CHNM Client Worksheet, Week 4

We’ve put together this worksheet to help you give us the information that we need to design and develop a website that best serves your goals.  By answering these questions, you will help us craft a solution that meets your needs and provides an effective site for end users. 

The Basics: Is there an end date the project needs to be completed? 

(e.g., end of grant period, public launch at conference)

October 15 First Draft of Grant Proposal Due

October 29: Final draft of Grant Proposal Due

December 14: Final website white paper and alpha website due

No date for final completion of website

Name two or three “peer” sites (sites with a similar audience, content, or purpose) and their web addresses. Please comment on the strengths and weaknesses of these sites:

National Archives and Records Administration: http://www.archives.gov/

The NARA website is very professional looking.  It has a nice design and includes a ton of information in an organized and user friendly way.  For example, the contact us button links to an interactive map that shows NARA locations by different topic like ones that one can go visit in person or all NARA locations.  It also seems to do a good job of thinking of the audience because it has links for teachers, researchers, and veterans. It has a good search feature where one can either use a google search box or go to a more advanced search. Once you locate an image there are great tools to zoom in, download, and make the image full screen.

Alaska’s Digital Archives: http://vilda.alaska.edu/

The aesthetic design of this website is not the best.  The homepage seems crammed with information and it does not seem organized.  There are 5 different colors on the website including colors that do not seem to go together like red and yellow.  The most important links to the archives are not prominently displayed.

The strong points of this website are the organization of the archive itself.  It is broken into two main categories Alaskans Native American Culture and it’s journey to statehood. Within these categories the pictures are broken down into thematic categories that are searchable by theme, region, or time period.  Clicking on a thematic button takes you to thumbnails that are well proportioned and have good captioning.

Do you have a budget for purchase of imagery and fonts?

No, we are a small local historical society.

Do you have a final name for the website?

Not yet.  Preliminary title is “Archives of the Arlington Historical Society.”

The Brand/Visual Identity

Please try to describe in as few sentences as possible the feelings you wish your site to evoke, and the brand attributes you want it to convey.  (e.g.: warmth, friendliness, reassurance, comfort, or excitement. Sample brand attributes might include caring, honesty, humor, professionalism, intelligence, technological savvy, sophistication, reliability, and trustworthiness.)

Since this site is geared to the local Arlington, Va community.  The site should convey neighborliness, a sense of community, openness, and a yearning to learn more.  All residents should feel they are represented and they should all leave the website learning more than they entered it.

The brand attributes to convey are professionalism, trustworthiness, neutral, even handed, knowledgable, interesting, fun.

Audience

To the best of your ability try to describe the MAIN users of your site.
(e.g., College teachers needing curriculum materials; historians needing a central information resource)

The current and former residents of Arlington, VA.  Just like the AHS Hume School Museum the website should be geared to the public who tend to be casual followers of history like families

To the best of your ability, describe the SECONDARY users of your site. (e.g., Students doing research)

The secondary users would be the more in depth students and local historians who visit to do research on Arlington history.

Why does your main target audience need this website? What results would indicate that the website is a success? (In other words, what are the GOALS of this website?)

The main goal of the website is to give the public more access to the AHS’s collection.  A secondary goal of the website would be to promote not just the website but the Hume School museum and the AHS in general.  The target audience needs a quicker way to access the collection of the AHS.  the AHS has a museum but it is only open during the weekends and at most about 20 people come to the museum.  However, Arlington in filled with history including Arlington Cemetery, the pentagon, proximity to Washington, D.C., in addition not all the local history.  Having more traffic to the general AHS website and to the Hume School museum and the Ball-Sellers house would be signs that the site is a success.
Content and Features

How many sections will this website include? 

This site will have 6 sections:

Native Americans

Colonial Times/Early America

Civil War Era:

Growth of Arlington during interwar period

Present

How many different types of pages need to be designed? (For example, a Case Study page, a Primary Source page, an Advanced Search page, an Image Gallery page). Please list all the types of pages you will need. 

This site will include an advanced search page, image gallery, thematic categories,  a kids section, intros page, site map,  the main pages will provide information on each specific artifact such as an image of the object, the date it was created, the material it was made out out, and any story or evidence to proof that it is an important part of Arlington History.

Describe in detail the types of functional needs, such as plug-ins, upload capability, commenting capability, image cropping/sizing, that you will need.

The functional needs will be similar to the standard omeka.net abilities of tagging, categorizing, organizing, keyword organization, mapped, and displayed as exhibits. Since the goal is to make the AHS more popular there should be plugins for social media sharing and a donation page to help support the society.   The archives portion should not have any commenting but users should be able to share the artifact information through social media.  users should be bale to leave feedback on the nine exhibits that are part of the website.

The website will include pictures of objects so there should be enough upload capability to upload pictures without taking too long on most browsers and computers.

Design

Describe the site’s desired look and feel by using adjectives and short phrases. If you have examples of websites that match those adjectives, please list them.  (e.g.: Easy to look at, edgy, understated, classic, up-to-date, crisp, modern, traditional, warm and friendly, authoritative,  etc.)

This is going to be part of the main AHS website found at http://www.arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org.  So it should have the same look and feel with the same green, white, and black theme colors.  Easy to read, fun, professional, authoritative, openness.

Please list some websites that you like and explain why. (For example, the color palette, the type of imagery used, how the navigation is handled.)

The Centennial Exhibition 1876 http://libwww.library.phila.gov/CenCol/index.htm

I like this website use of white space.  It has a lot of information included but it does not look crammed together. The color pallet makes the text easy to read and goes along with the industrial time period that the website is about.  The imagery is in color when possible and there is a variety of picture formats, some are photographs and others are sketches or lithographs. The site has an easy to use navigation panel at the left that goes from broad categories to specific subject areas.

Illinois During the Gilded Age

http://dig.lib.niu.edu/gildedage/about.html

The color pallet makes the text easy to read but the yellow color also makes the site pop out.  The images are very well organized and do not seem to be crammed in the website.  The thumbnails are also big enough to get a sense of what the pictures are about.  One improvement I would make is to have pictures throughout the website and not just in the archives. The left navigation bar is like the Centennial exhibition website where it goes from broad categories to more specific topics in a very organized and easy to use way.

Additional Comments

We’ve tried to keep this worksheet as general as possible, but every project is unique. Here is your chance to add any extra information you think will be helpful. Some examples might include: Colors and types of images to avoid, type of navigation to use or avoid.

Keep the organizing model of the Val-Kill model i.e. ER’s roles, but don’t use the color scheme or design features.

Thank You!

Thank you for your effort and time. Please save this document as YourName.rtf and mail to sleon@gmu.edu

 

 *Bold faced questions and text come from a web questionnaire provided by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media: http://chnm.gmu.edu/

 

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