Announcement: new Masters of Media blog!

On: October 12, 2007
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About Esther Weltevrede
Esther Weltevrede is a second year Media Studies Research Master student at the University of Amsterdam. Before studying New Media she attended the School of Arts in Breda where she received a Bachelor degree in Graphic Design. She is involved as researcher and coordinator in the recently founded Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam. DMI is dedicated to developing tools and methods for researching the ‘natively digital.’ Since this summer she is a member of GovComOrg, a foundation dedicated to creating and hosting political tools on the Web. Currently she is a part-time teacher Information Visualization at Master Editorial Design, Utrecht School of Art, and part-time teacher Public Design at Interactive Media, Hogeschool van Amsterdam.


new new gif
The masters of media blog is redesigned and updated! Since the beginning of this semester the masters of media v 2.0 have been posting on this blog. A new group of masters also needs a fresh new look. In this post you can read about the new features, as well as an evaluation of the collaborative process during the redesign of the blog.

Getting started
The past couple of weeks we collaboratively brainstormed and negotiated about the redesign of this blog. Most of the masters took on a task such as making a proposal for the design, linklist, tag cloud, navigation, and looking into new plugins and the new features of the WordPress 2.3 update. After this initial research we came together in a meeting with both master classes to vote on important decisions. In this group decision process we decided on some main issues for the redesign of this blog. After online/offline discussions Maarten’s layout proposal was voted on as best suitable. These group discussions turned out to be very productive for decisions on the general structure and reorganization. But once we got to implementing and refining the design group decision-making didn’t turn out to be as effective. During implementation of the new design, Erik came across some decisions that needed to be made more collectively. Group decision in class was not as productive on these specific issues that needed more close attention. Erik, Esther, Roos, and first year MoM blogger Anne got together on a Monday to work the whole evening on refinement and implementation of the design.

Redesign and implementation
The group of four turned out to be a good number for working effectively on these problems. One of the foremost issues addressed was the proposed header of the blog. scan meAlthough the Japanese people with cell phone taking a picture of our new MoM logo was very funny when it was proposed in class, it was not very “masters of media.” We needed something more “new media,” something more geeky, something we would blog about. In sync, Roos and Anne came up with the idea to use a QR-code of our blog URL as the image of our header. A nice extra of the QR-code logo is that it is great for hiding easter eggs. One is implemented, I’m sure others will follow soon. Besides some designer pixel frenzy and the proper implementation of these ideas we had to call it a night at around midnight.

Today Erik, Roos and Esther came together again to finish the blog for publication. The design was tweaked and some very nice plugins were added. The new most popular posts listing shows the most popular posts last month. Besides being a very nice addition in the side menu, this plugin also provides some nice stats at the backend. Since we wanted to write a post about this collaborative process collectively, we needed a new plugin that makes it possible to write a multiple-author post. This plugin automatically adds authors to the post when a post is edited and makes collaborative posts possible.

To do
Although we are very happy with the result of the blog so far, it is a blog and some important work still needs to be done. Always. We now have 403 posts, 837 comments, and 404 tags.

  • The tag cloud now represents a selection of the most used tags overall but needs some cleaning up (can be done at “manage tags”).
  • Although we collectively decided on a tag cloud and no categories, the discussion on a combination of tags and categories for navigation purposes might need to be addressed again. Navigation is not clear now and after all, a 404 on tags hints we need categories as well. An interesting analysis on the use of tags and categories can be read at Problogger. The tag cloud can use some redesign and might only list tags of the last x days.
  • A new cleaned up link list needs to be composed and put online.
  • We got a calendar, do we want it on the new blog and in what form?
  • Since we now have a QR-code that can serve as a logo on t-shirts and coffee mugs, and since we have been collecting cool quotes in the past couple of months, the Cafepress section of our blog will be updated soon.
  • Look out for bugs and report them.

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