Post-Draft Update: UMW and Homepage

The end it in sight!

First, the Century America homepage is nearly finished, and we’re so excited about how it’s turning out. The formatting of the layout, the timeline, and the text areas have all been completed, as has the MapsAlive interactive map.

The next and (hopefully) final step will be incorporating the complete map into the site. DTLT (Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies) has helped us tremendously in this process. We will be meeting with Ryan of DTLT once more this week, after which we will be able to officially determine how the map will appear on the homepage. Ryan will show us if and how we could embed the full map into the homepage using an iFrame, which would mean visitors would reach the fully interactive version of the map immediately upon reaching the home page of the site.

As of now, however, we are leaning toward the currently displayed format, in which a screen shot of the interactive map is featured below the header image, which is hyperlinked to the full map on a separate page. We like the clean design this allows for, and are confident this format will preserve all of the interactive features of the map, creating the easiest navigability. It also allows for visitors to read about the project before reaching the full interactive map, which will give them a better sense of what they are using by the time they are using the map to navigate to each of the different schools. This seems to the version that you all (my virtual classmates) prefer, but if there are any objections, please let us know!

As for the UMW Century America page, we are also nearly completion. Text has been completed, images uploaded and formatted, and design elements all finalized. This week we were able to get the side widgets added, which feature our Voices of the Great War element. The last piece of the puzzle for us will be citations. Currently, our pages are cited with wordpress-style endnotes than are then included on a separate “References” page accessed through the main menu. We are currently debating how best to improve accessibility to the notes without compromising the appearance and effectiveness of the site as an educational and enjoyable tool. In our digital history class, a colleague brought up a plug-in she has installed that allowed for a collapsible footnote section at the bottom of each page; this is an option we are considering. We are also debating the benefits and downsides of linking each individual note to the separate reference page, so that visitor could click the note number and be taken to the anchored location on our current citations page. While this would increase accessibility and clean up the site, we also fear it might prove distracting to be clicking back and forth while trying to read the longer text passages. Suggestions?

Overall, these are minor decisions and edits to make, and we are so excited to see the final project coming together so nicely. We’ve been busy admiring our site and all the Century America projects all week. It’s actually becoming a problem.




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