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schematics of a usable web wiki

Throughout the past couple of weeks I think that we have successfully implemented our thoughts throughout newer developments including delicious and thinkature. I do believe that the hardest part is over in the beginning phases of development, because just getting the ideas down onto something concrete is half the battle. I feel that the audio file pointed out a huge gray area for the class, which was that our audience was not general and that it was variable. The audience analysis depends on the topics brought about by the concerns and repercussions of the collapse. Although, the collapse of the bridge could affect many people around the country, our wiki will be very successful if we can narrow the focus of the audience. Step one in our success should be accurately narrowing our audience analysis.

The second main focus for success should be shed upon developing task lists. In BrownEtAl, task lists "help you to create a more accurate schedule, and a detailed task list helps to better track the progress of the project." I agree with this 100%. Task lists can always change throughout the course and development of a project, but to get them down in a sequential order is again half the battle. You can map progress with office project or excel which gives you duration time slots which is extremely useful.

The third and main focus for success is putting the wiki together in a usable way on the web so that people that seek out information can easily find it and gather it in a timely fashion. How do we do this? Organizing our information under categories that cater to the cognates of visual rhetoric (emphasis, arrangement, conciseness, clarity, and ethos). Usability.gov claims that 63% of web users don't find the information they need on their first try, and it takes the average person 7 seconds before they give up on the site altogether. If we can develop a website that is pleasing to the eye and user friendly, I think that is success entirely.

Comments

Perhaps because I am a graphic designer, I appreciated your comments on visual rhetoric. It is readily apparent to me that many people are blind to the significance of the visual dimension of communication. It's like other aspects of good information architecture that Morville and Rosenfeld point out as being invisible when done well. Good visual communication is taken for granted, too. More often then not, it takes bad visual communication for many people to even notice its there!

I don't have any experience designing online information although I am sure that many of the same principles we use to guide printed text would apply to that posted online. In fact, I use the same principles you mentioned (emphasis, arrangement, conciseness, clarity and ethos) in doing print design although I may call them something else.

I also suspect that good visual rhetoric is particularly important for a participatory site like a wiki. Solid design will go a long ways towards maintaining the coherence and cohesion of the content.

What kind of ideas on narrowing more? Krista said The University would be our audience but you are right, that seems too vague. I like the thought of maybe an informational memorial. There seems to be nothing like that except on Google, their is one site selling 35w memorial t-shirts and a beautiful vdeo memorial (I added that to our deli.cio.us. We don't need it to be cheesy. Like Sara, I like the visual rhetoric, also. It is so important, it will pretty much define the site with one look. They are right when they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

I completely agree with your point that getting our general framework down is a huge step towards success. Now that we have assigned areas and topics, the whole task seems more manageable. The work of writing and designing is much clearer now that we each have a small chunk to deal with.