The Context for this Post
This website was created for a publishing class at Simon Fraser University, a class about the publication of self in everyday life (more information on this class be found at this link). This has not yet been mentioned because this website is its own place and will continue to exist in perpetuity. One of the assignments for the class is a peer review of a classmate’s site which occurs in this post.
It should be noted that the sites created for this class are more than just websites, they are what Gardner Campbell describes as a digital infrastructure. Gordon defines a personal cyberinfrastructure for students as a place where students can share and record their work, rather than have it disappear deep into the files of their computer (you can read more about this concept in Gordon’s article here).
I was fortunate to have been assigned a fantastic classmate’s personal infrastructure. His name is Jim Y. Liu and his website is SliceOfJim.com.
To make this post, I have explored Jim’s site and reviewed the course content. In this post I share my analysis of Jim’s site and the consequent learnings that I will bring back to improve my own site.
SliceOfJim.com exists as a place where Jim intentionally captures slices (or moments) of his life.
On the page, This Site, Jim explains that the reason he chose to create such a personal site is that time is constantly passing, but by writing information about that moment it can be captured and continue to exist long after the time in which it occurred has passed.
On the page, The Author, Jim describes who he is. Jim is a twenty-year-old student at Simon Fraser University avid writer and reader, who enjoys balancing diligence and laziness. Jim loves learning about a variety of different things and always strives to enjoy the process and have fun.
Jim makes an interesting editorial decision in choosing to separate his about pages into one about the site and one about the author. I find that it is very engaging as it gets the reader to interact with the site. When viewing the about category you are first greeted with about the author, then at the bottom of about the author you can find a link to about the site.
What Jim is looking to create largely resembles what Tanya Basu describes as a digital garden in her article, Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet. Tanya defines digital gardens as open collections of notes, resources, sketches, and explorations. What separates digital gardens from blogs is that they are focused on the self rather than the audience. I see Jim’s page as a digital garden because his posts are focused on himself. It will be exciting to see how he cultivates it moving forward.
Praise for Jim
When reading Jim’s content it quickly becomes clear as to why he describes himself as an avid writer. He is incredibly well-spoken and very effective in sharing his ideas.
In his post, I. Am. Grooooooot! Marvel Embodiment, Jim is quick to embody Groot’s personality and utilizes self-deprecating humour when in the persona of Groot he writes
Almost all of Jim’s posts have photos or some other form of visuals too, which adds visual intrigue helping the user stay interested in the writing.
In his posts, it is also clear that Jim has worked hard to ensure that each one crafts a narrative, making for engaging and interesting readings.
The design of Jim’s website is also very appealing. It reminds me of playing cards, arranged in a way so you can see the necessary information from each card.
Typography: Jim uses fantastic typography utilizing quality font weights that denote a clear visual hierarchy.
Colour: Jim’s page also makes great use of colour. He has a blue background, a blue gradient behind his menu, a slightly off-white colour a sub-menu, and a white background behind his content. The colour palette compliments Jim’s work greatly making it easy to read and go through.
Jim’s website follows the four principles of accessibility outlined in the POUR framework.
Perceivable: Jim’s website can be perceived using the senses as it can be navigated visually, or a user could utilize a text-to-speech tool to navigate.
Operable: Jim’s website can be navigated entirely using the keyboard.
Understandable: Jim uses plain consistent language through which users can understand the messages Jim is converying.
Robust: Through my testing I have found Jim’s website works well on both mobile and desktop devices.
A great resource to learn more about these principles is Accessibility Principles – Accessibility Toolkit for Open Educational Resources (OER) – Library Guides at CUNY Office of Library Services.
Opportunities for Jim to Improve
When browsing Jim’s website I did note a few opportunities for improvement. I have outlined them here so Jim can choose to make adjustments if he agrees with my views.
- Peer reviews appears in the header twice. Once under PUB 101, and once as its own category. I would recommend moving it to just PUB 101, as we only have to complete two over the course of the semester.
- Under Slices of Jim, there is only one subcategory titled one slice. It does seem intentional, but I do think that it may be a bit confusing and it does seem slightly redundant as both categories show the same content.
- The website has a calendar on its sidebar. The purpose of this calendar is not immediately clear. Some context as to what it can be used for may be helpful for users.
Jim’s Online Self
Thus far, Jim has done a fantastic job developing his digital garden. I look forward to continuing to follow his website as a part of his site’s public and learning more from what Jim has to say.