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?