Broader Context

My graduate project closely relates to my dissertation, whereby I explored how Strava augments the social world of long distance running; thus some of the theory can be transferable to my practical work. I have reviewed multiple secondary literature as well as undertaken primary research, gaining understandings into why people run, motivations of participants and uses of digital media. This knowledge is highly useful for the proposed project and has helped me to greatly understand my target audience.

Historical Context:
Shipway (2010) suggests that runners are now accepted as a significant sporting interest group in society, proposing that distance running in particular has become ‘a hobby, an enthusiasm, an obsession and for many, a life-changing experience’ (p.11). Thus this increasing popularity of running offers a rationale for the production of digital media products targeting participants of the serious leisure activity. Health and fitness has become a vast growing app category, with multiple running applications now available to download. My proposed idea will work alongside Strava, a contemporary, popular fitness application. Aiming to improve users experiences of running, as well as help to improve their fitness for upcoming events.

Social and Cultural Context:
The sociological concept of social worlds (Unruh 1980) is applicable as the website is targeting the social world of running. There are certain norms and values associated with the social world and thus it is important to understand these in order to produce a website that lives up to runners expectations. Due to being a member of the running social world, I will ensure that I use appropriate running language in order to verbally connect with the users, as well as appropriate visuals that appeal to runners. The social world of running is diffuse and thus not limited to a certain culture or geographical area, therefore I need to ensure the project appeals to the wide demographic of runners.

Aesthetic Context:
There are various theoretical concepts related to the aesthetics of my project:

Semiotics – this is the study of signs and the cultures that use them (Bertin 1967). I need to ensure that the visual aesthetics I use are easily identifiable by the running culture.

Data Visualisation – this is the representation of data in graphical or pictorial formats. I need to closely consider how to visually present the training guides rather than in a basic, traditional table.

User Experience Design – this involves studying and evaluating how users feel about a system (Gube 2010). I need to thoroughly consider the usability, accessibility and efficiency; continuously testing with the intended audience will thus be crucial.

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