Often, my close friends will pick a shirt off the clothes rack when we’re shopping or send me a song to listen to and say, “This is so you.” I think once you get to know someone, you begin to see an underlying theme to them. It’s when you see a movie or read a book and think “[Insert name here] would love this.” I can’t really explain this eloquently, but I guess you could call it character. Essentially, an e-portfolio is a showcase of your work, yourself. I haven’t thought of my e-portfolio too much, but I want future employers and fellow bloggers to open it and get a sense of my character, style, interests, and central beliefs.
Though I haven’t begun brainstorming, Chapter 7 from Writer/Designer outlines a helpful process: Mock up/storyboard–>rough cut–>feedback–>rough draft–>feedback–>final draft. At the core of this process is the idea that all the design and content choices should be guided by a consistent theme, a personality if you will. The rough cut sets the tone by including initial layout and stylistic elements. For instance, a dreamy, warm theme won’t use “Chillers” as a default font.
Luckily, the e-portfolio will already sample my vested interests through the re-purposing and re-mediation projects (world peace, human corruption, and strong familial values to name a few). But the picture isn’t complete. A full impression may not even be possible, but it’ll come close with the style of the webpage and media on it. I like simplicity so there probably won’t be more than three colors in a scheme, introduction text will be short, and pages will be limited.
Feedback also plays a major role in the process detailed in chapter 7. Essentially feedback is simple: Here is what I am trying to do. Tell me if I have done it. If not, how can I do it? Obviously, having a fresh set of eyes will highlight what’s off in your project. Peers can comment on if something distracts them, doesn’t make sense for the theme, or even grammatical errors. I like to think I’m artsy so I’d want my e-portfolio to be artsy as well. Feedback would let me know what areas accomplish this mood/theme and where I stray from it, for example.
But more importantly, critiquing someone else forces you to analyze WHY something does or doesn’t work. Why doesn’t that picture suit that theme? Why are five tabs better than three? Questions like these become lessons in what design choices are not only appropriate but effective. When I get wrapped up in my project, exciting ideas or flowery sentences often distract me from my desired finished product. Feedback keeps me in check.
In short, drafting and revising allows to always come back and reassess the essential elements of purpose, genre, and audience. It’s not enough to plant a seed, you have to know what your specific seed requires to bloom.