In planning for an online exhibit, the steps are extensive. First comes figuring out what should be displayed in the exhibit. Then assessing why certain things should or should not be included. After that gets sorted out, playing with the design of the site comes next. Within that, the creator must storyboard and plan, while also trying to decide what is important to include in each page. Why would a user want to continue from page to page, getting lost in your exhibit on purpose? Or would they be better off going down the black hole of the Internet on some other tangent?
In planning for Rowing to Greatness, I’ve had to think about what pages would help draw the user in, while maintaining his or her freedom to venture about the exhibit at the own pace and on their own beeline. I want to give the viewers ownership in their own journey through the artifacts I have carefully pulled together on the 1936 United States Olympic Men’s 8+. In doing so, I’ve had to think about the best groupings for the artifacts, so that the stories are presented in a way that makes the most logical sense. One page will include an interactive map, depicting the locations these men trained, raced, and traveled on their journey to greatness. Another page will include the individual biographies of the men, so as to give the users an idea of where these men came from before they became one team. Yet another page will include a contribution section, where rowers from today can insert their own stories, images, videos, etc., and comment on others stories as well. As I continue building my project, I will keep in mind the way a user’s mind might travel through the information and how best to present it so that they stick around, and not venture out into the black hole.