Prototype 4

Dear Readers,


Prototype 4 currently under the works can be captured in two pictures as it stands right now. I will add more pictures to this post as more pages show up on my site. This weekend, I went through and did some CSS changes and did a lot more REMOVING of things I had after my post-UX testing feedback than adding.

Site Title Bar with Large Jekyll and Hyde Image
The site title and display image originally. The Jekyll & Hyde image is now going to be changed.


Bottom of Home Page with menu bar at bottom
I took out all of the subscription information and basically the long scrolling of various things to click to make the home page more clean. This was based on feedback. The portfolio section is to be filled with six grid boxes (to be done). I have removed the top menu bar as well, and there will only be one at the bottom of the page as opposed to top to had a unique flavor and also ensuring readers scroll past the portfolio section where essentially all of the site content will be arranged. The menu bar tabs are currently filler items to be altered.




My Coming of Age Tale

Dear Readers,

Hello, it’s me here. So it’s been quite a week, and I have been bouncing all over the place,and tangentially so has my digital project, but in a great, creative-energy bursting way. This week, for the THIRD time— I changed my WP theme on my site. The first one changed because it was a bit too retro. The second one was a minimalist theme but parts of it crashed when I switched to https, so it seemed best to switch again. That was all before this week; this week, I enacted my new theme, which itself took a while of reconceptualizing the site’s presentation. The content still needs to be put into there and I’m working on making a video now. I hope something of all these dreams gets done this week.


On to my more important story I’ve been dying to share with all of you ever since it hit me sometime in the wee hours of the night sometime in the middle of the week: I’m dropping the acts and the masks. I’m Ikra— yep, that’s the girl behind Fern and everything I’ve posted on here. I tried to find every way to run from myself, and I didn’t really realize I was doing that. First, it was the desire to narrate my project from St. Valentine’s voice— that quickly became impossible with my taste for literalism. I’m not a Saint, how could I even pretend without doing a bad job? Then, it was Fern speaking— but making a whole new Twitter account to just say everything I could say on my actual Twitter account to my class + 100s of other followers (many my friends) looking back just sounds ridiculous. If Fern is just Ikra, why not just be Ikra (on Twitter at least where she already existed). Why was I trying to hide my own life from myself and people who knew me so much? I’m still not sure, but my guesses: I doubt so much of what I do, am super conscious about it, and putting myself out there scares me. It’s an act of vulnerability, and well, I guess I just have a hard time being open with people.

I’m not really one to trust

but once place I have been trusting is in this reflection process and it has allowed me to be more open about a lot of what has been going on behind the scenes of my Valentine’s Day investigation. I’ve also seen the fruits of these process blogs, especially when— immediately after I had that lightbulb moment this week of using my actual personal Twitter account I’ve had for years @Ikrathinks— the funny thing was that  the first thing I thought about was how I couldn’t wait to share this in my process reflection blog this weekend. Yes, seriously— I even came up with a name for my process blog then and there…something like “coming of age” through the course (hence, this blog’s name). In the becoming of my project has been the becoming of myself. And this little spot on my domain is the sweet-spot that integrates the what I do with who I am, the place where I get to authentically speak and has become more and more dear to me as time has gone on. “That special little place” we all have somewhere in- or out-side of us has been, for me, this place, these process reflection blogs.

Alright, enough mushy stuff now. TTYL, got a lotta work to do in the finishing up of my website (for whatever finished means).

Bitmoji Cheering "Whoo!"
So me this past week, whoo!


Ya girl Ikra

The Face Behind Fern 

User Testing– Super Confused

Hello ENG306,

I did some user testing of my site today. I am going to be moving to a new theme again because of a technical error but haven’t implemented that new theme yet, so my site was rather dry. From it, I realized that the appearance of the site was much better than the previous one I had, but my users (my two sisters) were generally confused about what my site was about. I tried to avoid doing most of the explaining, but it turned out that I needed to explain it to them after a while, so they could understand what I was trying to do.

User testing is so incredibly helpful, and I hope to do more of it in the coming weeks. I learned that I need to be very clear and straightforward because having a site on Valentine’s Day is already a bit different and it is isn’t obvious WHAT kind of information I am trying to convey. I got some good feedback of making sure I clearly, explicitly spell out what I’m trying to do in a sentence or two somewhere on the landing page.

I also received feedback on the new idea I’ve been working with on calling my site something like: Valentine’s Day: Jekyl & Hyde, to capture both the authentic sentimentality and value of the holiday but also the darker sides such as its imperialistic spread to other countries and how St. Valentine’s name has been co-opted.


I tried thumbs up Bitmoji
Bitmoji of the Week: This says, “I tried” in Spanish. Despite various technical difficulties, this week I have been working away and feeling good about it too. Looking forward to tweeting out my text soon and making more design changes.


Until Next Time I’ll be Swimming in the V-Day Love,



Customers as Guests

Old Book Party


Invited guests are something unique…they are people who may be strangers but for whom we want to show a really great time because we’re hosting the party.

Joshua Porter

 34/52 Weeks of UX Design


In Week 34, Joshua Porter sheds light on how to make the user experience better for our USERS. He highlights the company Amazon and its leader, Jeff Bezos, for how they view their customers.

Porter quotes Jeff Bezos, who once said:

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.

Porter goes on to explain that our users are not just “leads,” “clients,” or other potentially derogatory terms. They aren’t objects we are seeking out, nor are they customers we are trying to ensnare into buying our products. Sure, some of that may have truth to it. More than any of these labels, Porter points out how our users are first and foremost our guests, and we should treat them as such.

He leaves usOld Book Party with a final reflection question: “Are you talking about your customers in a way that distances them, or in a way that brings them closer?”

I found this UX Design principle really helpful because it gets us out of the mindset of trying to “sell” a product to our customers or trap them into coming to our website, and instead views them as invited people for whom we bear the responsibility. Our attitude as designers shifts when we think of any visitors of our site as guests, people we are inviting into our home, as opposed to people who are here for a service or because they need us. The responsibility is shifted from their shoulders onto ours to make sure we “host the party” well, that is, make sure our readers have an informative, enjoyable experience in a way that they may want to come back, or at least may tell others about it. And word of mouth travels fast.

I think all of the design principles we have learned so far feed into creating such a guest atmosphere. Let’s revisit those with the video, End of Semester UX Design Party, before we move forward.

One company I find that has treated its customers as guests particularly well is GiftTree, who I ordered from when I was studying abroad in Peru. I wanted to deliver a gift to my sister, living in Charlotte (USA), for her birthday. They treated me so kindly. I got a discount for signing up. They emailed me letting me know my gift was on the way and when it had arrived. They also send emails that make the users feel very welcome, giving them exclusive access to discounts and coming up with clever, creative, and punny emails. GiftTree Email

On top of all this, I think the best part is how they have a live chat option and a direct phone number that I can call at any time if I am struggling with anything. It enormously amplifies my user experience, and I truly feel treated like a guest at Gift Tree.

Discretionary Note: This post is not an ad sponsored by Gift Tree, nor have I received any financial contribution from them.

On Resisting Perfectionism

Hello ______________ (Fill in Your Own Name in Your Head Here),

So I’ve always known I’m a perfectionist, but I think it was really only in this week that I saw how much of a paralyzing problem it can be.  I almost didn’t want to go to class because I was so ashamed that I didn’t have a complete rough draft of my site content ready. I felt behind. Despite all of this, or perhaps because of it, I was encouraged by professors to still share what I have and not let that discourage me from coming to class. Suzanne, one my professors, encouraged me to embrace the unfinished, the partial, the not-quite-there yet and to still put my work out there. Her words, calling me to resist the urge toward perfection, have stuck with me ever since, and I hope they always will. In that moment when I read them, they struck a chord with me somewhere inside. “You’re not perfect, Fern, and you don’t have to be.” Wouldn’t life be so much better if I just took off those ridiculously-heavy shoulder-straps of perfectionism (that I have placed on myself btw)… and just took a breath, did what I could, and kept trying to better?

I don’t even know what more I could really ask of myself or anyone else.

It turned out that going to class this week was one of the best decisions ever. I got really good feedback on a lot things I was hung up over like my site name and how to arrange the content better, and it definitely wouldn’t have happened had Suzanne not uplifted me with her words and encouraged me to embrace myself and my work where I and it stood and to keep going. Thank you Suzanne and to people like her, from miserable perfectionists all around the world in need of taking off those shoulder-straps.

So all in all, some hard but necessary lessons learned this week. If I could just learn to inhabit the idea that I’m imperfect, flawed, and unfinished— and thus my work, reflecting me, will be that too, then I would really alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress in my life.

Me holding L for Loser
Bitmoji of the Week: I felt like such a loser the first days of the week, until Suzanne’s uplifting words struck some chords with me. So, let’s let this “L” be two-fold: standing for both the “Loser” I felt like for the first part of the week, and the “Learning Curve” I experienced thanks to a timely message from my professor that pulled me up.


Until Next Time When I’ll Still Be Resisting Perfectionism,



Designing, Designing & Now to Writing… (Fern)

Hello ENG306,


As I write this reflection, it has just hit me that I completely forgot to tweet for today! Wow, I guess I’ll begin with reevaluating my social media strategy. I now have a new Twitter @Fernthinks where I tweet about my project and engage with @dayofvalentine, my initial Twitter account that tossed me into an existential identity crisis for a week. I noticed that I either kind of tweet a bunch at once when I get on Twitter, or I just forget to get on for days (despite having the app on my phone and being logged into both of my accounts). My new strategy: I’m going to put alerts in my phone reminding me to Tweet and I’m going to try to make it a habit to come up with content for the Tweet before each class. This is because I have also realized that when I get ready to post something….ah! I never know what to post sometimes, and it feels like I’m just tweeting for the sake of not looking like an inactive user.

This week, we did a lot of prototyping and some user experience testing on Monday. I’ve found myself struggling with balancing the FORM/DESIGN component and the CONTENT part of the site. While I’ve been tampering a lot with my site and how I want it to look, I have not been dedicating NEARLY as much time to writing thorough, precise, clean paragraphs of content. I guess it’s just been harder for me to do it given I am not writing a paper. However, I like the challenges and new territory of digital scholarship and I’m looking forward to this writing intensive weekend I am about to have.

May the Force Be With You Bitmoji
Bitmoji of the Week: May the force be with me as I embark on this weekend journey of writing, revising, and having a first full draft of all my TEXT ready to go for Monday. And I totally feel like this was my week: battling all the challenges and WordPress struggles that came up this week with an optimistic attitude that the stars will align and it will all work out.

Cheers to that~

Until next time to the three people who have made it down here,

I am only more and more convinced no one is reading these minus my professors,

but I’ll sign it off anyways,



Prototype II (Fern)

Why hello there!

Let me just give you the links off the bat:

Valentine’s Day Prototype II

Google Document of all Site Content

For my second prototype, the images aren’t vastly different from my first prototype and the content is still to come. I’ll be adding the bulk of it over the next few days. So far, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get a 3d globe onto my “Going Global” page as well as how to have a more effective and useful space of the primary sidebar on the right hand side of the home page. Suzanne showed me this student’s website about Claude McKay with a pop-up globe, which I wanted something of the sort for my own as well. I am also working on building a timeline to go in the “timeline” page, and it is now going to be through the JS Knightlab tool as opposed to the Neatline. I have added a “scholar’s corner” page where something of a synthesized image of the scholarly debate as well as my literature review will go, and I have changed the name of the website from “St. Valentine” to St. Valentine’s Day. I have also moved the “Who was St. Valentine?” blog post off the home page into the Menu item (a category) called St. Valentine. That is where I will explore more details about the saint in particular. The menu bar items are still in a little bit of flux and I think I may eliminate some because it feels overcrowded right now, and I don’t want my content to suffer as a result.


Here’s what it looks like for now:

Site Home Page
I added a new page that will also hopefully have an image and be more inviting. I’m not sure what else should go on the landing page as of yet. Notice the new menu bar items.
Scholar's Corner Web Page
This is where I will put my literature review, once I have fixed it up more. I will also draw the scholarly debates as we have done in class, and paste that image into here.
Right Sidebar of Home Page
I also included this image to show how in the workshop session in class today, I worked with Suzanne to see how better to use this space. It has been difficult to figure how to change the color from white to something else, but I’m working on it. These are all widgets, but they will probably change and now remain the ones they are now.


Stay posted for more!



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