Webdesign and development

David Harris is the web designer for the Tibet Album project.

I started work on the Tibet Album project around March 2006, the brief was to turn some complex and detailed research databases, notes and scanned photos into a website.

A major requirement for the site was that it should only require a standard web browser to perform the basic functions you can navigate the site and view photos using any modern browser.

The site also has some additional functionality utilising the Macromedia Flash plugin, namely some advanced album functions, allowing you to layout your own album with multiple pages and view your work as a slideshow.

Also we have some interactive maps to help find your way around Central Tibet and the photos that were taken there.

You can zoom in on the photos to look at fine detail and compare different versions of these photos and copies have been distributed over time among the different photographers and collectors, for this I wanted to make sure these would be as accessible as possible, so no plugins could power this function. Instead I programmed a "photographic detail navigator" that would allow zooming and navigating around an image using a standard web browser.

A large part of the project was to find a way to publish the extensive databases that the project team had created onto the internet. The project employed Filemaker as the research database, an unusual choice however the team could call on previous experience as it is used in day to day catologuing at the Pitt Rivers. This database had to be linked to many other databases to allow web users to see indexes and make searches via the web.

We made good use of Photoshop to create multiple sized images for differrent needs, thumbnail results, detail views and zoomable full resolution scans.

The site integrates many web technologies to create a single user experience. We are using mostly open source technology.

You can view these great photos in multiple sizes, view fine detail (see the many Tibetans hiding in the shadows) and compare multiple images using the album functions.

The Flash content allows interaction between places and photos in the map section and to create your own narratives by laying out and documenting your own ideas and thoughts and sharing them with friends and collegues.