Improving Artistic Expression via FaceBook

Many of us use social media as a way to interact with friends and to share bits of meaningful information. FaceBook is a great way to bounce ideas off of people, and to also get good suggestions on how to improve projects.

FaceBook and UX

In a sense, Facebook dynamics lend themselves to seeking input on good user experience design. This practice can blur ethics a bit if overused, as most people don’t hang with friends on FaceBook to be marketing subjects; yet, I’ve found that as long as requests are not too frequent, and adequate thanks given, that people are willing to give feedback. It  often helps me to see the bigger picture in designing my current project.

The Story

I have self-published a number of books, and my skills have improved as I have repeated the process and learned the ropes along the way. A couple of years ago, I published a nonfiction book called Closing the Chapel Doors: A Guide to Letting Go of Religious Guilt and Fear. I never felt totally comfortable with the cover, so I redid it and threw the proposed covers onto FaceBook and asked my network of friends to weigh in.

book cover

Original Cover

This was the original cover, which was a remake after I learned Photoshop. I wanted to add some type of a religious feeling to the cover, but had struggled coming up with an idea that gave a suggestion of religion but not one that was weighed down by the tradition. I wanted to create the impression of moving towards the feeling of release and freedom from old beliefs.

After going around town taking photos of churches, I scrapped that image idea as too permanent. I came up with the idea of taking a photo of a handmade painted cross, since the cross has origins in pagan traditions and suggests a bigger picture playing out over time.

The Solution

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 4.55.56 PMa book cover

I made a new cover and redesigned the old one. Most of the feedback favored the more colorful version. People felt that the cover image on the left was too dark and repressive.

 

 

I also received feedback that the text was hard to read and then a library colleague reminded me that semi-colons are often more aesthetic in bibliographic records. Another friend suggested changing the “Closing” font to match the font on the cover with just the cross and then matching the author and subtitle fonts.  After looking at the suggestions, I agreed that they made the cover better. Our group project definitely improved the final product. I am grateful for people’s feedback.

book cover

 

 

 

 

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