WHAT I CHOSE AND WHY
WHAT IS MAUS ?
STRUCTURE AND CONTENT
I did, at first, have problems maneuvering around. The first window that appeared after starting the program was the "main menu." This listed the main content headings. Subsequent windows brought you straight into what you had selected to view. When I started to view the book, I couldn't figure out how to scroll down because there wasn't a scroll bar. I became extremely frustrated. I went back to the "main menu" to see if there was something that would give me a quick overview of how to use the program, but to my now extreme frustration, there was not. After a couple of pages, I finally realized that I could hold down the mouse button and "drag" the page up or down within the window. Near the end, I realized that the book pages appeared as a window within a window, and that the larger window had a bar across the top - one of which, was probably "help", though I don't remember seeing it.
My frustration can be attributed in part to my own "tunnelvision," but it also resulted from my pre-conceived notions of what cd-roms are, or are not, and the confusing structure of the program. I did not expect the cd-rom program to look like a regular computer program and did not expect to see a bar across the top of the window. But, the set-up of the windows was in itself confusing. It took me a long time to notice the overarching window for the whole program because each "selection" presents itself as a separate window with its own buttons and functions. Seeing this, it did not occur to me that there would be another set of buttons I could use to move around within the program.
The buttons on the window for the book are limited to forward page/back page, and the video, photo, artist's preliminary sketch, or sound recording associated with that particular page. The cd-rom also contains the full transcripts of the artist's recorded interivews with his father and maps of the areas where the father has lived.
Due to the largely visual manner in which the story is told, reading Maus wasn't uncomfortable. Usually, I find reading multi-page documents on a computer screen very uncomfortable. I think Maus was comfortable to read because the text occurred in discrete chunks and I didn't have to spend long amounts of time reading from left to write, line after line. Also, the artist did not use the same size boxes and layout throughout the book. The mixture of size and layout prevented the visual monotony that could be uncomofortable to read. The translation from book to cd-rom works well because the creators simply present the book page on a screen.