In order to better understand what makes a Digital History project useful and worth reading, I decided to visit some more Digital History websites. For this review, I explored “Virtual Angkor”, “Gilded Age Plains City”, and “The Spread of Slavery.” While all three websites were different in content and design I still managed to walk from this assignment with some ideas and things to avoid in my own project.
The website that I visited first was “Virtual Angkor.” In my opinion, this was a bad website to start off with because no other Digital History project can compare to this one. The overall website design was simple but what made this site incredible was the 3D simulation of the Cambodian metropolis called Angkor. I really enjoy seeing projects like this because there was a great deal of collaboration that took place to create this website. In fact, on the homepage, the creators described it as “groundbreaking” because of the collaboration of different fields of history. Another reason why I liked this website was that the creators especially say that they designed this website for students. This is apparent when looking at the teaching modules “Power and Place,” “Water and Climate,” and “Trade and Diplomacy.” By having these teaching modules it breaks the web site’s content into categories which makes the information easier for students to digest. Additionally, at the end of each theme within a module, there is a link at the bottom to the next section. I really like this because it dictates how a student or user moves through the site. Unfortunately, I do not think that my team will be able to make a 3D simulation for James Farmer, however, a takeaway from this website is the design of the module section. This is something I can see my group implementing for our project.
Like I said before visiting the “Virtual Angkor” website first was a bad idea because the next two websites could not compare to it. The second website that I looked at was “Gilded Age Plains City.” Compared to the first website and websites that I have reviewed for this course this website was not as easy to navigate. As a result, I had issues moving between the web pages and was overwhelmed by the amount of text in each section. If the creators had broken the information up into sections it would not have been as overwhelming. One thing that I did enjoy about this website is an interactive map, which is something that I can foresee my project group wanting to do. While “Gilded Age Plains City” was not as good as other Digital History Projects it was helpful to look at to get an idea of things to avoid for my group’s own website.
The third and final website that I reviewed for this post was “The Spread of Slavery.” Compared to “Gilded Age Plains City” this website was even more simplistic. This website only appears to have one webpage with an interactive map. In my opinion, this website lacks information and design which resulted in me being underwhelmed and unimpressed. While the map was really cool and interesting I felt as if I were missing important context and information that went along with it. I believe that this was a good website to look at because my group wants to include some sort of map on our website. So from this website, I learned that when including an interactive map it is important to still have some design elements and text on the map page to ensure that visitors are not leaving our website unimpressed and confused.