Visualizations are an important component of any DH project. By solely relying on text or linear data, audience members aren’t able to the interconnected, ongoing and dynamic feel that encapsulates our culture. The most effective DH projects were those that simulated the way humans critically think and generate ideas- in a circular, interactive way. Such dynamic methods of gathering and presenting data allow the stories we tell to be open ended, participatory, and exploratory. Such websites allow us to understand and explore culture in an encompassing and detailed way- with various contributors presenting new concepts and unorthodox ways to visualize and understand humanity.
In looking through the various DH projects, we were reminded of a concept “finadability” in Alexander and Levine’s article, Web 2.0 Storytelling Emergence of a New Genre. The authors term ‘findability’ as “ the comprehensive search tools that help story creators (and readers) quickly locate related content with just a few keywords typed into a search field”. In our group discussion, this was the factor that made a DH project most successful and memorable. When evaluating projects, we found that those that communicate their purpose in a clear, readable, and accessible manner were the most attractive, and therefore the most effective. In order to create a resonant message, whether it is in face-to-face conversation or digitally, the sender must be able to connect to the receiver. The use of multi-media and the balance between text and visuals provides different levels of readability for diverse audience members. From our understanding of digital humanities so far in the course, its purpose is to provide all contributors and consumers with a depth and richness of ongoing information. This can only be achieved through functions that enable us to access and locate information- a high degree of ‘findability’.
While we did not find this project to be the most aesthetically pleasing, it was easily navigable and immediately informative. Through only a few clicks, we were taken to a specific time period, to the people of that time period, and to detailed information surrounding whatever name we chose on the right side bar. This site could enhance its appeal through adding more visual content, however we found its overall readability to be useful.
This is taken from a project that provides examples and advice for creating good visualizations. This example provides adequate information surrounding the voting layout of Virginia, explaining each target area through text, while also emphasizing such areas through difference in color. This visualization is made accessible due to the combination of images and text. The use of color also adds to its accessibility- it makes the data more attractive but is not overpowering.
Mentioned Alexander and Levine article:
Courtney Power and Matt Hrvatin