Here’s a roundup of fandom design stories that might be of interest to fans:
- Writing for the India Business Standard, Rrishi Raote talks about how to design sites in a way that encourages community and thus fandom. Raote complains about too much time and thought spent on design in Pottermore compared to too much delay and an absence of ways to draw people together. “The whole thing is too managed.” Instead he suggests that a site that is not an obvious fannish place might yet become one. “Duolingo, it could be argued, is no less complex a website than Pottermore. Yet it was done much faster, the interface is terrific, the learning programmes and audio work well, and there are dozens of useful details for the learner. Most critically, because to learn a language it is not enough to know grammar and vocabulary, one has to use it, Duolingo has a built-in social aspect. You can form groups, see what stage your fellows are at, chat with them in the chosen language, compare your work with theirs, and so on.”
- CSICON’s James Drew looks at “fan-redesigns”, or what most of us would call AUs, of everything in popular culture. “[Aaron Diaz] isn’t the first by any means to take something he loves and build it back from the ground up, and he certainly won’t be the last. In many ways, fan-redesigns are an epidemic. Diaz himself has already drawn up reboots for the JLA and the Bat-Family, but you might also have spotted Annie Wu’s design for a punk rock JLA floating around the internet.” The big shops are doing it too, as he cites Marvel and DC’s own reboots, competing Sherlock Holmes TV series, and how ” most modern franchises run on the power of former fans…but it seems different when nobody’s getting paid to take old characters out for a spin, buy them some clothes, show them the town.” Apparently Drew believes that most fans work within canon rather than “discard existing canon and what our friends over at TV Tropes would call the ‘Word of God‘ in favour of something that makes more sense.”
- Fans, however, are constantly redesigning how things should work. For example, sports blogger Joshua Allen decided to write his blog as a comic strip. “I had done a previous comic and enjoyed working in that medium. I had also done a Cubs blog in 2010 that was in a more traditional format, but it had no real hook, and no one really read it…Since my time is limited by a new baby, I decided to combine the two urges.” And a group of Belgian sports fans decided to sell their fannish passion for charity. “The fans set up a Facebook group – ‘Belgian soccer fans for sale for Euro 2012’ which has grown to 20,000 members, explaining they needed someone to shout for and would donate any proceedings from a buyer to UNICEF.” They found a donor and said they would repeat the sale once the owner’s team was eliminated. “[W]e will grieve for 24 hours and then put ourselves for sale again on ebay. Hopefully joined by the previous winner since he or she will also have become an orphaned soccer fan by then.”
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