All entries for November 2005

November 28, 2005

Cancellation of Focus Group

Due to regrettably low interest, I have decided not to proceed with tomorrow's planned focus group. In order to "fill in the blanks" of the questionnaire, I shall be either conducting a few face-to-face interviews, or a smaller less-formal focus group later this week.

Progress report submitted

The project progress report was submitted this morning.

November 24, 2005

Exciting new coding developments today!

Writing about web page

Had a meeting today with David to discuss –

  1. Our timetables and coherently updated timetables for term 2
  2. Progress, frameworks and coding developments

All things considered, we concluded that we were not far off track with the timetabling, other than my decision to delay determining administrative user needs until January. David and I will be working in parallel from week 1/2 onwards, with the preliminary determination of features to be agreed during the Christmas break.

Following on from David's research into coding frameworks, we have concluded that I will not be directly coding in JSP, but using a level of abstraction called MVC (Model View Controller) which uses tags to undertake most of the display work. In a nutshell, David sees the database and I don't!

Dangerous use of colour

Far be it from me to suggest that websites should not be colourful or indeed aesthetically pleasing (or "pretty" if you prefer), but I cannot help but notice the dangers of ignoring colour blindness. Without any wish to continually fault My.WBS, it does bring many design questions to my attention. See the example below:

1. Red on blue is used to show a new message, but to my understanding with such low contrast between the two colours, surely that text may appear near invisible to some users who suffer from colour-blindness?

2. More applicable to users generally, we have brown on brown for previously visited resources. Contrast is low to everyone, making it extremely difficult to read at a distance.

Agreed, colour can be used to help highlight the different types of posting, but it does not need to be the background colour. Options available could simply be a coloured box, or the block to the left (e.g. "13.35 Resources") in the colour.

Again, more things to be wary of in my new portal design!

November 22, 2005

Invitations to Focus Group Emailed

Further to yesterday's arrangement of a room, invitations have been emailed out to all those who showed interest in being part of a focus group on My.WBS in the feedback survey.

The focus group is due to take place Tuesday at 5pm week 10, in E0.23.

Winner drawn and plans drawn for focus group

Ok, so I'm blogging this a day late… though it is a diary after all!

Met Andrew Martin to discuss the progress with the survey, and also the progress report for next week. Also a day and room have been arranged for the follow up focus group.

Winners of gift vouchers were also drawn by Andrew… now I just need to go and buy them!

November 13, 2005

Questionnaire closed!

As of yesterday evening, the questionnaire is now closed with a fantastic 112 responses! All being well I should be able to perform some initial analyses during this coming week (Week 8), with a view to conducting a focus group before the end of term, despite being later than originally planned.

November 10, 2005

And it just goes to show that if you remind people…

Follow-up to And in just one day… from Designing a Student Portal

Thanks to a reminder that was posted on My.WBS yesterday, another 30ish people have completed the survey – bringing me to a total of 92 responses.

Quick breakdown by course:
Management – 27
Accounting and Finance – 27
International Business – 8
Computer and Business – 9
Other – 21

I'm impressed with the response.

November 09, 2005

Apache now all systems go!

Follow-up to Confirmation of Web Space in DCS from Designing a Student Portal

Though I have not looked at the system myself, David successfully set up the Apache server in DCS for the Penguin project in the past couple of days. Well done David… we're now ready to roll!

Observations of My.WBS

As a user of My.WBS, an extreme example of something which occurs quite often caught my attention – one topic, and six or seven different resources available to download for it…

1. Why couldn't all of those resources have been attached to a single message?
2. Why do you lose sight of the other relevant resources once you have selected one of them? Compare this to say Microsoft Outlook – you can read a message and still see your Inbox.
3. Why do I have to download a Word/Excel document just to find out what group I'm in or the exact wording of an assignment?

These are definite design issues I need to look at – I should be interested to see if there any similar comments made in my survey results.

November 2005

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