Website and Article
The content of the research project was shared on a website with an article in order to spread the information among not only scholars but also other target groups that are more prone to visit a website rather than to read a long research paper.
The article was structured using the method of multimedia storytelling, which implies conveying a narrative through multiple forms of media. This website includes such forms of media as text, audio, video, picture, and map. There are two reasons for incorporating multimedia into the research article. First, while different forms of media have their own advantages, the combination of them can leverage these strengths and lead to emotion and empathy building. Second, multimedia storytelling makes an article more interactive as it encourages readers to explore the content themselves, engages them, seeks their input and feedback. This way, readers become the participants of the story experience.
The website's colour palette was also carefully chosen: its primary color, red, is closely related to the Armenian culture. For thousands of years, Armenians used this color, called Vordan Karmir, in the textile industry for dyeing threads, yarns, for the production of fabrics and carpets, and in Armenian miniature. The color used to be obtained from female Armenian cochineal, a type of insect from which carmine substance could be extracted. All the colors of the palette were obtained from the Armenian cochineal, but it was especially valued for its rich red color. There are only three species of these insects in the world: Armenian, Mexican and Polish. You can explore the process of creating the dye by watching the following video.
Along with the article, the website includes two interactive maps that guide you through the modern and ancient Armenian lands while presenting the legends and myths connected to specific areas. The use of the interactive map encourages the visitors receiving information to generate a representation that best supports their use context, as the visitors who are not passive readers but active users. According to Robert Roth, a geographer and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, cartographic interaction is “the dialogue between a human and a map mediated through a computing device to emphasize digital interactions.” It consists of three components: a human, a map, and a device; therefore, the map should be user-friendly, technology-friendly, and interface-friendly.
The media of interactive maps has an impact on the way users perceive information, as it encourages readers to use perceptual (seeing-that), cognitive (reasoning-why), and motor (interacting-with) processes in order to internalize knowledge. Likewise, it complements the way readers construct their knowledge. As Roth claims, “the externalization serves as a memory aid for declarative, procedural, and configurational knowledge, as well as a visual isomorph for examining the problem from a different, perhaps more informative perspective.” Therefore, the maps let people think visually, which results in generating new insights.
The use of the interactive mapping method in the following project can also be called Choragraphy, which is defined by Gregory Ulmer, a professor at the University of Florida and a professor of Electronic Languages and Cybermedia at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, as “a way of mapping an individual’s sense of place and memory.” This method provides the visitors with place-based indigenous meaning-making.
While exploring the content of the website, the visitors are also invited to savor the magic of Armenian music. The compositions were carefully selected to complement the perception of Armenian culture, fit the specific topic of the research, but at the same time not distract the readers' attention. Therefore, all of the musical compositions have folk spirit in them and do not include lyrics that could put an extra emphasis on the audio part of the project.
Im Yegheg (Armenian, "Իմ Եղեգ") is a song about a lady and the warm feelings that a young man has towards her. The song reflects some gender characteristics of Armenian society, for example, the humbleness of ladies. The music was aranged by Soviet Armenian composer, Khachatur Avetisyan, in 1972 and the lyrics were written by Ludvig Duryan. (You can read the lyrics of the song here)
All the myths about the world structure and Armenian deities are accompanied with the illustrations that were made specifically for this project by Anna Esaian, a current undergraduate student at the Yerevan State University of Architecture and Construction, and one architectural sketch by the architect Vahe Arakelyan.
The decision to include the illustrations was made at the initial stage of website project development, because illustrations have two significant effects on the reading process. First, illustrations add to reader interest and enjoyment, affect their attitudes towards the text, and arouse emotional responses. Second, illustrations have an impact on reading comprehension as well. Both adults and children reading illustrated texts learn an estimated one-third more than those who read a non-illustrated text. Likewise, that short stories accompanied with illustrations portraying some scenes from the narratives influence the recalling of major features of the texts.
However, the choice of illustrations is very important as well, since the visuals that twist or contradict the text prevent the readers from remembering the narratives.
"Sky and Earth"
This is the illustration of the legend about the married couple Earth and Sky. The picture portrays Earth as a nude woman whose posture resembles a mountain range, whereas Sky is presented as a man whose body is even less distinct so that it looks light and transparent like the sky.