Ryu’s Musings – Zoom Comics (Online Reader)

Posted on August 3rd, 2011 by Ryu Sheng |

Zoom Comics is Seven Seas foray into online reading, and frankly it’s not upto the high standard I’d come to expect from Seven Seas, in fact it’s rather pathetic.

Given how late they are venturing into the online reader scene I would have thought that they would have spent more time researching their competitors, looking at how they did things, where they went wrong, and where they were right.

Apparently though they seem to have just stuck a few things together and decided to release it in the hopes people will like it.

Frankly, I’m not impressed.

Any sort of official read is a good thing, it helps kick the illegal ones in the goonies. However what we get here is a rather broken and confusing site that drives people towards the illegal site if only for their simplicity of use.

The initial website is well designed, it’s bright, well laid out and how’s off everything you need.

01

At first pass it looks rather stunning. We get the fours main Seven Seas titles in the middle with nice banner adds. Underneath we get links to the Pixie Trix ones. The drop down menu lists all the comics currently hosted. The update feed  also acts as an RSS Feed which is great for keeping track of new listings. There’s a hidden comic that isn’t listed, but I’m not going to spoil it by saying how you get to it 😀

This is what the “About” section of the site has to say:

“These days, people want their content free and they want it fast,” says Seven Seas president Jason DeAngelis. “Zoom Comics will provide high quality free comics to readers online instantaneously. By partnering with Pixie Trix Comix–a site already famous for running Gisele Lagace’s hugely popular series such as Eerie Cuties and Ménage à 3 and Holly G’s School Bites–we hope to tap into an existing web comic readership as well as reach out to brand new readers.”

Not sure I agree about the fast and free comment though. the way I see it yes fans do want the content fast, so in that regards I like the idea. However wanting it for free was a bit of a no brainer. If someone comes upto you and says which would you prefer, to pay 25p a chapter, or have it for free. Which do you think people will jump for?? The vast majority of fans are willing to pay price for thier stuff, but if offered it free they’ll snap your hands off hehe. As for Pixie Trix being famous, i’ve never heard of it, or any of their famous titles. Nor has anyone here I’ve spoken to, but that’s nit picking, we all know advertising is about making yourself bigger and bolder than you actually are.

The big question is, does Zoom Comic live upto it’s bluster? And sadly that would be an emphatic NO.

When you click on the Vampire Cheerleaders tab you get taken to an all new website, that frankly looks like it was put together by someone with a bare understanding of web-design.

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Usually on sites like this you expect it to take you to the first page of the comic/manga. Seven Seas however decided to take a unique turn, and start you off on the very last page, no idea why. Also it’s not immediately clear it’s the last page until you go all the way to the very bottom of the site and find that it not only drops you on the last page, but also on the last chapter. What’s more because of the layout and the way the comic is embedded into the site, you have to faf around to read it. No easy progression from page to page or volume to volume.

What would have made more sense was to have dome something similar to the other official sites out there. The main page of the comic would hold all the pertinent information on the series, creators, release dates, ISBN numbers and costs. Then you would select your chapter from a drop down menu and a new flash window would pop up. This new window would be your reader window, with controls such as forward, back, resize the window and auto or manual page turning. Most other publishers follow this medium because it works.

Sadly as you can see in the above screenshot half the page is obscured from view, what’s worse is that on double page spreads it’s small cramped, and damn near impossible to read.

So, when all is said and done this is a fail from Seven Seas. Hopefully they’ll tweak the sites and make them more user friendly and less fafing around

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