The structure of the Major Project takes its lead from the Vitruvian principles of Commodity, Firmness and Delight, to which we add the non-Vitruvian principles of Business and Cultural Context.
The Vitruvian Principles
Vitruvius, in full Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, flourished 1st century bc, Roman architect, engineer, and author of the celebrated treatise De architectura (On Architecture), a handbook for Roman architects.
- Utilitas (Utility)
- It should be useful and function well for the people using it. We call this “Commodity”.
- Firmatis (Durability)
- It should stand up robustly and remain in good condition. We call this “Firmness”.
- Venustatis (Beauty)
- It should delight people and raise their spirits. We call this “Delight”.
Principled crit sessions :)
These principles will guide your project work. Over the coming weeks, you will present your progress in line with these themes.
Business & cultural context 09/12/20
The crit sessions start with context. While not everyone will be decided on an idea just yet, this sessions allows us to discuss alternative ideas, or different approaches to your existing idea. Take time with defining the purpose of your project, and consider its final setting and desired effect.
A website need not be commercial but there must be a set of clearly defined aims, explaining the reason for being “busy” on the website and for someone (you or a client) providing the necessary resources of time and money for its production and maintenance. It must have a purpose, even if that does not involve creating a revenue stream.
A website is not an independent entity, it is a part of a world wide web of websites and its existence can be rationalised with respect to trends in contemporary culture and society. It is important for students on this programme to examine the “bigger picture” in order to understand and place their own work in a wider cultural context.
The commodity presentation will describe the website content (text, images and other media), explain what form it will take, how it will be organised and how it can be found within the site. You will need to identify your target audience and explain how you have designed the content for them specifically, taking a user-centred design approach.
Commodity is very much to do with user experience (UX) but does not concern itself with visual design. Ultimately, the commodity theme is about identifying your audience and demonstrating how your content and information architecture will satisfy their goals.
Delight is all about the visual design of your proposal and may include an explanation of your logo/brand design, the choice of colour and typeface. You should consider the appropriateness of the look-and-feel of your website with respect to your target audience and the genre/niche you are in. Are you challenging convention with your design or conforming to type?
Prototype: Demonstration and Schedule of Works
Immediately before the summer break, you will present a prototype version of your website. It need not be feature or content complete but it should demonstrate the general design principles that you have identified as important in previous presentations. You must also present a schedule of works so that tutors can be confident that you understand what is required in order to turn your prototype into a fully-functioning website and that you have the time and expertise to action this. You should include an estimated date for site launch.
Your prototype presentation should include the following:
- A brief description and rationale for your project (you could use your Twitter description, manifesto, or elevator pitch).
- A summary of the business case and cultural context.
- A summary of the Commodity.
- A summary of the Firmness.
- A summary of the Delight.
A demonstration of your prototype. This may take various forms depending on the nature of your project, but the key point is that it must be rich enough for tutors to be able to clearly understand your vision for the completed site. For example, it could be done:
- via transitioned slides to show flow of user journey.
- as static prototype pages, HTML/CSS/JS only to show content/UI/layout.
- using static mock-ups and partial webpages to demonstrate interaction.
- A schedule of works. Break your activities down into separate tasks (e.g. content creation, theme design, implementation etc.), the more detail the better, and then estimate how long each will take. Set deadlines for each element and then present as a Gantt chart so we can clearly understand your proposed schedule (https://www.gantt.com/).