Almost ready for Design Page

I’ve been working on my final project this week and have had a few technical wins!  I successfully learned how to insert a figure and figcaption into my site.  I’m still working on getting my figcaption margin right, but I’m close!  I’ve also looked over several slideshow apps to see what I might want to use on my Resources page.  Here is one of the sites I’ve found:cincopa.  I have a one issue in that my last set of images did not upload to Reclaim correctly.  I’m hoping it’s just a momentary issue and Reclaim will play nicely tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to getting your feedback tomorrow!

Link to my Design Project: Spanish Flu

How Interactive Should I Be?

The Lost Museum was very interesting.  I mean, who wouldn’t like a chance to travel back and in time and visit Barnum’s American Museum?  It also has a rich stock of primary documents and scholarly essays that students can access, while feeling a bit like they are playing a video game. That said, it is also daunting to think how long it took them to complete the project (8 years!) and how many different teams of historians, art directors, and techie folk worked on this project. It does support a point made during last week’s PhD Colloquium.  Lincoln Mullen, reminded us all how important it is for historians to reach out to other disciplines to collaborate on digital projects.  It often allows the historian to use new tools in interesting ways, while the geologists or IT faculty member has real data to test their theories.

Jason Brown’s paper on how the Lost Museum was created was also a cautionary tale in public history. First, most historians will not make a fortune creating that perfect history app (although maybe a great PlayStation game could do it!). Second, his discussion of the challenges of creating online learning objects is a reminder of how difficult it can be to leave room for critical thinking. You want to present the material, provide the history, but still allow the student to have moments to think critically on his or her own. You want to create that eighteenth-century curio cabinet, stay present to explain the history behind the objects, but still let the viewer/participant make the linkage – such a hard thing to do. I think they were very successful in creating that feel – but I can still see student passively playing the game and ignoring those “linkage” moments!

I’m still contemplating whether I would use a poll or survey in my website. Not only am I unsure what subject or question I would “poll” but whether I want the burden of curating the poll on a regular basis. Something more to mull over as I work on my site!

This week I made a radical change in my project. I realized I had a more recent paper that was full of images sitting on a shelf that was made for a digital project. So I said goodbye to the Skipwith family and hello to the Spanish Flu! I redesigned my website (I’m slowly beginning to understand the logic of Dreamweaver, although I still have some glitches I can’t seem to correct!) and am working hard on cleaning up my many images! Here is an example of my latest cropping, coloring, and vignetting:

General Grippe

I may be getting addicted to this!  Is there a 12-step program for this? :)

I commented on Jenna’s Page this week!

Another Day, Another Page on my Website

I feel like every week I say, “This has been a challenging week,” but this week may have presented more frustrations and victories than all the rest! My first problem was the angle of my photograph, which made the house in the image appear off kilter. Dr. Petrik walked me through the steps to correct this, but we cropped too soon and I lost too much of the original photograph. I also was having trouble with the magnetic lasso tool until I realized that you needed to click and draw, not just draw!

When I arrived home after class, I immediately fired up Photoshop and took another stab at reorienting my image. This time I had success! I then began colorizing the image and before I knew it I only had a few elements left to colorize, but it was not 1:30 at night. I decided to sleep rather than finish the image. The next day I completed my colorizing and was feeling quite accomplished.

I now had all my images complete and I only had to design my “Image Page.” While doing this I realized that several of my images had been saved with large pixel coordinates, causing my images to escape beyond the boundaries of my page. I headed back to Photoshop to re-save my images at a proper size for a webpage. Four hours later I had my page built and my new pages uploaded to my server. I made additional changes over the weekend, but here is the current version: Visualizing a Southern Republican Home. I’m sure after class on Monday I’ll have a few more changes to make!

I also found the readings on accessibility to be very helpful, especially the 10 tips. I ran my webpage through the WAVE web accessibility evaluation tool only to discover that my webpage was missing the important language designation (<html lang=”en”>). I’ve now added it to all my pages. I still need to go back and add alternative text to all my images. It appears that web design is never done!

I commented on Josh’s and Tamara’s blog post.  Awesome work by both! :)