Storehouse – 2018 Released

Monday, 25th March 2019

Since October 2o18, the Storehouse team has been hard at work for the ISSUE 18 of Storehouse. All departments focused on crafting the magazine and the roles they had to engage with in order to deliver quality content for students, made by students. The Storehouse team has worked hard for this release. We faced trials and tribulations here and there, but we pushed through and we have managed to release successfully on this day. The feedback has been so positive and outstanding so far. Stories being shared on Snapchat, Instagram, and multiple social media platforms, this has created great publicity for the university and Storehouse. Students who submitted their work to have it in the magazine have also benefitted, their work will be seen by the whole campus and people from the industry who grab a magazine copy will see the work that has been executed in this release.

What Is Storehouse

We are the independent student magazine of the Students’ Union at Norwich University of the Arts. Made by students for students, all under one roof.

Showcasing the diverse range of creative talent our university has to offer, we have tried to reinvent the traditional student magazine and turn it into our own platform to promote and inspire future creatives.

We have designated teams to hone our specialist skills and collaborate in the most effective way possible, resulting in collective creative outcomes that highlight the talent our university has to offer. We’re always learning and always tweaking our methods, meaning we’re getting bigger and better with each issue of the magazine.

Issue 18 is the 10th-anniversary edition of Storehouse, so we had to pull all the stops out. We ventured out of our comfort zone and dived into new realms of possibility, conjuring up an artistic overflow all bundled up into a double-sided flip magazine. Creativity from cover to cover. What more could you ask for? Storehouse, made by students for students. All under one roof.

You can see the website that my team and I have designed and developed here

My Role

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As the Head of Online, I was responsible for making the key decisions of designing and developing the website. Through the whole process, I made sure to involve my colleagues who were Michael, Corrina, and Jason in deciding how the website should look and whenever I made a change here or there, I always asked them for their feedback. They would then suggest changes such as “Make the text smaller”, “Change the color of the text to black instead, it could look better”,  and so on. During this process I also had them come up with their interpretation of how the navigation menu could look like, which was rather a quick process because we were all together and ideas would come from all directions.

What I thought was challenging about the navigation of the articles menu was how many links we had to put in and make sure it was easy to access all these links. So the solution was to put the links in their relevant courses (articles) and add swiping, so users can swipe through. This made the menu interactive. Other than that, the design of the remaining pages was simple and straight forward. The article pages have text, video, and images, we did not place them in any complicated or design-ish way because we wanted a clean and slick design.

The homepage was not required to have a lot of information, but I believe I was the one who made the decision initially what goes on the homepage, over time as the idea started to develop, during the process things where removed here and there, and this was in the process of communicating the options we had with my team. It’s all part of the process when you have ideas and then you need to study these ideas to verify them and to see if they actually will work and serve the purpose they need to.

Initial Design

Initially, the design of the homepage was going to be like this, but when I revised this myself and asked my team to take a look. I realized there were quite a lot of unnecessary components and visual design elements that don’t match their taste. Personally, I like applying shapes and abstract elements in different sections of the website, but because they thought it wasn’t clean enough I had to eliminate these shapes and abstract elements. I wasn’t annoyed, because it’s natural to have different tastes in design, many designers have different approaches than one another. Also, due to the team voting for something cleaner I removed a lot. The contact section wasn’t required, because the emails of the head of departments are available on the team page and they will be the ones responsible for any inquiries and contacts.

The work section was something I wanted to make possible, but once again, it wasn’t necessary and it would have taken a lot of time to develop. I wanted to make it in a way where the articles would float and users would be able to click on them. As for the about section, that’s been redesigned and changed as you can see on the live website, it’s been divided in 2 so we can put a nice image and users would be able to click the “View Team” link to see the team of Storehouse with the different departments.

Clean design was important to my team, so I ignored my personal preferences and decided to go with what my team thinks is best. It’s only natural and essential as a Leader to go with what most of your people would think is right, at least in a situation like this. It was a great learning experience for me and I will continue to be part of Storehouse next year. I think I will be learning a lot more if I remain and will make sure to make it part of my time, despite how busy I will be next year, but I can manage to fit Storehouse in my schedule without a problem.

Technologies Used

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In order,

  • HTML5
  • Javascript
  • CSS3
  • Greensock JS Animation
  • IDE PhpStorm (Powerful Code editor)

The technologies used like HTML5/CSS/JS are your common ones, however the ones that I believe are unique are SCSS/SASS which is a CSS preprocessor, Greensock is a powerful JS based animation library, and finally, PhpStorm my preferred code editor. It’s somewhat like Visual Studio Code, but personally, I prefer PhpStorm because I believe it is more powerful and picks up on any errors I make while writing code uniquely. Also offers code replacement options which are superb, including alternatives to the code you have written which the software believes are better.

The Could & Final Thoughts

Personally, I believe if we had more time I would make the website more interactive and add animations. I want to do complex stuff that could have made the website way more interesting and interactive. I think that could be possible next year, but for now, we will stick to this of course as the team and myself have worked hard on this. As also Jason himself has created a software that generates the code and CSS for the Articles of the website. If it wasn’t for that software we would have had to do a lot of manual work and that would be hideous to deal with. It would have taken a lot more time and manual labor. The software all you are required to do is copy and paste the articles content, any headings, images, and other information. You then press a button that will generate the article, then all you need to do is upload what has been generated to the website and you are done.

Overall, I’m pleased with the outcome of the hard work that the whole Storehouse team has done and I look forward to what’s coming for the next release, which is next year. It’s been a great experience for me Leading the team as a Designer and a Developer and will certainly contribute to my achievements in the future.

The Storehouse Online Team