Portfolio 5: Website Review

Portfolio Activity 5: Website Review

This week in Digital History week we reviewed as a class two different approaches/attempts at digital history. We review “The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War,” and “The Difference Slavery Made.” The reviewed that the first website was ineffective in its approach at digital history due to its poor format, and that second websites approach vastly improved on it with its approach. For this week’s blog I will be doing a similar review on two other websites. I will be conducting this review using the Organization of American Historians Digital History Reviews as my criteria and reference.

The two websites I will be reviewing are “Slavery In New York” and “Lest We Forget: The Triumph over slavery.”

Slavery In New York

When you first arrive to the site you are introduced to an appealing cover page. This cover page’s design is appealing to the reader’s eyes and gives some key information about the digital exhibit right off the bat. You get the name of exhibit, when the exhibit was made, the organization that made the page, and lastly the Corporate Sponsors of the page. To enter the main page of the exhibit one must click enter right in the middle in the screen. Though the cover page’s design is fine, the purpose of this page could have an addition to the main page instead of its own page. Another issue of the cover page worth noting is that none of the other links of the exhibit are located on it, and one must always click enter to find them.

The content of this digital exhibit is scholarly and presents the information in a clean organized way. The introduction clearly states the purpose the exhibit, which is to present the lesser known history of slavery in New York. There is an separate history section which clearly states the purpose, the audience, and then a short history of the slaves in New York. The audience is clearly shown to be Americans who never received this history lesson, and the school children of New York. Moving on to the “Tour Galleries” of the website. This is where the design of the website begins to show its flaws. The reader will require outdated Adobe flash to view the exhibit showing that the exhibit was/is not to viable for use long term scholarship. Along with this the images of the website are not easily view-able. After trying two separate browsers the images were rather small, making it difficult to see what the image is depicting. This hinders the exhibit due to audience will lack a clearly picture of what the text is describing. Furthermore, in some of the gallery exhibits there are videos that automatically played. This is not very user friendly.

Overall the website will give its audience a scholarship level history exhibit on slavery in New York. The design of the website is easy to ready, but the images are difficult to view. This could be due to the use of flash. While no individual creator is clearly shown, the exhibit was made by the New York Historical Society. Lastly the audience of the website is shown to be for K-12 school level students, and with a part giving more information marked for the parents. 3/5

Lest We Forget: The Triumph over slavery

To begin this website is also a flash website. There is an introduction video the audience has to watch every time you enter the exhibit. The language is not automatically chosen, and one must choose English to continue. However, this shows that the exhibit is for those from many backgrounds. The content of the website seems to be credible but due to the poor design it is very hard to read and accurately determine if it truly is. The text on each exhibit page is in its own scroll-able text-box. The scrolling is not smooth and could prove irritating to the eyes. The text font is small and overall is very difficult to read. If one was trying to do research project this exhibit would not be used by them due to the difficulty of it. Moving on to the creator of the website, it was made by the New York Public Library in 2004, and all this can be found on every page. The credits page will give more information of this, with also a working follow-up link for further information on the creators of the exhibit. Overall, this website was difficult to review due to be a flash website and the text being very difficult to read. 1/5

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