I believe you have a great start here Ben. I think you have chosen a rather obscure and incredibly fascinating aspect of Californian history and I am excited to see your finished product. I particularly like your use of period photographs on your home, background and Santa Cruz pages. One suggestion I have, however, is that you perhaps chose a different layout for the home page so that we are able to see the image in its entirety. It looks like it may be a photograph of a lynching, however the majority of it is blocked by the text box in the center of the screen. I think that being able to see this image would be more a more powerful introduction to your website. I also think that in the background section you should have more of a division between the paragraphs. Currently they don't transition into each other that smoothly so either that would have to be addressed or you could simply have subtitles before each one so as to clarify that the following paragraph will be covering a different topic. Overall I think you have a great start here and I was thoroughly engaged by the topic and the overall clean layout of your page.
Ben, your site is looking great so far! First of all, I was really intrigued by your topic, and I think it is a really cool aspect of history to explore. My first impression when I saw your homepage was the huge quote, which really makes a strong impact right away that sets the tone of the site. However, your photo did not make as great of an impression for me, as Jackson also stated above. Visuals are really important in a website, and for the opening, I would suggest making it more visible. I think you would really make an impact with the homepage if you maybe adjusted to make the photo and the quote more cohesive.
In addition, I really liked the information presented in your background page. It was pretty brief and very informative. The table in the upper left was really effective, and really shocking! I would suggest including more media like tables, or primary source photos, or even clips of documentaries, which all could be very useful in drawing in the reader even further. Also, on your page ‘Santa Cruz’s Hidden Past’ I liked the formatting and layout, which looked clean and professional. Your sources and documents used for the essay were again, really well chosen.
One suggestion that I would make is to outline where you’re going with the site. In your site description, you note that you will be analyzing multiple aspects of the story. Although your site is still in progress, I just wanted to mention that you should pay attention to making sure that your overall thesis is proven through your pages. Will your website just be individual stories each of a different aspect? Could you build on them to create a larger picture behind it?
Your site was really interesting to read through, and I can’t wait to see more!
I think your site is looking very promising so far. The main page provides a great hook for potential viewers, addressing a unique and interesting topic that is sure to draw people in to explore more of your site. However, like Jackson and Julianne have mentioned, the image in the background is obscured by the large quote that dominates the center of the page. If a picture tells a thousand words, then an image could be very useful in drawing in viewers and helping them get a better idea of what your site is all about. However, I think the investigative questions posted below the quote are very good ways to incite people to explore your site further; you should keep these in any further changes you make to the home page.
With regards to your page on Historical Context, I think you do a very good job in analyzing the specifics of your primary source and comparing them. This page does a lot to provide background, answering a lot of the questions you display on the home page. However, I will say that your use of quotes is slightly excessive in the latter part of the page. While I understand that direct quotes are useful to constructing and argument, your use of quotes for minor terms and expressions makes the last paragraph appear more quote than actual writing. To fix this, I would suggest paraphrasing, or finding synonyms for specific words and expressions that you write about. If you fix this and a couple of minor grammar errors, the Historical Context page will be very solid in setting the tone for the rest of the website.
For your page on Santa Cruz’s hidden past, I think you do a really good job of staying true to the document while still using it to express an evidently strong opinion on the subject. My only suggestion here is to include your footnotes, which I see you are already working on.
In general, I think you have a clear idea of what you want to show in your site, and a clear way of presenting your information in a user-friendly format. Kudos to you for a great site so far, I’m really looking forward to seeing what else you have to say.
Your website is looking like one of the most developed, with some of the strongest research so far, so great work on that.
I love how your hope page is very simple, and how you put out your meaning very directly their. It sets up for the rest of the webpage very well, and it is done very well. Additionally, the use of questions on the homepage is extremely thought provoking, really pulling me into your website. Overall, it sets up a really nice start to give the most basic of outlines as to what your website is, while still being inherently interesting and thought provoking
The background page is very well done, as it provides a nice outline for what has occurred, in California, greatly clarifying the main point of your website. I'd agree with Alex that the quotations become excessive at the end, but I think that it highlights your excellent research and use of sources. Cleaning up the quotations will make it a little more readable, while making the quotations you leave far more powerful
I really like how you set up the "Santa Cruz's Hidden Past" page. There are a few grammatical and quotation things that I think need cleaning up on this page, but it's a strong page that makes very clear the problems, as well as what the outcomes of these problems are. As a quick example of what might be fixed, at the beginning of the last paragraph you put in quotes the word mexicans. In that situation, I'm not quite sure why you choose to quote that, so it leaves the meaning a little unclear. Getting rid of the simple things like that will make this an awesome page.
Your webpage's focus is super clear right now, and the way you have chosen to break it up seems good so far. Artistically, all of your fonts are totally readable, and I like how you have incorporated the images so far. The website seems really strong, and I really like what you have done. This is one of the most surprising websites I have heard about, as the lynchings in California are so rarely taught, so I am really excited to see where you go with this. Nice job!
Congratulations on picking a topic that makes me want to know more without any additional info. The title “California’s Forgotten Lynchings” sums up your argument and approach to the topic.
I find your homepage very disturbing. Niiiiccccceee. The picture paired with the quote make a very strong case for one to continue further into the site. Currently, (5/10/15) I enjoy the placement of the text box and picture. I enjoy how the man’s head rises above the text box but part of his body also rests beneath the quote.
Under “Santa Cruz’s Hidden Past”, Your use of a poem, photograph, and newspaper clipping, is effective in giving me multiple ways to soak up info about your topic.
Under “Femininity and Lynching”, your use of a table, map, and photographs, also made the website more exciting. Currently I think your rate of media sprinkled throughout your writing is nice. The word spacing in your font is a little annoying but not too bad.
You certainly have a lot of cool points of attack for this topic, and as long as you make sure they tie in to your big picture message for this project, this website will be awesome. You mention progressing as a society, so I think you can include a section on what we can do now with the information we just gained, or how people not knowing this website’s info harms our society. Keep in mind your target audience as you continue. As a high school student, I think the site works well for my age group and above currently. Best of luck Ben.
The theme, background image, and quotation on the Main Page is immediately captivating - the idea is very intriguing. I think the fact that your topic is something that hasn’t been looked into before presents a lot of potential to be something fresh and interesting. Your website's focus is clear, and it can reach the interest of a varied audience.
The graphs and statistics really enhance the reader experience.
I think the subtitles allow for organization, but the page as a whole lacks a sort of consistency. The first half about the comparative race lynching is vital, but the transition to the description of the Mexican War and Gold Rush isn’t as smooth.
Maybe some pictures or a timeline would help with the continuity, or placing the lynch statistics on a different subcategory could be beneficial.
Santa Cruz’s Hidden Past:
great writing, but even with the parenthetical directions telling me where to go, the essay doesn’t look clean cut with the jumping around. maybe tweak the format a little? (same on trip to Santa Cruz - but it’s okay if you want to leave that one because it looks fine anyway)
I love the addition of the poem, video and images.
Femininity: interesting essay - I think it’s a very interesting connection that you draw with gender perception. good map use as well.
I feel like the not just for men page could go into a subcategory under the femininity/gender perception page since they go together. (for neatness)
once again - love he poem!
just a thought: maybe you can ask the audience what they think the poem represents to make it more interactive?
Economics: could use some other media element
I think it’s a great project overall with awesome content and findings. My comments are mostly format tweaking and minor suggestions.
Before you finish off your project, I would like to leave you with some last-minute feedback.
I like the way your organized the whole background section - it makes it really easy for me, the reader, to see the reason why you chose the topic. It's localized in the Bay Area, and is very relevant to the inter-cultural scene in the Bay Area today.
I like it. The red contrasts very well with the black, and adds a depressing emotion to the entire site. Furthermore, the picture adds historical context to the entire site. The entire menus is easy to navigate, however, the button positioning is less than ideal. I would also make clearer the difference in between "Femininity and Lynching" and "Lynching; not just men." It seems that these two topics could intertwine, but I would make the titles clearer to reflect the difference in the topics.
The graphs, charts, and newspaper articles add concrete data to your assertions and analysis. Each page has a solid topic and argument, and the data to support it. I really like what you did with it here. The interview, I feel, adds significance to your entire project. Great job with that.
One more thing - there is a map of the greater LA area on "Femininity and Lynching." I don't think it adds much to the site. Could you explain why you chose to put the map there?
Overall, great job Ben, and I look forward to reading your completed site.
Wow Ben, your page has really come together. I can tell you have really invested a lot of time and effort in making it the best that it can be. I commend you for travelling as far as Santa Cruz to gather information. The video of the interview took was very interesting as well as the fact you took your own pictures to provide a scene/context for your topic. This allows the reader to better connect with the topic of lynching which people tend to distance themselves from. You also add an interesting personal connection with your topic.
I’m glad you ended up changing your format after we talked before. Although I liked the layout of the previous theme, the color scheme did not work in your favor. This theme still sets the haunting ambience the previous one did and capitalizes on it with the dark color of black mixed with red, which symbolizes lynching. I think you format your website very neatly which allows the viewer to navigate easily. My only concern would be that you have so much information that I feel it overwhelms the viewer. They don’t know where to look first. Maybe include some dividers to better navigate the eye?
Overall – I think you went into great depth about the topic of lynching and really answered the questions you imposed on the front page. It is true the lynching in California seems to be forgotten or at least overshadowed by southern lynching. It is important to bring this to light, which you have done, and then expand on how we can move forward. Your “What Can We Do Today?” page really helps extend your question and turn it over to the reader.
Great work Ben, I love the website!
Great work here. My topic is somewhat similar -- the experience of the "Californios," Spanish-speaking Mexican and European inhabitants of the Mexican Alta California as California was annexed into the United States. You've uncovered a lot of impressive sources and data that I hadn't been able to find, and I commend you for your research. I will be linking to your website on mine, because you've done a great, in-depth yet comprehensive job of talking about Mexican experience in the early US. For most blogs, I have plenty of qualms with the aesthetic choices of the author, but I don't really see anything wrong (or anything I don't like) here -- it all fits and looks good. There is, however, one thing I would fix: put the tab "Santa Cruz's Hidden Past" under "More" rather than as its own header. That was confusing and a little bit sloppy-seeming to me. I really enjoy the fact that you managed to include multimedia sources on a site about such an old topic -- your photos and videos are pertinent, focused, and entertaining (though, at times, disturbing.) Your trip to Santa Cruz was fascinating, and the fact that you took the initiative to go on a trip down there and use the information you gathered for your website is very admirable. The layout on the page "Santa Cruz's Hidden Past" is a little bit confusing -- I don't like how the poem is at the side of the article, and it's not clear which bodies of texts follow which threads. However, it's only a minor problem -- the project overall is excellent.
Ben L. is a student at Crystal Springs Uplands School.