Issue No.
161, September 2011 Latest update 9 2014f August 2014, at 4.39 am
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     Website Review

http://www.palestinemonitor.org
By Abed A. Khooli
Review date: 18 August 2011

“Exposing life under occupation” - this subtitle summarises the scope of work of The Palestine Monitor website which was established shortly after the eruption of the second Intifada. The site is available in English only and is based on eyewitness stories in line with social media, especially after the new version was launched a few months ago.

Palestine Monitor uses a two-column layout centred under a header that spans the horizontal real estate.

The header consists of two dark stripes squeezing the site title and a typical image from the field. The top stripe has a link to the old site (The Old PalMon) next to a welcome note that links to the homepage of the current site (both seem to be in the wrong place).

The lower stripe has the main menu and links to social media. PalMon is a drop-down menu with four sections: About explains the history, identity, philosophy, and objectives. Intern has information for candidates seeking internship work with Palestine Monitor, including available areas of work, qualifications, and how to apply. Potential content contributors can find submission criteria and how to send articles under the Submit submenu, and Archive directs visitors to the existing articles on the old site.

The next main menu item is Factsheets, which contains brief articles on major relevant issues such as settlements, detainees, torture, checkpoints, refugees, water, and poverty. Maps and statistics are used where applicable.

Next is Features - an archive of featured contributed articles with a summary and link to full articles in reverse chronological order.

Multimedia is also divided into two submenus: Videos is a collection of video stories collected from the field, and Photo Stories tell their own accounts with still images, although there are some videos there as well. The last menu item, News, contains a selection of news articles.

Next, there are three social artefacts aligned to the top right corner of the content area: RSS feeds, link to PalMon on Twitter, and link to Facebook.

The first column of the content area features a graphic rotation of the major articles followed by a recent selection from the main sections of Palestine Monitor: features, news, and photo and video stories.

The second column starts with a selected video from YouTube with four tabs that paint underneath: latest, featured, comments, and tags.

The next section seems to be related to Facebook: create an account, some articles, and a social plugin.

Next is a search box followed by a flash-powered tag cloud and a list of most-read articles. The copyright tagline seems to work with Internet Explorer but not with Firefox.

Palestine Monitor fills an obvious gap and covers part of the failure of official media. The site could benefit from adding Arabic and a few foreign languages (French and Hebrew, for example) plus content update and interactivity.

Abed A. Khooli is a SharePoint and Web development specialist. He can be reached at akhooli@arabic2000.com.
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