No External Measure.
Our metrics for success with this project won't be the same as with a typical informational or commercial website. Many of you have hit on the idea, informed by the readings, that we will achieve success by including various content and usability functions in the site. Hit count is always a way to assess a website's popularity and thus is attractive as a proxy measure of success. Feedback is another possible measure, and establishment of a recurring user community would be an unmistakable sign that we've done a good job. All of these are useful, even unquantified, and we could choose any combination of them to define our success by the end of the semester. But that won't work for us.
We are working toward a fixed deadline with the end of this class, and that's where our point of measuring success has to fall. Whether some or all of us continue on as site administrators, contributors, etc. won't be relevant for the direct purpose of this class - determining whether we are successful in this context is fixed. For this reason, we will not be able to rely on hit counts, feedback, or the potential development of a user community to gauge our results. These metrics will simply take too long to develop.
So it's back to the first idea - the content and function of the site itself. Here we have total control over what happens, and can define our success exactly as fits our objectives and timeline. We've already done most of the groundwork for this, in the Forums this week and last, on Thinkature, and with Krista's audio/slide presentation. We have a functional outline of our site and how we want it to work. We can now define our success as following through with that outline, creating and posting our wiki to the web. Giving ourselves a little more specificity will help too. One way to do that would be to set content targets for each of our subsections (or for each contributor): 5 text articles, 10 photos, 20 external links (arbitrary numbers), and I'm betting some of you will have other creative ideas on this.
It might sound like none of this gets directly back to our very important question of audience. We can't account for the audience directly in our measurement of results, but we are doing so by design, and measuring the implementation of that design. In this way, we are still placing due attention and importance on the question of the audience.