Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Student Choice Side Note: Design in Online Journals

I noticed that several magazines were dominating the choices my students made; PANK, Dark Sky, and Storyglossia. NOO and The Incongruous Quarterly have also made appearances. I wasn't totally surprised to see these magazines strongly represented -- they're good! -- but I was surprised to see them dominate so much.

At first I assumed they must have simply been at the top of the list I provided, but in fact my students seem to have been pretty dilligent: the magazines they chose were distributed throughout the list, and the particular pieces they chose were distributed pretty reasonably through time. So I think these magazines and writers should feel pretty good about themselves!

I asked my students in the last five minutes of class today why these particular magazines dominated, and they indicated it was basically an issue of design. One student pointed out how easy it is to get to the work in PANK. Another said he used the search feature in PANK in an interesting way; he chose a particular word, searched for it, and then chose one of the pieces that featured that word. Another student emphasized how easy it was to find the contents in Dark Sky Magazine, and how manageable the list of contents for a given issue is: because there aren't too many pieces in a given issue, said this student, it's easy to get to the good stuff. I suspect this also has a lot to do with their preference for Storyglossia, whose design I actually find fairly unattractive but extremely functional. Something for online magazines to think about: if you look at the publications my students chose, they have a few design elements very much in common. I think there's room for other designs, as we've discussed here before, but their designs really are very functional and usable for the average Internet user.

No comments:

Post a Comment