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TheaterJones Gets Spiffy

by Jerome Weeks 10 Sep 2013 10:40 AM

It looked like an explosion in a costume shop. Now it looks like it’s ready for opening night.


theaterjonesTheaterJones, North Texas’ theater-and-dance-and-classical-music website, has become something of a model for immersive, online, encyclopedic cultural-genre coverage. For live-performance aficionados, it’s been a one-stop shop for anything of interest: reviews, Q&As, season announcements, feature stories, backstage news.

One of the few things it didn’t have was eye appeal. TheaterJones wore its funky, ‘we’re not another WordPress format’ chapeau proudly, but frankly, the thing could look like an explosion in a costume shop. That just changed with a very crisp-looking re-do. The site may appear a bit more conventional / familiar, but it also looks more camera-ready and consistent, less like a tech rehearsal for the real thing. It’s also launched a new monthly column from Theatre Three’s Jac Alder.

Now for the director’s notes: The arrows on the rotating gallery don’t seem to work. They’re a little like those up and down buttons on elevators that are there to give you the illusion of control. Also, if you don’t like the long scroll down the site’s two central columns which mix together everything — reviews and news — there is the “Sections” icon on the top. Click on that and you get all the material broken out by type. But if you choose “Features,” “Reviews” or “Season Announcements,” you get the material arranged in a single column of narrow, wide, out-of-focus images that have black-lettered headlines over them. They’re almost impossible to read, unless, by sheer chance, the photo is mostly light-colored. One recommendation: Split the the wide boxes in half, with the headline on the left side, the cropped image on the right. If that looks too regimented, have them alternate sides.

But such things can be fixed without much difficulty. Otherwise, this is a welcome re-fresh. For what it’s worth, TheaterJones has become an online gathering-spot for North Texas stage arts, and it’s a welcome sign that it now looks this professional.