The Rest of the Week

The finish line is rapidly approaching for this project, the rest of my classes, and Equestrian Team horse show season.

This week, in addition to battling a batch of acute bronchitis I caught from my plague-infested roommates and riding as many horses as possible to prepare for Regionals in Wisconsin next weekend, I will be transcribing letters, finalizing text, and uploading the last of my photos.  I want to rearrange my site so the letters are the main focus; they are the bulk of my efforts and took the most time.  I don’t like that they are relatively hidden.  I’ve worked really hard on these letters, so I want them to really shine on my website.  Plus, I want Kirksvillians and Truman students to be able to find them easily!

I also need to figure out how to make the widget that the UMW folks have on their “Voices of the Great War” section.  I tried googling and searching through the vast list of widget plugins, but that was less than helpful.  So lovely and helpful Leah, hook a brother up!

3 thoughts on “The Rest of the Week

  1. Haha I will do my best to hook you up, brother! ;) The plugin is called “WordPress Page Widgets” http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-page-widget/ so what you do is go Dashboard >> Plugins >> Add New and add that particular plugin. After you have installed and activated it, a new option should show up on your Dashboard menu, underneath settings. The option will be “Page Widgets,” and you can adjust settings there. Our settings are: No, I want to use this without donation; available for pages; customizing the right sidebar (the options for this particular setting will vary from theme to theme); and select default settings for adding new things. Then to actually change the widget, you do this when you are editing each specific page by scrolling down to the “Page Widgets” section and then selecting the “Customize” option. From there you can set the widget on each page to be different! Let me know if you have any questions (email me)! :)

    I love the header image for your site!! It is really great, and looks so clean–and it definitely goes with your intended letter theme! :) I also like the red accent color choice–much more complementary than that blue/green color. It’s a little confusing that your “Home” page and main “About” page are actually the same (you can fix that in the menu/page settings). I really like that you have a collection focusing on one person! It adds a nice personal touch, but I think it would be really cool if you could include some more stories on his page, perhaps to include some details about the items or just more stories from Stahl’s life. The photos/scans are excellent quality.

    For some sections of your site, make sure that even the introductory pages have some form of explanatory text. For example, the “War Stories” main page, only contains links to individual stories. I know “War Stories” seems pretty self-explanatory, but I still think that even a sentence or two would be nice, telling visitors what they can find, etc. Ditto for the First District Normal School home page. The ASO page has great content, but I’d love to see a picture or two on it!

    Just a couple small comments: it would be nice if you had a clear link to a bibliography or works cited page (perhaps in your top menu). Also, the footer for your site is quite large (I think you could decrease the size by simply removing some of the widgets from it). Other than that, your site has come a long way and I can’t wait to see the finished product!! :)

    Some more last-minute thoughts: you may have to rearrange/rename your menu options to have a focus on the letters instead of telling school stories. Will you have transcriptions and images available for each letter? If you need any help transcribing, let me know!! I’ve been transcribing for 5 years so I am really good at reading really bad handwriting. Will they be part of your Virtual Library section? I think the idea of a virtual library is really cool.

  2. What Leah said :) Jen, I think your site is looking great, and aesthetically I think it’s really strong, and navigable. My only suggestion for you now is regarding the visual galleries. I felt like I needed more context on the individual images- if you could add maybe just a sentence or two to the captions I think it would really strengthen the experience.

  3. Jen–
    If you write a short description of what the letters are about beside the names, that may draw people in more than if they have to click on a name to learn more. Pulling quotes out and featuring them within the text would be a great way to keep interest as well. I’m not sure you really need to categorize them if you can gain reader interest by grabbing their curiosity with a couple of keywords.

    ex. (I’m totally making this up): Cpl. George Bailey – Fighting in France, issues with illness, homesickness

    Sgt. John Smith – The trouble with mud, injuries from the battle, weather, “end of war!” letter home

    How’s that sound? I love what you’ve done. It was my dream to do something like this with all these letters, but it just wasn’t to be. Oh, well. You’ve done an amazing job of it. Featuring the letters more quickly on the site, or gathering interest in them immediately upon coming to the site will help keep people interested.

    Good job!

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