Blog 1: the Florida panther

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I chose to critique a story called “Florida Panther: Dead Cat Walking” by the Tampa Bay Times. The user experience in the piece is overall really good. The reader can definitely tell that they put a lot of time and effort into reporting on the story and developing an online interactive site to display all the information. I think it is easy to navigate. The photos inset on the illustration are clickable, as indicated by the text saying, “select.”

Each photo takes the reader to a different section of the story. Several different kinds of media are used to tell the story. Two tabs have videos, a couple more have infographics and the rest have photo slideshows. They compliment each other nicely by expanding upon the information introduced in the previous tab. I only had a few minor problems with some of the tabs. I think the infographic in the “paw prints on Florida history” tab is too busy. It includes a lot of really great information about the history of panthers in Florida but by the fourth panel of the graph, there are too many bubbles. It ends up looking really crowded and busy. I think it overwhelms the reader and could have been narrowed down a little bit.

In the photo slideshow tabs, like “in the wild,” and “in captivity,” at first I didn’t like the slideshow choice because it seemed to be randomly selected photos. But once the reader notices the small “captions” option in the bottom right, more information is provided about the photos and it made more sense to me. I think the captions should have appeared automatically.

One of the best tabs in my opinion was the “panther politics” tab. It used a lot of primary source documents and photos from conservation officials to show the fight to help save the panthers in Florida. It had the right amount of text, pictures and some interactive features to make it both informative and interesting.

The site elements reflect the content well because they build off of each other and are all presented in the frame of the panther illustration. I liked that touch because it gives the project a sense of cohesiveness, instead of taking the reader to several different pages.

Overall I liked this interactive project. I think it provided a lot of good information on the topic of panthers in Florida, and the only critiques I had are very minor.

Link to site: http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2010/interactives/florida-panther-habitat-facts/

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One thought on “Blog 1: the Florida panther

  1. I think that this piece is user-friendly, and there’s a lot of good information, but I think the overall aesthetic of the landing page should be addressed. The illustration and images of the panther and the grass and the typography the designer chose aren’t super cohesive, nor does it really add anything to the overall story. I think that because the focus is on a panther, I would’ve liked to see a real life photo of the panther as the main image on the front page, as opposed to a drawing.

    The typography and the hover effects on the tiny photos also don’t seem very polished. I would have liked to see a more clean, minimal take on those aspects since there’s already so much going on.

    Aside from those, I would agree that it was a good idea to make each tiny photo a button that takes you to a different multimedia aspect of the package. It’s interesting and the tabs allow for more information and a more interactive experience.

    Like

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