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Suggestions from Professors #31
# Dr B:
On the reading page for the poems, it looks as if the color of the button changes when it is selected, but it doesn’t look depressed to me (I checked in both Chrome and Firefox on Mac OS), although the texts says that “The button will show as depressed”. That appearance doesn’t project depression certainly isn’t a problem; since the color of the button matches the color of the text, it would tell the user what is and is not being displayed even without any change in the button’s appearance, but I found the mismatch between the documenta-tion and what I saw on the screen distracting. You might be able to get a more persuasive depressed effect by using a CSS drop shadow, or perhaps you might just say that the but-tons darken or lighten depending on whether they are selected. Alternatively, you might use a light-switch toggle widget, something like http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-260067197/stock-vector.html, which augments the color cue with a positional one.
Some verse lines are blank when none of the versions is selected, which makes obvious sense (at least in retrospect) in the case of lines that have no common content across all of the versions, but it nonetheless looked odd at first to see not only blank lines, but also some lines with just one or two words. If it doesn’t make sense for the visitor to view the poem with no version selected anyway, what should the default be? Perhaps an instruction to se-lect one or more versions?
Displaying variants in line works well with two readings, but as the number of variants in-creases (and especially when the number increases to the point that the line wraps), the legibility suffers. I wonder whether an interlinear display that highlighted the variants might not be more legible, e.g., instead of the following (which wraps onto a second line in my browser window):
You could toggle the individual lines on or off, similarly to the way you toggle readings on and off now, taking up the space when a line disappears.
I like the display of the page images with colored highlighting of the moments of variation, but I didn’t notice at first how it worked with multiple selections. When I selected one source, the image appeared to the right of the text display, but when I selected an addition-al source, I didn’t see anything at all happen to the image portion of the page. I realized only after several minutes, when I happened to scroll accidentally, that the images were all be-ing displayed, with the new ones added below the old, but because the first one was longer than the height of my browser window, I didn’t see originally that others were being added below it. Is there a way to modify the display to make the addition of new images easier to see, or, if not, at least to provide notification to the viewer that something new may have happened below the bottom of the visible window? You do explain this on the “How to View and Understand the Poems” page, which I could reach by clicking on “Poems” in the main menu, but because I was using the drop-down subitems instead, I wasn’t aware that the “Poems” entry in the main menu was clickable. (And once I discovered that and clicked on the others, I also saw http://dickinson16.newtfire.org/about.html for the first time, which has a lot of valuable information that you don’t repeat anywhere else. Perhaps those pages, the ones accessible by clicking on the main menu items, should also be submenu items.)
The SVG dash-reduction display is lovely, but not all information in it is equally easy to see and understand. As you write, the Final Harvest pattern of minimal dash reduction is clear because the results are generally consistent, most of the poems are represented, and there isn’t much else going on in that portion of the graph to serve as a distraction, but it can be more difficult to spot what’s going on in the editions that either are sparsely represented or have more varied values. How about if mousing over or clicking one of the labels at the top would somehow highlight the dots associated with it, perhaps by increasing the radius of the circle or temporarily drawing connecting lines? That the bar for Poem 11 is narrower than the others looks odd; even though the full width isn’t needed because that poem is in only two sources, the chart in general might look better if the bars all had the same dimen-sions. Is the order of the circles above the graph significant? It doesn’t appear to be (for ex-amples, the three Poems volumes seem to be in reverse chronological order), and perhaps it should be chronological, and the text should say that explicitly.
I’m guessing that you put the bibliography on the dash analysis page, even though it’s also relevant elsewhere (e.g., the contrastive reading pages), because it helps viewers under-stand the legend for the graph. If that’s the case, perhaps the abbreviation (inside the col-ored circle) should be listed along with the bibliographic information. I think it would be better, though, to create a separate bibliography page, and perhaps just include pop-up in-formation on mouseover for the colored circles above the chart. Readers won’t be looking for bibliography specifically on the dash analysis page (I had trouble remembering where it was when I went looking for it deliberately after having stumbled over it once), and be-cause the list of books is long, it isn’t really possible to look at the bibliographic entries and the dash analysis chart at the same time anyway, that is, without scrolling, so any ad-vantage of having them on the same page is already partially compromised.
• Instead of object.onclick, try object.addEventListener('click', functionName, false) (as you already do with the window 'load' event).
• You might be able to consolidate your long list of buttons() “if” statements as a loop, where you could harvest the relevant @id values (perhaps they could all be mem-bers of a @Class, if there isn’t a way to find them easily otherwise) and add the event listeners in that loop.
All in all, this is a terrific project. Congratulations!