Designing History

“Enable and inspire me to think about and grasp the past.”

As historians, our first goal is to examine and present information about the historic past, much like this quote from Digital History states. The Internet has the ability to potentially change how this information is delivered to the public. However, with the ability to present historical information on the Internet, we have to not only write the information that we’re putting on the web, but we must also consider how we’re putting it out there for the public to consume. We discussed in class how we must now recognize that design is crucial for the success of a historic website, which our readings also establish. We must follow many of the same rules as designers, such as presenting text with high contrast and easily readable texts. Although these types of rules are easy to learn, the rules of design can and do get particularly difficult. To what extent do historians continue this education? Can we just follow the rules contrast, proximity, alignment, and repetition spelled out in Digital History, or do we seek out more complex rules for presenting history on the web?

2 thoughts on “Designing History

  1. Pingback: Designing History | Clio Wired

  2. Sara Collini

    Hi, Anne!
    Your questions on digital media education for historians are thought-provoking. With this increasingly digital age, it is hard for professional historians to refrain from using computers when presenting and researching their information. It is even harder to learn how to properly create/ design a website. I think if a historian wants to present their information on the web, then a baseline knowledge should be required. Perhaps these digital media classes should be required of all history graduate programs, and possibly even all of the humanities. If the historian is interested more in digital media and website design and wants to do it himself or herself, then they should seek that more advanced education. An institution could offer optional digital media classes that build upon those introductory classes.

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