August 1, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 14)


Strong Points: Images
Weak Points: Most of the site very uninspired

If you want to give someone the ultimate nerd test, ask if they’d like to check out the Ichthyoplankton Information System (IIS). This actually works on two levels. First, if they are in fact interested, they qualify as a nerd. Second, if they like the layout of the site, they almost absolutely have to be one. That’s not a compliment, actually, either for the nerd or for the site. The focus of IIS is data on the early life history stages of fishes in the northeast Pacific. The opening page, which is all in black, is kind of dramatic looking, but the inside pages are a bit of a disappointment. First, the Content panel on the left of the page is a great way to organize the 20 items it contains, but virtually every item, unfortunately, links to a paragraph or so of rather boring text. There are all kinds of ways this could be organized better. One highlight, though, makes the site worth noting. It is the hyperlink labeled “Taxon Search” at the top of the page. Clicking on that brings up an enormous collection of images of developing fish organized taxonomically. If everything else at the site were done as nicely as this, the site would be world class.

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