Most of the time my first impression of a literary magazine comes from its Web site. In fact, when I check out a new lit mag via Duotrope, if I don't like their site, I don't bother visiting again. I thought I'd write about what I think are the five best and why. I'm not judging content--just look. Here they are in alphabetical order:
Normally I don't go for all white sites, but what I like about Canteen is their logo and buttons. The shade of blue they used is beautiful, and the site avoids clutter and is easily navigable. Arguably the most important page--the issues page--has big pictures of their covers as well as details about each to the immediate left. If you haven't read the magazine, I highly suggest it. Aside from good writing, the mag is one of the better looking journals.
Fuzzco did an excellent job on the Dark Sky Magazine site. I love it. I enjoy the bright colors--red, blue, and yellow--and that each column contains the corresponding colors. I like order, so the design satisfies me in that respect. Also, DS keeps it simple, and I appreciate that, because if I feel overwhelmed with the amount of options a site offers, I usually click out of it as soon as I can. When you hover your cursor over a heading such as Books, it fades a little, while hovering over, say, a blog post title blackens it--both are sensible effects.
Hobart's had the same design for a few years now, but I believe the if-it-ain't-broke adage applies here. The frontpage is cool because when you hover over the various vehicles they light up and the text beneath them turns yellow. As for the Web issues site, I like the off-color white they use as well as the surrounding blue, which, to me, looks threaded. I dig their fonts and the accompanying photos. And again, a trend with the sites I like--a simple interface with only a few links.
Of these sites, [out of nothing] capitalizes on the medium the most. Their homepage may not be much to look at, but their issues certainly are. Each is a custom design. My favorite is Issue #4, which features several gifs that change slots every time you leave the page. After clicking on a box, hover over the contributor's name and/or the title of their piece to produce various results.
Designed by Jordan Rome, the site of Storyscape is nice for several reasons. First, I like how the left side of the page is static and the right is dynamic. In other words, no matter what you click, the left, top, and bottom of the homepage always stay the same. Second, everything's easy to read. Third, I also like that they use "Truth," "Untruth," and "We Don't Know and They Won't Tell Us" to differentiate between material. Thankfully, however, they didn't use the synonym or substitution method of labeling for the links at the top.