For my website reconnaissance, I was given the task of reviewing two World War I websites– or more specifically, one BBC article and one BBC interactive guide on World War 1.
The first site was “BBC 10 WWI Inventions,” consisting of a list-article by Stephen Evans. The article goes over various inventions that emerged during or around the war period, and how the war promoted their success. This includes but is not limited to the wristwatch, tea bags, stainless steel, and Daylight Savings Time. Overall, the article clearly delivers it’s points, and does so with a hint of humor that keeps the reader more engaged than the average textbook would. It is interesting to see what inventions came about because the war demanded it, or were simply a side effect of the war on the rest of the world. For example, wristwatches came into prominence because pocket watches were inconvenient to pull out in battle. If I had to determine any kind of weakness in the article site, it would be in its simplicity. No matter how entertaining it is to read, you can’t get past the fact it’s just a list, and the information presented is pretty short. I think it could have benefited from more in-depth information, with more examples of war-influenced progress. Additionally, the web page itself is sparse – white space and black text- and there are few photos of the actual inventions presented. The article mostly uses pictures of their modern counterparts, and couple that with the lack of design, it all appears lazy.
The second site I was presented with was “BBC Facial Reconstruction.” The guide goes on to describe how, during WWI, it was not uncommon for men to be disfigured by flying shrapnel. With help from a doctor named Harold Guiles, facial reconstruction became a vital part of healing after the war for soldiers, even if the method took some time to perfect. The information provided is clear, concise, and honest, as history should be. It doesn’t just note the successes, but also the failures– just because a man’s face was fixed didn’t mean there weren’t psychological scars. At the same time, the setup of the website is done extremely well– there are tabs at the top of the page that allow readers to easily skip to certain parts of the guide, making for easier navigation. Additionally, each part is accompanied with a supplemental video that provides more information for the reader should they desire it. And unlike the previous article, there are helpful images provided– photos of men whose faces were damaged, and while graphic in nature, they do accentuate the text. To top it all off, the bottom of the page provides additional links to related guides and articles, such as how the war drove the field of plastic surgery. The website is inclusive, easy to explore, and provides multiple methods of acquiring information. The only visible weakness is that aside for the video links, there are no warnings about the graphic images used. While they are an excellent addition to their sections, there are individuals who would find them distressing. A visitor to the site should have better forewarning going in.
In conclusion, these two sites are decent sources of specific WWI information with relatively minor weaknesses. They are suited for those interested in these topics.
Word Count: 554
I pledge: Kiaran Pethokoukis