Week 4 Blog: Comparative Website Review

The first website that I chose to review for this week’s blog is http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/gos/. This website is named “The Geography of Slaves in Virginia”, and primarily features digital advertisements for runaway and captured slaves in the 18th and 19th-century. The homepage of this website only takes up a small portion of the screen, while the rest of the screen is left as blank space. I think this website would definitely look more appealing for viewers if the homescreen didn’t have so much blank space. The homepage consists of a few old photographs, a description of the website, and a list of links that lead viewers to specific content. On the left side of the homescreen, there are five hyperlinks that include: Advertisements, Documents, Explanatory Essays, Personal Profiles, and Resources. There are also three more hyperlinks at the bottom of the homepage that give viewers the option to learn about the project, view credited resources, and also give feedback. After clicking on one of the hyperlinks, you will then be taken to a new page that is specific to the topic that you selected. The page you are then taken to is quite dull as most of the screen is blank, however it does give you the ability to explore your selected topic thoroughly. Overall, this website was pretty easy to navigate but also not very appealing to the eye.
The second website that I reviewed is https://freedomonthemove.org/#about. This is the website of “Freedom on the Move”, which is a database of fugitives from North American slavery. Simply by looking at the homepage, I could immediately tell that this website is designed significantly better than the last. One aspect that stood out to me right away is how much more appealing this website is to the eye. While the previous website left lots of blank space, this website disbursed its texts and photographs to make it so there are no spaces that are completely blank. Another thing I noticed about this website is that it is much easier to navigate than the last. At the top of the website, there are clearly labeled hyperlinks that you can use to explore different parts of the website. There is also a convenient hyperlink at the top left portion of the website that will take you back to the homepage whenever you desire.
In my eyes, it was obvious to tell that the second website is superior to the first website. While both of these resources included useful information, the second website’s design made it much more appealing to look at and much easier to navigate.

One thought on “Week 4 Blog: Comparative Website Review

  1. These are strong observations and critiques about both of these websites. Although both are databases of sources, they could not look anymore different from one another. I agree with your concerns about the appearance of the first website and the challenges of navigation through links that finally direct users to the source. This “nested” information of links inside of links is very categorical and a good example of “structuring” data, but it is not user-friendly. By contrast, you emphasized the immersive appearance of the second website. The focus of visuals and ease of navigation are huge advantages, although I personally think it could use a little more supportive context around the sources. Then again, perhaps they want the sources to “speak” for themselves without any interpretive guidance.

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