For this review, I visited Rosenzweig Prize Recipient blogs “American Panorama” and “What’s On the Menu?“, university history sites “Gilded Age Plains City” and the “Emilie Davis Diaries“, and the Journal of American History-reviewed “Mapping Early American Elections“. I chose these sites because their titles caught my interest, and I am pleased to say that most of them kept it.
Initially, I found “American Panorama” to be the most immediately interesting of the sites due to its sleek design. The site features a variety of maps of different periods in American history, plotting elections, travels, and demographics. The maps on the site are interactive as well; this is a choice that I’d like to take on my own project. Overall, this was my favorite of the sites, as it is effective in its job and is incredibly easy to navigate; the only thing it seems to lack is an abundance of content.
“What’s On the Menu” I found to be a close second in my ranking. At first, I was caught by the name; then, as I began exploring the site, I realized how in-depth the menu analyses are. Each menu lists menu items, price, and the most popular dishes at the time; as a result, the site lends itself well to comparison and contrast between time periods. I found it to be a fascinating subject, and though the site isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as it could be, the site’s developers make it clear that they continue to work to improve the website.
I did not find “Gilded Age Plains City,” the “Emilie Davis Diaries,” and “Mapping Early American Elections” to be particularly visually stimulating, but there are design aspects of each that I appreciate and may consider using in my own project. “Gilded Age,” features wiki-like pages that go into detail on nearly every question or concern that a reader may have, such as “Who’s Who” and a “Glossary of Terms“. It also features a non-embedded, typed-in timeline, which doesn’t look quite as clean as if it were the product of a developed, third-party tool, but is still somewhat effective. I appreciate how the “Emilie Davis Diaries,” are very simple and straight-to-the-point, featuring only page numbers, a small info blurb, a tag cloud, and the diary pages. Pages 3 and 4, however, happen to be glitched; the page numbers at the top, (which can be used to flip between pages), disappear, preventing further exploration of the diary. “Mapping Early American Elections” is incredibly user-friendly and easy to navigate. It is mainly comprised of essays with illustrated maps to go along with them. There aren’t many negatives to this site, as it does what it sets out to do effectively, but in comparison, “American Panorama” does it better.