Concept and Overview
Jig of the Irish is series of online platforms which produce articles, event information, advice and photography. There is limited platform for Irish dancers to interact with across Australia. It was designed to be a simplistic site of which most people would be able to understand as there is no specific age, ability or gender targeted as an audience. This is because it would better meet the purpose of the site to include all. The Irish dancing community ranges in age from children to the elderly, so the website needed to be accessible for all to use.
Originally, Jig of the Irish looked very basic, but was not entirely functional, this heavily impacted accessibility. However, the initial theme was similar in the way that all buttons were shown, and the widgets were placed differently. Initially there was going to be more photography on the site of dancers, dresses and promotional content for Irish dance schools within South Australia. However, this was not achievable without further discussion. The decision was made to base the site on tips and ideas. Dancers were used but not fully identified which helped keep permissions at bay.
Visual Communication and Design
The design for Jig of the Irish has continued to be flexible and impressive. The first picture viewed on the website is the cover photo which shows impressive green clovers with white block style writing which says, “Jig of the Irish”. This was done because the colour green is strongly associated with Irish culture, along with clovers. This can be seen on St Patricks day when all things Irish are celebrated (Waxman, 2017). It looks extravagant without going over the top, as Irish dance dresses have complex designs, with some of them creating illusions. In a world full of makeup and Swarovski crystals, the design could not be boring (Crystal Parade, 2015). However, the community is not completely made up of girls, so I kept the design gender neutral so that it would appeal to more people. The theme was chosen because it was flexible to work with as colours and fonts were easily interchangeable and changes could be made easier. The concept was to look more complex than is; complex but simple.
Articles posted on the site quickly became the main focal point as they would be the object that would keep people on the site. Apart from the attraction of the graphics, information and ideas would keep somebody interested in the dance scene on the site longer. However, to attract viewers to articles, some basic photography was used. Photography was kept simple with limited editing as the site is about tips and explanations of real and everyday dancing objects. Images used in articles were always credited if not original material, as they provided support to the information on pages. It is important to use an image which will give the viewer an idea of what is happening in the article, but what is in the picture needs to interest the viewer (Rowse, 2017).
User Interface Design
The website is designed to flow so that the audience can access relevant information easily. It is important that a platform is designed so that it isn’t limited, but still features ease of access as a priority (BBG Communications, 2013). The design is based around how viewers use the website, as a few tests of the site showed that people were wanting to see pictures and went through sites on an interesting topic/picture basis. However, some users were quick to jump to the gallery which has some limited photography. As the home page is the initial page that is viewed, most of the site was designed around the functionality of the home page. It has been designed so that the name of the site is the first thing seen. The main menu is pictured at the same time to show the viewer that they have options to go, but lower on the page is the beginning of the first picture. By using article captioning on the bottom of an article, an image can capture the attention of the user, grabbing the curiosity of users for longer attention on the website. Other feeds are also embedded into the page such as the “Jig of the Irish” twitter and Instagram posts. This allows the website to look more established and is another object for a user to engage with on the site. The design serves the needs of the audience because while it is basic, it is also captivating and can appeal to people of different needs
The top of the Jig of the Irish home page, showing the follow bar which is always visible with scrolling and the tip of an exciting picture.
User Experience across Digital Platforms
Social media has played a huge role with the promotion and perception of Jig of the Irish. This is because having a larger social platform has allowed the site to reach a larger audience and made the site more accessible for people with different preferences. However, when the link was shared on a personal Facebook page, views began to rise from personal contacts.
Instagram was one of the first social media accounts to be linked to the Jig of the Irish website. This was beneficial because it allows pictures with limited text to be posted and gave the audience a taste of the website. It was also a good way to post without having to go into depth. Using hashtags really helped get attention on the Instagram, especially common ones like “#Adelaide” and “#Dance”. Tagging made it more available to those outside of the dance community to bring their attention to the page, while tagging dance in general gave the opportunity for dancers of other styles to participate and maybe take an interest in Irish Dancing.
Twitter was also connected to the website at a similar time and made some difference, but with different hashtags. It was best to use hashtags like “#Riverdance” as they connected to the popular dance shows. This meant that people following the tweets from those accounts could also see posts from Jig of the Irish. Twitter was a good place to put a few links to the page and to promote singular posts.
Tumblr was the final type of social media created for Jig of the Irish. However, it wasn’t overly fantastic as the culture on Tumblr is completely different and the blog style posting was too similar to other social media platforms used. Tumblr did not seem to bring in as much traffic to the page.
A link to Instagram post showing likes gained from using #Adelaide.
A link to a retweet post of Irish dance steps to Ed Sheeran Music.
The Audience engaged with the concept better as more posts were added and after sharing the links on a personal account. However, it is presumed that while people haven’t liked, shared or retweeted posts, they have used the links to access the page.
Twitter analytics showed promise on tweet impressions, which rose dramatically within a twenty eight day period. Only one follower was lost, but that may be due to an account closing or somebody trying to cut down on how many accounts they follow.
Tumblr and Instagram have not shown much of a change, with barely and rise or loss of followers and likes. These accounts are best used to keep posting and attempting to gain more clicks on the website link. A reason for not as many clicks from these sites may be because people are weary of a virus link and may think the accounts are spam.
Statistics for the website are pleasing with forty-two views from Australia and one view from Japan since first of June. The most popular page has been the home page, closely followed by the article about the Australian Irish Dancing Championships being held in Adelaide for its fiftieth Anniversary. Statistics show that many of the views were referred by links posted on Facebook, while some viewers found the webpage through a google search. Both interestingly and surprisingly, the most popular time for user viewing was on Fridays at twelve a.m. The implication of this might mean that the home page gives the viewer too much information.
Tweet impressions were up 340.1% from last measurement.
Referrals to the website mainly came from Facebook, with one Google search.
Future Directions and Development
The first step into future direction would be to upload more photography of South Australian Irish dancers and to promote the events related to this activity. It would be more beneficial for the website to become more independent and have a domain away from WordPress as it would show professionalism and credibility (Barron, 2017). In the future, the site will be redesigned to have a discussion page where people can post threads. Currently, users are restricted to leaving comments on posts, and must provide their name and email address for moderation. It would be fantastic to remove the need for the name and email to be provided for every comment by having a membership system similar to social media. To change the intended audience, the site could have a sub branch for Irish culture related events and discussion that are not directly related to dance. Social media accounts need to be completely redesigned with new photos and exciting new original media releases to build a strong and regular audience. The concept may change as popularity grows, branching into a clothing line is possible. Dance wear is always needing to be replaced. Jig of the Irish could become an Irish dancing household name.
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Barron, B 2017, Add or (remove) these 11 things from your WordPress site and look like a pro, wpmudev, viewed 8 June 2017, <https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/add-remove-from-wordpress/>.
BBG Communications, 2013, Social media’s ease of use and accessibility, BBG Communications, viewed 8 June 2017, <http://bbgcommunicationscustomerservice.com/social-media-communications/article/51.php>.
Crystal Parade, 2015, How to crystallize an Irish dance costume, Crystal Parade, viewed 8 June 2017, < http://www.crystalparade.co.uk/blog/crystallize-irish-dance-costume/>.
Rowse, D 2017, Telling stories with photos, Digital Photography School, viewed 8 June 2017, <https://digital-photography-school.com/telling-stories-with-photos/>.
Waxman, O 2017, How green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish, Time Inc., viewed 8 June 2017, <http://time.com/4699771/green-irish-st-patricks-day-color/>.