History Through Art: The Pre-Modern Era
History Through Art: The Pre-Modern Era (Zane Publishing) is sort of like a prison; once you’re in it, there’s just no getting out. The initial screen immediately launches into a “multimedia presentation,” the kind you might find running on a kiosk at a dull museum exhibit. The voice of the narrator will take you back in time to those interminable high school slide shows and, just like those slide shows, this programs drones on and on. You have no real control over the pace . Clicking on a magnifying glass to take a closer look at the Eiffel Tower, for example, leads you to another screen with the image and a voice-over that says, “Eiffel Tower. 1887-1889. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.” It repeats this over and over until you exit the screen. There’s nothing worse than an audio loop to remind you that you’re not in control of your “interactive experience.” You’ll find links to a Glossary and to the Main Index, and sufficient information, resources, and representations of works of art included in the program, but the interface design and the confusing icons make it difficult to access anything in a useful way. There are feature presentations on Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism, with a small timer at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen – perhaps to assure you that the end is in sight.
– November 1995