Jill’s Book Blog
Adventures of Accessible Reading

*The above image was taken from Jill’s Book Blog

A peer-review on the development of the online self

Jill’s Book Blog offers a truly unique perspective into accessible services when navigating the digital world. As Tara Chittenden describes in her article Digital dressing up: modelling female teen identity in the discursive spaces of the fashion blogosphere, “participation in virtual communities and social network sites is now firmly embedded in the culture of young people growing up as ‘digital natives’” (2010). I recognize that I have accepted the ever-present digitalization of information platforms and resources as the norm, and never second-guessed the ease at which I navigate through the internet. By reading Jillian’s Progress Post 2: Experience with Setting Up My Blog, I realize just how little I had thought about accessibility when it came to online platforms.

Through her personable and friendly tone, Jill’s Book Blog engages her audience with book reviews and personal testimonials about navigating websites as somebody who is visually impaired. Jillian’s online self is portrayed as confident and genuine; her candid excitement and progress is inviting to readers, and her blog posts seem to display an authentic representations of self.

The rise of the internet and social media is constantly challenging our definition of privacy, as the public and private spheres continue to overlap. In Chittenen’s article, she explains that “the choice of images and expression of personal thoughts allow individuals to signal meaningful cues about themselves” (2010), revealing the vulnerability that comes with posting content on the internet. Sharing personal stories and thoughts might be intimidating to some, whereas Gillian seems unfazed by these hurdles – rather, she navigates them with ease. Perhaps her daily encounters with strangers will prove to be an advantage as this blog and audience grows. Her love of books is almost infectious, and immediately relatable to anyone who has ever read a book they didn’t want to put down.  This unique blend of perspectives leaves me curious and wanting to know more.

From an aesthetics perspective, Jill’s Book Blog is straight to the point and simple: I appreciate the lack of visual clutter, with clear categories and tags. The website is easy to navigate, and offers a simple menu. The blog posts could benefit from some visual contrast, especially in “96 Books in 365 Days”, where the book titles have little visual distinction from the rest of the text. Perhaps a larger font size or bolded title would be sufficient?

From a more technical standpoint, I would recommend spell-checking content and reviewing it with peers, as there are a few run-on sentences and typos that might not be audibly noticeable. For example, the use of site instead of sight, and nurd as opposed to nerd.

Overall, Jill’s Book Blog is a pleasant and thoughtful read. In my opinion, a good blog is characterized by its captivating qualities and offerings of new point of views and/or information; Jillian does a wonderful job of doing just that!

Check out her full blog here: http://booknerd96.ca/

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