Narrative Interpretation Response

Much of the reading from the past two weeks has continued to challenge me, as I think about planning and executing my project.

First of all, I connected deeply with the Lynne Spichiger and and Juliet Jacobson reading about the Raid of Deerfield site. Although I had explored the site earlier in the semester, reading about the development process helped me get a firmer grasp on their purpose and methods. Since telling a story from multiple perspectives was both their goal, and my goal for my own project, this insight was extremely helpful. I agree with them that an interactive medium “allows users to move quickly and easily among the different perspectives, facilitating comparison and enabling the telling of the story from conflicting points of view without the loss of coherence in the narrative.” This also helped me better visualize how I might want to lay out my site’s navigation. For example, I have embraced their idea of “scenes” or events with a overview and then tabs that explain that scene from the different perspectives.

I also appreciated Shawn Medero’s article on Paper Prototyping. He advocates visualizing what your product might look like and how it might function by drawing it up on paper before actually making a prototype. This saves time, money, and frustration. He believes that by paper prototyping, you don’t waste hours of time designing something that might be completely redesigned later. At first I was a bit leery of this idea because I didn’t see it as a necessary step. I had a general idea of how I wanted to lay out my site, so prototyping seemed like a waste of time. But, since the module activity asked me to try it, I did. After doing it, I’m glad I did. It really forced me to figure out things more concretely (a first draft of category names, what link went were, etc.). When I finally tired to implement my idea in Omeka, I referred back to my prototype more often than I expected. While I couldn’t figure out how to make my Omeka site do exactly what  I had imagined, the prototype was still useful.

Finally, I am always challenged by creating good exhibit labels. Even after reading all 376 pages of Beverly Serrell’s Exhibit Labels: An Interpretive Approach and the extra tips in Steve Lubar presentations, it is still hard to put their advise into action. As a person who normally struggles not to exceed page limits, trying to write section labels of 130-150 words is hard. Lubar’s challenge for writers to admit uncertainty, make exhibit labels work (even if the visitor only reads the first sentence), to use active voice, and to connect the labels to the objects are worthy goals that every exhibit creator need to strive for. This is true for my own project. As I go forward, I know that I need to continue to rewrite my labels and par down the amount of information that is included.

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