Recently in LCTL Category
Reflecting on the Statement of Work for this project, we maintained scope, succeeded on deliverables and met goals and objectives. Not bad for our first project together. Still, we learned a few things that may help us in future projects.
After I had formatted a complicated page, CARLA re-organized it. I spent considerable time re-doing my work. I might have assumed the page needed modification before I committed it to HTML. Make sure the stakeholder is aware of the work I'm doing and give them a final chance at editing.
This project was not complete by its original due date for several reasons:
- it was set aside so I could work on a more urgent project
- the iterative process yields a good final product but takes more time
- in general, things always take longer than we think
- final tasks were turned over to CARLA for completion and their timeframe wasn't urgent
The longer timeline was not a problem for CARLA but it can be for IT. Inability to close out projects as scheduled impairs our ability to deliver other projects on time. The lesson here may be: don't coast just because the stakeholder is not applying pressure.
Overall, communication was frequent enough and effective. However, I learned that CARLA did not read blog entries because they were not aware of them and they prefer to read content in email. Let's try three things next time:
- Make sure the blog subscription service is working and train recipients how to handle subscription emails.
- Help stakeholders resolve their "blog block." Show how they only see content relevant to their project. Set up an RSS feed if that's more compatible with their work style.
- Having declared in the Statement of Work that project updates will be delivered via blog post, make sure stakeholders understand it's our expectation they read it.
I recorded 105.5 hours between November 16, 2009 and June 22, 2010.
Marlene and Louis - an urgent project prevented me from completing the short list of to-dos that came out of our meeting last week. I'll have to work on them when I return from vacation the week of April 19th. I'll check in with you then.
- CAPTCHA. This topic was discussed on a University listserv where several people endorsed an alternative to CAPTCHA. The main complaint being it's not friendly to users who depend on adaptive technologies. I'm going to implement the strategy, "Detect content within a hidden form element" described on this accessibility site as recommended in this post on the CSS-DEV list.
- I'm almost done updating my pages to match the form Marlene revised. Next, separate name into first and last and add a title field.
- The database must undergo the same revision. That shouldn't take too long. I've already developed a method of evaluating changes then accepting or rejecting them. Finally, the database needs fine tuning.
- Update my simple search page to display advanced search fields.
- Decide how much validation we want to do. Louis has identified required fields. Should we also check for valid URLs?
- We need to figure out the extent of data clean-up necessary and my role in that effort. It would be silly to have Louis do manually what I can do with a script.
- Training. We've budgeted one hour but we may need more than that.
The database is taking shape. It's divided into three tables - Languages, Revisions to those languages and Searches. Searches will give you the data you formerly got from web server stats. It will record what searches were performed and how many results were returned. Here in IT we're testing FileMaker Server 10's ability to generate reports and e-mail them automatically. Image getting your search statistics in your e-mail inbox every morning!
To Do This Week:
- Arrange fields on the layout and other cosmetics.
- Program the ability to review, accept or deny new languages or revisions to existing languages.
- Data cleanup - In your current database, is there a way to tell what is the "real" language entry and what is a previous revision? I'll need to sort that out in order to populate the new database. We/I didn't budget time for data cleanup so I hope this won't be an enormous task.
Web Front End
It's very spare but it works so far. You can search languages and when you do a record is created in the Search table. I won't fuss with making it look pretty because that will happen when we nest it within your site.
To Do This Week:
- Build a form to submit a new language.
- Build a form to revise an existing language.
- Add the ability to select a language from a dynamically-generated list of languages in a pop-up window.
Searching and Editing
This will be the process for searching and editing languages. Users will have the option of using a simple or advanced search page the advanced featuring more fields to search by. Data on every search will be recorded in a database. Users must include an email address when submitting an edit. A confirming email will be sent to the email address upon submit. Edits won't be live until a CARLA staff member reviews them.
NewThis will be the process for submitting new languages. Users must include an email address when submitting a new language. A confirming email will be sent to the email address upon submit.
We may incorporate CAPTCHA to reduce spam entries. An auto-generated list of languages will be available to help users search for languages they may not know how to spell.
This week is clean up and staging for the next three projects: WIV Tracking, CARLA's LCTL (less commonly taught languages), LAC's First Step Sign In. All are web front-ends with FileMaker on the back.