Highway 64 Travel Writing Website
The Highway 64 website is an example of travel writing that takes places along Highway 64 in North Carolina. For this project, my class collectively worked to cover North Carolina from the Coastal Plain, including the Piedmont and Foothills to the Mountains region. Each of these four groups contained multiple members who traveled to the region to explore the culture and come back to write about it. The website is a compilation of all the profiles, features, reviews, and travelogues that the class wrote to share our knowledge about North Carolina and travel writing in general. The overall goal of this project was to practice the genre of travel writing, gain a better understanding of how it is used and what it offers, and practice working on putting together a website.
The project included several phases. The first phase was to research what travel writing is. The second phase was to travel to the individual regions to collect notes and experiences to write about. The third phase was the actual writing. For this part, the rhetorical strategies focused on creating a real life experience for the reader.
Most of the rhetorical strategies were employed when determining how to design the website and upload the articles. I worked on this portion of the project with our professor, two other students, and two website support personnel. There was already a rough draft of the website, but we wanted to rework it a little to make it easier to navigate and to highlight specific writings. We decided to have a Home page, About section, Student Bios page, and a drop down menu to choose from the specific regions. Another rhetorical decision we made was to color code the locations on the map on the homepage. This would help separate the four regions and give the viewers a visual of what parts of North Carolina we covered.
The last important rhetorical decision was the use of linking. Linking our blog to other websites would help drive traffic to our website, but too many links would be overwhelming for the reader and increase the chances that they would leave the Highway 64 website on the search to learn more about something else we mentioned. We still wanted to provide context for the reader; therefore, we decided to link the subject of each article. For example, in The Square Root Review, I linked to the Square Root Restaurant website so that the viewer could learn more about the food they have and when they are open. We also internally linked the authors of each article to their individual biography. Overall, linking helped create flow within the website and drive traffic to the website.
I gained many different useful skills by working on this project. The travel itself encouraged me to be open to learning from the knowledge of others. I also kept a field notebook which taught me the importance of detailed notes because I relied on this notebook heavily when composing my pieces. Writing the articles reminded me of how revisions can help improve the quality of a piece. The website section of the project gave me experience working with Wordpress. It is helpful to know how to create pages, upload posts with pictures, link internally and externally, and go back and edit website content. Overall, this project gave me the opportunity to manage a website and its content, and I included it in this section of my portfolio to highlight how visual design, organization, and consistency are important factors to consider when sharing information with your audience.