Online Journalism: Fall 2010

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Your Paper Prototypes: Documentation & Reports

You need to test your paper prototypes at least twice. Make refinements between the testing process (and during!). Document these testing sessions:

200 words on test one & 200 words on test two:
What did you set out to test (i.e. what is your thing?)
What did each test reveal?
What did you change after each test?

Photo documentation (upload to Flickr) or EVEN BETTER: video, uploaded to YouTube.

Include links to your documentation and the report itself in the comments of this post.

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Filed under: Homework

10 Responses

  1. Lisa Brown says:

    These are my first 2 interviewees. I’ll only list the questions once, however then list my answers as I get them.

    QUESTIONS: How many times a month are you on Columbia’s site?

    2)When you go on there, what are you looking for usually?

    3) Have you ever found it difficult to navigate through the site? If so, how’d you fix your issue?
    4) How do you feel about the site’s current organization, does it need more work, is it less confusing?

    5) When you need general information about anything going on around campus, how do you usually obtain it?

    6) What are your specific needs for using Oasis or the regular site?

    Tia Threadgill, Senior, Magazine major:

    1)I’m on about four times a week.

    2)I usually go on to check for phone numbers, information, titles of staff members, things of that nature.

    3)I love it. the site is the reason I’m at Columbia.

    4) No, I think it’s great.

    5)I get information from other students.

    6) I use Oasis for getting my paycheck stub, class information, to access Moodle, the syllabus, etc.

    Kayla Tucker, Junior, Public Relations major

    1) I’m on everyday.

    2)I usually looking for links to other things like email.

    3) Sometimes, I usually just find an alternative way to find info.

    4) It’s pretty good in my opinion.

    5) I get it through other people.

    6)For Oasis, I check for due dates and I print out homework as well.

  2. Test #1

    My first prototype was based off of the information we received from student interviews and the problems put forth by the student communications panel. The problems I focused on was making the online student handbook more accessible, easier to use, and allowing students to choose they way they receive information from the college and what information they will receive.
    I decided to update the handbook and make it more colorful and set up an interactive calendar design for it so students can easily see what information they’re looking for. But the main problem I encountered was that so many people didn’t even know the student handbook was online. As a solution to this I created several ways to let students know that it’s there and to let them know it’s been upgraded and is now easier to used. I also added a subscribe feature on each handbook page where students can choose what information they want to receive. After the first test my partner suggested I utilize social media networks to make the handbook more interactive and that I should advertise the new handbook in different areas.

    Test #2

    For the second test I focused on the same problems as the first test that were put forward by the student interviews, but I also addressed the concerns put forth by my test partner. In the first prototype students are allowed to sign up to receive notification of campus events etc. on Twitter and Facebook, but to take it a step further I added a Facebook application that the handbook can connect to. One example is the building codes page. A link from that page directs you to Facebook and prompts you to accept the application. From there you actively find your buildings on a map or an index and click on each one to learn more information and see pictures of the specific buildings. I feel like a lot of students use the handbook specifically for the building codes so I thought focussing more on that aspect would be beneficial.
    I also took my partner’s advice and incorporated a sort of add campaign to the new handbook project. Many students that were interviewed said they also get a majority of their information from posters in the elevators, so I decided to announce the new handbook design on the elevator fliers along with ones outside of classrooms. I also put some outside since many Columbia students hang around outside the buildings on break.

  3. Susanne says:

    Prototype #1: This prototype was created to help generate more traffic to the student page based on my survey findings. The main goal of this prototype is to create a weekly student contest to showcase student work from each field of study (examples: journalism students might have their blogs featured, dance majors might have a clip of a routine they choreographed, film students can submit short films, fiction writers can submit short stories, etc). Since most students in my survey stated that they receive most of their campus news from the loop e-mails, this contest would be advertised through these e-mails and would hopefully send students to the student page to check out each section. It basically functions as way for students to have their work published and seen by the student population as well as faculty and even possible employers.
    Once the students arrive at the page, they will be able to click on each section to see the showcased work as well as news in their department. These individual sections (journalism, film, dance, etc.) are created in response to student demand for information relevant specifically to them. No one wants to sift through an entire calendar of events for every major. So these sections will help students find specific information that they need.
    After testing, I noticed that this prototype lacks a way of socially connecting with other students, or even the departments themselves. The student page gives students a chance to connect with all majors, and the department pages help students refine their searches in news and other areas, but the next step is making the page more interactive.

    Prototype #1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AgSz0Us5oE

    Prototype #2: This prototype will correct what was missing from prototype #1 – and that is a way for the aforementioned relevant information to remain up to date and current, as well as interactive. I have decided to accomplish this goal by making the individual sections more active with social networking tools. Each department will have a feed similar to Twitter (a desired tool based on my interviews) where new information can be quickly delivered to students. For example, deadlines for class drops, guest speakers, department events; these would all be featured on the department news feed. In addition, I’ve added a “connect” button for each department, where students can approve the tool and their schedules will sync up so they can collaborate with other students in their departments and classes. This social networking component will hopefully draw in more students to the page. I’ve also included a link that I had forgotten to include in the original prototype – and that is a link to internships within the departments.
    This prototype also features a separate section for the student handbook – to appear on the tool bar that contains links to Oasis, Loop Mail, Columbia Works and Facebook. I’ve included the student handbook on this side of the page because many of those I interviewed said they use the student page most for finding the links to the above-mentioned pages. Hopefully, by adding a link for the student handbook, students will actually take notice of the fact that the handbook exists and check it out.

    Prototype #2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bz-vcyembI0

  4. Isis says:
    Video 88 0 00 02-16

    In designing my first paper prototype I was focusing more on the layout of the front page. I know that the student loop staff was mostly concerned with the look of the student handbook, but how do they expect students to go any further on the website if it is not appealing. With that said, my prototype is the reconstruction of the student loop welcome page. I reorganized the blank spaces with moving graphics and more colours. There is also a staff thumbnail so that students can get a sense of who’s behind the website, and to add some sort of virtual relationship between the student and the staff. I also replaced the bland events posted (which I’m assuming is supposed to be some sort of calendar) with a live newsfeed via twitter. This way the events can be accessed anywhere at anytime and also add more attractive features to the website. I also made changes to the green and white tagline above the loop mail thumbnail and the student loop welcome. In my prototype where it is listed “the loop”, you can click on the link and be directed to the student handbook immediately. On the side of the handbook page are archives of different information useful to students.

    In my second paper prototype I created a page for the handbook that is introduced by a youtube video. It’s no longer than 1:50 and its purpose once again is to create the sense or illusion of acquaintance─ this way it’s not as if the student loop is like the unapproachable instructor behind the podium. Instead it’s the teacher or educationalist that any student can relate to and be encouraged to explore information. Below the welcome video are thumbnails neatly designed with appealing graphics. Some include flashing lights while others are just in picture format. Ideally, I think all designs should be created by students and with these thumbnails, there are links that guide users to information regarding the handbook. After designing I came up with this slight revision idea of using a U-stream interaction during a certain or specific period of time for freshman and returning students looking to keep updated on all the what and how to’s before the school year since this can be one of the most hectic times on campus. I think this will be a good way to incorporate technology and word of mouth for anyone interested or attracted in being apart of the Columbia loop.

  5. Nick Myers says:

    Here is a run through of my ideas for Columbia’s website.

  6. Nick Myers says:

    This is my first test with Columbia student Shannon. She was interested overall with the ideas and content I showed her. She liked the idea of the interactive map most of all. She is a radio major and liked the idea of having specific pages for the majors with student-generated content. She said she would submit to the student blog if one did exist and would check out such a page if one existed to see her fellow students work- not sure if I got this on the recording as we chatted afterwords about some of the features. She does give some good reactions and insight as we went along and didn’t have trouble finding the subject to click to navigate the site pages. She seemed into the ideas and said it would likely make her use the school website more if these additions were present.

  7. Nick Myers says:

    Here’s my second student test with fellow journalism major Colin. Colin admitted he did not use the school website much. Like Shannon, the interactive map got the best response although he also liked the student blog and the idea of having major-specific pages where students and teachers could upload content. I mention this in the video, but to be clear, I had in mind that it would be teachers submitting student’s work they felt was excellent rather than their own. But maybe there could be a faculty blog spot too! Colin gives some good feedback at the end of the test. He said he would check out the school website more if these ideas were in place. Both of these tests were totally-informed by ideas I heard from the students I interviewed- I may have just expanded on them a little more. Neither Colin or Shannon had much response to the “What’s going on” page, but since this information could be filtered to be major-specific and also contained on one’s major page (which both liked), this events-type information could be featured on the individual pages rather than one all-encompassing page.

  8. Chelsea says:

    For my prototype I wanted to focus on making the student handbook more easily accessible and graphically appealing that it currently is. Its easy to get lost in links and on the current site nearly everything is small links. I think one of the main issues with the sight is that there is SO much information for students, that we lose track of it all. My goal was to make the information simpler, and easier to find.

    in the first test above i added an easier way to acess the handbook by breaking the handbook down into tabs, rather than links which i think is easier to look at and understand. This way the handbook is sectioned off and looking for what you need takes less time and less scrolling.

    i also added an events page that allows you to search for events via a search box that filters happenings by major.

    in the second test above i added a new student loop homepage that allows easier access to all parts of the student website. There is a box for each section that was once a link on the right hand margin – and these take the user to the same pages I mentioned in the first test.

  9. I took the wide look at the students page and tried to make it more appealing to students. I focused on the look of the page and the accessibility. One of the problems of the page is the handbook. It is a link on the right side and is a large multi-page document that is overwhelming to students when they need information. Another problem I tried to tackle was the campus maps. Students, especially new students are always lost so a virtual map would be helpful. Many students also commented on the diverse amount of information. They want a more personalized page and that was my focus.
    First off the main page is dry and colorless so I put pictures in the background. So on my paper prototype there is a section you click on the students homepage that says “click here to personalize your page” when you go there you will have drop down boxes to pick your major, other categories you are interested in and other features like a background and you can put pictures of yourself on your page. After that you click done and your page will be up. To get into your page you have to sign in with your ID # and a password and when you do this you will no longer have to log in to oasis or your email because it will automatically pop up if you choose that option.
    I also changed the handbook. Instead of having a boring PDF file of the entire document I had an ask the expert section where you can ask a specific question and like instant messenger a person will respond with the answer. Also I took the maps and had a link where you could see each building where it was and what was on each floor.
    Experiment #1
    The first test I showed to a female junior in the journalism department. She liked the idea of having a personal page but mentioned maybe more options on the page like a profile page like a facebook. I went through the steps and I showed her the handbook and the question page she had a problem with the online expert because they wouldn’t be available all the time. I altered my idea to have a directory as well that could bring you to the answer in the handbook. The maps she said was a good idea but it needed visuals and a virtual map of the campus and of the south loop. I put in this option. The first experiment gave me the opportunity to receive a lot of feedback. I thought my ideas were good and could stand as they were but the experiment opened my eyes to a new point of view. The viewer looked at the prototype with fresh unbiased eyes and gave me the truth. I was surprised at what she had to say, it was very helpful and influenced many changes to the prototype. The first test revealed that my ideas can change for the better and help serve the students more effectively.
    Experiment #2
    After I made the changes to the prototype I showed it to yet another journalism student. The changes of the virtual map, the directory of the handbook and more personalizing options were a great addition. So the second test went even better than the first, the interviewee actually touched the prototype and used the visual of the paper example to stress her point. She also Proxy-Connection: keep-alive
    Cache-Control: max-age=0

    s thrilled of the idea to have a personalized page. She thought that it could go further and put you into groups based off of majors that had your awards and accomplishments posted. Her idea had an instant messenger so you could communicate with fellow students and built future connections. She thought the handbook was still hidden on the sides so she placed it by oasis and the student email on the main page because it is the prime source of college information. Also with the handbook feature she thought to have basic links to questions at the bottom instead of having to type it into the directory or wait for a response on the expert. A special section on internships was added that had you type in your major and it would give you relevant information. Once again many changes were made and furthered the idea.

    After the tests I learned of AJAX and realized that the system should already know your personal information and majors so the need for drop boxes of the major would no longer be needed.

  10. I took the wide look at the students page and tried to make it more appealing to students. I focused on the look of the page and the accessibility. One of the problems of the page is the handbook. It is a link on the right side and is a large multi-page document that is overwhelming to students when they need information. Another problem I tried to tackle was the campus maps. Students, especially new students are always lost so a virtual map would be helpful. Many students also commented on the diverse amount of information. They want a more personalized page and that was my focus.
    First off the main page is dry and colorless so I put pictures in the background. So on my paper prototype there is a section you click on the students homepage that says “click here to personalize your page” when you go there you will have drop down boxes to pick your major, other categories you are interested in and other features like a background and you can put pictures of yourself on your page. After that you click done and your page will be up. To get into your page you have to sign in with your ID # and a password and when you do this you will no longer have to log in to oasis or your email because it will automatically pop up if you choose that option.
    I also changed the handbook. Instead of having a boring PDF file of the entire document I had an ask the expert section where you can ask a specific question and like instant messenger a person will respond with the answer. Also I took the maps and had a link where you could see each building where it was and what was on each floor.
    Experiment #1
    The first test I showed to a female junior in the journalism department. She liked the idea of having a personal page but mentioned maybe more options on the page like a profile page like a facebook. I went through the steps and I showed her the handbook and the question page she had a problem with the online expert because they wouldn’t be available all the time. I altered my idea to have a directory as well that could bring you to the answer in the handbook. The maps she said was a good idea but it needed visuals and a virtual map of the campus and of the south loop. I put in this option. The first experiment gave me the opportunity to receive a lot of feedback. I thought my ideas were good and could stand as they were but the experiment opened my eyes to a new point of view. The viewer looked at the prototype with fresh unbiased eyes and gave me the truth. I was surprised at what she had to say, it was very helpful and influenced many changes to the prototype. The first test revealed that my ideas can change for the better and help serve the students more effectively.
    Experiment #2
    After I made the changes to the prototype I showed it to yet another journalism student. The changes of the virtual map, the directory of the Proxy-Connection: keep-alive
    Cache-Control: max-age=0

    ndbook and more personalizing options were a great addition. So the second test went even better than the first, the interviewee actually touched the prototype and used the visual of the paper example to stress her point. She also was thrilled of the idea to have a personalized page. She thought that it could go further and put you into groups based off of majors that had your awards and accomplishments posted. Her idea had an instant messenger so you could communicate with fellow students and built future connections. She thought the handbook was still hidden on the sides so she placed it by oasis and the student email on the main page because it is the prime source of college information. Also with the handbook feature she thought to have basic links to questions at the bottom instead of having to type it into the directory or wait for a response on the expert. A special section on internships was added that had you type in your major and it would give you relevant information. Once again many changes were made and furthered the idea.

    After the tests I learned of AJAX and realized that the system should already know your personal information and majors so the need for drop boxes of the major would no longer be needed.

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