Fig 1. Three images of macha ice cream supposedly raided from a wizard’s alleyway. May be subject to various enchantments? Who knows.

For this week, I’ve been assigned to peer-review one of my classmate’s websites. I was paired up with Kate and her website Half Milk and Sugar.

Looking at Kate’s website, I’m immediately given an idea of her brand due to the layout of the website. The navigation consists almost entirely of lowercase sans-serif font and very high-production photographs of food, giving off a distinct “modern high-culture” vibe. It goes well with the sort of eateries she documents, which also appear to be very expensive. I personally believe that design is the highest concern when it comes to branding, and she’s knocked it out of the park here.

Kate’s website was definitely very classy, but perhaps lacking in content. Her posts about macha ice cream and a Belgian waffle bar had some pretty great images and definitely was effective in making me feel like a waffleless peasant. But there also wasn’t any text. There’s nothing hinting at the location of those establishments if I ever had the money to visit them, or any explanation of what the food is or tastes like. The macha post didn’t even give anything away as to where she got this ice cream. She could have gotten it from a wizard, as far as I can tell. Maybe she found a macha display in an alleyway? If that was the case I certainly can’t blame her for not wanting to share it, if I came across an untapped wellspring of gourmet ice cream in an alleyway I’d definitely be secretive about it. That’s for me and whatever other impecunious foodies are lucky enough to find it.

Some other posts, like her guest post and about page, did have text, but very little. These pages seem to build on a mythology Kate set out to establish in one of her process posts, where her site is a virtual menu for a hypothetical diner. I find the idea intriguing, but it’ll need to be elaborated upon more in the near future if it’s going to work effectively.

But to give Kate credit where credit is very much due, her Roji Monster Ice article (To date her only food article with more than a paragraph of text) is very well written. It’s a brilliant rundown of a Taipei ice cream parlor that walks you through the experience of eating at the restaurant and gives you a lot of the information you’d need to find and place an order at the location. If she’d developed her other articles similarly, her website would really start to work within its own niche.

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