For my last peer review of the semester, I had the pleasure of taking a look at Maren’s site MindfulNous, which you can find here: https://mindfulnous.com definitely go and check it out! Through this review, I will be analyzing the content and design of Maren’s website, as well as the intended audience and marketability of the site. Let’s get started!
Marketability and Intended Audience Group
Just by reading the name “MindfulNous”, I was inclined to believe that the overall theme of this website was going to be around mindfulness, well-being, and self-awareness. I also could infer that the intended audience was anyone who was looking for clarity within themselves, as well as guidance and practices that will help them become more mindful and present. After reading through the content and becoming familiar with the site, my first impression was pretty much spot on! The overall look of the site is very fun as it includes lots of colour and a creative signature logo, so it welcomes a wide age range audience. Based on the content, I would say that more specifically all stages of adults, ranging from younger to older, could resonate with this site and fully understand and appreciate the context of the content the most. As discussed in the early weeks of our class in Micheal Warner’s journal article, Publics and Counterpublics, Maren has created her own public with MindfulNous within the broader public of meditation/mindfulness, and she has done a great job at doing so!
A feature that Maren has incorporated into her site that I haven’t even touched on for my website personally, is advertising. When you are on MindfulNous, you can find advertisements located on the sidebar of the website, along the bottom of the page, and in the occasional pop-up. As we read On Advertising – Maria Popova, by Tom Bleymair, opinions on advertisements being a part of websites are both negative and positive (2013). As a visitor of a website, it can be annoying to be bombarded with various pop-up ads when you are trying to read an article or navigate the site. This is not the case for MindfulNous I will note, as the advertisements on the site do not disrupt the users visit/experience! On the other hand from the perspective of an author/blogger, ads on their websites can be used to aid and drive traffic to their affiliate marketing links, which have the ability to be highly profitable. Overall, I think the incorporation of advertisements onto Maren’s site has definitely increased MindfulNous’ marketability, and I admire her for taking this step in advancing her website!
MindfulNous appears as if it has been around for a long time (and I mean that in the best way possible!). From plenty of well thought out and interesting content, to a design layout that incorporates every feature you would expect to see on a long-time professional blog/website, Maren has done an excellent job developing her website throughout the semester and I very much admire her for that! What I like the most about the design aspect of Maren’s website is the use of colour throughout the entire home page and in each of her pages as well as posts. As we learned earlier in the semester from a guest speaker we had in class, Mauvé Page, sometimes the use of too much colour can be overwhelming and distracting for viewers. However, MindfulNous uses a balanced and effective colour scheme that enhances the overall design of the website. For instance, Instead of having a white background like most websites do, Maren decided to have a very light beige, almost pale yellow background that distinguishes the navigation bar/menu from the content of the page, and makes the entirety of the site visually easy to comprehend and follow.
On the theme of colour, integrating coloured text into blog post titles was also a very effective design technique as it ties back to the blog’s logo that we see at the top of the page. I also noticed that each category uses a certain colour for the related post titles, which I thought was a really nice touch! One thing that I noticed however, is that the yellow titles in the “Mindfulness” category bring out the background colour of the page, which slightly reduces the immediate visibility of the post titles as they do not stick out quite like the green titles under the “Philosophy” category do for example. A suggestion for this may be to make the post titles a darker shade of yellow if possible, but overall if that is not an option the current yellow text should not have much of an impact on viewers. Like I stated earlier, Maren has done a fantastic job developing her site, so in order to try and provide any constructive feedback I’ll have to get into the very specific, minor details!
Each content post on MindfulNous is well thought out, informative, easy to read, and inspiring. Maren has done a great job keeping up with both her original posts and PUB 101 assignments, which has kept a steady flow of content throughout the site. One of my favourite sections on Maren’s blog is her “About” page. Here, I gained an idea of Maren’s inspiration behind MindfulNous as well as who she is as a person, which allowed for me as a visitor of her site to see the website from a more personal and meaningful perspective. I especially like the four pictures and categories at the end of her “About Me” introduction, that enlightened me that Maren’s favourite activity is swimming, her favourite food is a smoothie bowl (good choice!), and that one day she would like to visit Costa Rica! This short list of personal facts was a really nice touch!
What I really like about Maren’s posts is that almost all of them have a feature image or some visual to go along with the content. After reading through all of the posts on this website, I felt inspired and reminded to stop and take the time to relax and look after myself. I felt this way especially after reading the Mindfulness vs Mindlessness post. This post reminded me the importance of appreciating and living in the moment, and how much peace doing so can bring you. As a student it is so easy to become hyper fixated on school work and the various stresses that come along with doing so, so this was a good reminder for me to practice being more present amongst all the chaos. Something that I also really like in regards to content, is that Maren has incorporated her studies into her website by adding a “Philosophy” category. The posts in this category differ from the rest of the content and main themes of mindfulness and well-being, but still fit nicely within the website not only because Maren is studying philosophy, but because philosophy itself often explores reason, wonder, and awareness; which appears to align with some of the characteristics and values of the site.
One recommendation I would make is not so much directed to the posts themselves, but to include a short blurb at the top of each category’s page that describes what the main goal of the category is, as well as what type of content you can expect to find there. I have been working on incorporating this into the category pages on my site as well, and find that it adds a lot of clarity and enhances navigation for users!
Overall, I am a huge fan of MindfulNous! I very much admire how much Maren has been able to develop her website throughout the semester, and was definitely inspired to incorporate some more features onto my own site! As far as the content, I think that MindfulNous can act as a good reminder for us all to incorporate more mindfulness into our lives, and I highly recommend that you check it out! Here is a link to the mindfulness content!: https://mindfulnous.com/category/mindfulness/
Bleymaier, T. (2013). On Advertising – Maria Popvova.
Page, M. (2023). Design. Lecture 6. The Publication of Self in Everyday Life. Simon Fraser University.
Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counterpublics. Quarterly Journal of Speech. 88.4. http://knowledgepublic.pbworks.com/f/warnerPubCounterP.pdf