16 February 2008

Is Europeana Too Flash?

I've written before about the nascent European Digital Library:

Consistent with the i2010 digital library initiative, this thematic network will build consensus to create the European Digital Library. It will find solutions to the interoperability of the cultural content held by European museums, archives, audio-visual archives and libraries in the context of The European Digital Library.

Now we have a chance to try it out - at least as a demo. It's cross-linking is impressively rich, but I do worry that we're going to end up with something too flashy - or, rather, too Flashy, with lots of invisible code that makes deep linking impossible. We shall see - or maybe not....

4 comments:

jonathan.purday said...

We'll try not to be too flashy

Europeana is just a demo at present and it uses Flash. But we're aware of the issues you raise and will be using AJAX and DHTML for the moving parts of the prototype site that we're building.

cheers,
Jon Purday, Europeana.eu

glyn moody said...

Excellent.

I think the idea of cross-linking that is obviously central to what you are doing is great: I'm a big fan of finding connections myself.

But for that reason, I feel very strongly that *everything* on your site - content, images, multimedia objects etc. - should have a URL and be directly addressable; if it isn't, you will lose 99% of the your potential hits in search engines....

Another thing, while I'm at it. I went through the demo, and was ready to fill in the survey. But I found it railroaded me in directions I didn't want to go - "what do you think this was meant to be doing etc.". That wasn't how I had formulated my opinions. So I stopped. I suspect many others will too. The old rules are really the best: every obstacle online is an opportunity to lose visitors....

Good luck with the project.

Anonymous said...

I triead out the demo too, and I hope that the final version will not use Flash.
Flash is the opposite of accessibility. Flash prevents users from opening links in new windows/tabs (essential when doing research) or setting a custom font size (important for visually handicapped people).
Flash also lacks support for web search engines and since it relies on a proprietary plugin it makes the whole thing dependent on one single company, that supports only a limited set of plattforms and can choose to cancel support for any of them at any time.

glyn moody said...

Indeed.