by: Mary Kate Metivier
Out in the Great Alone by Brian Phillips is written in long form about the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Right away the site begins with an excellent of the dog sled and large sky that sets the scene for the entire site. The site is very easy to navigate, providing links at the top to the prologue, and chapters 1-4, which take you to that section in the site. The site has a lot of potential to be a bit text heavy. However, the multimedia elements are paired perfectly throughout the story, and are neither multimedia nor text outweighing each other.
Within the text there are highlighted words that provide archived photos and original photos from the writer, charts, definitions, and occasional audio interviews on the sidebar next to the written portion. In addition to the audio interviews, there are also sound bites of learning to “mush” and even original videos that the writer took of things like a polar bear and learning to fly an airplane. All of these elements help the viewer, reader, and listener to be thrown into the story when combined properly as this website did.
A very common element used in multimedia sites depicting a journey is the interactive map that appears at the top of the site as you begin the journey in Chapter One. I found that the map added a lot to the story because I felt as if I was on the journey and I knew when we were getting close to major checkpoints such as the pins on the map. The pins are also links to the part of the story they correspond to, allowing the user the capability to return quickly to certain parts of the story. The ability to make the map disappear was also a nice touch for those that find too much multimedia to be distracting.
Overall the site is very easy to navigate your way through, and provides many types of experiences within the story through written words, interactive maps, photos, drawings, and audio interviews. At first the only thing I found to be bland was the very basic set up of the text. However I realized that if there was any more done to the text, it would take away from the excellent pieces of multimedia provided in the sidebar.