Peer Review #1: Exploring ‘Rojan’s Road to Roj’

I had the pleasure of reading Rojan’s Road to Roj this week, and I must say, I am hooked. So, follow along to hear more about this week’s blog!

Rojan’s Road to Roj / Home Page

Meet Rojan and the thought behind Rojan’s Road to Roj

Rojan’s Road to Roj takes readers along on Rojan’s transformation journey as she discovers and finds comfort within her best self. Drawing from her experiences as an international student studying Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and her variety of interests in everything from arts and technology to food and pets, Rojan provides us a personal look into the hardships and triumphs that she has faced over these past few years.

Ultimately, Rojan aims to share her experiences, lessons, and tricks with her audience in hopes of helping others through their own personal growth journey.

Thoughtful website design, the foundation of a memorable first impression

When you first land on Rojan’s blog, you are greeted by a branded and thoughtfully personalized website header. The logo is a simple hand-crafted line graphic of a woman meditating behind the words, Rojan’s Road to Roj. Meanwhile the background image is of a dock or pier facing the water and a gloomy overcast sky being cleared by the sun.

Rojan’s Road to Roj website header

Together, these two elements complement each other creating a sense of ease, calm, and tranquility.

Though once I read her ‘About Me’ page, I could not help but notice the parallels between her blog’s background and the website page header image (Note: I’m about to kick into my Communication Student gear and apply my learning from CMNS 223W… very exciting and so happy that I can do this with Rojan’s blog!).

As I briefly mentioned, Rojan’s blog focuses on her transformation journey over the course of the pandemic. She even detailed that this period had to be “one of the darkest times” in her life, but she eventually turned things around for the better.

Looking back on her page header, I can see some resemblances—the dark overcast clouds on the right side of the image being her “darkest times,” only to be outshone by the sunlight which represents her “glow ups” and her perseverance into her best self. I can only imagine that the meditating woman in the logo symbolizes Rojan finding peace and comfort as she works toward her best self.

In essence, this entire graphic is the reification—the representation or encapsulation—of Rojan’s story.

I also couldn’t forget to mention the attention to detail in the placement of the logo against the background image—the woman lining up perfectly with the image of the dock, illustrating the woman meditating on the dock itself as if she was meant to be there.

Everything about this site header is so calculated and purposeful. It is the perfect preface to Rojan’s site. Everything that follows, whether it be the fonts and accent colours used or the overall layout of her blog, makes for a website that is eye-pleasing and easy to navigate.

Developing her online self—from setting up WordPress to creating personal content

Personal cyberinfrastructure

Like with her website header, Rojan has put an immense amount of thought, time, and effort into her overall blog.

In her Process Post #2, Rojan entails the challenges she faced putting her blog together and that it was quite the intimidating process at first. Having previous experience using Wix and Squarespace, WordPress was a whole new world for her, but she took the time to study the system by referring to YouTube tutorials and blogs created by previous PUB 101 students.

It is evident that her efforts paid off. Her website’s design and content work cohesively, ultimately providing readers an eye-catching and insightful read. As Campbell highlights, building a personal cyberinfrastructure can not only enable one to develop the technical skills essential to maintain their digital life, but it also provides them a new mean of understanding how they learn and express themselves in today’s digital world. I think this part of Rojan’s journey is well-summarized by Campbell’s point.

The disinhibition effect

Reading through Rojan’s personal content posts (Roj Contents), I can sense a voice of openness, honesty, and comfort. In her post, Transformation #1-Power of Therapy, she speaks candidly about her experiences going to therapy after having to adjust to life in a new environment.

Traditionally, conversations surrounding mental health and seeing a therapist have been stigmatized by society, but Rojan does not hesitate to share these very personal experiences with her readers. I feel that her blog provides her a space to speak in confidence, a confidence that most individuals do not have in-person.

Suler calls this phenomenon the “disinhibition effect”. He explains we as humans are more comfortable doing things in the online world that we wouldn’t usually do in person. It’s simply a common understanding.

In the end, it is important for those of us who share parts of our lives online to remember that what we share is seen by our respective publics. As Warner reminds us, a public is a tangible audience “witnessing itself” in a visible space, and that space is that of our own. As a result, we sometimes will also sense the of intrusion of someone unknown to us in this personal space which can lead to anxiety and defensiveness—just something to keep in mind.

My final thoughts on Rojan’s Road to Roj

Overall, I enjoy the aesthetic and voice of Rojan’s work. You can tell that she has dedicated lots of thought and meaning into work, and I appreciate that. If I could make a suggestion, I think it would be nice to see some of the longer paragraphs in her blog be broken down into smaller chunks of text with spacing in between as this will allow for easier reading on the web. As well, consistent spacing between paragraphs can provide readers with a more comfortable reading experience. APLN does a great job at summarizing text spacing tips (see ‘Criterion: 1.4.12 Text Spacing’) if anyone is looking to learn more tips on website accessibility.

I am truly in awe of Rojan’s story and how far she has come already. While we are only a month into 2023, I am so excited to continue following her growth journey. From what I have seen thus far, her blog will have lots in store for her readers this year. With time, I know that Rojan will find comfort in herself, and I cannot wait to see her grow into ‘Roj’. Make sure to go check out Rojan’s blog to follow along on her journey!

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