Reflection 6- Erik Carneal

My project, with much of the digital humanities as a whole, uses digital tools to present my argument in a nice flow. This is focusing on the practical side of my website that makes sure each page and function serves an important role on the website. My project specifically used the digital tools TimelineJs and Voyant Tools. I choose both of these tools because they offered me a way to complete my argument and make my site as a whole seem more sound. Firstly, Timeline Js provided a visual way to show the progression of the articles and how close to Election Day they were published. This helps the reader better understand the nature of these articles and puts a timeline into the readers head that shows how close to election day they got. My other digital tool, Voyant Tools, is a program that allowed me to run a number of text analysis tests that provided me with useful and interactive visuals. These visuals present useful date, but also do so in a way that keeps the viewer interested because of the interactivity and general pleasing aesthetic. Overall, Voyant Tools contributed to the soundness of my site by having that useful interactive element which better presents the argument on a digital platform. In the article Sound Engineering: Toward a theory of multi model soundness by Jody Shkipa, she says in regard to what makes a project sound, “The specific conditions in, under, or with which the final product will be experienced by its audience—this involves determining or otherwise structuring the delivery, reception and/or circulation of their work”. It’s important to have this mindset when in completing the project. The way the audience is able to receive the information and easily navigate the site are very important when it comes to determining the soundness. I believe both my TimelineJs and Voyant Tools visuals betters the viewer’s ability to flow through not only my website by to flow through my argument.

I had originally had the ideas of also implementing a visual interactive map, but once I had the demo embedded it became clear the it disrupted the flow of my project. This trial and error is important to keeping the site’s soundness. If I had kept the map, it would have been visually pleasing but it would have confused the viewer and steered them away from the actual argument. An important tactic that I have noticed seems to work is to read through and navigate through your site as if you’d never seen it before. Coming in with a blank slate allows you to see where the site’s argument becomes weak and what elements of the site disrupt the soundness. It is also very useful to do this with a friend or a colleague that has never carefully navigated the site before. Soundness is an important factor for all websites, not just those in the Digital Humanities, and will always be an important part of the website making process.


One Reply to “Reflection 6- Erik Carneal”

  1. Experimentation is great, and I think you’ve nailed it with thinking about DH in terms of trial and error. It’s a process, and sometimes what you do doesn’t work, so you pull part of it out and redo it to make it more sound. It’s a good idea to always be thinking back to your audience and how your users are going to experience your site, and it’s really hard to step away sometimes when you’re so heavily invested. Often things that can be disruptive just become background noise when you’ve looked at it for too long, and you start to overlook things. I think you’ve done well in trying to adjust your site on a regular basis and make effective change. Good work!

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