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The Web &
Professional Communication
English 3104
1
Why Teach Web Design?
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Helps you learn critical thinking
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Teaches about ethos and delivery
In-line with principles of good practice
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Issues of accuracy, authority
Issues of audience analysis
Encourages active learning & feedback
Emphasizes time on task
Gives essential knowledge about the web as a
delivery method for information & sales
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Skills/Tasks
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Evaluation of web sites
Principles of web design
Focus on audience and purpose
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Principles about user-centered design
Strategies for user-testing (surveys, interviews,
protocol analysis)
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Evaluate Web Sites
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Accuracy—is info reliable/error-free?
Authority—is there an author? An expert?
Purpose and Content
Objectivity
Currency
Design and Ease of Use
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Types of Sites
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Advocacy
Business/Marketing
News
Informational
Personal
Entertainment
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Web Design
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Functionality / usability vs. aesthetics / fun
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Nielsen vs. the Artists (Flanders)
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E-commerce sites lose almost half of their potential
sales because users cannot use the site. In other
words, with better usability, the average site could
increase its current sales by 79% (calculated as
the 44% of potential sales relative to the 56% of
cases in which users currently succeed). Nielsen
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No Title and An interesting
Pair of Sunglasses?
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Mystery Meat
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Look at the sign from
another perspective
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User-Centered Design:
Focus on Navigation
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Navigation is goal-centered and actionoriented: searching, choosing, shopping,
chatting, downloading
We perceive the WWW as a space: rather
than designing sidebars/menus, you’re
designing spaces and interactions
“It’s about wayfinding” Clement Mok
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Different Goals
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Site
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Make money
Find out about
customers
Offload overstock of
5000 copies of Led
Zeppelin’s last record
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User
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Wants to purchase
securely
Wants to retain privacy
Wants to buy latest
album by Aaron
Neville
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Usability Testing
Usability testing refers to the process of
assessing your targeted audience’s reaction
to your product (i.e., putting yourself in
user's shoes)
To structure information so people can find it and use
it, we have to think like the user.
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Don’t Forget Your Audience’s Goals!
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How is your audience using your
product?
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In what context is your audience
using your product?
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Benefits
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Better communication with users,
supervisor(s) and partner(s)
Improved design through feedback and
iteration
Reduced risk
Early proof of concept
Quality assurance: saves time & money
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Define Your Goals
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What are you testing?
(ideas / prototype / complete product)
Why are you testing?
To make your product easier to use?
To meet your audience’s needs?
To prevent the “disease of familiarity?”
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Qualities of Navigation
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Be easily learned
Remain consistent
Provide feedback
Appear in context
Offer alternatives
Require economy of action and time
Provide clear visual messages
Support user’s goals and behaviors
Match site design
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User-Centered Design
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Know your users
Make things obvious
Aim for a simple, clean design
Be consistent
Use existing standards
Provide feedback to users
Facilitate user control and freedom
Design to prevent errors and aid error
recovery
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Key to Success
(In Any Medium)
1. Communicate with your partner
2. Gather user data
3. Test before you build
4. Follow usability guidelines
5. Follow accessibility guidelines
6. Test after you build
7. Maintain a performance focus
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