Archive for the J7566 Category

Multimedia Critique

Posted in J7566 on November 3, 2009 by Jakob Michael Berr
For my second multimedia critique, I looked at Living Galapagos, a project that was carried out by the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The project aims to “examine the delicate balance between man and nature” of the Galapagos Islands.
Living Galapagos
The project already impresses by its mere scope. More than 30 people – professors, students and freelancers – contributed to it. Consequently, the final result is a presentation that offers an enormous amount of information. Structuring such a load of input is difficult, but I think that the makers of Living Galapagos did a great job in doing so. After a pre-loader and a short intro that describes the project in a nutshell, a map of the Galapagos Islands appears.At the bottom corner of the map are buttons for four different sections: stories, people, places and facts. In each category a number of pushpins appear on the map that represent the single chapters. Mousing over the pushpins opens a small preview window that gives an idea of the chapter behind it, and on click, a new “sheet” opens on top of the map with the presentation on it. In addition to the audio-slideshows, the presentation in the stories section also feature links to related information.
Technically, the project is flawless. An intuitive navigation, great audio and image quality and a simple but compelling design all contribute to the success of the presentation. This is a piece of multimedia journalism that the viewer should approach with a lot of time to enjoy the full extent of this project.

PixelPress

Posted in J7566 on September 20, 2009 by Jakob Michael Berr

Screenshot PixelPress

For my first website critique, I looked at PixelPress. I chose this website because it represents and stands not only for great photojournalistic work but also for using the internet to present photography in new, innovative ways that have not been possible before.

The home page of the website is structured very simple and clear. A raster of squares contains links to current projects featured on the website and to Fred Ritchins’ new book, After Photography. Tucked away in the upper left corner, making it a little hard to discover on first sight, are links to more projects featured on the site as well as a list of exhibitions available for booking, contributors to the site and the “about us” section. In my opinion, these links could be placed a little more central, as they are easy to overlook.

The single projects are presented in a variety of different ways, each inviting the user to interact with the presentation. The goal of this interactive approach is to encourage “an active dialogue between the author and reader and, also, the subject,” and in my view, this is largely successful. Skilled placement of links, great design and layout and a variety of hyperlinks that invite the reader to learn more about the subject matter characterize each presentation.

The whole website is HTML and CSS based, which drastically reduces loading times and gives the user a greater degree of control over the presentation. One minor flaw in my eyes is that most of the texts used for the layout are image files. Since the design of the shows is often supposed to build up with every click, the reloading of images sometimes results in optical disruptions that can be a little distracting. In one case, a missing image file even corrupts the presentation in that the user cannot read the entire text.

All in all however, PixelPress does a great job in trying out new ways of interactive presentation of photojournalism, and the response in the discussion forum and the comment sections of the projects are overwhelmingly positive. It is certainly a page one should visit when in the process of designing one’s own website.