Alright, let’s see what insights these beloved websites have to offer. I’m going to be looking at three websites: The First Days Project (a Roy Rosenzweig Prize Recipient), Gilded Age Murder, and American Panorama: Foreign Born Migration.
The First Days Project
The things that stand out to me about the First Days Project website is the easy search function and the use of visuals despite the topic being largely audio and text focused. The website and it’s purpose becomes immediately obvious on its homepage, it is a collection of stories from immigrants to the US about their first day in America. There is a featured section for different stories and the option to add your own. Below the menu is a timeline of when the stories are from, which, again, adds visuals to a subject that is primarily text/audio-based. There are multiple ways to find and organize the stories, based on attributes such as year or nationality.
As always, I would like to use this website as inspiration in finding ways to add visuals to our own project website. I like the idea of being able to browse using different attributes of the websites that we have restored and added to our roster. To me, this is the platonic ideal of a website.
Gilded Age Murder
This website somewhat fails in that it’s incredibly wordy and it’s difficult to parse out the information it’s trying to give you at a glance. The lack of visuals and blocks of text make the website difficult to understand. There is definitely a certain age to this website. It’s clear that it wasn’t built in the past 10 years, given the way that it’s in a style that we’ve moved on from years ago. It places all of its information in a container smaller that the width of the website, the color palette is bold, and there is (from a 2022 perspective) an excessive amount of text.
What I do appreciate about the website is that its document archives are easy to find and simple to use. It doesn’t overwhelm you with options nor trap you into a single method of searching, it is incredibly straight forward in its design. I’d like to emulate this in our website, I’m not sure how we’d do this, but I appreciate a good search function.
American Panorama: Foreign Born Migration
American Panorama is a map depicting the migration patterns of Americans born in foreign countries. It is a fiercely modern project, as evidenced by the dark, visual-heavy map that looks as though it was taken out of a Matrix movie. The interface is a bit difficult to use, there’s no real zoom function, nor a way to look up countries by name.
I’m not sure there’s much I’d like to emulate in our project website. This website is more aesthetically pleasing than it is functional, especially given that it’s suggested that you are meant to choose a country by clicking on its place on the map. Because it uses circles to indicate how many immigrants have come from the area, it becomes difficult to tell the difference between countries (especially because there are no borders either).