I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving break! When we return next week, we will be in the home stretch of the semester, with only six class sessions remaining before finals week. We will need to use our time wisely to make sure that your client projects stay on track. Our in-class exercises will help us accomplish that goal, but your team will need to make solid progress outside of class, too. If you haven’t been meeting regularly as a team, that will need to change during Week 13. By this point, your team should have a solid first draft of your client site, so if you’re behind schedule on that task, now is the time to catch up.
Here’s a quick overview of the coming week:
- On Monday, we will conclude our discussion of Tubes, so please read pages 227–68 before you come to class. In addition, please read “Into the Vault: The Operation to Rescue Manhattan’s Drowned Internet,” by Dante D’Orazio. (Be sure to watch the embedded video — it’s fascinating!) After we put Tubes to bed, we will jump into usability testing by watching a usability expert conduct a test, then conducting a usability test of our own. You don’t need to do anything specific to prepare for these exercises, but I recommend exploring the “Usability Basics” section of Usability.gov before you come to class.
- On Wednesday, we will continue our discussion about usability testing and begin drafting the protocols that you will use to test your client site. To prepare for our in-class activities, please read “Super Easy Usability Testing,” by John S. Rhodes, and the “Planning the Project” and “Analyze Current Site” sections of Usability.gov. (Note that each section of Usability.gov contains multiple pages; use the sidebar navigation to work your way through the sections.) Please come to class on Wednesday ready to discuss these readings and put them into practice on your project. Your homework after class on Wednesday will be to complete your usability testing protocol and submit it to me via email.
Finally, a few words about our second exam: Because we have a limited number of class sessions left, I have decided to make this an open-book, open-note (but not open-classmate), take-home exam. In addition, the exam will be optional, which means that you only need to complete the exam if you are unhappy with your score on the first exam. If you are satisfied with your grade on that exam, I will simply duplicate that score for Exam #2. However, if you would like the opportunity to raise your exam grade, you can take home a copy of the exam at the end of class on Wednesday and submit it at the beginning of class on Monday, December 3. (Please note that while a take-home exam is likely to produce higher grades than an in-class exam, a higher grade on Exam #2 is not guaranteed.)
As always, if you have any questions about these plans, or if you want to meet to discuss your team’s progress on the client project, please let me know.