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Last week, I talked about the design of online literary journals. This week, the journal I’ll be talking about has two important qualities: interactivity and the journal fills a niche in the pantheon of online literary journals. The journal this week — shadowbox — fulfills both of those criteria.
Interactivity in a journal is important because it engages the readers with what you’re doing. If you have links that pop or an eye-catching design, that helps attract more readers and more visitors to your site. Poetry and writing in general can be a very communal experience. In that vein, literary journals should endeavor to be communal, inclusive spaces.
shadowbox is an online literary journal that employs a very interesting menu. Off to the left side of the screen is a drawing of an actual shadowbox, a small wooden box filled with knick-knacks and curios. Each little knick-knack leads to a link within the journal as you rest on with your cursor. I love sites like this because this interactive menu feels like you’re searching for the links, you’re unearthing links on their site.
Another important component of an online literary journal is that you are, in some way, unique. It’s important to either fill a niche that doesn’t yet exist in the online literary journal community or create a unique and creative website design.
In the case of shadowbox, they bill themselves as “the magazine we always wanted to read but could never find.” In this case, the creators of shadowbox desired to see something in the literary journal community and set out to create it themselves. shadowbox is published bi-annually and features creative non-fiction. I haven’t found any other online journals that feature online creative non-fiction, so shadowbox is unique among its peers.
Of course, there are many other wonderful things about shadowbox. I like the dictionary definitions of their title, the morphing header at the top of the site, and the charming design overall. Definitely check out shadowbox and see what they have to offer in terms of creative non-fiction.
— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan