What Makes A Historical Website Good?

Websites can be a valuable source of historical information for anyone from academia researchers to elementary school kids doing a project. It is important, however, to note that not all of these websites are created equal, and that there are many different ways to make websites so that the information is more accessible to all types of audiences.

In my personal opinion, I think websites are more efficient when they are kept up to date with modern technology, are aesthetically pleasing, and have their information organized in a way that’s straight forward. When people use the internet to find information, they are looking for a quick way to find information. If they wanted to spend hours looking for something specific, they could use a library. The internet made it possible to cut out the middle man in an information search, but the methods of organizing information on a website is an art in itself, and many websites struggle with this.

In addition to the importance of organization, making a website that’s technologically up-to-date is important to assure accessibility to the information. If a website utilizes an outdated plug on a part of their website, users won’t be able to access that part of the site. No matter how well your info is organized, it’s mute if the coding makes it impossible to access.

From the list of websites, the one I enjoy the most is the French Revolution website, because of its user friendly interface and its organization. The historian who designed this website anticipated many of the questions that people could have about this topic, and organized the information based on this. While the website isn’t cutting edge in terms of technology and innovation, it isn’t so out of date that it makes its use cumbersome. All photos render, all plug ins work, and it’s quick to load.

A website that stood out to me as being particularly difficult from a user perspective is the emancipation project. At first glance, the website looks as if it hadn’t been updated in 20 years. While this isn’t the main reason I dislike it, I think it has the potential to turn people off of further exploring. It does not use technology in an efficient way, meaning it used purely basic HTML and no other coding language that is capable of more complex programs. The organization of the information made it hard to understand which info was behind each link, which isn’t appealing to the average user.

These sources are basically digital versions of the analog systems we used to use because they hold the same information, but makes accessing it more efficient.

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