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ENGW 3332: Writing Online

Week 9: Usability, Usability, Usability

As I’ve watched you create (and sometimes scrap and re-create) your Print-to-Web projects, I’ve been impressed with how far you’ve come in just a few weeks of working with WordPres. Many of your draft sites looked excellent during our peer review session yesterday, and I can’t wait to see your final sites after spring break!

As you put the finishing touches on your site, remember that the difference between a good design and a great design lies in the details. When you’re done marking up your content, make sure you spend enough time customizing the typography, the color scheme, and the images connected to your theme. Think about menus, hyperlinks, and sidebar widgets, and how you can use those elements to improve the functionality of your site.

Next week we will all be enjoying a much-deserved spring break, but when we meet again, here’s how we’ll proceed:

  • On Tuesday (3/20), your Unit #2 project is due before you come to class. Please review the assignment details before you submit your project to make sure you’ve followed the specific instructions for creating your site and writing your memo. If you have any questions, please let me know. In class, we will dive into our next unit, which focuses on usability testing and user-centered design. Before you come to class on Tuesday, please read pages 10–93 in Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think (our second textbook).
  • On Thursday (3/22), you will get to play the role of usability test subject in a mock usability exercise, then you will meet with your team for Unit #3 to plan the details of your usability test. Before you come to class, please read pages 95-167 in Don’t Make Me Think, as well as “Super Easy Usability Testing,” by John S. Rhodes.

One final note: Due to my travel schedule, I will not be able to hold office hours on Monday morning after spring break. If you need to meet with me to discuss your Unit #2 project before you submit it, please email me so we can find a time to meet on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

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