H697 Review of G. Cohrs Design Assignment

For this week’s blog I am reviewing Geoff’s design assignment page, Mapping Civil War Alexandria. This particular page, which looks to be part of a larger envisioned project, is focused on May 1861.

First, some strengths and nice touches:

  • I like the use of the outer container div as matting, which evokes a manuscript document on a desk (at least for me).
  • The sidebar color picks up on the color of the water in the header image, which is a very nice touch.
  • Separation of nav into horizontal for primary and vertical for secondary (I’m assuming that’s that the “Explore the City” is?)
  • Nothing is so far away from another element that it feels isolated or confusingly floating. I particularly like the consistency of one block (callout or image) for each section of text.
  • Great captions, very informative.
  • Use of a primary source quotation for a callout, to flesh out the text, and repeating the matting color for that callout.
Some things which might be tweaked:
  • Two of your three h3s are in all caps, and one is not. It’s such a bold font that I don’t think all caps is necessary, although it certainly works and doesn’t read as shouting. Either way, they need to be consistent.
  • The header image is great, but the script font is a little hard to read. Maybe fading out the image more and using one of the layer blending tricks might help it stand out? Also, I’m not sure where the two lines are supposed to have the same emphasis, but if the script is supposed to be more important you might make it bigger.
  • Body font could be a little bigger to be more readable (I looked at your CSS and noticed odd values for your ems. Maybe one of the fonts is throwing things off?).
  • Also, the sidebar text is more dominant on the first view than the primary text; it works here because you want people to know it’s an assignment, but in a larger project you might want to de-emphasize sidebar text. Unless, of course, in a larger project you’re only using the sidebar for nav in which case ignore me.

Overall, I find the site to be very visually appealing, not to mention interesting for its content. I love the way all the colors work together, even the pictures of Robert Knox Sneden and the view of Alexandria have similar tones/values. Good work!