HOW WE HELPED A UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR & NEW YORK TIMES BLOGGER ENVISION A SUPERIOR ONLINE RESOURCE
Susan Schulten (a history professor at the University of Denver, recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and NY Times Guest Blogger) released her latest book entitled Mapping the Nation in June 2012.
Susan approached Timeforcake looking for a companion website that allowed readers to search for and view larger, detailed versions of the many maps featured in her book. She also wanted to continue the discussion and exploration begun in the book by providing additional insights and commentary on new maps as she came across them over time.
First came structure and functionality
Before we began the design phase of this project, we worked with Susan to understand exactly what her site visitors would want, already know, and be looking for upon arriving at her site.
We determined that different visitors would be searching for different maps in different ways, and thus mapped out a plan that would give visitors 4 unique methods of locating the maps they cared about most: search by date, search by creator, search by chapter, and search by keyword. This functionality created a strong foundation for this well-organized, highly usable site. We also determined a blog would allow Susan to keep her followers up to date on her latest discoveries.
Then came design...
After helping Susan determine the structure, organization, and functionality of her her site, we crafted a beautiful, completely custom design that coordinated with the cover of her new book, ensuring that the association between website and book would be immediately obvious to all site visitors. And how exciting it was for us, after presenting her with the design for the first time, to receive an email from Susan that read, "I just looked at the site, and nearly started to cry. It is so beautiful..." and "All three of my editors at Chicago found it elegant and exciting."
Soon after launch, we received this note from Susan:
"Your site continues to turn heads! Just yesterday the president of the American Historical Association saw it and asked me to speak on the meaning of maps for historical research at the annual meeting in January.