Oct 21 2011

HistoryDeck prototype design crit

HistoryDeck—a prototype for American Experience—seeks to provide a bridge between current discussion and debate and historical reference, by way of an innovative, hybrid use of technology (video player + TweetDeck-like functionality). This session will critique and brainstorm taking HistoryDeck to the next level.

[Note: If you missed our session, you can still send your input my way: kim_ducharme at wgbh dot org Many thanks!]

HistoryDeck in a nutshell:
The current debates over controversial social issues and public policy are often ill-informed, and disconnected from an understanding of history. How can we inform the current discussion with events from the past about issues that are still relevant today?

The American Experience film library provides an excellent reference for current issues, but full-length films are more difficult to get your friends to watch and discuss.

What if you could quickly discover specific, smaller portions within the full-length American Experience films that relate directly to what you’re discussing with your friends online?

HistoryDeck has a simple aim: To connect past and present.

Starting with a simple keyword search, HistoryDeck goes to work, searching Twitter for related tweets, and the American Experience archive for film clips and other resources.

HistoryDeck provides a list of recent tweets that are an immediate snap shot to the conversations happening right now on the web, and relevant video clips from the American Experience archive provide context and insight into the events of the past that relate directly to these discussions. You can watch and share video clips, see others’ comments and insights, and share your own. Key terms and topics related to the clip you’re watching put further discovery at your fingertips.

HistoryDeck provides a way of informing these real-time discussions with expertly produced, well-researched historical content, and makes it easy to discover, share and participate all in one place.

In Phase II, HistoryDeck will partner with other media institutions to expand it’s offerings — making it a destination for historical reference, and a crucial companion resource for ongoing discussion and debate.

I’d like to spend some time critiquing the current prototype —what’s working, what’s confusing; how would you change it; how would you use it personally (scenarios), would you use it in teaching (or research)? — and then brainstorming ideas for taking HistoryDeck to the next level.

Prototype pitch video: americanexperiencesummit.org/historydeck

About the author

Kim Ducharme

I am Associate Director of Design and User Experience at WGBH Educational Foundation. I am a user experience designer, information design and datavis connoisseur, science geek gone history buff, and drawn to the allure of the digital humanities. This past year, I headed up a team working under a research grant to help American Experience re-envision it’s digital strategy and presence online. HistoryDeck is part of the outcome of this work.

I also teach Interactive Information Design and Data Visualization at Northeastern University.

Permanent link to this article: http://newengland2011.thatcamp.org/10/21/historydeck-prototype-design-crit/

1 comment

  1. Nicola

    This sounds like a fun session. I think HistoryDeck definitely has potential!

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