/ Q.A.: Basic Journal-ism: Tips for Electronic Publishers

Biting the Hand That Feeds Me

What better place to start than with a critique of my host, the Journal of Electronic Publishing? As the online site that endeavors to "help us understand the new and exciting medium of digital publishing," JEP should attempt to set the standards in the areas of good design, ease of navigation and others. In some areas, JEP succeeds, but in others there is clearly room for improvement. The redesign effective with this issue clearly tips the balance into the positive side, but looking at the previous design seems useful for comparative purposes.

First, the good: JEP is functional. There are no unnecessary animated GIFs to drive the reader insane, no frilly decorative doodads. The original opening screen makes it clear to the first-time visitor what JEP is, what types of content can be found here, and what the copyright policy is. The page also indicates the frequency of publication, useful to visitors who plan to stop back for updates.

That said, JEP is hardly an example of a cutting-edge Web publication. Three areas could stand improvement: