Week 15 and Finals Week: Wrapping Up the Client Project

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

I can hardly believe that the end of the semester is just a week away — time really has flown by! You’ve been a great class, and I hope you feel like you’ve grown as web designers and online content developers. With Exam #2 and the Best Practices Article behind us, we can focus all of our attention on the Client Project, which we will present to a panel of distinguished judges at our final. At this point, your team should be revising your site based on the feedback you received during our peer critique exercise and our team conferences. Here are a few areas where every team needs to focus:

  • Branding. Our clients want a site that feels modern and original, but we can’t completely ignore the university’s branding guidelines. Think about how you can incorporate the university’s logo, color scheme, etc., into your site.
  • Information architecture. The structure and navigation systems on your site should be logical and easy to use. Think about what information needs to be on the homepage and what can go somewhere else. Carefully consider the names you give your pages and how you refer to them in your navigation menus. Find or develop a system for filtering content by category or tag.
  • Sample content. Most of you have created a couple of sample “stories” for your site, but the more content you have, the more complete your site will appear to be. Having more content also makes it easier to demonstrate how tags, categories, and archives work. You can use “lorem ipsum” filler text in some places, but titles, headlines, pull quotes, and other featured text should be as “real” as possible.
  • Action items. Remember the personas you created at the beginning of this project? Think about what you want each of those people (and the larger audience groups they represent) to do after visiting your site. Make it easy for people to take action once they feel a connection to our project.
  • User feedback. Take some time during the coming week to conduct “Super Easy Usability Testing” with your friends, coworkers, and family members. Have them explore the site, watch what happens as they do, and ask them about their experience. Every user is unique, but if you conduct enough of these demonstrations, you’ll begin to see patterns in your users’ feedback — that’s where you want to direct your energy as you fine-tune your site.

During Week 15, we’ll hold our last class session and our final exam. Here’s a quick overview:

  • On Tuesday, we’ll complete course evaluations, discuss some guidelines for your final presentations, and draw straws to determine the order of presentations on Saturday. Between now and Tuesday, your team should be making progress on the list of items above, as well as any specific feedback I gave you during your conference on Thursday.
  • Our final exam will be held on Saturday, May 9, at 1:05 p.m. in 1100 Torgersen Hall. Your team will have 8 minutes to present your site to the audience, after which the judges will have an opportunity to ask you questions about your work. I’ve been impressed with how seriously everyone is taking this project, and I hope you’ll continue showing that level of professionalism at our final. Before you come to the final, please submit your team’s memo of transmittal and any additional materials (usability results, wireframes, screenshots of early drafts, client feedback, or anything else listed in your team’s MOU) by placing them in your team’s shared Google Drive folder (which should also be shared with me). Bring your individually completed “Team Evaluation Form,” which I will distribute on Tuesday, to our final exam.

As always, if you have any questions about these items, please drop me a line. I’ll try to be in my office as much as I can for the next week, so let me know if your team would like to meet during a time other than my official office hours. Good luck wrapping things up!