Making a Good Manga Website

David Welsh has been surveying how useful manga publisher websites are, and he sums up his investigations with advice useful to any publisher. The information he asks for — a list of books in print, individual title pages that are directly linkable — is basic and yet overlooked surprisingly often.

Although he says that he’s not a professional, he’s hit on some essential usability principles: make labels obvious and information easy to find, keep it simple, emphasize what the user wants instead of what the designer wants to show off.

Like many of the other commentators, I was ticked to find out that my many Tokyopop links no longer work. Their error message, a simple “Page Not Found” is less-than-helpful to readers looking for information that used to be there. What, they couldn’t say “This site has recently been redesigned” and provide links to their home page and search features?

I would emphasize including preview pages more than David does, because with an ever-growing number of manga, I need more than a catchy cover and a one- or two-line premise description to decide to purchase a series. I also like Brigid’s suggestion that publishers update as soon as their new titles are announced.

4 Comments

  1. I forgot to mention that on David’s blog: Didn’t Tokyopop’s site used to have a lot of previews? I swear the Sgt. Frog section had some sample pages but now there’s nothing.

  2. You’re right. When I updated my Tokyopop links on several of my series recommendation pages, I noticed that previews that used to be there were missing.

  3. They could have used a .htaccess file to redirect all their old urls. I am surprised that they did not do that. It can be disastrous for a large site to overhaul without a simple method of redirecting from old pages.

  4. That´s one of the things that always bothered (and still bothers) me about the DARK HORSE page. That they put up previews of their books only after they have shipped as opposed to when they are announced.

    best example is MAIL, which is a beautifully drawn book, but the covers are horrendous, still that´s all you get to see on the DH page. Way to lose sales I say.

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