Soundly Engineered

A good example of how Constructing the Past is soundly engineered can be seen by looking at the menu bar. I wanted it to be pretty minimal when I first made it with only three items on it. But after some feedback and discussion I realized it would work better to add a little bit more to it. The first three items on the menu bar were, About/Welcome (I have yet to settle on a final name for it), Buildings, and Photo Gallery. The About menu contains the information about the project and the History of the College. But History of the College could also work as it’s own menu bar since it is not necessarily a sub-category of any of the information. Another menu bar that I am thinking of adding is one about the conclusions of the project and the connections between the other buildings. I have yet to come up with an encompassing name for it yet but would add this to my menu bar to stand alone with no subcategories. This would bring it up to five items to select from in the menu bar.

The most important item in the menu bar is the Buildings item. It lists the three buildings I am looking at and the subcategories that they have, Timelines, History, and Looking At (Which is not the final name). I decided to put them all under one tab because that means that potentially more buildings could be added to the analysis of the campus community. If they were all up in the menu then it makes it seem like those are the only buildings to look at when using buildings to analyze the campus. Those are just the ones I chose. By having them under a building tab it shows the potential to add more since many other buildings on campus would work and could potentially be added. This is soundly designed it was an active choice to represent how the information is organized.

This project is also soundly engineered because before starting this project I looked into what resources or documents existed.  I had already talked with the McPhersons, went to the Adams County Historical Society to look at information on the Breidenbaugh family, and talking to people at facilities to determine what information they had on the buildings and to see the Brua Architectural plans that they had. This project was guided by the information that I had already gathered. I could have found other buildings to focus on, and in my research I found many other buildings that would reflect the changes that were made and their reflection on the campus community. But I chose the three that I did because I was interested in them and had the information. I thought through all the planning of this project before starting it and checked that the information that I would need to complete it would be possible to get. This helps insure it is soundly engineered because potential directions of the project have been explored. I am also ensuring that it is soundly designed by giving my process for deciding things here, like the students did in Sound Engineering: Toward a Theory of Multimodal Soundness in Jody Shipka’s article.

One Reply to “Soundly Engineered”

  1. I think your project has, from the beginning, embraced a sound engineering philosophy, in that you have been very focused with your research topics and what exactly you want to have done. Normally a project idea starts out very large, and has to be whittled down, but yours has been pretty on target from day one! I think that shows great DH instincts, for what they are.

    Menus are always one of the things I struggle with in DH projects, because you want to give your users a lot of options and guide them in a specific way, but not overwhelm them with too many choices. So for me, not everything has to be on a menu, just what you think is most important, and let the rest of the site guide your users. That being said, I think your current menu structure is good and fits the needs of your project.

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