Bayou: On Reading Web Comics

Reading a comic online was very different than reading one in print.  In the first few issues (mostly 1 and 2) I didn’t mind the interface at all, and the ability to see all the pages all at once was very interesting.  However, as I kept reading I had more problems.  Once there was more dialog and longer passages to read I had to keep zooming in to read the words and then zoom back out to actually see the page.  It got very frustrating for me.  I like that when you are reading something in print you can see everything at once, and if you focus on one part you don’t have to spend so long scrolling and zooming to see it.  The interface really interfered for me. I am willing to say that the interface may not be such a challenge on normal sized screens, but on my net book it was a huge failure.  The interface became my main focus rather than story.  The fact that this is the first thing we read in serial form may have also added to my frustration.  I got tired of having to stop reading, click the back button, click the next issue, and open it and then read.  Maybe if we had read more shorter works rather than longer compilations that would not have phased me, but since we haven’t I got distracted.

Over all the constant need to zoom in to read the words then zoom out to see the pictures plus the constant need to open the next issue caused a frustration that overpowered the story.  I never connected with the characters, I was too busy trying to read the comic.  I never cared about Lee or her father or Lilly or Bayou…. I didn’t care about the story.

Had I been reading this for pleasure I may have read to issue three.  After that I would have stopped. Why? Because reading should not be about keystrokes.  I like to read when reading, not have to maneuver around in a desperate attempt to catch everything: I could easily read with out being able to read the dialog or without seen the images, neither was a good option and being able to  see both proved more frustrating than my enjoyment of the novel.

I would read Bayou in print. But online, it just didn’t work for me.

One thought on “Bayou: On Reading Web Comics”

  1. I totally agree with you. When I first signed up for this class and we got the list of books to buy, I went straight to the book store to find the printed version. I’ve tried reading online comics in the past, and all I can ever focus on was the advertisements, or trying to remember which buttons I needed to push. That, and you keep getting the stupid little menu thing that covers up the pictures for like 5 seconds, and then the big credits page at the end of each chapter.

    I eventually ended up having to purchase the online version for that presentation thingie, and I absolutely hated trying to read everything on the computer. Even when I was trying to get images for my slides, I was having to try to make the little menu bars disappear and make sure I didn’t touch the mouse when I was doing the screen capture thing. I also felt like I was too prone to distraction and found myself on Wikipedia or other sources midway through reading a chapter. I’ll just continue to stick to books if I can help it.

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