Thursday, October 21, 2010

good example sites powered by Omeka

After perusing some of the many Omeka-powered sites, here are my thoughts.

Oh my goodness, I am in love with this site: Treasures of the NYPL! The simple-yet-full front page is great; it shows some of the collection images (one of them links to A.A. Milne's original stuffed animals, which were the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh!) and lists the main categories of collections, all while taking up very little screen real estate. The user can then choose to explore the rest of the site as he pleases. (I also like the breakdown and simplicity of this site: Making the History of 1989: The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.)

The Short History of Seed and Nursery Catalogues in Europe & the U.S. also stuck with me, mostly again for its great homepage. However, I also like how the site is organized, in a format which looks almost like a term paper and displays items chronologically. I'm not certain we could necessarily do a chronological series for our own project, but perhaps we could break down the victim memorials (I believe Molly has already mentioned this, as well) by tower location, birthplace, age, or something else entirely. We could also randomly rotate photographs on the front page so that all of the people are represented equally.

And I like this final page, Bibliothèque Numérique - Université Rennes 2, not only because it's French (yes, I'm partial to that language), but because it makes use of a lot of great Omeka plugins. It's neat to see tagging being used on this site, as well as geolocation. Again, I'm not sure if we could use something like geolocation, but it's good to see as much as we can of what is out there, and then we can decide as a class what is important to include.

I have to admit (and you've likely noticed) that I'm a sucker for an aesthetically pleasing site. Of course, the content is extremely important, but I don't think many are going to want to look at, much less navigate, a site which isn't clean and user-friendly - no matter how full of information it is. Therefore, I tend to lean towards an emphasis on the visuals of the website, particularly those of the front page (so we can draw people further into the site!).


  1. "I don't think many are going to want to look at, much less navigate, a site which isn't clean and user-friendly - no matter how full of information it is."

    I wholeheartedly agree with you! Usability is a major factor in the creation of any website. I also think it is really important to provide a well designed taxonomy for browsing and information discovery.

    P.S. I love the Seed and Nursery Catalog website!

  2. It's interesting that if you look back, I believe Apple was one of the first companies to offer a clean and very sparse web-site design (which makes the cluttered mess of iTunes an interesting comparison). But the one company that really took it to the extremes and were incredibly successful was Google. I'm sure the rest of you remember what websites like Yahoo! and AltaVista were like before Google rose to its dominance. In the past 10 years, a lot of other companies have refined their websites (Microsoft, Yahoo!, Amazon, etc.) to become more user-friendly.

    It is definitely something that we will want to think about as we get further into designing our own exhibit site. I think by keeping a very simple theme, we can focus the attention on the items in the exhibit and not overwhelm our visitors with lots of flashing baubles.