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So many DH Projects...So Little Time. LAB#4 Week 8

Natalie S. Clemens

Professor Nieves

DH Project (Interface Theory & Design)

Lab#4 Week 8

October 24, 2019



So Many DH Projects… So Little Time.



Recovering Hayti


Maps: no maps, unless you click on the hyperlinks.

Additional Element: photos and hyperlinks

Data Visualizations: photos and hyperlinks

Interface Design: very simplistic but plain. Not to underestimated, however, when you click on the hyperlinks, some lead to interactives user friendly maps and useful information.

“About” Page: is clearly stated and is the first thing you see. Appears very plain but has many useful and informative links.


Digital Harlem

Maps: there are many maps, however, are oddly presented in matter that it lacks fluidity in the web design.

Additional Element: the legend has many actual icon pictures, making it more visually appealing and interesting.

Data Visualizations: is slightly outdated in relation to how its displayed at the top header area as tabs.

Interface Design: it does give the user a sense of control over the system however lacks modern system setup.

“About” Page: is the second tab and pops up when click on but could be easily confused for as a error popup message.



The Bracero History Archive

Maps: no maps

Additional Element: pictures and many click on resources

Data Visualizations: very straight forward, not as fancy as some other interactive sites

Interface Design: plain with tabs and list with hyperlinks

“About” Page: very brief and more geared for the academics


Transatlantic Slave Trade Database


Additional Element:

Data Visualizations:

Interface Design:

“About” Page:


Rethinking the Region: New Approaches to 9-12 U.S. Curriculum

Maps: many maps, historical, political, and physical ones.

Additional Element: user friendly with side bar tabs and header tabs

Data Visualizations: plenty of pictures

Interface Design: tabs on both the side bar and header.

“About” Page: educational with hyperlinks and covers their objectives.


Mapping Indigenous LA

Maps: plenty of maps

Additional Element: easy scrolling through the information.

Data Visualizations: plenty of pictures to relate to the information as the user scrolled down.

Interface Design: story map.

“About” Page: at the very beginning and very brief but straight forward.



Exercise: Please answer in a short paragraph. What are the major milestones in the development of interface design? Examine the flight simulators, the switch panels on mainframe computers, the punchcards and early keyboards. What features are preserved and extended, and which have become obsolete? These are merely the physical/tactile features of the interface. (You will have to do a bit of research for this exercise.).


The different major milestones of in the development of interface design or rather the cycle of interface development? They are user-research, structure, design, prototyping, evaluation. What features are preserved and extended, and which have become obsolete? One major feature that has become obsolete is what is known as bread crumbing and batch computing (ex. card punch). They can be distinguished from each other by the different layers in the interfacing, the methods whether having more or less visibility and lastly the user’s purpose of them.




Exercise: Please answer in a short paragraph. What are the basic features of a browser interface? How do these relate to those of a desktop environment? What essential connections and continuities exist to link these spaces? List the features of a browser interface in your response.


The basic features of a browser interface are navigations buttons, the refreshing buttons, home buttons, stop buttons, tabbed buttons, booked markers and address bars. The concept we imagine is that we can use an icon of empty trach cab to “throw away” or delete item by moving them to the to trash can. This is perfect example of interface we physically can see.



Exercise: Ben Shneiderman is one of the major figures in the history of interface and information design. He has Eight Golden Rules of interface design.


  1. What are the rules? In your own words re-write each of the Eight Golden Rules using all of the 6 projectslisted above (as examples).
    1. Strive for Consistency: consistency within sequences, especially in the language terminology used throughout the design.
      1. Recovering Hayti: the design stays consistent in how they expect the user to read through the information on the about page that include the hyperlinks.
    2. Enable frequent users to use shortcuts: this is all about efficiency and effortless commands for the more expert-type users.
      1. Digital Harlem: the tab at the header of the site allows the user to access the information on the page efficiently an effectively.
    3. Offer informative feedback: the type of feedback in association for every single one of the operator’s actions.
      1. The Bracero History Archive: there is not feedback to the user considering how the website or archive is set up with a tab like display. The layout is very straight forward not much room for error use or not really made to give user feedback as well.
    4. Design dialog to yield closure: there should be a type of beginning, middle and end. There should be a message given to the user of accomplishment or satisfaction, or sense of relief, some type of indication that the its completed action and ready to proceed to the next group of actions.
      1. Rethinking the Region: New Approaches to 9-12 U.S. Curriculum: the design dialog to yield closure is evident in their about page where they want to ensure the user of their objective to educate with the material and information to provide starting with the home page to the end of the contact page.
    5. Offer simple error handling: to design a system so that in case the user makes an error the system is able to detect it and offer simple way for the user to handle them.
      1. Recovering Hayti, there is potential that the project will have errors pop up due to the intricacies of the interactive map. There is also a help tool located on the top right to help prevent any errors that may pop up. Which is beneficial to the user wanting the sense of control and ability to correct their errors with ease. The help tool tells the user how to navigate the map and what the function of each button.
    6. Permit easy reversal of actions: the reversibility of the action or data entry since the user now knows the errors can be undone, this gives them a sense of ease, therefore encourages them to explore unfamiliar options.
      1. Transatlantic Slave Trade Database project, there is an interactive map of the slave trade from Africa across the Atlantic Ocean. There is a spectrum below on the back you can toggle from left to right, going from earliest (1520) to latest (1820). If the user missed a year/ period in that timeline, they could go back with ease and click what year to show any of the routes of that slave trade, instead of having to go back and reset the map from the beginning.
    7. Support internal locus of control: because the expert users want to the ones in charge of the system they use, rather than the other way around, the system needs to be designed in a way to the users the initiators of the actions and not the responders.
      1. Mapping Indigenous LA: the user is in complete control on this site, the design is a story map where the user simply can scroll up or down at their discretion and click on any of the interactive photos.
    8. Reduce short-term memory load: simplicity, consolidation, training time allocated for codes is reduced but sufficient, and the sequence of actions be kept to a minimum due to the limitation of human short-term memory.
      1. Mapping Indigenous LA: with this site being a story map design, minimal effort is used by the user to guide through the information and hyperlinks provided.



  1. What assumptions do they embody about users/researchers– in the 6 projects listed above?

Some of them assume that the user already has knowledge of some material presented on the web pages or know how to navigate their page. Or rather that some actually need to tailor to more scholarly crowd.


  1. For what kind of information does the given interface work or not work? Consider all 6 of the projects above.

Some of the interfaces do work, except for the ones that don’t have more simple, single data mechanisms.

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