Saturday, February 27, 2010

Web Credibility Assignment - Popular Science

Back in middle school, there were many times I would drop by my city’s library to do homework and relax after classes before my mom would pick me up. One magazine I remember reading a good amount of at the time was Popular Science. The magazine was a bit different in format years ago, but it continues to publish interesting stories on the topics of technology, science and the future in general.

Popular Science
has been offering content on its Web site,, since 1999. The site, updated multiple times daily, mainly appeals to American men between the ages of 20 and 45. I couldn’t identify bias in its material, but I did notice how some of the articles contains some jargon that non-tech savvy individuals would likely find somewhat difficult to understand. Also, the journalists of Popular Science aren’t afraid to infuse some humor into their stories from time to time. The site publishes nearly all of its own material with a majority of its links being internal, but there are some external ones that connect readers to Web sites that cover related topics (i.e. These external links provide adequate support for the stories covered on

Popular Science created its own Web site (and made drastic changes to the site’s layout in 2008 by using the content management system Drupal). The site has a contact page that contains the address of the publication’s offices as well as brief information regarding the advertising and public relations departments. Readers also have the opportunity to comment on and rate Web articles. The site is affiliated with the Bonnier Corporation, an American magazine publisher that is owned by Sweden’s Bonnier Magazine Group. The corporation’s name and link is located at the bottom of the home page. The domain name of the site is a conveniently shortened form of the Popular Science name, If a reader is looking at a particular article on the site, that person can easily backtrack in the URL address to get to the site’s home page. The Web site is quite accurate with its content (the publication’s writers seem relatively up-to-date with recent technological advancements). A non-Web version of Popular Science exists as a magazine that can be purchased on news racks around the world.

Regarding appearances, the site looks professional and is free of common grammar, spelling and punctuation errors that sometimes plague the online versions of many magazines. The writing style is appropriate for the site’s material as well as the publication’s target audience. The site’s format is easily-navigable and allows readers to view material with ease. Its functionality is further enhanced by the use of easy-to-read headings. The images and video on are crisp and complement the site’s articles well. I was able to find by performing a search on Google. After typing “Popular Science” into the search, the Web site of the magazine appeared at the top of Google’s search results. There are a few advertisements on the site, but the ads are not difficult to distinguish from the site’s actual content and do not clutter the site’s pages. As complex as the source code is for the site’s home page, it is interesting to see the tags of the site, which include keywords such as “technology, innovation, engineering, environment and future”.

While the magazine does not have as large of an online following as other publications, such as Wired, Popular Science has increased its Web presence in the past two years by effectively using social media. The publication now even offers iPhone users a free application. If I could make one recommendation, however, it would be to continue development on updating this application, as it is a bit slow in responsiveness. Overall, I am impressed by how Popular Science has modernized their aesthetic in recent years to appeal to today’s readers.

No comments: