Week 4: Website Comparisons

I decided to look at the C websites on Frederick Douglass for this week’s assignment.

To start with the first site listed, the landing page that introduces visitors to the site could be stronger. There isn’t much color and the logo for the National Park Service is tiny. There’s a lot of blank space. I know we discussed the visitor getting overwhelmed, but this case illustrates the opposite. But if you scroll down, you can see a map, which I think is helpful, and hours for the historical site. While the visitor could be unsure as to where they should click, once they find the online exhibit listed, they access a much better part of the site. The online exhibit is done in a way that I quite like. The photos are large and clear and there are brief, but informative, captions for each. The arrows guide the visitor through the photos. They’re high quality and it’s nice to be able to see artifacts from Douglass’ house, especially accompanied by quotations and descriptions. The exhibit ends with credits. From there, the visitor may not know where to go. There is a feature that allows visitors to take a 3D tour of the house’s interior. It’s very cool! I like that aspect a lot. You can see the artifacts from the exhibit in the actual building. It was a little hard to find that part of the site and could have been organized differently, but that part of the site is interactive and fun to play around with! If the site is trying to give information about the historical site and the logistics of visiting the physical site though, then I would say that it does not achieve that. It does link to the National Park Service’s website for the historical site and that site has all of that kind of information available. But, if its goal is to give visitors a museum like experience online, which I’m assuming it is, then I would say it does do a good job of that!

The second site might look like an older website, but the landing page is somewhat more engaging than the first one. It has a similar goal to the first one in that it’s attempting to simulate the museum experience. The site is laid out in a way that’s well organized and you can just flip through the site easily. The font size is a little smaller than I might like, but there’s not an overabundance of text. The items are under the text so that you can click on them to take a closer look. In order to read the caption, you’re taken to another tab. That’s kind of inconvenient, but not overly so. The captions aren’t all that detailed at times. There are credits on this site too, but you have to click the small link at the bottom corner to see them. There’s also a link to the actual historical site’s website, but it too is hard to find. I like that there are so many pictures of artifacts to look at.

I would say that I prefer the first site. It gives a better museum-esque experience where you can even see the artifacts in a 3D simulation of the house! I would recommend they make the landing page better though.


One thought on “Week 4: Website Comparisons

  1. These are thoughtful observations and critiques of the two websites. Although both have affiliation with the National Park Service, the second one was built through the NPS exclusively. The first one was produced using Google Arts and Culture, a larger digital initiative to “curate” art, culture, and historical information together in a consistent template for many subjects. I agree that the 3-D element is a great feature and really unique! It creates an immersive experience that is much more realistic to users. I agree that the small text on the second website is a bit of a weakness, but doesn’t take away from the overall value of content on the website.

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