Peer Review #2: Take a trip around ‘Planet Vanessa’

I got to review the different design aspects of Planet Vanessa this week. Stick around to explore this week’s blog with me!

Planet Vanessa / Home Page

About Planet Vanessa

Planet Vanessa is a personal blog run by Vanessa, a second-year university Business student, that covers everything and anything on her mind that week—travel adventures, lifestyle content, and lots more.

Design at a glance: My first impressions

As Gertz notes in his article, ‘How to survive the digital apocalypse,’ the pattern of a website’s design “becomes its own trademark,” and Planet Vanessa’s design scheme does just that.

When it comes to design, Planet Vanessa shines. The first thing that catches my eye is the outer-space theme of the website, which ties in nicely with the concept of it being Vanessa’s ‘planet.’ The dark colour palette together with the stars allow readers to feel like they are exploring Vanessa’s world as they read, making for a very personal, one-on-one experience.

Even more so, her website features a logo that encapsulates everything that this blog is: the world that is Vanessa’s mind.

Planet Vanessa logo

While this blog was created using WordPress—a website-building platform that Gertz would say is “clamouring” for our jobs with its quick-and-easy automated design capabilities—I still sense a personal and original touch to the website. Again, the thought put into each design element makes it stand out from the typical templated or cookie-cutter website.

But anyway, let’s take a closer look at how Vanessa’s website works.

“How it works”—UX Design

Gertz notes that there are generally two elements of web design: user experience (UX) design and visual/user interface (UI) design. UX covers everything from the layout of a website to how users interact with the website as a whole. Meanwhile, UI focuses on specific visual elements that users use to interact with the website.

Skimming over the different pages on Planet Vanessa, I appreciate the clean and simple single-column layout used throughout. Rather than having our eyes bounce around the page as we preview each post with a multi-column layout, the single-column structure allows readers to focus on one post preview at a time. Not only that, but each page looks very concise and uncluttered.

Single-column layout in Planet Vanessa’s web pages

Something that I would love to see in the overall UX design in the future is an updated header and navigation bar combination.

While I enjoy the hierarchy of elements with the Planet Vanessa logo in the header with the website name and navigation bar directly below, I feel that everything could be placed on the same level of the hierarchy.

I can visualize the Planet Vanessa logo taking the place of the website name and “Welcome to my blog” on the left-most side of the navigation bar.  Additionally, by condensing the logo onto the same level as the navigation bar, each webpage could gain screen space for readers to preview Vanessa’s content.

Planet Vanessa’s header and navigation bar

Overall, I really enjoy the layout and navigability of Vanessa’s site.

“How it looks”—Visual/UI Design

Looking at the visual components of Planet Vanessa, I can say that they all complement each other nicely. For instance, the bubbly font used in the headings matches the energy of the outer-space theme seen throughout. On top of this, the contrast in colour between the white text and the dark space-textured background allows for an easy read.

Planet Vanessa / Blog Posts

The pop of colour in some headings create a fun feel to the website as well. In ‘Thrifting 101,’ we can see the use of blue and pink in the content headings to differentiate between sections of text while it adds to personality to the post.

Planet Vanessa / Thrifting 101

Another component that I appreciated was the incorporation of images and emojis in Vanessa’s blog posts. Not only do images help readers visualize the messages you are trying to communicate, but they also provide breaks between chunks of text which make the reading experience even more enjoyable.

Planet Vanessa / 30 Hours in Calgary

My final thoughts on Planet Vanessa  

Overall, Vanessa has done an amazing job incorporating different design elements to create a consistent, personal, and memorable blog.

As Gertz says, “We can’t design experiences. Experiences are reactions to the things we design.”

From the layout and interaction qualities to the actual visual elements, this blogprovides readers with a reading experience to remember. I can’t wait to read more from Planet Vanessa. Make sure to go visit Vanessa’s blog to keep up with her updates!






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