Expression Engine – Portfolio site – just started

 Design  Comments Off on Expression Engine – Portfolio site – just started
May 232011

HI team

I was so impressed with Expression Engine I bought  a copy and starting rebuildng my portfolio site – take a look all draft at this stage but work in progress – I am adding paypal next to make some money I hope from a idea I have – please take a look soon to see that idea in practice !

I completed the tutorial in .Net magazine and now will be tweaking and reworking but you can see the start if you are interested

Try :

 Posted by at 9:24 am

New Homepage

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on New Homepage
May 222011

As we were ask to update our homepages and make sure that all we have done so far is linked there, I thought of taking this opportunity to redesigning my homepage with a look and feel that I feel more represented with.

I had a “to do” list in the back of my head for a long time and with this project I finally ticked “some” of those boxes! such as:

– The use of rounded corners with css3 (applied on the a:hover stage of links)

– The use of sprites for rollovers. (applied on thesis and Blog buttons)

– The use of position:relative to put element in different layers. (applied on thesis  button)

– Use of textures in the design.

– Use of unconventional diagonals.

– Use of Favicon.

My “to Do” list is infinite! As long as I tick boxed (one of my favorite things to do : ) ) the list seems to grow more and more. But hey…. this journey is so enjoyable. Tick! tick! tick!

Here is the link to my homepage. Hope you like it

Analysing SEO

 Coursework  Comments Off on Analysing SEO
May 222011

For this (rather belated) piece of coursework we were asked to analyse three websites, identify their key phrases, their Google ranking for these phrases, their page rank and site traffic. I’ve decided to focus on car parts suppliers, because I’m building a car and I buy a lot of car parts.

Continue reading »

A Flexible Mind

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on A Flexible Mind
May 172011

One thing that’s become clear to me throughout the course of this year is that I’m stuck in my ways. After the initial sketches, all my visual designs start in the same way: a 12 column grid, 960px wide. If I’m feeling particularly daring I’ll stir things up with a 16 column layout (you devil you).

A few days ago I decided that it was time to make a change. I took the momentous decision to follow the One True Path to Wisdom (a.k.a. responsive web design). I was going to claw my way out of the stone age and into a shiny new era of iFriendly designs. I would throw off the shackles that had held me back for so long and start creating designs that flexed. Hurrah! I even started to write a blog post about it.

It was while writing that blog post, and explaining the reasoning behind my decision, that I noticed I was an idiot. What I was about to do was spend a huge amount of time and effort dragging myself out of a rut only to hop straight into the next rut along. In the process I was going to wilfully discard years of hard-won experience. It was like buying a ratchet set then getting home and throwing away all of the spanners. Continue reading »

Poetry site and visual hierarchy

 Applied Art  Comments Off on Poetry site and visual hierarchy
May 142011

Hi All,

I thought I’d give a comment to the poetry site project that we’ve done as we aren’t having a crit for it.

For my site, I decided to showcase the poetry of Sylvia Plath.

(Please click here to go to my site)

Plath has been an inspirational figure to many women. During her lifetime, her preposition for equality between women and men was considered radical and even now, in the modern age, people still look to her as a martyr for feminist ideals.

I chose Plath in particular as I studied her work during A-Level. To me, it felt quite symbolic to work on Plath again at this stage in my life, as during A-Level she really inspired me to go out and live my life the way I’d like to. And as we all know, on finishing my Law degree I came to do this Masters in Web Design. So for Plath to prop up again, right at the end of this Masters, felt amusingly cyclical for me.

The site that I have created is as if it would be a fully functional site for Plath. Hence the inclusion of the search bar and the alphabetical glossary index on the side. If it wasn’t for copyright issues (her work will go to the public domain 70 years after her death…only another 22 more years to go!) I would actually consider making a site about Plath showcasing her poetry.

For its design, I have chosen to use varying shades of grey, as Plath’s work tends to veer to the more sad and emotional feelings that she experiences.

In terms of type I used Google Web Fonts and used the font Arvo for the headings, Arimo for the body text and Yanone Kafeesatz for the glossary links. I wanted a more modern take on Plath so I avoided the use of traditional serif fonts for the body content. However I did use a more modernised serif font for my branding, to enforce the connotation of a poet and academia.

I’ve really enjoyed this typography poetry project and in completing it, I actually feel as if I have improved in terms of my design skills. I’m definitely looking more towards visual hierarchy with my type as well as elements on my page. And it seems to have clicked in terms of this and my user’s experience.

I will link you guys to some really useful articles that helped me, hope you enjoy Plath and her poetry!


Typographic contrast GIF
This is a GIF file from Nick La, the creator of Web Designer Wall. This one resource is what really made me think a lot more and understand the concept of visual hierarchy. Triple thumbs up from me.

Typographical Contrast Article
The above GIF file came from this article which is equally as great.

Ten Web Typography Rules
I really liked this article. Some of the rules are a bit obvious, but sometimes it’s good to state them! There are gems in here though for typographical ideas and visual hierarchy.

Google Web Fonts

 Posted by at 1:11 pm

Poetry Site

 Applied Art  Comments Off on Poetry Site
May 122011

For our Applied Art poetry site project, I decided to feature the work of Philip Larkin. I have tried to create a design that is attractive, but appropriate for the tone of Larkin’s poems. He was renowned for having a particularly dark and gloomy outlook on life, hence my use of black and grey with some sombre accent colours.

With regards to typography, I have focused strongly on font type, font size, visual hierarchy and line and letter spacing. I decided to use Droid Sans and Droid Serif which are both web fonts available to use via Google Web Fonts. I feel that these two fonts contrast very nicely, helping to create both attractive headers and neat body copy.

I have also added a letterpress effect to the site title and the drop cap at the start of each poem. This was achieved using css3 but degrades nicely through older browsers.

I hope you enjoy my design and the wonderful (although somewhat sad) poems.

 Posted by at 10:35 am

Typographic design for a poetry website (project 2)- Casey

 Applied Art  Comments Off on Typographic design for a poetry website (project 2)- Casey
May 102011


Please find my project attached. I have enjoyed putting together this piece and it was a great journey learning about this poet and enjoying his wonderful poems. Inspirations have come from many arenas and I have experimented with fonts, text etc……  in unusual places …

I selected Richard Frost  for my poet – in the notes on each page I mention why each poem has been selected for showcasing and indeed information regarding my typographic inspiration

Regards Casey

 Posted by at 6:40 pm

What is competitor analysis and how should web content planners set about it? Use your own website as an example

 Content Management, Coursework  Comments Off on What is competitor analysis and how should web content planners set about it? Use your own website as an example
May 032011


Competitor analysis is a term used in marketing and strategic management. It means “assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors” and helps defining competitive strategy (1).

The objectives of analysis include defining possible changes competitors might make to their strategies and how they will respond to moves occurring in the market (2).

Competitor analysis, according to Michael Porter, is also based on asking yourself three questions:

  • “Who should we pick a fight with in the industry, and with what sequence of moves?”
  • “What is the meaning of that competitor’s strategic move and how seriously should we take it?”
  • “What areas should we avoid because the competitor’s response will be emotional or desperate?” (3)

“Clearly all significant existing competitors must be analysed. However, it also may be important to analyse the potential competitors that may come on the scene” (4).


  1. Future goals
  2. Current strategy
  3. Assumptions
  4. Capabilities (5)

Michael Porter divided these points into two groups: understanding what drives the competitor (future goals and assumptions) and competitor’s current strategies, strengths and weaknesses (current strategy and capabilities). He mentions that less attention is paid to comprehend competitors’ purposes (6). Aiming to understand broadly what are their ambitions will definitively helps us establish a better strategy for our business.

Picture 1 – Micheal E. Porter, Competitive Strategy. Techniques for Analysing Industries and Competitors, Published New York : Free Press, 2004, p. 49.

Future goals (7) can be related to finance, targets, technology, social performance etc. Once competitors’ goals are defined, it’s easier to predict “whether or not each competitor is satisfied with its present position and financial results, and how likely that competitor is to change strategy”. The diagnosis of future goals also helps to forecast their reactions and initiatives.

Assumptions (8) refer to two categories: competitor’s assumptions about itself and about the industry and the other companies in it. They “guide the way the firm behaves and the way it reacts to events”. We should be aware that not all assumptions are precise. Sometimes they may lead a business to a wrong direction. Blind spots are “areas where a competitor will either not see the significance of events (such as strategic move) at all, will perceive them incorrectly, or will perceive them only very slowly”.

The analysis of current strategy (9) is based on describing “current strategy of each competitor”.

Competitor’s capabilities (10), the final point of competitor analysis, “is a realistic appraisal” and evaluation.

Picture 2 – Robert M. Grant, Contemporary Strategy Analysis, Published Oxford : Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2008, p. 108.


Competitors can be grouped in different categories, to help us define our aims and targets (11).

We can divide our competitors into strong and weak. Although competing against less powerful companies is easier and may require less effort, challenging stronger ones will help establishing your position from the beginning.

Competitors can be also defined as close and distant. It’s more obvious to select competitors among those who are more approximate. It influences the selection of our target market and business niche. It’s also worth keeping an eye on distant competitors, those who’s business doesn’t seem related to ours, because it can affect our strategies.

Good and bad competitors refer to those who play industry rules and those who make more risky moves. This category of competitors has its effect on the equilibrium.

No matter which category of competitors will be considered the most significant, there is no doubt that each of them should be taken into consideration and analysed. The better we examine the market and our competitors, the easier it will be to specify our aims. Benchmarking is the action of learning from the best companies, implementing their best practice into our projects and improving them (12). Competitive Intelligence means analysing available information about our rivals in order to predict their strategies and make our decision making more efficient (13).


Customers can be also divided into groups: valuable / not valuable, vulnerable / not vulnerable (14).

Picture 3 – Philip Kotler, Kevin Lane Keller, Marketing Management, Published London : Persons Education Ltd., 2009, p. 340.

The picture above compares various types of customers and suggests which group is worth keeping an eye on. It’s interesting to observe the the once that can influence our business are the ones from extreme top left and bottom right corners. These customers, defined as either valuable and vulnerable or not valuable and not vulnerable, are driving our business by giving us profit and interest in what we do.



To analyse GB Posters website I will use Michael Porter’s four diagnostic components: future goals, current strategy, assumptions and capabilities.

Future Goals
One of the aims of GB Posters could be to compete with international posters and prints suppliers. This will involve establishing contacts with local printing-houses. Opening a POD service outside UK to operate in foreign markets would allow them to deliver products from Britain internationally at lower prices.

Current Strategy
They offer a huge range of products and deal with recognised companies in Britain, such as HMV, Amazon,

They claim to be the biggest supplier of posters in the UK market.

They provide a wide range and variety of products (prints, badges etc.) and they have competitive prices.

I can see myself competing with GBPosters in terms of specific and high quality products. I also believe that the possibility of interaction with poster supplier (here: emerging artist) can make each transaction unique.
Providing potential buyers with useful information about products on offer (event posters) makes them more accessible.



  1. Wikipedia, Competitor analysis, available online, accessed on 13th March 2011.
  2. Micheal E. Porter, Competitive Strategy. Techniques for Analysing Industries and Competitors, Published New York : Free Press, 2004, p. 47.
  3. Ibidem, p. 47.
  4. Ibidem, p. 49-50.
  5. Ibidem, p. 48.
  6. Ibidem, p. 48.
  7. Ibidem, p. 50-51.
  8. Ibidem, p. 58-59.
  9. Ibidem, p. 63.
  10. Ibidem, p. 63.
  11. Philip Kotler, Kevin Lane Keller, Marketing Management, Published London : Persons Education Ltd., 2009, p. 339-340.
  12. Ibidem, p. 340.
  13. Robert M. Grant, Contemporary Strategy Analysis, Published Oxford : Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2008, p. 107.
  14. Philip Kotler, Kevin Lane Keller, op. cit., p. 340-341.
 Posted by at 11:45 pm

App production and web design

 Content Management, Coursework  Comments Off on App production and web design
May 032011

This is an expanded version of a presentation that I gave in class on the 23rd of March 2011. Original presentation (pdf).

How are apps produced and how could they work as an alternative or supporting publishing format for web content creators?

What is an App?

Strictly speaking ‘app’ is just an abbreviation of the word ‘application’ and so could be applied to any piece of software. However with the rise of the smartphone, and in particular the introduction of Apple’s App Store, it has acquired a more specific meaning: a software application which runs natively on the operating system of a smartphone or tablet computer. Although the word app was at one time closely associated with Apple’s iPhone, it has now assumed a more generic meaning. Continue reading »