Skywatchdc Website Design Rationale

Skywatchdc ScreenshotThe Skywatchdc team chose the WordPress platform to host its website because of the simplicity and professional look.  After reviewing the free themes, we chose the Twenty Eleven theme because of the large header for a graphic at the top and the simple structure, with a menu at the top under the header, the ability to customize a sidebar of widgets, and an integrated search option.  So that the theme reflected the purpose of Skywatchdc, we settled on blue and white, the colors of a serene and non-threatening sky, and black as our color scheme for the website and our other materials.  The logo and motto, a blue aerostat shape with Skywatchdc in blues and whites and “Surveying Surveillance” in blue, all on a white background, fill the header.  On cropped-headernew2.jpgthe website, the background is a specially created gradient, gradually moving from the aerostat blue at the bottom to white at the top, a clean but thematic use of our color scheme.  Beyond the blues from the logo and white, we chose black text.  The black is easy to read on both blue and white and goes along with our simple and clean look, which is reflected in all of our publicity materials.  Against this background, our use of photographs and other colorful graphic elements pop and catch the viewer’s eye.  The font for the logo is a traditional, formal, and classic font, Plantagenet Cherokee.  The fonts used in the body of the poster and on our slides (Skia and Georgian) are less formal but still similar, simplistic, and easy to read. The font on our website has a similar feel and is the default font.

Within the constraints of a free WordPress website and the Twenty Eleven theme, Skywatchdc modified the homepage and the structure of each of our other pages.  We Skywatchdc Sidebarselected a graphic header-only format, without a title or explanation above it.  The left sidebar includes the option to follow the blog by email, shows the most recent Tweets from our linked @Skywatchdc Twitter feed, and provides links to the Archived Skywatchdc blog posts from previous months.  Skywatchdc also modified the page design for each of our pages so that they have the same customized left sidebar.

In order to organize the material posted to the website, Skywatchdc created five main pages: ‘Home’, ‘About Skywatchdc’, ‘Contact Skywatchdc’, ‘Deliverables’, and ‘Information Sources’.  Blogs, consisting of research summaries with graphics or brief descriptions of Skywatchdc’s actions, are posted to the ‘Home’ page in a chronological posting order and we Tweet whenever we post a new blog.  ‘About Skywatchdc’ has the proposal as it describes Skywatchdc’s purpose and the reason for its creation.  ‘Contact Skywatchdc’ has photos, contact information, and brief descriptions of the five Skywatchdc MenuSkywatchdc members.  ‘Deliverables’ is a parent page with the specific pages for the deliverables child pages under it (Poster, Brochure, etc.).  This allows us to add and update the deliverables over time on unique pages that are easy to find.  When we make changes or post new deliverables, we tweet that information so our followers can see the changes.  Finally the ‘Information Sources’ page consists of our combined regular and annotated bibliography for quick access.  

The overall website reflects a clean, simple, easy-to-use design, meant to integrate sky colors, JLENS shapes, and information and graphics into one cohesive whole.


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