Group 1 Document Analysis Memo

Opening: Effective arts publications are visually appealing, easy to navigate, and have a clear, direct focus. We agree that well-placed graphics, excellence of writing, and navigational features are the backbone for a successful site.

Body:
Heavy focus on graphics – Two sites, thedailybeast.com and chictopia.com are good examples of effective use of graphics on a landing page. They are visually appealing, give a straightforward idea of what the site has to offer (defines the readership), and allows a visitor to pick what draws their eye/attention to click on.
Clean, cohesive look – In food.theatlantic.com, empty space is limited, but the images and text flow in a way that is unobtrusive and streamlined. Although separate ideas and stories are available, the reader feels that the site has one direct focus and is not overwhelmed.
Little “below the fold” – Again, in chictopia.com, the landing page gives the reader a shortened view of what is available without them having to scroll down. By utilizing a horizontal menu and clickable graphics, the site gives a taste without asking for any effort on the part of the visitor.
“Read more” option – On pitchfork.com and thedailybeast.com, our eyes were drawn to the graphics or titles that most interested us, and then given the option to read on by clicking through. By using 25-50 words to entice the reader, the sites allow for an interactive choice.
Horizontal menu – To us, vertical menus have more of a blog-type feel, and we would like to keep the reader’s focus in one area. It should be easy to see other options (categories) while reading and simple to navigate once within a category. If possible, we like the options of a drop-down box for subpages, and rollover features for menus or images (thedailybeast.com).
Clean writing – Pretty self-explanatory, we don’t want to pain the reader with incorrect grammar or out-of-touch ideas. We like articles with a clear focus that relate to the overall theme of the publication.
Clear focus - To go further into this idea, we like sites that outwardly appeal to a specific audience. Pitchfork.com and food.theatlantic.com address certain audiences (age groups, interests, etc.) that is clear by looking at the home page.
Lists, accompanying elements – Publications need more; the articles themselves should be the main focus, but add-ons such as videos, playlists, events, etc. enhance the readers’ experiences and involvement in their interests.

Conclusion: We should use the above criteria to help shape our publication. We need to remain realistic; many of the features we liked the most are probably beyond our capabilities (sigh). However, this will be a learning process for all of us, and we plan on setting high goals. With the above in mind, we need to establish our target audience and stick to modern, young topics of interest. We’ll bounce ideas back and forth and work as a team to nail down a focus (advantage: we are our audience).

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