End of Semester

jtirrell's picture

Now that the semester has ended, we wanted to take a few minutes to thank everyone for a successful semester. Online classes present unique challenges, and we are pleased with how well the classes performed. Your participation and effort kept the class running with insightful and interesting conversations. Additionally, your cooperative group work, conducted despite the difficulties of distance, provided practical experience with contemporary communication technologies. Thank you for a great course, and good luck in the future.


jtirrell's picture

If you have questions, post them here. We will answer them as soon as we can.

White Paper Redux

Nathaniel's picture

Jeremy and I have now provided feedback on each white paper draft as a comment. Be sure to check yours out.

We noticed that there were common issues that came up for several groups, which inspired the following general list of tips:

Researching for the Audience

Nathaniel's picture

Reviewing your research plans this week, Jeremy and I noticed the need for a stronger connection between audience and research. In particular, there needs to be correlation between the types of sources used and the information provided and the needs, values, expectations, and resources of the audience (this is also why Jeremy and I have hounded you about having a very specific audience in mind: you cannot begin to do effective research until you have an audience in mind).

White Paper Proposal Feedback

jtirrell's picture

Nathaniel and I have now provided feedback on each white paper proposal as a comment. Be sure to check yours out.

We noticed that there were two common issues that came up for several groups: purpose and audience.

A Last Bit on the Tropicana Package Redesign

jtirrell's picture

This story popped up in my RSS feeds today: "Tropicana Line's Sales Plunge 20% Post-Rebranding." It contains a link to a video defense of the redesign from Peter Arnell, whose agency produced it.

This isn't a big deal, but it does underscore how design has real, tangible effects—including on purchasing.

Tagging Content in the White Paper Project

jtirrell's picture

You will notice that all deliverables for the White Paper Project need to be tagged with two tags instead of the usual one. The first tag, which you select from the "White Paper Deliverable" drop-down box on blog posts, indicates the particular deliverable. The second tag, which you select from the "Group" drop-down box on blog posts, indicates your group. We cannot stress enough that you need to tag all deliverables for the White Paper Project correctly with both tags.

Using Google Docs in the White Paper Project

jtirrell's picture

Your group may find it helpful to use Google Docs during the White Paper Project (although you are under no obligation to do so). Google Docs allows people to collaborate on documents without causing the workflow problems you sometimes get when emailing different document versions around. Google Docs also gives you communication options such as live chat and wiki-like features. We've posted this video overview before, but it might be worth revisiting:

Usability Tests: A Few Comments

Nathaniel's picture

A few comments in response to this week's reading responses covering usability tests:

  • One thing we noticed about several students' sample questions (for surveys) is that many of them consist of only yes/no questions. While surveys may contain a few of these, students need to think about the quality and usability of the answers they will get. "Yes" and "No" answers won't provide feedback on the "why" or "how." With yes/no answers students may discover that their instructions don't work, but they will not have learned why they didn't work or how to improve them.

Proposal Redux

jtirrell's picture

Overall, Nathaniel and I thought the Proposal were strong, but we wanted to draw your attention to a few things we noticed when reviewing them.

  • Your two instruction sets should differ in kind, not degree. This means that your expert set of instructions should not be just a cut-down version of the novice set (or vice versa). This is often the result of differentiating audiences solely on the basis of knowledge and experience, which is what happens when taking a systems-centered rather than user-centered approach. As the project description and Instructor Blog #4 state, we want to think about our audience groups as discreet entities with different needs, expectations, and values. Obviously, there will be overlaps between your two instruction sets, but keep in mind that we want to stay user-centered and think about the experiences the groups will have with the object or process. This comment on grfnpt's post about The Drudge Report touches this issue.

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