Over the course of the semester, we have learned many ways to make a successful Digital Humanities project. I’ve listed 5 of the most important ways below.
1. Good Design
One of the first things a good Digital Humanities project needs is a good design. Having a visually appealing website helps to attract more users and makes for a much better overall experience. It is important to think about choice of colors, fonts, sizes, and placement of your content so that is easy to find and use without being too distracting or difficult for the user. Having lots of photos also helps people who are visual learners to understand the information.
2. Easy to Navigate
Having a good design to your project helps for it to be more user-friendly. The information must be displayed and organized in a way that makes everything easy and simple for the user to find in order to get the most information and use out of it. Having a key that explains graphs and maps is a must because it helps users to fully grasp what they are looking at. Many of the sites we have seen in class have had easily accessible tabs on the side of the project that help you navigate through the site and find everything you need.
Having a website where users get to interact with the content is very important. It keeps them interested and more motivated to use it. For example, on the London Gallery Project, they included an interactive map where you could navigate and find art galleries that came around during the 19th century. By clicking different categories, you can press play on the timeline and see the art galleries come up on the map. It makes it more interesting to see the information and easier for users to understand.
Sometimes a Digital Humanities project requires the help of the masses in order. For example, Book Traces is a site that collects submissions of pictures of 19th and early 20th century books that have marginalia pertaining to that time in them in order to learn more about the people and the culture of that time. Over 350 people from all around have submitted their pictures with books they found that contain marginalia. It makes it easier to obtain information for a project and it helps to obtain information that you may not have been able to get access to without the help of others.
It is very important to have proper citation for all of your information if it is not your own. You should try to keep much of the information your own, but if you use someone else’s it must be properly cited to save you from trouble with plagiarism. Having proper context for all of your information is a must as well. If you have a picture or graph without stating what it is or why it’s in your project, it will make users confused and not sure as to why it’s there, which would probably turn them off from the project. For example, on the Art In The Blood website, most of the information is very hard to grasp, but the maps and pictures they show have little or no context to them, so you don’t know why they correlate to each other or why they’re there.
Digital Humanities projects allow scholars to ask new questions because they introduce people to new topics and information that they may have never been introduced to before. Many of the sites we’ve looked at in class are very specific, so seeing something might spark someone’s interest and allow them to do research on that topic and solve new questions. Digital Humanities brings together information in a way that’s relevant to our time and the technology we use, and helps to open our minds to questions we haven’t thought of before.