A beta version of the website collating my research is now up and accessible. It is now more friendly to lower bandwidth users, and more extensively linked. Testing the earlier version revealed something I had long suspected: typical users are much smarter than Jacob Nielson gives them credit for. They had no difficulty using the navigation, and inspired me to make more intra-page navigation available.
This is just the first step toward a more logical arrangement for the material that I’m gathering. I realize it is difficult for even long-time readers of my blog to figure out how the pieces I occasionally post fit together. Eventually, I will link from the timeline and other indexes that I will be adding to the blog entries. Blogging my research has been great, but it is very difficult to set up logical categories when you have no idea where things fall, or what the categories are when you find pieces to the puzzle.
The major reason for doing things this way is because some of the figures I’m researching are well represented on the web— such as Lewis Hine, who was the first sub-page added. Right now, it mainly collects the most useful links I’ve found. I want to add a more detailed bibliography to print articles later. Other figures, like Edwin Rosskam, have little or no presence on the web, a situation I hope to remedy. I want to place representative samples from his books online. There is a lot of work to be done, and by doing it this way I’m getting a bigger sense of how these things are related to each other. This will help my writing process.
The address to the front page will remain constant as material is added, so linking to it is fine now. Right now, it covers a lot of material in a shallow way. The depth will come later. I mainly wanted to get my approach and navigation issues sorted out. Suggestions for additions, or any error reports are welcome. This is a major step for me, after six months or more of gathering stuff— some items probably won’t make sense to everyone, because they are part of my larger thesis though not specifically representational in nature. It was nice to step back for a second, and gather them together.
The pages validate, and are designed for at least 1024x768. I haven’t tested on a variety of browsers yet. I did resort to tables for positioning so I hope it won’t present a problem for the usual suspects. I’ve only checked it with Mozilla and IE 6.