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contextual essay.



Second WordPress Site

Square Space Site



My proposed digital artefact this semester was a rework of my portfolio site, as well as creating a cohesive online professional presence. Coming into the final years of my degree, I noticed a lack of preparation for entering the workforce post-graduation. In order to address this issue, I felt my time would be best spent remodeling my socials and personal website. 

There is a common theme among young professionals and the boxes that need to be ticked. The industry standard I found after research is a LinkedIn Profile, Twitter, Facebook and a Professional Site. Being cohesive across sites and using the same photos creates a strong personal and professional brand (Doyle 2021). There was not a distinct separation between my personal and professional thoughts, which can be problematic if I am tweeting about being drunk at Disco Bingo in the Hotel of Illawarra. Social media has facilitated shifts in the boundaries between the public and private in organisational life when looking at the tool through an employment lens (McDonald & Thompson 2015). 

There is a glaring gap in what my intended audience expects and requires compared to my typical state of an online presence. It is difficult to not be cynical of the millennial employment aesthetic as I am now in fact included in it. 

The portfolio site was the first area that I wanted to target in my process. My method of attack was to first break down which areas I wanted to change on the site to allow for a clearer first impression. The opening impression is important so the home page was my focus. The goal is a professional and clean approach. Examples I like include a brief self-introduction on the home page, as well as posts being displayed in a minimalist way. Less is definitely more. 


In my pitch, I proposed that I would rework my current portfolio site, pegsprojectfolio, which is free and hosted on WordPress. The logic behind this was that the content already exists as posts and the site has the bones of clear menus and categories for things to slot into. The pro of having content already live is also the con of this method. I could not seem to dramatically change the layout enough, even with a completely different template, due to the existing structure. The inability to move things around seamlessly enough was my first roadblock. My solution to this was to start from scratch on a separate WordPress site. 

By making a new site, I hoped that I could have more creative freedom but still within the means of a platform I am familiar with. I had a lack of a plan in approach one, so this time I wanted to have clearer design ideas. Pulling from previous assessment work, a few key colours were identified that could translate into a design identity. Where approach number two starts to unravel is from two main roadblocks, increased costs and unclear marketing points. 

The no-cost version of WordPress does not offer additional CSS customisation or a unique domain name. It is currently called, which does not scream professional. The themes are also limiting when specific aspects cant be changed like fonts and add-ins. With the existing site, due to the projects already on there, it creates a sense of expertise. When starting from scratch, not only is the time increased by copying content over but the scope of work is redefined, this had me stuck in the mud. 

I moved onto Wix and ended up with something closer to the vibe I was after. However, I was not convinced with the platform and wanted to try others before I committed to something with a cost. Square space has proved to be the most compatible aesthetically, with drafts and the current work in progress being my favourite visuals. This site editor is easier to use, but I am currently operating on a free trial. I am not sure if I am prepared to spend $22 a month maintaining this platform. 

It is broadly agreed that ePortfolios can offer students opportunities to demonstrate their learning and showcase their achievements, and can be “a visual representation of their personal journey to professionalism” (Dalton 2021). The literature on producing portfolios in digital formats has highlighted advantages such as ease of access to digital artefacts, opportunities for collaboration and ‘sharing and critiquing’ each other’s work (Dalton 2021). This places a large importance on the validity of this website, creating perhaps unnecessary pressure on myself. 

Technology has significantly affected the creative industry and the rapid changes in necessary job skills has created a challenge for higher education to keep up (Romeo 2016). The ideal portfolio is a product of its time, which in a dynamic industry, can be tricky to meet the expectations of employers (Tain 2010 & Romeo 2016)


After sitting with this experimentation, I wanted to explore potential blockages that were deterring me from progressing. I could recognise that I was having issues making content due to overthinking and overvaluing the production of my intended message (Vaynerchuk 2019). I decided to refer back to basics and simplify exactly what I was trying to do. My ultimate goal is creating a professional online persona, so I followed the steps proposed by Arthur McCay and the UXPressias Personas Online tool. A key organisational factor I was missing was defining my personas goals, this was creating identity misalignments (McCay 2021). Tapping back into the goal of employment assisted me in reworking my other social media sites with less internal cringing. 


When focusing on my Twitter and LinkedIn, I followed the advice from online professionals that they should be cohesive. I have an established LinkedIn from working in the financial industry for several years, the same can also be said in regards to my Twitter. As a BCM student, it is no surprise that my Twitter is flooded with a mixture of blog posts and nonsense. Aside from changing the images, I did not move as far into this as I thought I would by the end of the semester. The consistency of posting is what boosts professional engagement, subsequently landing myself in a low engagement zone. LinkedIn recommends you post daily, however, at a minimum, it is recommended to post Tuesday through to Thursday during business hours (Hollenbach 2020). The content suggestions are then broken down into topics, the recommended mix of “useful curated (50-60%), owned (30%) and promotional (10-20%) content based on the promise you’ve made to the followers of your LinkedIn Company Page” (Hollenbach 2020). There are similar standards to Twitter, with Neil Patel (Forbes) suggesting a tweet frequency tied to goals, a maximum engagement per tweet goal should aim for 1-5 tweets per day (Ellering 2021). Future endeavours will either be culling inappropriate tweets or following the path of my peers and privating my Twitter account.


There is a glaring gap in my digital artefact that makes this contextual essay difficult to write. My engagement and feedback from users is simply just not there. The feedback I received from my beta submission was to establish and maintain a fruitful feedback loop to allow for further iteration. I have not serialised my project which has resulted in a one-note standstill digital artefact. The last stage before introducing a product to the market is the preseries model, which is typically built using the latest tools and equipment, and serves as the trial or field test prototype (Erlhoff et al 2007). Without an evolved project, I am not able to prove the product as successful, which is when the final tools and equipment are installed for serial production of the product to begin (Erlhoff et al 2007). 

I worked with a friend who is a graphic design student to assist me in bouncing ideas off during construction. Unfortunately, this is about as far as I got with outside engagement outside of my own self-criticism. This method of work felt like I was creating in a vacuum, using only my own knowledge without the help of a collective mind. Looking into the OODA loop proposed by Colonel John R. Boyd helps indicate areas where I was lacking while still being constructive. An element from the decision making outline that stood out to me, reading “Without a many-sided implicit cross-referencing process of projection, empathy, correlation, and rejection, (across these many different domains or channels of information), we cannot even do analysis and synthesis” (Enck 2012). I am sensitive to rejection and putting things out into the virtual world that are not up to scratch is an intimidating task. However, without this process, I am left with an underdeveloped stagnant piece of media. 

While it is a little defeating, I have learnt that there are numerous avenues I could seek feedback from in the future. The importance of this process for me is less about a polished end product, but allowing for ideas that are not my own, slowly driving myself insane. 

My project had the potential to align with the FIST concept, Fast, Inexpensive, Simple, Tiny. The term coined by LTC Dan Ward is used to describe a particular pattern of decision making that supports rapid, low-cost innovation (Ward n.d). However, a key element missing is the urgency of rapid work. I feel as though without the feedback, it is difficult to continually make changes that are small enough to warrant a faster time frame. 


This semester has been nothing short of hell for myself and most other students. Without ending in a sob story, this project has been an eye-opening experience highlighting my weaknesses in the process of media creation. The utility for this digital artefact is strong enough to consider working on it after the completion of this subject, which is something I cannot say for my past digital artefacts. I would like to think that the misdirection of this assessment inspires me in the future to work differently. Upon reflection, this process has indicated a clearer career path, which is perhaps not in line with studies. I commend myself and my peers for finishing the education year, with many graduating and off to new paths. 

Thank you for the content over the years Ted, I wish you all the best for your future endeavors 🙂 


Dalton, G. 2021, ‘Putting the ‘e’ in portfolio design: an intervention research project investigating how design students and faculty might jointly reimagine the design portfolio activity’. Int J Technol Des Educ.

Ward, D. n.d, ‘Dan Wards Corner’, ACQNotes

Design Dictionary: Perspectives on Design Terminology, edited by Michael Erlhoff, and Timothy Marshall, Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2007. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Doyle, A. 2021, ‘How to Create Professional Online Profiles’, thebalancedcareers, accessed 2nd November 2021.

Ellering, N. 2021, ‘How Often To Post On Social Media? [Proven Research From 14 Studies]’, CoSchedule Blog, viewed 2nd November 2021.

  Enck, RE 2012, ‘The OODA Loop’, Home health care management & practice, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 123–124.

Hollenbach, K. 2021, ‘The Best Time and Frequency for Posting Content on LinkedIn’, Think Bespoke, viewed 2nd November 2021.

McCay, A. 2021, ‘How to create a Persona in 9 steps – a guide with examples’, UXPRESSIA, viewed 2nd November 2021.

McDonald, P. and Thompson, P. (2016), Social Media(tion) and the Reshaping of Public/Private Boundaries in Employment Relations. International Journal of Management Reviews, 18: 69-84.

Romeo, LD 2017, ‘Industry professionals’ evaluation of apparel design student portfolios’, International journal of fashion design, technology and education, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 111–118.

Tain, L. 2010. ‘Portfolio presentation for fashion designers’ (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Fairchild Books. 

Vaynerchuk, G. 2019, ‘How to make 64 pieces of content in a day’, SlideShare, viewed 2nd November 2021,


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