Digital History Websites

Valley of the Shadow:
Pros: Everything is organized very well, there are links all over the site that direct to pages that go more in depth about what was clicked on, and there is a title page detailing what the site is about before actually going into the details.
Cons: Some pages are very long, uninteresting font and no background, there is only one link to the title page but the graphic to the link is deceptively at the top of every page

Map Scholar:
Pros:  Posts are organized chronologically and when viewing a post, one can click to the next and previous post.  There is a sidebar that (almost) consistently displays the same information
Pro/con: There is an archive organizing every post made but dates are irregular and there may be only one post in one month.
Cons: Links look exactly like the rest of the text (not clear what is a link and what is not), some posts are just pictures with little/no information.

Emile Davies Diaries:
Pros: Every page has the same layout throughout the site, pop-up annotations appear for some additional details, two kinds of menus (drop down and scroll), scrolling menu does not change page, scans of diaries can be enlarged, and while scrolling down page, the menu at top of the screen stays at the top of the screen.
Cons: When “Davis” was searched, the “About this Site” post returned as a result and when clicking to enlarge picture, picture is not enlarged much (but it is good resolution).

Imagining the Past:
Pros: Timeline can be dragged and specific dates can be selected and menus at the top and bottom are consistent throughout the three main sections of the site.
Cons: Wasted white space on the sides (and bottom on some pages), drop down menu has space between options, menu suboptions appear before first option is highlighted, some subsections are completely empty, some pictures are not centered and waste space by all appearing on the left, broken links, the main sections of the sites are not connected to each other except for the home page, and it appears as though each main section was done by a different person and there was no editor to make each section look the same.

Virtual Paul’s Cross Project:
Pros: Everything is organized well, drop down menus are done well and consistent menu/picture at the top of each page.
Cons: Overview starts with a quote while it is not clear that it is a quote (I thought they misspelled “hours”), there is a map that lets me “choose a location” with some amount of people that does not do anything when I click an option, there is an ambient noise page that does not add anything to the site, urls do not show the menu option that was selected, and some links change the current tab while other links open new tabs.


Main takeaways: Consistency is important, annotations help to give additional details/clarification, clearly distinguish links from the rest of text, if something seems irrelevant, keep it out, make things easy for the user, make sure all links work, and display pages and transcription at same time but allow user to see larger picture of page.