Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Getting started with program structure

Develop a workflow structure for project lifecycle usability testing for any library project with a web-based interface


What are the stages of a project lifecycle?
  • Selection -- Creating, imagining the project
  • Planning -- Establishing steps, timeline, resources, sequence of activities to complete the project
  • Execution -- performing the activities outlined in "planning"
  • Termination / Maintenance -- finishing the activities (termination) / finishing the activities and passing the project to an oversight/operational group (maintenance)

At which stages should a usability component be inserted?
  • Selection -- include usability studies as part of the user research that informs project selection
  • Planning (implementation planning) -- 1) refer to (sections of the guidelines/handbook); 2) include usability testing/activities as part of the project timeline, requirements, and milestones; 3) consultation with usability group
  • Execution (implementation) -- [obviously]
    • (see web development roles)
    • (see checklists for those roles)
    • (including usability testing)
  • Termination (completion) (at least the "termination" of Phase X)
  • Maintenance (moving into Phase X+1) -- separate usability calendar/process for existing local web products (when a new product is completed, it may move into the "maintenance" function)

What usability activity/ies should occur at those stages?

Who performs those usability activity/ies?

What documentation of the completion of usability activity/ies should there be?

If a usability activity results in a recommendation of changes to some aspect of the project, what process ensues from that?

If project participants dispute the findings of a usability activity (i.e., they don't want to make recommended changes), what happens?

How do we define different levels of projects?

My Hypothetical Web Project
  1. I make up my little web project

    • Where will this project live when it’s done

      1. Library Public Web site -- WAC / Usability Group
        (formalize the process of proposing new stuff, e.g. web form submission, etc)

        1. little project -- use existing models/checklists/processes

        2. big project or unique service -- (more involved consultative process)

      2. Library Intranet -- Intranet Group / Usability Group

      3. OPAC -- Voyager Group / Usability Group

Monday, January 23, 2006

Some definitions

(draft version as of 17:30 Fri Jan 20, 2006)
(edited 11:06 am Mon Jan 23, 2006 - saj)
(edited again 22:33 Mon Jan 23, 2006 - saj)

(as always... comment, discuss, modify at will... )

We were categorizing the guidelines items by the various roles that the users of the style guide would have.

I thought I'd write down ideas for the definition of each of those roles/audience segments, as well as some other definitions.

Web-based product:
  • Person who creates or edits content of web pages

  • As an author you will:
    • write text (paragraphs, bullet points)
    • write a page headline
    • write section headings as needed
    • display information or data in tables as needed
    • make links, choosing text to display for those links
    • apply styles for formatting from the style sheet provided by the project developer
  • Person who approves the content written or edited by the Author
  • Person who vouches for the accuracy of the content written or edited by the Author
  • Person who confirms that the page written or edited by the Author fits within the stated usability and style guidelines for that page

  • As a Publisher you will:
    • xx
  • Person who is responsible or who shares responsibility for the conception, planning, construction, and deployment of a web-based product

  • As a Developer, you will:
    • As a visual designer:
      • xx
    • As a programmer:
      • xx
    • As an information architect:
      • xx
  • Person with responsibility for the effectiveness, impact, and message of a web-based product

  • As a Webmaster, you will:
    • xx
Evaluator of Information Resources:
  • Person who evaluates 3rd party web-based products for potential addition to the set of information resources (e.g., databases, ejournals, web sites) offered by the library

  • As an Evaluator of Information Resources, you will:
    • xx
Scope of Usability Skills/Knowledge:
  • An Author commands a specified body of skills/knowledge with regard to web usability.
  • A Publisher also commands that body of skills/knowledge, plus those categorized as being for Publishers.
  • A Developer is expected to command the body of skills/knowledge with regard to usability of an Author and Publisher, as well as for a Developer.
  • A Webmaster is expected to command the full range of usability skills/knowledge.
  • An Evaluator of Information Resources is expected to understand fundamentals and principles of usability as well as being able to recognize when usability elements have or have not been employed or followed.
Authors, Publishers, Developers, and Webmasters have "active" usability skills/knowledge -- they understand the fundamentals and principles of usability and know how to implement them to create usable web-based products.

Evaluators have "passive" usability skills/knowledge -- they understand the fundamentals and principles of usability but are not expected to know how to implement them or create web-based products.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Minimum usability equipment requirements

One of our items due November 30th was to obtain minimal testing equipment for current testing. However, on further thought, since current testing is not in the scope of our group's tasks, I've amended this to read: "Investigate minimum usability equipment requirements". I also see this as an early step in developing the proposal for a usability lab.

Here's what I've put together so far. Please share your comments, etc!

Minimal equipment
  • Laptop with wireless capability
  • Mouse
  • TechSmith Camtasia Studio or Macromedia Captivate (screen capture and sync-ed audio recording)
Additional equipment
  • Flash drive for transporting data
  • Webcam for recording

Monday, November 21, 2005

Revised implementation timeline

Upon further consideration of what will be required to implement a usability program and the timeline previously developed, we revised that timeline as follows (with due dates in parentheses):

  • Investigate minimum usability testing equipment requirements (November 30, 2005)
  • Inventory existing UTA Libraries web products (November 30, 2005)
  • Categorize web products to prepare for developing benchmarks (November 30, 2005)
  • Define and itemize aspects/facets of usability and accessibility to be addressed by the usability program (December 31, 2005)
  • Develop benchmarks for usability & accessibility (January 31, 2006)
  • Develop local standards & guidelines (February 28, 2006)
  • Prepare a draft proposal for local standards and a Web Style Guide outline (February 28, 2006)
  • Get WAC and LMT approval of the proposal and style guide outline (April 2006 (2nd Tues: WAC, 3th Thurs: LMT))
  • Create a UTA Libraries Web Style Guide for web authors & developers (June 1, 2006)
  • Develop a workflow structure for project lifecycle usability testing for any library project with a web-based interface (June 1, 2006)
  • Get WAC and LMT approval of the Style Guide and Usability Testing Lifecycle (June 2006 (2nd Tues: WAC, 3rd Thurs: LMT))
  • Usability training for selected staff (to be testing facilitators and local usability experts) (July 31, 2006)
  • Training for library web authors and developers on how to apply the Web Style Guide (July 31, 2006)
  • Establish the Web Usability Oversight Group (July 31, 2006)
  • Present a proposal for establishing a usability lab in the library (July 31, 2006)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Inventory of current UTA Libraries web products

Here's a list I'd started in September:

Inventory of locally developed web-based resources:

Public resources (fully owned and controlled by the library):

Public resources (3rd party products that are locally customized):

Library staff resources:

Added by Gretchen:

Along with the library wide tutorials we need to include the tutorials available from library course pages

10:25 AM, November 04, 2005