Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Website critique

Central Avenue: One author, many stories
By: Sara Patterson

This interactive site includes interviews, pictures, maps, "street scenes," different perspectives and hidden places for Central Avenue in Albany, NY. Paul Grondahl tells the stpries of the residents who live and work on a street filled with crime. He fills his stories with beautiful, pensive, crisp and complicated photographs. The website address is

The site is intended to show how Central Avenue is filled with hardships and dispair. It also shows in the depths of all the dispair, hope is not lost. Each story represents a viewpoint of someone living on Central Avenue. One story may be about a successful storeowner trying to make a living, and the next story may be about a woman who lost her life to drugs. The author's interest in the street sparked from, "Wondering why so many people were afraid to go to Central Avenue."

The website is organized by the three miles of Central Avenue. The author uses chunking to organize articles of the street along with interviews and viewpoints of its residents. It also has a separate section that includes more interactive features along with an interview with the mayor. Along the menu bar, the navigations leads you to each separate mile. Each mile has articles and sections for voices, viewpoints and hidden gems. The viewpoints, voices and hidden gems on the menu bar all link back to each separate mile as well. This gives the viewer another path to look up different articles.

The multimedia features include
-Street scenes: A slideshow of beautiful pictures of people taken in the area.
-A video of the entire avenue taken from a car ride.
-A slideshow of older pictures from the early 1900s of the avenue taken from the Albany Institute of Art.
-An interactive map.
-Lots of chunking to organize interviews, articles, and places.
-A blog site that the arthor uses to answer questions people may have.

One article about the restaurant owner, Mohammed Hossain, talks about how a man from Bangladesh opens his own restaurant in the U.S. The article is inspiring, but when you get to the end, there is an update. The storeowner was arrested for "money laundering in connection with a ficticious terriost plot."

One feature that is not successful is the "Cruse the avenue," multimedia feature. I think the only things you see are the backs of cars rather than the actual avenue. I also think the author should have kept each section separate instead of combining and linking them. While the organization gives more options, I think it's confusing and not needed.


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