Ode to a Good Webcomic Navigation System
Submitted by Linda Howard Valentine on May 31, 2007 - 14:54
Dear Navigation System, how I love you so. You make it easy for me to read my favorite comics, and without you I would be lost. Whither thou goest, so go I, and woe betide the webcomic that forsakes your charms. For if it does not think it important that it be easy for me to read through the wonders contained within its pages, so shall I value it not worth reading and seek pleasure elsewhere. Oh Navigation System, let me enumerate your virtues for the world to see.
I love how you label yourself clearly, my sweet Navigation System, with no overly clever, hard-to-interpret buttons that accidentally vault me places I did not intend to go. I especially adore your intuitive set-up: earliest button on the far left, followed by the back-one-page button, the index or archives button so resolutely in the center, then the forward-one-page button, and on the far right the most-recent button. I have even seen you link to the homepage of your comic from its logo or masthead - how sensible you are!
Ever modest, you do not seek to overshadow the comic with flashing lights, garishly large graphics or illustrated gifs. By allowing the contents center stage, your natural beauty shines through.
And oh, my beloved Navigation System, you shine brightest when you wait helpfully at both the top and bottom of the comic to suit different readers' tastes. When the comic takes up more than a screen, it's so wonderful not to have to scroll back up or down when I am done looking at the image.
Navigation System, it's so captivating the way you flow all the comics together seamlessly, even those divided by issue, so that when I want to read through your comic's entire archives I don't have to search all over the place or go back to the splash page to get to the next issue.
But, clever little system that you are, you also provide the comics archived by issue, topic or year, as appropriate. How I love that function for those occasions when I don't want to read all 12 episodes in a row to find that one panel I want to show my husband because it was brilliant. And nothing compares to the way you subdivide your archives, dotingly offering up pictures and short descriptions of story arcs to make sure I can find my way unerringly.
And lo, though reader comments on a comic are marvelous to see, Navigation System, it is also marvelous how you hug the edges of the image, below the art but above those comment tag boxes, so that they may never drive us apart - for else it would seem, when you bow low to the bottom of the page as readers wax verbose, that you are not even there.
Oh Navigation System, would that others could see you as I do! For no matter how good a comic might be, the site which spurns you, in all your glory, spurns me as well. Only be true to me, do not forsake me, and I will be with you and your comic forever.