The usability for historical educational resources

Some time ago we at Historia i Media have described two new polish historical internet projects: A Commonwealth of Diverse Cultures and the online version of Museum of the Warsaw Uprising. These two initiatives can have a very strong impact for the nextcomming big historical presentations in polish internet by showing how to use new multimedia technologies in the case of history.

Interfaces of both described here projects are developed on the Macromedia Flash technology. It gives a wide range of possibilities in showing interactive animations, sound, video etc. But it has also some big faults – for our interests most important one would be a case of usability in the context of the educational reasons.

For the Commonwealth of Diverse Cultures, this problem has a smaller importance. This project tend to be more some kind of historical internet showcase than an educational resource, how it is in the second case with online version of the Museum of Warsaw Uprising.

Virtual museum offers lot of digitalized documents, photos and exhibits. They can be used during historical lessons. But how? Because of the flash technology, nobody can add a link to the concrete subpage with one resource. Making the homework, pupil can’t put any unique reference to the material – so how it can be used in a text?

It is important to everytime ask a question if the historical resources published online should be more attractive or more effective. Example of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shows the different way of presenting big internet collections, where there are no problems with references to the concrete materials and subpages. Usability and accessibility has more importance that the attractiveness of interface.

Check also: Case study: Headline History – accessibility and Flash

Ein Gedanke zu „The usability for historical educational resources“

  1. Too bad I’m not able to speak polish, but 1944.wp.pl looks very good. It’s really like a virtual museum tour. The commonwealth’s site was very artistic designed. But it seems, both are lacking of information. Where the first two sites seem to spark interest in the subject, the third supports the interest someone already had.
    At first it is always a question of the target audience. Furthermore multimedia support is useful to spark interest and to illustrate complex processes. I’ve always got problems with the changes of a country’s frontiers over a period of time. This is something which is easily illustrated with interactive multimedia software.
    Multimedia shouldn’t distract from the content, but support it.

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