I cannot believe this is week 7! I am amazed at how fast time is moving. 😦 Well, things are still moving along and it’s so surprise that I’m starting to feel pressures of being a senior. Anyway, let’s talk about the readings for my history course.
The first reading “Becoming Digital Public Historians,” really inspired me because I loved how Mr. Owen mentioned that the students had lives outside of class and was still able to produce amazing sites. I can truly relate and looking at the students’ work, I want to be like them. Although I am busy, I do want my project to be meaningful when I am through with it. My favorite projects from the eight grad students were “Ending the American Civil War in 1865: A Podcast,” and “Vicky Rex: Or, Queen Victoria’s Vlog.” Abraham Lincoln is my favorite President so when I saw his face I was automatically drawn in. I love how Andrew (the creator of the Civil War project) linked his site to Soundcloud. I have a soundcloud and I am very familiar with it and it is usually used for music, but seeing him use it for history purposes was really cool. Catherine Bloom’s Vlog was just as creative because I believe that really thinking outside the box to use Vlogging as a project.
The second reading titled, “How we really use the web” made me laugh. I enjoyed the reading because everything in the reading was so true. I do not read everything on sites except for what was mentioned (news stories, reports, or product descriptions). I am always in a hurry and sometimes I have to scan certain things because I have too much going on or I have to read something else. So the first fact of life was definitely agreeable. Fact #2 was also something I agreed with because again I also satisfice. The only time I don’t is when it’s a super research heavy project, but if I’m just searching the web about a random topic I click until I find something I like whether it be the best source of information or not. The part that resonated with my soul (LOL) was, “Guessing is more fun. It’s less work than weighing options, and if you guess right, it’s faster.” Yes indeed it’s faster and that is exactly why I do it. Fact of life #3, “We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.” Well, that one was right again. I pretty much just figure stuff out. Again like the article said, we rush through things and again I have to rush quite often because of my schedule. It’s just a fact of life, which is unfortunate. Agreeing with the article though, we do get things done. I mean I do…sometimes not as quick as I’d want it done, but it gets done nevertheless.
The third reading was titled “Designing for the History Web.” This relates to our upcoming projects. Designing a website for history is something I never thought I’d do, but I’m doing it and I have a pretty good idea I believe, but I still can’t wait to see the end result. This reading talked about how there are so many websites out there, but out of those many readings which ones are actually being viewed? The reading talks about aesthetics which they believe is at the other end of spectrum in regard to web designing. I believe the point that was trying to be made was that if you want an aesthetically pleasing site, then do not sacrifice the factual historical content. It was interesting to see that a South Korean web designer was an example of someone who had a great evaluation of web aesthetics, content, and usability. Reading this made made me want to go check out the website mentioned, “the Atomic Veteran’s History Project.” Apparently, super good design is not needed to create a really cool website. What shocked me was the possible prices of these sites though. $100,000?! Do you know what I could do with that?
The fourth reading is something I really needed to look at because I thinking about using Omeka as a tool to help create my site. The reading started with trying to answer the question to whether or not something else exists that is better than Omeka and the humorous answer that there was not. He said Omeka had no real competition because it provided so much for free. For no money you can create a good historical website that is good for presentation, a library, museum, etc. Omeka truly is a mix of everything that one needs to make a professional site using great authoring tools. It combines functions that help with collaboration between collections and interpretive professionals, etc.
The fifth reading talks about “Understanding Web Design.” That’s also the title of the reading. To understand web design, you must understand what it is. So what is it? According to the reading, “Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human activity; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content; and change gracefully over time while always retaining their identity.” That phrase was written twice so apparently it was important obviously. Web designing is not a simple task and there are some critics out there who, I don’t know, criticize quite wrong? They sometimes, a lot, pick out the wrong parts of the site to talk about. I’ve learned that aesthetics are cool and all, but sometimes they do not make up for usability and functionality.
The sixth reading was about responsive web design which kind of means how the viewer sees the site in regard to their screen. Instead of horribly explaining it i’ll just quote from the reading which says, “Responsive web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.” I never really thought about resolution in regard to sites because I though sites adjusted automatically and according to the reading I thought right. Sites are automatically supposed to accommodate for resolution if you use the right technology.