Classic Botanical Illustrations Presented Poorly

Posted on July 7, 2006  Comments (2)

Classic Botanical Illustration, A Curious Herbal by Elizabeth Blackwell. The British Museum has made this fantastic material available online. Unfortunately they have done it with an absolutely horrible way. So you can experience “turning pages” they force you to download extra software.

Then you get to try turning pages in the book. Go ahead and try, its like an arcade game trying to figure out exactly how the mouse has to move to actually let you get to the next page. Ok, I exaggerate a bit but I can tell you this – let 10 average web users try to view this book and they will have great difficulty. Museums should not be so out of touch with the public that they produce such fancy unusable stuff. There is no reason this material shouldn’t be presented in a very user friendly way. Nothing of value is gained for all the pain they inflict with their unusable format.

They really need to put whoever approved this setup back in some part of the British Museum that doesn’t have to keep up with technology. Then they should either hire someone from Jakob Neilsen, Jared Spool or 37 Signals organizations to run their online activities or get the name of someone from those organizations that can help them. Because they have great content to share and they need to do much better than this.

Frankly it isn’t really worth going through all that unless you really really want to see the book or you have already learned how to use poorly designed interfaces. You also need to have permission and the ability to download a plugin to your computer. The bozos also don’t even provide a way to link to the book. Go ahead and go to the British Museum site and look around and you will find it eventually.

2 Responses to “Classic Botanical Illustrations Presented Poorly”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » 340 Years of Royal Society Journals Online
    September 19th, 2006 @ 10:02 pm

    […] I can’t figure out how to find articles and view them. I find it very frustrating trying to use sites that function so poorly (normally I wouldn’t try for more than 15 seconds but when sites have valuable unique content they can force me to try and figure out they extremely poorly designed web sites). I found some places where it I can click on a link that says download full pdf and nothing happens – I can’t tell why – ARGH. […]

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online
    October 21st, 2006 @ 5:14 pm

    Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online – The University of Cambridge has done a much better job of use the web effectively than some others…

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