Requiem for a Useful Critical Target
<!-- Need to keep from sounding too much like a jerk... Who am I to tell the editors of Kairos what to do with their web site? I want to use the directness and bluntness of the online medium, but I don't want to annoy respectable academics. -->
<!-- I know! How about a deliberately pompous, satirical tone? It creates a lighter atmosphere, but without diluting the message with too much chitchat. Think T. Herman Zwiebel, from The Onion. OK, here goes. -->
Although I continue to mourn the loss of the old Kairos, I was heartened to see that the "current issue" page (which, as I write this, features Kairos 4.1) uses style sheets to get rid of that pesky link underlining. I just hate it when hyperlinks are so easy to find. Since most of the text is red, how wonderfully the few non-linked words jump off the screen!
I had never thought of annoying readers by making unvisited links red, and visited links a different shade of red. It's fun to see people squint at the screen to identify a color change that they can barely notice.
Oh, how sweet it was, back when the Kairos frames were so obviously pointless... back when my students, trapped deeply within an internal page, could click on the logo in the upper left corner of the uppermost frame, and watch as the logo expanded in size! (We don't need no steenkin' "home" links.)
<!-- Is the elegiac tone working? Do I need to throw in a few smileys or IMHOs? -->
||Yet now, when I click on the Kairos icon, what happens? From top-level pages, it leads to the home page; from inside the current issue, it takes you to the current issue table of contents. It's disorienting when clicking the same icon can result in two different actions. In a perfect world, the "VOL 4 ISS 1 FALL 1999" image that sometimes appears beneath the Kairos logo could take you to that issue's table of contents; at present, it does nothing.|
<!-- I'm obviously stretching here. These are legitimate design questions, but they aren't serious enough to prevent me from using the site... Let's try something else. -->
The very concept of waiting for an "issue" makes little sense in the online world. If one of the articles is ready to go, why hold it back for the others? If an interesting letter to the editor comes in, why not make it a part of the issue upon which it comments, instead of saving it for months later? And another thing...
<!-- Oh, forget it. I call up the Kairos home page now, and it looks... functional! The badness of Kairos used to be so clear... now I have to provide too much context in order to illustrate the design weaknesses. -->
<!-- Kairos, kudos to you for being what you are. Curses to you for evolving, and therefore recklessly depriving me of a useful critical target. Hey... this coverweb about hypertext fiction looks interesting... [** click **] -->
Dennis G. Jerz