot and I'm not going to showcase a rough cut on a fully polished website! Secondly, I can use my web hosting package to build a website for myself! This is actually something that I've been wanting to do for a while and something I had put in my initial submission of the EYES Planning Portfolio: 


Professional Profile - This is not something I have to necessarily get marked on but it would be a nice side result of my project. At the moment, I have various online profiles scattered about all over the place and I've always wanted to make an About.Me style hub page that I could integrate all of my other profiles into. Basically, an online CV/professional identity page that would go beyond and be more personal than a LinkedIn profile. Providing I pull it off, EYES and the CEP module would act as a nice testimonial to all the skills I am going to flaunt on this page.



Therefore, the website has a longevity that will persist beyond my participation in this module and, surely, that is the point of the module!