A Visual Ramble through the Late 19th & Early 20th Century
About this website
A ramble is defined as "a walk for pleasure in the countryside"; rambling is "moving about aimlessly". This website aims to offer viewing and reading pleasure in the historical-cultural field, without a specific goal. The items are not necessarily interrelated, however, the multimedia presentation of content is based on a close combination of a few principles:
- Equivalence of media: Visual and audio material are treated as equivalent (but not equal) to text, each with their own strength and functionality in knowledge transfer. Images on this website are not just illustrations but in many cases they supersede descriptions.
- Integration of media: Images can not do the job alone, they also require text and/or audio. Individual images can be arranged and merged into a picture story, for which a video or a slideshow is a suitable form. An important condition here is the physical integration of visuals and text, i.e. image material should be embedded in the text itself.
- Selective use of media: The use of multimedia is most effective when the media's features fit well with the nature of the message. Video is immensely popular.
- Different levels of detail: A multimedia website par excellence can offer knowledge at different levels of detail, so that it can meet the wishes and information needs of different categories of users. "A picture is worth a thousand words", images (with short explanation) can summarize information (top level) and may at the same time elicit a detailed explanation (a deeper level). Such a design also implies abandoning the linear publication form. At various points a user must be able to follow different paths. This is how the linear structure makes place for a tree structure.
Obviously, perhaps forced by limitations of the communication channel, one often choses the documentary as a model in which all information must be presented in one way or another in a single format, namely through images and sound. In a real multimedia environment textual content can be presented equally or even more effectively in text form (with the option of glancing through a text, making annotations, etc. ― looking at speakers is not always an added value). A precondition for this is the aforementioned integration of media: the viewer must be able to move immediately and effortlessly from one medium to another.