As I’ve been going through and entering my cartoons into my database I’ve been thinking about how I eventually want to interact with it but more importantly, I’ve been thinking about how a user would want to interact with it. A major goal of this work is that I want to make my database available to the public.
The reason I’m building this is because it doesn’t exist anywhere else and it seems silly to me to keep it to myself, and while I can access the back end and interact with it via PHPmyAdmin, others can’t. To that end, I have to build a search page and as everyone has told me when I’ve mentioned this, search pages are hard to build. So before I start doing that, I want to know what features users would want as pertains to this particular data set.
I’ve done a few things so far but would love some more input before I go forward. I’ve made a publicly viewable version of my database available. It’s basically my same code as I use myself but without the “Add Record,” “Edit Toon” or “Delete Toon” options. I’ve also added some quick code so when you are on the “View Toon Meta” page each meta data entry has a link next to it to “View All” which takes the user to a page with all the cartoons that contain that same piece of metadata.
I’ve started building the search page (which is not public yet) where a user can select to see any cartoon with both a particular character AND a particular keyword. I’m working on multiple selects for those options but here’s my question. What kind of exclusions/conditions would you want available? To see any cartoon with a character and/OR a keyword? A cartoon that shows any of the selected keywords? Or only cartoons that have ALL the keywords selected? I know how I want to interact with my database but I want to know how you would want to interact with this database. Any ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I would also love to know if this is coming from a mindset of a casual explorer or as a serious researcher since we all know that how a user interacts with a site depends on how and why they are on your site to begin with. I would also appreciate any ideas and suggestions about the display and usability of how the database is viewed and interacted with right now.
This is my first big “digital build” and would love some opinions and thoughts while I’m still in construction mode. Thanks in advance!