There’s nothing flashy about Alphabean. It’s a plain black and gray site that looks like it was developed from a template. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s just nothing that reached out and immediately grabbed my attention. I wasn’t expecting to be interested in the writing based on my first impression of the site. Luckily, the writing is better than I anticipated.
The earlier entries seem to be written by a variety of different people, but the more current entries are written solely by Scott [aka: Alf Been]. Perhaps this started as a group blog. There’s a lot of everything here: movie reviews, quiz entries, blog-like link entries, and some very short entries that didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’m happy to say that there are some really great entries throughout the journal, as well. Scott has a very natural writing style, and some of his longer entries are really thought provoking [like his entry on 6/12/02 about the media].
There are few problems with the design. Distractions for the reader include alternative designs for older entries, some image links that are no longer valid, and a formatting error that caused an entire month worth entries to be centered. If you take a link to another site, you get trapped in Scott’s frames. But overall, it’s a serviceable design [although a little on the cute side with the animated panda graphic] with no major errors.
Scott has some nice extras like a Music Pick of the Week and a midi request feature. He’s also got a link to stories that he’s written. An About page could not be located, although Alphabean could really benefit from one. Scott just added a 100 Things list, which was very helpful in getting to know a little more about him.
Alphabean is worth visiting for the longer, more thought provoking entries. I really enjoyed Scott’s easy writing style, but I do wish there were more “meaty” entries.