Reel Me

Step 1:






This project was assigned during the span of a semester for my Internet Studio class. The semester project was to essentially create a prototype of a website that could be used for a specific niche demographic. It did not have to be fully functional in the sense one would be able to use it as, let’s say, a real social media platform, but all buttons and features should work and represent the brand well. Because of the creative freedom I was granted with, I decided to create a website that was similar to Letterboxd and IMDB but with more of an emphasis on the feeling of community.


Throughout this assignment I was to…

  • Create and brand a prototype of a company
  • Build a website that pertains to the brand’s goals
  • Manage SEO, security, and optimize website performance.

My personal thoughts will be documented in this column! Hi (:


There were several places this website and premise could head, but the main aspects that I wanted for my project were

Somehow tie in my passion for film whether that be the creation process or movies itself.

Grant the film community its own social media platform.

Create a community and emphasize the importance of discussion in said community.

Ultimately, from these key principles I created two ideas that I found interesting to pursue.

A. A platform centered around movie reccomendations and the use of computer learning to accurately suggest movies according to the user’s taste in movies as well as the other users they follow. 
B. A platform which acts as a home to small creators similar to LinkedIn in that, one would create connections according to what the user would be able to provide for production of a film. So someone who focuses more on writing and storyboarding would want to partner with someone else who’s strengths are in the camera work and cinematography field. 

It’s probably way more apparent for you to see than it was for me at the time, but in a span of one semester, the extent that I wanted to reach to for both of these ideas was virtually impossible in such a limited amount of time especially considering the fact we actually pretty much started the development process towards the middle of the semester. Sometimes my huge ambitions can get the best of me!

Both options were very strong, and although the most obvious answer for a simple and quick semester project would have been idea B, I chose idea A. With limited time, entry-level knowledge of coding, and lack of funding for advanced plugins to make this project easier the problems quickly became apparent. 


I was in love with the idea of implimenting a computer learning aspect of some sort to suggest niche movies to members who may enjoy the film, but due to the restraints mentioned, in order to solve this issue, I had to reprioritize certain key characteristics of the web service with a different strength as the headliner of the brand. A big lesson I had to learn was that, temporary simplification for a deadline with the future objective of growth towards my anticipated goal is not a display of weakness and it is definitely not me “giving up”. Practicality is just as important as its ambitious intents.


So instead of the main focus being on the computer learning aspect, the main focus would be on the social aspect and therefore one’s ability to create an account and access the community. For the prototype, I would simply create the registration, log in, and so forth.


I then began to SWOT my premise in order to establish tone and theme in my designs and textuality or means of phrasing things. 

  • Niche but large demographic
  •  Limited amount of websites and webservices targeting this demographic
  • Not attractive to the average consumer
  • Tailored to a specific demographic that may be limiting
  • First film related website to be conducted as casual social media 
  • Popularity and reliability of already established competition such as IMDB, Letterboxd


With this research conducted, I frequently had to reference movie webservices as well as social media. The construction of the website itself would be more similar to the movie webservices while its verbiage and general tone would be friendly and casual like a social media website. The unrevised sitemap is below. Clearly I had high ambitions and even higher hopes and expectations in the website, but unfortunately I had to cut the fat and figure out what parts were vital to the community aspect. This would mean that the movie recommendations and the rating system would have to be cut and be put on the back burner while the account creation process would be prioritized.


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I then created a low fidelity wireframe of the homepage. I created multiple low fidelity wireframes for the pages, but I did not end up using them as when I finally developed the prototype of the homepage I realized the visual theme of the website turned out differently than anticipated. Because of this, I simply constructed the other webpages with the use of the homepage as a reference for the theme.

I actually wish I had created a high fidelity wireframe because it would have been far more effective in planning, but I did end up still basing my final design on the low fidelity model.

Branding was the next step. I played around with several different premises. I wanted to create a logo that seemed versatile enough to expand upon if needed and also more friendly and less professional and daunting. I wanted to create a face out of a film reel and had multiple ideas of ways that I could create a logo out of this, but I realized the simple modern style was not working with idea surrounding the reel face, so I doodled and played around with different styles. This led me to settle on the classic cartoon style similar to that of old Mickey Mouse or Betty Boop. This style would also tie in the relevency of reels to the time period.

Branding is both my favorite and least favorite part because although it is fun, this is the most laborious part. Especially as a perfectionist who refuses to submit anything I am not proud of.

With branding complete and having found fonts and a color scheme that I thought would feel not only friendly, but also retro. The retro feel of the colors would allow one to use any color on the palette and it would still feel cohesive and appropriate. I then proceeded to take the logo design from Adobe Illustrator to Adobe Photoshop to create my hero image for the homepage. This part was very fun and set the tone for not only that page, but every page proceeding.

It took me so many drafts and multiple days of trying different things, but I turned out very happy with the outcome!


The final project is still up and running here to view:  Reel Me Site.


I was very proud of the website and its interface and worked meticulously to get Reel Me to an appropriate SEO score. Not only this, but the diction and phrases used to describe the platform on the website was planned and noted for days. The taglines were to stay on theme and semi-cheesy to enhance the friendly feel of the platform considering the goal of the brand is to gain traffic on the website.


Below are the final logos in the color scheme chosen and all the versions that would be used for different scenarios as well as the hero images for the pages as titled.


This was the first website I have ever created with a fusion of manual code and WordPress interface. Initially, I was very nervous as I knew that whatever idea I had would be ambitious and I would not accept any outcome that I would not be proud enough to present to my peers. I had high hopes and big goals, and I am proud to say that, for my first website utilizing both manual code and WordPress features, I was beyond satisfied with the prototype. 


I succeeded in managing SEO to 100% efficiency in readability and 75% for SEO score. SEO analysis shows 15 tests passed, and a Google PageSpeed score of 90. Some key takeaways from this success were…

I knew that my passion and dedication would allow me to create a proficient website, but the final prototype surpassed my expectations and only strengthened my drive! 

Change is not only okay, it is inevitable for growth. I did have to compromise my original idea, but when having to weigh its feasability, for the best execution reprioritization was the best thing to do.
Establishing brand identity and reinforcing continuity is just as important as the implementation of the website itself. I originally anticipated website development to be the longest and even the most challenging part of the process. I was proven wrong when I had to decide how my brand was to carry itself and how this properly plays into my target market.