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Reaction #9 July 24, 2009

Filed under: Reaction — ckissner @ 1:56 pm

The project that I chose to critique was Afro-Latin Americans. In viewing this project about Afro-descendants in Latin America, I could tell a lot of time and effort was put into this very elaborate piece. It is an interesting topic told in a way that draws you to each story and picture that is listed. I find it difficult to critique something that is that in depth and informative.

 However, I can see that some areas could be altered or improved.  For starters, the first page that you see when the site opens is a little overwhelming.  There is so much going on and I really did not know what to look at first. The heading sounds simple enough to understand, “A rising voice: Afro-Latin Americans.” I was ready to navigate through the project but I didn’t know what I should do next.

 Then, I am given almost 10 choices of places I can visit within the project.  A huge map takes up most of the room on the page and a bunch of dots and numbers on it makes it interactive for me to delve into another aspect of the project.  I think if the map was not on the first page I would feel more comfortable about all of the links to the stories that are listed.  The map is a really nice feature and gave me a lot of information, but I don’t think it belongs on the first page.

 I think the overview should probably be the opening page. If I was visiting this site on my own and not for class work, I may get bored and not so to other places on the page because the map page is a little time consuming and I feel like it should not be the focus of the page.

 After I clicked on Part 1, I felt a little distracted by the yellow ad on the top of the page as well as my options on the left side.  I wanted to read the story but I didn’t know if I should watch one of the two videos to the left first.  Again, it was a little overwhelming and when I am reading a story on the internet my attention span is slightly different than when I am reading a book or magazine.  My attention span when I am viewing web pages is a lot shorter, I want to know what is going on and why I should be investing my time in the content. 

 The following parts were similar. They were so detailed and were rich with information, culture, and facts.  I would have paid attention to every word of this project, had it been in a magazine or in a documentary.  The work here is phenomenal, all of the video clips, pictures, and stories within stories.  There is so much information here that it is a shame, in my opinion, that it will never be fully appreciated.

 I think that a story is told better through video sometimes and in this case I think that this would make an excellent documentary. 

 At the end of this project there were over 100 comments posted by readers.  So obviously people are reading these stories.  I am simply stating my opinion, I could not get through each and every fact and that I thought the layout could be changed to be a little less overwhelming.  I think that if this was published as a magazine people may miss the experience that the video clips give. Music, voices, and background all play a key part in the experience. I think that the video clips that were used in this project were necessary in connecting with the culture and surroundings.  I thought that the videos and pictures were excellent ways to keep my interest.  The text could have been shortened.  Although it was accurate and informative information, I think that the long blocks of text on the page is one of the reasons I may wander away from the site.  I think that it this project could be more appealing by getting rid of some of the text.  Like I said earlier, I know that people, including myself that would love to read all of these stories, in a different format, like a magazine, not online.

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3 Responses to “Reaction #9”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Christine,
    I have to agree with you on this project. I clicked on your link to the Miami Herald feature and tried to understand what the overview was presenting. Next, I clicked on the part 1 section and then felt very overwhelmed with what I just clicked into. So, I thought, let me go back and read your analysis and see if there is a starting point. Then, I saw that you felt the same way I did.

    My first approach on how this should be utilized is to have this as a documentary on PBS instead of online, but I think if I would have seen each part reveal day-to-day or week-to-week, it wouldn’t seem as overwhelming.

    As far as the package itself, it is very effective with the use of stories, pictures and slide shows. The text is definitely too long for the web – hopefully the Miami Herald has this in their newspaper first.

    The pictures are very vibrant and convey messages you can not get from reading straight text, but I would recommend a television station document this project to make it easier for the viewer/reader digest all of the information.

    I’d be interested to learn how this project came to fruition in this format at the Miami Herald.

  2. TL Says:

    This is a very nice overview, Christine. You point out strengths and weaknesses, and I hope you learned some lessons for your own future work along the way.


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