One thing that’s always been frustrating to me is finding the information I need on a journal’s homepage. There are always sidebars filled with junk I don’t care about, and frequently there are dozens of navigation items that are so general they don’t give me clear sense of what information dwells inside. I’ve always wondered if this is because the people creating these sites are business people without academic backgrounds…
You may have noticed that Scholastica, as a precursor to rolling out Open Access publishing (this is a big deal, so tell your friends), has redesigned journal homepages for all journals currently using Scholastica. I wanted to take a moment to delve a bit deeper into the redesign and explain how this revamp will help our journals by helping their users.
Clear information hierarchy – for scholars
You’ll notice that at the top of the screen, it’s apparent what journal you’re on. Note that there aren’t any sidebars distracting you with unimportant information more relevant to the journal’s marketing department than the scholar who’s trying to learn more about the journal or submit a manuscript. In this design it’s easy to skim the page and see journal title > journal summary > editorial board.
Weighting different information…differently
Most journal homepages throw a ton of information at the reader in a single, uniform, long block of text. To aid the scholar in finding what they need, you’ll find that we use a combination of font sizes, weights, and shades. For example, Scholastica journal homepages deemphasize ISSN, publisher, and journal contact information in order to emphasize more important information about the journal: its name, submission guidelines, description, and editors.
A one-stop shop for everything needed to submit an article
Everything related to submitting an article is housed in its own navigation item, “For Authors”. You’d be surprised at how many journal homepages don’t give author-oriented information its own place to live, which turns submitting or preparing your manuscript into a game of hide-and-seek to find the information you need. Scholastica journal homepages make it obvious where to click to submit a manuscript and find pertinent information.
Check out an example Scholastica journal Homepage
Take a look at the Scholastica Example Journal homepage to see the new design in action. And remember that with Scholastica, any scholar can create and manage a peer-reviewed journal. In a few more weeks journals will also be able to publish their open access content, which is very important for academia – so tell your friends!