Reviewing Digital History Projects

What’s On the Menu?: It has a lot of text, all over the place, which makes navigating it visually confusing. However, the content of the website is insane. I really like how they had an entire page dedicated to how they accumulated data and continue to update the website.

Gilded Age Plains City: On its homepage, it claimed to be accessible to all levels of knowledge, yet going further into the website it seemed to get denser and denser. Plus the titles of the pages on the website menu seemed more complicated than needed. Why call it “interpretation and narrative” when you could just say “the murder story”? Especially if you’re claiming to be intellectually accessible to the mass public.

Virtual Paul Cross Project: I was actually introduced to this website in a museum course as it was an example of making historical architecture and sites accessible to scholars who otherwise could not physically make it. I really enjoy the simplicity of the color scheme, but I think utilizing different size fonts would help clarify subject headings in the larger chunks of text.

Walden, A Game: I liked the basic color contrasts between the graphics of the game and the darker website: it brought the attention to the game, which is the focal point. I, personally, do not like websites that have continuous scrolling instead of individual pages. It may seem simple, but I like to have a clear cut end to a topic.

Looking at these different examples of Digital History made me realize how picky I am about layout. I really do not seem to like massive chunks of text. I think that that has a lot to do with your intended audience, of course. I also am a fan of using a darker color scheme and basic layout for the website itself and playing with images and text/font/size/colors for the content in terms of layout. Blocks that move too much are sometimes frustrating; especially as we move into an era where we are using touch screens more than a desktop computer and mouse.

One thought on “Reviewing Digital History Projects”

  1. I also noticed this particular discrepancy in Gilded Age Plains City. I think that project might have been a little bit confused as to its audience; sometimes claiming universality is a dangerous game, especially if you don’t commit to it. I also think it could have benefited from interweaving some of its primary sources and other media aids into the long blocks of text that you mentioned. I think it’s a shame to make a digital project without using the digital media’s multimedia capacity to a bit of a greater extent.

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