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Achieving Success

It's really difficult for me to explain what success looks like, so I am going talk about what I took from this weeks readings and apply them to our project . To achieve success it is important to start with a plan that includes a purpose and goal to help you get there. The fact is that the Internet is such a largely used tool that it makes it difficult to narrow in on a specific audience. You cannot assume that our audience is going to have the background knowledge for every topic that we cover. It is imperative to provide comprehensive material that is well-researched and accurate. This will include informative text, photos and video and presented in a way that is fun and interesting.

Creating a task list has helped us come up with a plan and now our goal is to effectively organize and present them in an interesting way. The topics we have come up with include: environmental factors, chronology, structural causes of collapse, charities/victim compensation funds, taxation issues, similar collapses in US, internet/citizen journalism, political repercussions, redesign plans, traffic impact and preventative measures. While all of these topics are related to the bridge collapse, they provide a variety of information for each individual interest.

The organization of information is a major factor in determining success. Our audience is variable and not general. There are many different reasons people may seek out our site. We need to organize the information so that the people can find the right answer to their questions. For this reason it should be easy to navigate so that they don't get lost and frustrated. For if people don't get the information that they are looking for they are not likely to return and that would leave us unsuccessful. A piece from the readings that relates to this is "As the Internet provides users with the freedom to publish information it quietly burdens them with the responsibility to organize that information." (Information Architecture, pg. 54). Anyone can create a website, but not everyone can do this successfully. "By recognizing the importance of perspective, by striving to understand the intended audiences through user research and testing, and by providing multiple navigation pathways, you can do a better job of organizing information for public consumption." (Information Architecture, pg. 57).

So to conclude, I feel that every project needs a plan. This will help to ensure that the information is presented in an organized, informative and use-friendly way. By doing so we should be able to achieve success.

Comments

Tracy, I agree with you 100%. All the steps that we have taken to guide this wiki in the right direction have been very beneficial in our informational architecture. The biggest concern of mine is the usability of the site. Did you know that it takes the average web surfer 7 seconds before he/she moves on to another site due to usability issues. I feel that we really need to focus on how we are going to categorize our information.

Tracy, I agree with you 100%. All the steps that we have taken to guide this wiki in the right direction have been very beneficial in our informational architecture. The biggest concern of mine is the usability of the site. Did you know that it takes the average web surfer 7 seconds before he/she moves on to another site due to usability issues. I feel that we really need to focus on how we are going to categorize our information.

I am still somewhat confounded by the challenge of addressing a variable audience. I strongly agree with you that we should narrow our audience focus. In marketing-speak (my profession's language) that would be identifying a target market or audience. If we target U students or even U students with an interest in scientific and technical topics, for example, we can more easily and effectively organize the content of our wiki.

You also mentioned that Morville and Rosenfeld stressed the importance of researching your audience and user testing. I wondered how we could do that with this project. Will we be able to do that or does the timeframe and scope of this project rule it out? Other than what I read this week, I am not familiar with how testing is designed and conducted.