31 December 2006 | Vol. 6, No. 4

But Makeovers Always Look Easy on Television

Disclaimers first. Most of the changes described below are being implemented online for the first time in the earliest days of 2007. If you are visiting the site during the first week of 2007, there will be some parts of 42opus.com that are not properly or fully functional yet because the process of switching over the scripts and files is not a one-click process. We are cleaning things up, and daily, 42opus.com is running running smoother than ever before.

Many of the changes to 42opus and 42opus.com listed below are foundation changes meant to increase our usefulness to readers and better our abilities to procure work from only the very best writers.

navigation changes

Emphasize content. The links to the about pages of the site have been moved to the bottom of the page in order to emphasize links to writing on the tops of the pages.

The Big Three. We have eliminated old tabs like "current"/"new" and "archived" from our menus; why ask readers to navigate a website like a stack of magazines? Instead, there are now given direct links to fiction, nonfiction, and poetry at the top of every page.

Labeling. We've begun to label each piece of writing in our archives with key categorical words about its form, execution, and content, such as "prose poem," "classic," and "translation." This means that readers can view writing in related groups—open a contents page that only lists flash fiction or that only lists classic sonnets, et cetera. Now readers seeking specific kinds of writing can better find it, and readers aimlessly browsing have many new associative ways to move throughout the archived work.

design & development changes

Code monkey. Much of the scripts that run 42opus have been rewritten over the last few months, often incorporating better technologies than before. In other words, 42opus.com runs faster.

Bye-bye, Flashie. 42opus began as a Flash-based magazine, and after switching to a primarily XHTML format in 2003, 42opus continued to use a Flash header for navigation and beautification. But no more. We've eliminated the Flash header from 42opus entirely to gain accessibility and search engine optimization for individual 42opus pages.

Whole new look. Trying to find a new look for 42opus.com has been the hardest change of all. It still is. The current look, as of 1-1-2007, is a "foundation look." It's a simple and basic design that offers a large level of freedom for changes over the next few months as we test layouts and content saturation levels in search of the best balance.

content changes

Fair play on the front page. Our old home page layout featured the single newest piece of writing in its entirety, which served that one writer very well (for a few days at least) but didn't much serve readers, especially new readers. While our redesigned front page still prioritizes the newest writing, it now does so with excerpts (to allow more work on the screen) and highlights the newest piece each in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The front page is now more reader friendly, allowing visitors to 42opus.com easy scanning of new material for writing that interests them.

Money money money. We've labeled some of our favorite writing from the past few years as Editors' Select to create an abridged version of our 500-plus-item archives. Beginning with the March 2007 issue, new writing chosen as Editors' Select will receive a monetary prize. For more information, browse the list of archived work labeled Editors' Select or read the Editors' Select submissions FAQs.

Congratulations, Kiki Petrosino. Kiki's poem "You Have Made a Career of Not Listening," was recently published in the Best New Poets 2006 anthology. (Check Amazon.com for Best New Poets 2006; check Powell's Books.) 42opus is proud to be the only online magazine with writing reprinted in the anthology.

staff changes

Please welcome Kathleen Donohoe, Shanna Germain, Diane Gillette, Amy Guth, Eloise Holland, Josh Potter, and James Warner to the 42opus staff as Assistant Editors of fiction, and Allison Elliott, Leslie Harrison, Pamela Manasco, and Katherine McCord as Assistant Editors of poetry.

About the author:

Brian Leary is the founding editor of 42opus. He also maintains a photoblog at his homepage, brianleary.com.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Brian Leary at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 6, No. 4, where "But Makeovers Always Look Easy on Television" ran on December 31, 2006. List other work with these same labels: nonfiction, letter from the editor.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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