This month saw the launch of two new ezines from creators in Melbourne; Ricochet and Thelma.
Ricochet is a pleasing ezine, with a tone of sophistication which comes not only by its content but also from the layout. The content is a blend of poetry and short stories with the editors selecting a wide range. There is a mix of heady internalisation; Some words I did keep, by Tristan Foster, engaging quirkiness; Metamorphotosynthesis, by Kirk Marshall and short but snappy pieces, (excuse the pun), like He Snaps, She Snaps, by Stacy Barton.
The writer bios at the end show that there is a mix of published and emerging writers which is always nice to see. According to the website Ricochet will be produced quarterly, with a primarily Australian focus, but does accept international submissions.
The Ricochet team know what’s required for an electronic medium. The ezine is available from their blog in two alternative download sizes for readers to choose. The format of the pages is great. The font is consistent and clear, black text on a white background, it’s about getting the content across. The graphics are beautiful, sourced by different artists, there is a mix of original photography and delicate sketches.
Thelma calls itself a web-based magazine. Readers are presented information entirely on screen; this is a magazine designed not to be printed. I would describe the genre as ‘funky lifestyle’. There is a mix of interviews, recipes, artist profiles, opinion pieces and reviews. Half of the screens include parcels of video. These are contained to small boxes and are relatively quick to load, but make it necessary to have audio. Highlights include video interviews with John Safran, video accounts of community projects and written articles on the Pacific Garbage patch or Trash Vortex and an account of dating for 70 year olds both by Adele Smith. The photography on the site is great making the pages feel like a printed magazine.
There are a few design issues that don’t make Thelma as enjoyable as it could be. To begin with I had difficulties locating the magazine, after hearing about it on Twitter. I couldn’t work out how to get to the mag from their tumblr page and had to return to twitter to find the correct link. Text is contained to small boxes which need to be scrolled through with their own scrollbars. The scrollbars take away from some of the aesthetics of the page and could be made larger on pages where there is more background space than text space. Some of the text isn’t clear to read off the screen, difficult fonts and a bad choice of background colours (particularly for people with difficulties with red and green). There were some moments where I couldn’t work out how to navigate to the next page and needed to use the browser back button. I assume that these issues will be ironed out in later versions.