Why I Want to Counsel: My Statement of Purpose

            If I said that the experiences I have had in my life did not influence my choice to apply to the Master’s program in counseling at the University, it would be the ultimate lie. In fact, the experiences I have had throughout my life have accumulated to become the primary reason behind my desire to write you this statement of purpose. I cannot say this has always been my field of interest, but there is no longer a doubting thought in my mind that would alter my chosen career objective of becoming a counselor.

            My passion for this field is primarily evident through my academic studies.After participating in psychology courses to meet the requirements in order to receive a minor in this subject, I decided to major in psychology my sophomore year. Most people told me it was a competitive field, and I might not even get a job in the field. I have been told that my major is a joke, but I knew this was the subject, in which my interest did not experience a conceivable limit. It was the one thing I could see myself learning about for the rest of my life. Psychology is the topic that I not only perceive as having much to be learned but also one that I considered to have much to be discovered.

            I have made many discoveries through my participation in various activities outside of my academic work. In June of 2011, I became a member of the North Dakota Association of the Blind. Having a mission concerning empowering individuals with visual impairments, I felt this was an organization that possessed a purpose that I truly believed. While starting out as something I could have as a random addition to my resume, I found myself developing a passion for the work of the organization. When I was officially nominated and awarded the office of secretary in June of 2012, my overall perspective of the organization and its ultimate role in my life began to change. While working as secretary for the North Dakota Association of the Blind, I have had the opportunity to interact with more individuals within the organization as well as surrounding communities in North Dakota. Many of these interactions occur during times of significance in other individuals’ lives. Whenever there is a death among the individuals in the organization or their family members, it is my duty as secretary to offer condolences on behalf of the organization in the form of a sympathy card.  The lack of experience any living person has with death makes the thought of dying essentially unpredictable. This blanketed feeling of the unknown often leads individuals to develop a mixture of emotions such as sadness, helplessness, and fear. Though this has undoubtedly presented itself to me as one of the most challenging tasks I have ever faced as a leader of an organization, I consider it to be one of the most rewarding in terms of developing experience in dealing with difficult situations. As secretary of the North Dakota Association of the Blind, I am also responsible for participating as a staff member during the NDAB’s annual Family Adjustment Seminar. The purpose of this seminar is to assist individuals with newly developing or previously discovered visual impairments and their families. As staff members of this seminar, it is our primary mission to provide these individuals and their families with any relevant information, tools, and resources that may serve as a benefit to them in coping with the concept of vision loss in its entirety. It is the hope of the organization to accomplish this mission by not only bringing in speakers to talk to these individuals and their families, but also to break out into smaller groups to have more personal contact with these individuals and their families. Nothing has had a greater impact on me during the time I have served as secretary than when I sat down in that circle of individuals. Establishing a more personal means of communication with these individuals and their family members remains a truly rewarding experience for me. Even though the relationships I developed with these individuals during this time were mostly insignificant compared to other relationships in my life, nothing has meant more to me than having the opportunity to visit with these individuals, exposing myself to various perspectives.

             Nothing put more into perspective for me than joining a sorority. The most influential opportunity I have experienced is becoming a member of the Gamma Nu chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta. This experience has truly enhanced me as an all-around individual. From academics to service to sisterhood and beyond, Kappa Alpha Theta has taught me so much about myself as an individual as well as the person I would like to be. I have grown so much from this experience, and I could not imagine my life without its ever-lasting influence. I feel so grateful to have developed so many great friendships and countless skills from my sorority experience. From the time I had first joined Kappa Alpha Theta, I have had the privilege of working with women from all walks of life. Whether it was volunteering to help raise money for our main philanthropy CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) by hosting a community nacho feed or developing a sisterhood to bring our chapter closer together such as bonding during a sleepover or picnic, I have had the privilege to interact and develop relationships with countless individuals. Throughout my Theta experience, I also developed great leadership skills. Serving as the Communications Director for our chapter during 2013, I was able to put my leadership abilities to work. Being responsible for all the communication that takes place within the chapter as well as among others and our chapter was both a rewarding and challenging task. This leadership position has offered me sincere insight on how influential and essential communication is within an organization. Joining a sorority has been an unexpectedly treasured experience for me.

            The most valuable experience I have had thus far in regards to my overall career objectives is working as a research assistant for North Dakota State University. Working as a research assistant for Dr. G. in a cognitive research lab, I have refined many of my skills. My primary role in this position is to administer consent forms and directions for the study to perspective participants. While having the responsibility to ensure that all individuals are able to complete the tasks with little to no difficulty, I have discovered how much I really enjoy working with others. Not only have I developed a superior gratification for working with people, I have also began to notice just how much my communication skills, especially the ones I had developed while serving as Communications Director, are being utilized. Assisting individuals in understanding various concepts has helped me further advance my communication skills. I have also been able to advance my knowledge about technology and its role in the field of research. Having the privilege of working with eye-tracking equipment has given me the opportunity to experience the wonders of technology use in research. While offering me great insight as to countless issues that may arise with the use of technology, I have been able to develop effective problem solving skills. Through these technological issues, I have also developed a grander degree of appreciation for the ability of technology to advance research in its entirety. As a whole, this particular opportunity has enhanced my respect for research, especially within the psychological field. Not many people stop to think how much time, effort, and careful thought goes into developing and carrying out studies. Working as a research assistant has fostered my perspective of what really goes into making research happen. The amount of work that goes into creating the future knowledge for society is truly admirable. And the countless skills I have been able to further advance through this experience will undoubtedly benefit me in my future career objectives.

            I aspire to complete a Master’s degree in community counseling from the University to further continue achieving many objectives in my career. It is very apparent that most individuals who seek a career in counseling have the desire to help others. I am no exception. Believing in the true worth of every individual’s life, it is one of my greatest objectives to enhance the lives of others. I would specifically like to accomplish this through providing counseling to other individuals from all walks of life, because I believe in the utilization of counseling as a means of individual enrichment. Whether it is stress or depression, I consider counseling to be a valuable means of coping with many life situations. Through working with individuals to solve life’s current issues, I would also like to utilize techniques, which have been proven to be beneficial through research.

            Using evidence-based methods with the aim to provide treatment to individuals, I would like to work as a counselor within the community. Currently favoring no particular age group with which I would be most interested in working with, I would enjoy counseling a varying population of individuals. With a focus in cognitive behavioral approaches, I would like to help individuals with life situations, especially when it comes to stressful matters. Counseling is very beneficial to people. Significant progress can be made through the simplest gestures such as developing plans or offering ideas for coping strategies. I would especially like to work with stress management, because I have found that stress is an underlying cause of so many physical and emotional issues. By counseling stressed individuals, it would be my goal to reduce as many of these physical and emotional counterparts to this fundamental hazard.

            My biggest objective in terms of my career would be to make a difference in someone else’s life. A Master’s degree in counseling could further assist me in making this a realistic career objective by providing me with much desired knowledge and experience in a field of my interest. This would be the most ultimately rewarding accomplishment to experience in my career. In true aspiration, it would be my objective to accomplish this with any individual I may encounter in my career, co-worker, patient, or otherwise. But, if I had the privilege of achieving this objective with at least one individual through my professional work, I would consider my career to be both satisfying and successful.

            Though I have not always had the ambition to pursue counseling in my career, the objectives which I would like to accomplish in my career have led me to this concrete aspiration. Especially throughout the experience I have gained throughout my collegiate education, I have further advanced many skills, which would greatly benefit me in this career. This career would be extremely important to me, because I would have the opportunity to help others and make a difference through providing evidence-based counseling to individuals within a community. I can honestly state that completing a Master’s degree in counseling from the University would greatly assist me in fulfilling my aspiration to achieve all of my career objectives.

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8 Weeks….2 Books…1 Final Blog Essay

            This past eight weeks, I have been assigned to read two books for my electronic communications class. The Network Non-profit and Content Strategy for the Web were both relevant to the service learning project I was also assigned to accomplish in these eight weeks. These books provided me with relevant information, which greatly assisted me in completing my service learning project and learning more about electronic communications with non-profit organizations as well as my own use of electronic communications. The Network Non-profit and Content Strategy for the Web were both incredibly useful books I used as my building blocks for constructing the best electronic communications analysis and assessment report as possible for the non-profit organization I worked with these past eight weeks. Each of these books has a similar subject matter in mind yet has their own directional means of methodology, which they apply to enhancing a non-profit organization’s use of electronic communications.

Both of these books place a substantial amount of concentration on the content within electronic communications. Content Strategy for the Web places an obvious and sensible emphasis on content within electronic communications. This emphasis on content is especially directed toward the content on a website. The Network Non-profit also possesses a degree of consideration for content within electronic communications, but they lean a lot more toward the content within social media sites, especially Facebook and Twitter.     

Both of these books emphasize analysis. Content Strategy for the Web and The Network Non-profit mention, more or less, the analysis of the content within electronic communications. Content Strategy for the Web encourages what they refer to as an “audit”, while The Network Non-profit is directed more toward another method, known as mapping. These methods are both designed to assist non-profit organizations in properly analyzing their electronic communications.

These books both recognize the impact people can have on the content within electronic communications, whether that content is on a web page or social media post. The Network Non-profit places a more frequent emphasis on the impact people have in both non-profit organizations themselves and the electronic communications these non-profit organizations utilize. While Content Strategy for the Web does dedicate a lengthy chapter to people as well as another eye-opening chapter regarding advocacy, this book tends to possess a basis on more of the content itself.

Another noticeable difference between these two books is the number of real-life examples utilized to demonstrate the information being presented. Unlike Content Strategy for the Web, The Network Non-profit contains countless examples throughout the book. This was the most significant difference I noted regarding my very broad analysis of these two books.

            Both of these books were incredibly useful to me throughout these past eight weeks. I am so grateful I was assigned to read them. With all their similarities and differences, I would recommend both The Network Non-profit and Content Strategy for the Web to a non-profit organization. These books would not only be a great read for the leaders within a non-profit organization, they would be beneficial to any member of a non-profit organization. Either, and especially both, of these books would assist any non-profit organization in enhancing their electronic communications strategy, just like they have assisted me these past eight weeks.

 

Cognitive Surplus: What “Grown-ups” Do for Fun

            Remember what you enjoyed doing as a kid? Did you like venturing outside, playing cops and robbers with friends on your bicycles or building castles in your sandbox? Were you more of an indoor person, digging for a Ken doll at the bottom of your toy box just so he could go on a date with one of your Barbie’s or racing Hot Wheels cars from the kitchen into the dining room? Whatever your preference, you always made time to dedicate to other hobbies beyond school and household chores. Not only did these things bring you enjoyment, they often times were acts with a much larger purpose in mind. Well, you grew up, and while you may have kept some souvenirs of your childhood coveted hobbies, you still make time for hobbies with a greater purpose. Thanks to Clay Shirky, these more adult-oriented hobbies fall into the domain termed cognitive surplus.

            As Clay Shirky said, cognitive surplus is an “ability of people to freely commit their energies not otherwise used by work or home life to projects or things they care about.” During our existence, there is the spare time beyond providing for life’s necessities. During this time, we often volunteer our commitment to developing solutions to large-scale problems. In endeavors to accomplish this task, we have utilized technology as a convenient method. This utilization of technology during this volunteer time in order to create solutions to problems is known as cognitive surplus. Have you ever heard of Wikipedia or LOLCats? These are examples of cognitive surplus, but the examples exist further than just these.

What types of individuals are known for cognitive surplus? Non-profit organizations are prime examples of these kinds of individuals. Non-profit organizations are groups of individuals with a particular purpose. These types of organizations are comprised of individuals who frequently have other obligations such as school, work, and family. Yet, these individuals have made time to commit to making an attempt to aware the general public about an issue. Not only do non-profit organizations focus on current issues, they also put forth their best effort to try to manifest solutions in the hopes of reducing or solving these issues. Many non-profit organizations are attempting to do this through the use of technology. Their websites have flourished into the results of search engines, and their presence on such social media sites as Facebook and Twitter have not gone unnoticed. Their use of technology to manifest their mission gives them an enormous probability of being more successful. Every non-profit organization from the Red Cross to The Humane Society is a definitive example of cognitive surplus at its finest. If you are having doubts about this cognitive surplus phenomenon demonstrated by non-profit organizations, maybe it’s time for you to do a little exploring on your internet browser. Bing or Google a name of a non-profit organization or type one into the search bar on Facebook or Twitter. I guarantee the majority of these searches will produce concrete results of working cognitive surplus.

Among the possible contenders for this demonstration of cognitive surplus is the North Dakota Association of the Blind. The North Dakota Association of the Blind is no exception to this trend. They, too, exhibit a perfect demonstration of cognitive surplus. Much time invested in obligations such as their jobs, academic careers, and family, these individuals still dedicate their free time to commit to resolving a problem. Noticing the problem of sight loss, the North Dakota Association of the Blind fosters awareness of this problem and provides service learning programs for this problem.  They have even made great efforts to resolve this problem by taking their non-profit organization to the web. Their website is packed with a great amount of information and opportunities to increase one’s awareness about vision loss.

The days of your childhood fun may have ended, but maybe growing up is not so bad. Sure, you need to maintain a job, spend time with friends and family, and keep up-to-date with your education, but you still have free time. Even better yet, this free time gives you the perfect opportunity to volunteer to fix a problem. Chances are you can also fix this with technology. In other words, growing up provides you with the perfect opportunity to participate in cognitive surplus. After all, cognitive surplus seems to be what grown-ups do for fun.

 

Coding the Job Description: Techniques for Electronic Communications Consultants

            Like any other job, electronic communications consultants have much work to accomplish. It is their task to assist others in making effective use of electronic communications. This wordy job description probably does not attract much interest, but many individuals have found work of this nature extremely rewarding. Again, like any other job, there are techniques individuals can utilize to produce their best work possible. There are many techniques an individual may need to know in order to be an effective electronic communications consultant.

Electronic communications consultants should look at themselves as designers and trainers. As designers, they are creating the persona of the organization through the realm of electronic communications. Through the various forms of electronic communications, these electronic communications consultants are not only presenting the entire character of the organization through the content they post on their website, Facebook page, and/or Twitter handle, it is also their responsibility to get the whole organization involved with and supporting of their electronic communications. They need to properly coach their team of organization members in order to make the goal of a successful electronic communication strategy more than just a written “play” in a book of possibilities. This may require proper education in order for members to support and get involved in electronic communication plans.

By completing this training within the organization, members are more likely to realize the benefits of electronic communications for their organization. So much hesitation and skepticism can result from a lack of knowledge about a particular subject. Knowledge about electronic communications would most likely help members to notice how this type of communication can be utilized to express the purpose of the organization to a much larger and diverse audience. Even if an organization is based in a single town or one state, electronic communications would allow them to interact with individuals in other areas interested in their purpose as well as other organizations, which are interested in their purpose and might even share a similar purpose.

            Personal use of electronic communications, especially social media, can help individuals to better familiarize themselves with this popular means of communication. It has most recently come to my attention that some individuals would rather not utilize such forms of electronic communications as Facebook, because they do not want their information “out there for the world to see”. While they may make a valid point, and there is no doubt that any individual would not want someone of a particularly corrupt nature gaining access to information about others, these non-electronic communication users still lack education. The semi-scary truth is, no matter how hard a person may try, there is a definitive degree of potential that their information is somehow accessible to the world. Not all of this information is dire in terms of a certain consequence of stolen identity, but if someone really searches for information about a particular other individual, they can manage to stumble upon some sort of truth if they really set their mind to it. Sure, the possibility is a scary thought, but chances are not always at such a high percentage as the average individual might expect. Even if an individual’s information is found by another individual, chances of them using it in a negative manner are relatively low.

Another technique frequently discussed in the world of electronic communications is code. Code is a technique that many wish they could explain, but few actually have the privilege of saying they have completely mastered. I am no exception. Though I wish I could divulge further about the subject of code in terms of how it works or how to create complex and innovative programs with it, I cannot. Therefore, I will offer a counter yet relative directive for this matter. Given the complexity of code, is understanding code crucial to being an effective electronic communications consultant?

            Code can be used frequently in electronic communications. Everything from blogs to website design provides an opportunity to utilize code. The fact that code is utilized in so many areas of electronic communications makes one wonder if the individuals who create and manage various forms of electronic communication should possess a depth of knowledge regarding code. At first, the answer to this situation might seem like a definitive “yes”, but given a little more insight, the certainty might fade. You might think there’s nothing to think about when it comes to this issue, but let me bring an underlying fact to your attention.

            The unfortunate reality is that there are not a lot of people who are well-versed in code. When most people think of this subject, they immediately draw a mental picture of someone from the Best Buy Geek Squad. Though this subject makes one think of their tech-savvy friend, who they both admire and secretly envy, individuals are often intimidated by the initial concept of code. This initial intimidation may be the main reason why there are not more people who have developed a profound knowledge of this subject matter.  

            Having an electronic communications consultant who is familiar with code would be extremely beneficial to any organization. These electronic communications consultants would have the capability to go above and beyond the normal degree of use in the majority of forms of electronic communications. This would allow an organization to stand out compared to other organizations, which possess electronic communication consultants without a significant understanding of code.

            Though I may not have a well-developed education about code, an electronic communication consultant would benefit an organization from having knowledge of this nature. Utilizing this knowledge as well as perceiving themselves as designers and trainers, electronic communications consultants can manifest techniques to assist them with their work. These techniques can not only help make their work more enjoyable, it can also help electronic communications consultants produce more refined outcomes for their organization.

The Reality of Lost Words

            I was excited; beyond any words I could have hoped to use to describe the feeling I felt when I received the “ok” from the organization. After my best attempt at impromptu, persuasive speaking, the board agreed to let me work with them to develop a plan for their electronic communication strategy. While exploring the organization’s use of electronic communication, my group member and I decided to focus on their website. With great effort, we produced a report. I felt so accomplished. I had actually committed a lot of my time to this project, and I was ready to make things happen. My avatar was standing proudly on her pedestal, ready to present her plan to the organization. Her eyes were gleaming with anticipation. She was ready to make this so much more than a lengthy document. She was ready to manifest reality.

            I wish I could say that my avatar proceeded to put this plan into action, and everyone lived happily ever after. Unfortunately, few real-life stories actually turn out that way. I presented the plan to the board. Though I was eager to begin putting this plan into action, I wanted to give the organization some time to consider this lengthy document. I was prepared to wait. What I wasn’t prepared for is what happened next.

            It started with a phone call. By the time I said, “Hello”, I began to regret answering the call in the first place. I wish I could say this was the only phone call I received on the subject matter, but it was not. In less than 24 hours, my dream of making this plan a reality was shattered like a mirror no one ever wants to break. Shot down and in disbelief, my avatar was officially wounded. Her head in her hands, my avatar curled up on the couch with gallons of Ben & Jerry’s, all the great love stories in the world playing on the DVR. My relationship with this plan seemed to be over much earlier than I had ever thought possible, and I was devastated.

            Reality is scary sometimes. It’s like one of those movies you don’t dare watch after the sun goes down. But, you can’t stick reality on top of the shelf until the light of day reoccurs. Reality is something you can’t escape, no matter how fast you are running. Sometimes, reality is something you cannot change, even with the most valiant attempt. Reality is permanent, ever-lasting, and certain. No matter how scary it may appear, reality is something that should be observed every day, even when the outcome is not particularly in your favor.

            If I only manage to remember one thing from my participation in this whole project, the idea of reality will be ever solidified in my mind. Though the feedback I received from this report by the organization was not all discouraging and negative, there is no possibility of actually putting this plan into action for the organization at this time. I do not consider this an accomplishment. Once again, I was without any words to describe the way I felt. For now, I guess I will just call it reality. Uncertain of what is next in terms of the aftermath of this project, I think it’s time for my chunky avatar to get off the couch and grab her running shoes. She needs to get to the gym! Reality is just a part of life, and I’m going to make sure that my avatar has the stamina to face it.

Considering Consultant: Taking Another Look at my Avatar

            Me? A consultant? Ha! You’ve got to be kidding me. The word consultant seems so educated, elite, and serious. This sounds like a tasteful term that grown-ups use. Though technically I am an adult, I am just not quite sure I am ready to take that term and apply it to myself. When I think of my online self, the term consultant is not what tends to reach the conscious of my mind. What does a consultant really do? It sounds like a term given to someone of authority. It also sounds like a term given to a person who is well-established and significantly respected within a community. While that prospect is somewhat tempting, I am not entirely certain that I would consider my online self to be worthy of a consultant reference, nor am I completely positive that I am sure I would like to or will ever be a consultant in any aspect of electronic communication.

            What is a consultant? Of course, I sought out multiple definitions to satisfy my prolonged curiosity. To my dismay, there actually are not too many variations of this definition, which left my thoughts at a slight bias. According to Google, a consultant is “a person who provides expert advice professionally”. Meanwhile, Urban Dictionary states that a consultant is

 

“A self-proclaimed expert that   extorts inflated fees from a host company in return for vague and predominantly   incorrect business advice.” Then, continues by proclaiming, “The successful   consultant detaches from its host at the exact moment its parasitic qualities   are discovered by upper management. Thus, the successful consultant’s term of   engagement will last from months to years, until a mildly attentive   decision-maker realizes that their burning ray of hope is all talk. Note that   some middle managers and all other employees of the host will immediately   recognize the consultant as a pathogen.” Choosing to side more along the   lines of the definition provided by Google and other dictionaries, I still   could not imagine being labeled a consultant.

            Maybe I am just being modest. These past 14 weeks have had such a significant impact on me when it comes to matters of electronic communication. I have almost read four whole books relative to the subject of electronic communication. These books have covered everything from e-mails to websites to social media and beyond. I have also invested a significant amount of time and identifiable information into numerous social media sites. Working on a WordPress blogging site since the beginning of the semester, I have written a substantial amount of blogs, managing to receive feedback in forms of both comments and likes. These past fourteen weeks have taught me so much. Maybe I am deserving of a “consultant status”. Then again, maybe not.

            Even though I have done so much in this course with regards to electronic communication, I do not feel I could wear the word of “Consultant” on any name tag with zero self-consciousness, complete confidence, or initial belief. This course has taught me so much about electronic communication, but I feel that there is still a great deal that I have not yet learned about this subject matter. One day, I hope I can proudly own and flaunt the term consultant within some sort of community. It would be so rewarding to have the privilege of proclaiming that I was truly considered an expert in a subject of significant academic interest to others around me.

            While I still might be uncertain of who I am when it comes to my online persona, there is no doubt in my mind that, for now, the term consultant will not be included. Though it would be nice to proclaim to everyone that I truly knew a lot about electronic communication, I am relatively content in stating that I still have a lot to learn concerning matters of this subject. This does not upset me in the slightest. Rather, it gives me plenty to look forward to. I am excited to continue exploring electronic communication for many years to come.

Content Craze: NDAB and the Website Fiasco

           When first looking at NDAB’s website, one might not only develop a headache from the colorful design scheme but also the vast amount of content present on the home page. With a home page consisting of almost 20, yes TWENTY, links to other pages, NDAB’s website makes a great attempt to provide interested parties with as much information as possible; however, this daunting number of links may do everything except motivate an individual to delve deeper into the content of this website.

            Viewing the website from a neutral spectator’s point of view, I felt beyond the point of overwhelmed. There was just so many links: so much content and, in my true American fashion, I wanted to find information easy, fast, and to the point. As I stumbled down the long listing of links, I was totally perplexed. Where to start? Attempting to adjust my eyes to the peculiar color scheme, I felt my heart pounding rapidly in my chest. I was getting a headache, and I had not even chosen a single link to explore. Reaching for a notebook and pen, I decided to organize these links into my own categories. Staring at the notebook after making my lists of these links, I was still stressing over the fact that there was so much to take into consideration. At my wits end both emotionally and physically, I closed my computer screen and went to sleep. How was I ever going to analyze all this content? It was impossible, even for a student like me, having been taught a great deal of information regarding website design and how to effectively present content on a website.

            I did what any individual who has probably ever tried to access information on this website has done, I procrastinated it. I tried to get as far away from it as I possibly could. While licking my self-conceived wounds of defeat in regards to this subject matter, I ended up having a face-to-face meeting with my professor. That was probably the best thing I have ever done in all the time I had been enrolled in this class. After talking with my professor, my faith was somewhat restored. I still was not sure what I would find on this intimidating website, but I knew it was possible to take another shot at it.

            Upon a suggestion from my professor, I created a spreadsheet. Taking every single page into account, I made sure to base my analysis on three major components: audience, message, and usability. Considering one page at a time, I wrote down my basic thoughts on the contents of each page in regards to these three components. Through this process, I began to notice several themes that were present in regards to all three of these components. In the hopes of not overwhelming you to the point that the content of this website had overwhelmed me, causing you to feel the need to run screaming from this blog entry or take your own lengthy snooze, I will cover my findings one component at a time.

            When analyzing every page of this website, I first took audience into account. Though I found the perspective audience often hard to pinpoint, I did discover there were three major audiences this website would hopefully wish to obtain. These three audiences include: the members of NDAB, visually impaired individuals (especially those who may have recently lost their sight), and the general public. I concluded that the members of NDAB found this site to be overall a no-brainer. They probably find it incredibly useful, because they are aware of the majority of information on the site, and they can locate it relatively easily due to their overall knowledge of NDAB. This becomes a very different story when considering the other two audiences, visually impaired individuals and the general public. Both of these audiences are eligible to be members of NDAB; however, given they are currently not members when first accessing the website, they lack knowledge about NDAB that assists them in locating information in as thorough of a manner as an NDAB member. In fact, these two audiences may be discouraged from even considering membership if they are as overwhelmed due to the vast content of the website as I was. Visually impaired individuals as well as the general public might find it time-consuming to venture through all the links on this site. They might feel like they will never find the information they are looking for.  If they have never heard about NDAB before, they might even consider this a pretty creative and extremely time invested joke. No one would actually have a website that is so jam packed with unorganized information, would they?

            The next component I focused on was the message within the content of each page. There was a definite theme within these pages in regards to message. Often, the message was extremely informational. With many pages possessing historical content, the message seems to have a definite story-telling concept. There were also many pages which distributed contact information. This gave an impression of invitation yet perhaps would make someone question why there needed to be so many different contacts for information. Why couldn’t all the prominent information just be on the site itself?

            The final component I analyzed was usability. Given that the message component of my analysis produced somewhat inconsistent results, I was largely uncertain if some of the content and perhaps some of the pages were useful at all. While having a degree of appreciation for all the content present on this site, I also felt as though some content may have driven individuals away from the site. They might have thought it was just a website with a bunch of people’s names, phone numbers, and E-mail addresses or a webpage devoted to highlighting all of the major historical significances of this particular organization.

            After completing my analysis of the content within this website, the next question was obvious. What do I do to resolve this content fiasco? This took me another nap, some re-reading of my textbook, countess jellybeans, and a good workout to configure. The only really practical answer to solving this crisis was to slowly and effectively implement changes into the website, making it more appealing one baby step at a time.

            Taking another look at my notebook, I realized I had the beginnings of a great idea. As my scribbled handwriting lay before me, I made another more mental analysis of the content within this website. Before I could even consider what content is more relevant than other content, I needed to get it organized.

            How was I going to organize this content? I immediately thought of organizing this content according to topic. Much like other non-profit organizations use on their websites, I thought sorting this content into categories such as “Events” and “About”. The only problem I was facing with this approach was that some content could be placed into more than one category. While discussing content organization with my professor, I, once again, encountered a breakthrough. This content could be categorized by audience. It was a brilliant idea, especially for the content on this website.

            After the side-effects of this content craze, I was certain I was prepared to conquer this website fiasco. Besides, I had already invested a good chunk of my emotions into figuring out the perfect solution. My mind set, I was ready to develop a strategic plan and present it to NDAB. The only question that was drowning my success was completely sensible yet somewhat draining: How would they react?