Issue X

On Friday, we went live with Mandala Journal‘s Issue X.  At the time, I was in Gainesville, Florida, attending a THATCamp hosted by The University of Florida, and so unfortunately, I had to miss the launch.  But I did not want to miss the chance to share about the updates and design work I did for this year’s issue and get back to blogging about my web work.  Here it goes:

1. This year, I really wanted to work on cleaning up the code and transitioning the whole site to PHP.  I have learned a scary amount this past year, so it was actually a little painful to look back at the clunky, redundant, and poorly-structured code.  But cleaning it up, while monotonous, was refreshing.

2.  Shifting to PHP made it much easier for me to make consistent edits to common page components like the header and footer.  I developed a footer for the journal’s main pages and one for the contents (artwork, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry).  I also implemented two local style sheets, one for the main pages and one for the contents.

3.  I changed the masthead layout a bit this year, building it off of the archive page set-up.  I like the consistency this move provided.

Masthead for Issue X

4.  I love, love, love our table of contents this year.  Our editor-in-chief, wanted a simple outline layout, and I had a great time creating such a modest, clean page.

Issue X Table of Contents

5.  We did a lot with watercolors last year, and Christine wanted to see if we could find a way to add a touch of them to this year’s issue.  I developed a watercolor horizontal line that we feature throughout the issue.

watercolor footer

I’m really happy with how the site looks.  In a conversation at THATCamp about web design in the humanities, I talked about my experience working on Mandala.  My collaboration with Christine has been a really productive one.  What we’ve made is really a product of meetings, email conversations, ideas passed back and forth, her suggestions and my implementations.  There is really no way to point to something in particular and say that was Christine’s idea or that was something I came up with.  Instead, I believe the our combined efforts are more than the sum of our individual input.  Together, we’ve built something really great.

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ipoco Sneak Peak

For my latest project, ipoco (Islam and Post-Colonial Studies), I’m working with a professor and graduate student at UGA to create a web application. I’m on the development end while they are tackling content.  The plan is to expand the collaboration to students, other scholars, other fields and make the project multidisciplinary.  I’m excited to be involved at this point, at the get-go.

Right now, I’m having a blast creating PHP pages with inspiration from bootstrap templates and themes.  Once we get actual content on the site, I am sure the design will need to be tweaked and reconsidered.  But I love the recursive nature of the process, the constant drafting and tinkering involved, the shuttling between building, planning, designing, revising, and imagining.  I find that aspect of the work incredibly satisfying.

This week, I’m hoping to make some tweaks and tackle our annotated bib, resources, and contact pages (or one of those).  I’m also very excited to check out the podcast from Scholar’s Lab Speaker Series for an event this Friday: “Theories and Practices of Postcolonial Digital Humanities” by Adeline Koh and Roopika Risam.

Here’s a look at a few of the templates I have drafted so far:

Our Islam glossary page:

Islam glossary

 

Our authors table of contents page:

Authors TOC

Our individual author page:

Ind author post page

Flashback: Mandala Journal Home Page

Flashback: Mandala Journal

I worked on the Mandala Journal home page until the eve of the launch party last April.  I wanted and knew I needed to get it right.  Christine, our editor-in-chief created the amazing watercolor image, and Brendan, my amazing brother, helped me with the header (and its responsiveness).  I really like how the different textures come together (yes, I could scroll through subtle patterns all night!), and I think the layout offers a welcoming and informative introduction to the journal.