Histories of the National Mall: Review

The Histories of the National Mall project is a well executed, interactive representation of the National Mall that has comprehensive history of not only famous landmarks, but also important events and people associated with it as well as the history of the place itself and how it came to be. The content is laid out in a way that makes it easy for users to navigate through and each item has a description so that users can find out more if they so desire. If a user is looking for something specific they can also just simply type it into the search bar on the main page which is an essential function of any well-developed website. If a user is still unsure of where to begin there is also a page dedicated to discussing what is in the site, so they can start there in order to get their bearings and figure out where to go.

The creator of the site has an easy to use navigation bar at the top that easily communicates to users the different ways they can explore the history accumulated within. If you want to search a person you simply click on people and it takes you to an alphabetical list. Each listing has a picture accompanying the name which is hyperlinked; when you click through you then find yourself reading a brief description of the image. If you want to know more about the person you can find a brief biography and important dates associated with them such as their birthday if it is available. I especially loved the exploration pages though. I thought it was a truly unique ways of exploring through scavenger hunts and ask me more questions such as “who takes care of the Mall?” that really allowed users to engage with the history within the site.

Every aspect of the site functions as expected. It is unique in that it allows users to view maps of the mall and click on different sites which then leads to a pop up with an event or person listed. Each of these then has an informative paragraph accompanying it allowing the user to expand their knowledge. This is a very effective way of using digital media as this type of interactive experience is not available in other formats such as print or film. It is non-linear, so users can jump around different eras and see what makes this part of Washington D.C. a unique cornerstone of history in the city. It really aims to bring the area alive and allows the user to orient themselves wherever they are exploring so it’s easy to know where they are at all times. Not only that but this site is able to be used with mobile devices which is essential in this day and age when people are accessing media twenty-four seven from all over the world with their phones and tablets. Exploring this project is a joy for historians and regular citizens alike who want to learn more about the National Mall.

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