Fuse Magazine: A Brief Look

 |  Interwebs, Review

Fuse: An Online Magazine, a new collaborative web project created and compiled by Sarai (chiklita.net), went live today.

First up, I’ll admit that most online magazines annoy the crap out me. It seems that all a person has to do to gain a little link-popularity these days is create a few lists derived from other people’s content, slap it together on a WordPress blog and tada… watch the talentless monkeys come rolling in expecting to gleam some sort of inspiration and skill.

That said, Fuze Magazine has started off reasonably well. Instead of doing the regurgitated list-format BS à la Smashing Magazine, we seem to have a format that more easily identifies with the likes of A List Apart. 4 out of the 5 core intro articles are reasonable in overall size, are non-list based, and the layout is easy enough to navigate/text easy enough to read.

Pleasantries and compliments aside, I do think there are some minor things that I personally would address (if I were hypothetically running an online magazine).

The intro at the top states “We rely on contributors like you.” It therefore strikes me as a little odd that the only place to contribute as a visitor is via a tiny comment link at the bottom of the home page. Although accepting comments brings a whole new level to the tedium that is managing a website, I find that most of my best content (thoughts, feedback and intelligent reasoning) comes from the very people I write to.

There are a few inconsistencies in overall style. The author “by …” text on the homepage is coloured the same as the links but are unclickable, but the names are linked on individual article pages. There’s a note about the author on the articles provided by Becky and Jenny but none on TWD’s or the Creative Spotlight by Sarai.

The first articles are a great taster for what comes ahead, although I didn’t find any of them particularly “on the edge of my seat” exciting. I’m sure this is more likely because I’ve heard it all before rather than because of any lack of talent from the contributors.

Spelling, grammar and basic sentence structure is above average for the most part, despite sentences like “You need to find a balance between the new and experienced user and quite frankly I don’t think that FanUpdate does a very good job of this“. I find it simply reads as redundant word-bloat… no emphasis is needed on the fact that this is lacking after pointing out a balance is needed in the first place. Likewise “The next, and biggest change, in my opinion, was the Awesome Bar” reminds me of “new and improved”, something I ranted about last month. Enzo lets the side down a little with “they’re design” (should be their) and “.. could mix in with your design without it stealing the show of the design” (ugly repetition of the word design); while his first language is not English these mistakes should have been caught by a proof-reader before the page was published.

Technical accuracy is not really an issue as none of the articles provide any code, although Becky’s suggestion to keep Cutenews over FanUpdate makes the security fanatic in me scream (especially as the entire review is based upon the assumption that FanUpdate is anything more than a basic blogging script designed for fanlisting owners — definitely not worthy of being compared to major CMS/blog engines — although that’s another topic altogether!)

All in all, I think Fuse has started off positively. It’s certainly not every day I compare a website to the mega-brilliance that is A List Apart. I think with each edition, providing that quality is maintained to a suitably high standard, Fuse has the potential to be one of those websites that appears in everyone’s link list. Like jemjabella. :P

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

14 comments so far

  1. Sarai said:

    I admit I was terrified when I saw this title, but after reading through it all I confess it could’ve been a lot worse.

    I agree about the front links, I should keep those consistent. I also need to add a last paragraph of information about me in the creative spotlight article like I did for Enzo, Jenny, and Becky. TWD doesn’t have a website or livejournal so I admit I didn’t know what to do there. I fixed Enzo’s spelling error after Ben pointed it out. I didn’t proofread the rest of his article and that was my mistake — I was too busy trying to display the thumbnails and trying to make the list work, but that’s no excuse, I should have at least read through it all instead of doing a spellcheck (which apparently failed).

    I definitely learned a lot from this first batch of submissions, and this review helped a lot, so thank you.

    I am still getting over the shock of getting compared to A List Apart — what a compliment, and god help me, I hope I can keep up those standards.

  2. Vera said:

    The author names I noticed and they irked me a bit, but all in all I was pleasantly surprised. You know, I was expecting a lot of “recycled” content.

    Sure there’s place for improvement, but this is merely the first of (hopefully) many more issues :P Yes… I can be incredibly cheesy.

  3. Josh said:

    Interesting.

    I had a little browse around the site, and was a little baffled. Apparently, each issue has its own comments section, as opposed to each article. The links are a little hard to distinguish too, for my eyes.

    I actually quite like Smashing Magazine. It’s better than some stuff. That said, it hardly shows lots of effort, or originality.

  4. Chans said:

    I used to work for a printed magazine and we thought about going online with it. Surely we already had a website with a special area for subscribers but the owners wanted to take it a step further.

    One of the reasons why it wasn’t done eventually, was because it is so hard to create a decent, easy to use online magazine that will attract a lot of readers. It’s not completely off the table yet, but with all the new ones that pop up here and there it’s gotten even harder.

    Anyway, I like reading online magazines, as long as it’s not too messy and has interesting articles. So I’ll be sure to check this one out.

  5. Jenny said:

    I don’t read any online magazines so I can’t really recycle anything, haha. I don’t think many other people have really written articles on the Qbee, anyhow.

    However, what a fun read. D: This is the only website I’ve contributed to that you’ve given a brief readover. :P

  6. Jem said:

    This is the only website I’ve contributed to that you’ve given a brief readover.

    Do you contribute to many websites? o.O

  7. Spencer said:

    Honest and to the point!
    I think they’re doing pretty good so far. I think its funny that you highlighted all of my own pet peeves as well. Pretty good for just starting out and learning the ropes though.

  8. Aaron said:

    The articles are interesting. I can see it getting better and better with every issue. I’m definitely going to return for the later issues.

  9. Katy said:

    Hehehe I had a feeling you were going to review FUSE! I just dropped by yesterday and read a couple of the articles and I guess the only big thing I can point out other that some of the ones you listed is…

    …if only the font was 1pt bigger! It’s legible but I guess it’s just personal preference. CTRL + !

  10. Stephanie said:

    I’m not an online magazine type of person… I like reading the NYTimes online, but I prefer having magazine-type things in my hand. Then again, I’m not a magazine person unless the line is really long at the grocery.

    I’ll give it a browse and see if anything worth reading is there. I don’t like typos though… I can spot them a mile away, too. With all the kids graduating high school, I’ve been seeing a whole lot of “congradulations” on storefront signs. Sigh.

  11. Georgina said:

    Yeah, I came across the mag. Didn’t agree with the Cutenews over Fanupdate thing. Cutenews is a spam magnet.

    Bad English annoys me. But it’s good start, really. Wouldn’t have guessed it was new :)