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Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636

I. Site Overview
a. Compare and contrast the purpose of your site you identified
in Assignment 1 and what you have now. Please post a screen
capture so that I can see how it has evolved from Assignment
1.

Figure 1: Mockup

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636

Figure 2: Version .50

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636

Figure 3: Final Version


I didnt expect the purpose of my site to change much; I only expected
the presentation to develop. I was designing the page as a theoretical
commission from my wife and her colleagues on a research project, so
they set the terms of the site in a way that wouldnt apply if Id chosen
to design a site based on personal interests. In a sense, though, my
organization of information changed: I found it difficult to use

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636

Dreamweaver 5.5, and so I modified many of my early ideas for the


site, consolidating some things for simplicitys sake. In the mockup
there are multiple tabs for information on different aspects of the
project (progress updates, plans for future research, etc.) but the first
HTML draft reduces all that info to About Our Project. Also, in the
mockup, links to information on getting involved in the WiNGS
workshop are set aside in a distinctively colored column, but the first
draft of the site shifts it to a second row of tabs, simply because that
was more efficient for me as I wrestled with Dreamweaver. When I
switched to Dreamweaver CC I found it much easier to use, and
shifted the WiNGS links back to a dedicated column.
b. Revisit your stated list of at least five information goals
(types of information you need to provide users with) how
has it evolved since Assignment 1.
My original information goals:
1.

A summary of the project. While my original information

architecture chart included a separate page for the project


summary, my client told me that the summary should go on the
index page, so I placed a header to that effect on the first
version of the site. I removed it in the final version-an

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636

oversight. If I were to begin loading content, the project


summary would go on the front page.
2.

Links to publications that have emerged from the project.

This would be included on the About our Project page.


3.

Photos from the project, including pictures of rice plants

used in the project, experiments in progress, etc. I used some


rice photos from the project as images in the header. I added
some Photoshop elements as part of the assignment: Id remove
the sillier such additions if my clients chose to pursue the site
further.
4.

Information about the people involved, including head

researchers, lab members, and former lab members. The


Principle Investigators and Labs page covers this.
5.

Updates about the work going forward. I had hoped to

include an easily updatable widget for presenting updates on the


main page. This fell by the wayside. If I were to load content
on the pages I would add some kind of space for news and
updates.

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636


6.

Instruction and advice about the bioinformatics protocols

for analyzing genomic (genome-scale) data. This is included on


the methods page under tab Learn Our Methods.
7.

Instructions on growing rice indoors, for the benefit of

other researchers working with rice. This is also included on the


Methods page.
8.

Information about the WiNGS (Workshop in Next

Generation Sequencing) conference. This workshop has enough


moving parts that we decided it needed more than one page or
tab. The site includes a basic page about WiNGS, and three
pages with further information on getting involved in the
workshop, linked in a distinct column with rollover pictures for
extra visibility. Recruiting people to work at/attend WiNGS is a
priority for my clients, so a tab among tabs was deemed to be
insufficient.

II. User Analysis, Information Architecture, and


Usability Testing Results

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636


a.

Walk me through your interview and interactions with

your partner and other feedback you received from your


classmates.
My Partner advised me that it was confusing to have a Return to
Home Page link on the main page itself. Its a good point, and I
would probably remove it from the main page in further updates. Her
other point, which I did act on since it seemed like a more
fundamental issue, was that the multiple rows of tabs were too
cluttered, lumping too much material together, and I should consider
separating the three WiNGS recruitment tabs on a separate column (as
I had originally planned). My group members sent less feedback; at
least one of them expressed confusion about how much feedback we
should send, and the others did not respond to my emails. I did,
however, have an additional advisor on the project: my client. Dr.
Loraine informally advised me on certain aspects of the website and
expectations of research sites within the research community. Of
course client requests are completely different from testing results; if I
were designing a company logo, I wouldnt confuse client design
requests with the results of testing to see if the logo was readable and
attractive to potential clients. Nonetheless, the particularities of a
narrowly targeted website (in this case a research project site) were
unfamiliar to me and my testers, so I attended to this guidance.

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636


i.

How has it impacted your site information architecture?

My information architecture changed substantially between my mockup


and my .50 version, in part a result of the teething troubles with
Dreamweaver, but largely because my client suggested them. Shifting
the project description from a separate page to the main page, for
example, was her request, since it seems thats the usual practice for
research websites of this nature.
b.
Provide me with the results of your usability tests with
your classmates.
My initial test follows:
Making Use of Aaron Whites cytokinin/rice research project
website.

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636


For this test, you are a biology student, and are considering applying
for a student job in Dr. Ann Loraines lab.

1. What is Dr. Loraines email address?


2. Are there any former student employees who worked in the lab
and whom you might ask for advice?
3. What is the Loraine Lab trying to learn with this project?
4. Have they accomplished or discovered anything this semester?
5. If you do work on this project, what might you work on?
My partners response:
1. Home -> lab members -> principal investigators
2. Home-> lab members -> alumni
3 .Home -> project page -> project summary
4. Home -> project page -> progress updates
5. Home -> project page -> plans for further research

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And team member Janet De Santis:


1. What is Dr. Loraines email address? Homepage, look in
Wings section? From Homepage, click on Lab
Members, click on Principal Investigators? Not sure if
Dr. Loraine would be a Principal Investigator or an
Employee?
2. Are there any former student employees who worked in the lab
and whom you might ask for advice? Homepage, Lab
Members, either Alumni or Employees & Students?
Does former mean Alumni -- as in graduated?
3. What is the Loraine Lab trying to learn with this project?
Homepage, Project Page, Project Summary.
4. Have they accomplished or discovered anything this semester?
Homepage, Project Page, Project Updates or
Links to Publications -- if something is published, the
project must be a pertinent piece of research! Also,
theres a link to Plans for further research which, to
me, means its an important topic.
5. If you do work on this project, what might you work on?
Homepage, Project Page, Project Summary
6. Im not sure what the Wings section would include?
Wings as in this is an additional part of the
Homepage that would include other pertinent site
information?
7. I would delete the need for another text box in that Id
include the Project Summary on the Project Page.

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636

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Therefore, delete Project Summary and include a brief


description of the project on the Project Page. (Youve
got lots of information to display Id imagine that you
wouldnt want the site to be too complicated or uneasy to
maneuver?)

c.

What did you learn in terms of your own Web usability?

My first round of testing involved a lot of stumbles because I didnt


provide my testers with enough contextual information (for example,
that WiNGS is a workshop) but once they had enough info to
understand the subject of the site, they were able to navigate it
smoothly despite multiple pages and specialist subject matter.

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636

III. Mock Up to Beta

a.

Compare and contrast your mock up with your current

beta site. Please use screen captures to illustrate differences.

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My mockup (shown on previous page) imagined social media links and


updates on the main page.

Its info architecture imagined that

information about the project would be subdivided onto multiple pages


(Plans for further research, Links to Publications) but a single
About Our Project page was all that the beta site included. Also, the
tabs on the second row, all of which promised information on various
practical aspects of the project, were consolidated under a single
Learn Our Methods tab/page.

Aaron Whites Assignment 2 Paper LIS 636


b.

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Describe your selection of color, graphics, and overall

user interface design. Did your testers like them?

The color scheme in v. .50 was a template color scheme, but for the
final version I changed it (with a color wheel website) to match the
tones in my header photographs of rice in a growth chamber. Some of
the rollover graphics may be too small to be clear, my client has asked
that, if we pursue this site further, the rollovers be discontinued.

IV. Conclusion

a.

What indications do you have that your Web site is highly

usable?
Ideally I would test the site with members of the target audience,
research scientists, which may yet happen. My partner had no trouble
finding her way around the site in testing. Furthermore I made
various changes along the way in response to verbal advice and
instructions from my client, whose familiarity with the research project
and the norms of research project websites shaped this site.
b.

What changes do you anticipate making for the final

version of your final assignment?

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Im writing this after the fact. One change was a return to earlier
plans: putting various WiNGS links on a column. For the beta I put
them on a second row beneath a first row of links, simply because it
was easier to make two rows than to make a row and a column at the
time. With the final version I returned the WiNGS involvement links to
a dedicated column.

The Information Architecture changed between

the mockup and the beta as I transferred some information (Project


Summary) to the main page, and combined other related elements of
the site onto shared pages, but did not change between the beta and
the final version. If I were to fill in the content I suspect my client and
I would discuss adjustments to information architecture, such as
consolidating the various WiNGS pages or subdividing the project
information into multiple pages, as originally planned.