Finalized Part two: Reflection of Usability/Text-to-Hyper-text Project.
For this project I had to take a old paper I wrote for another class and turn into into a website hence the name Text-to-Hyper-text. It seemed very difficult at first and I wasn’t even sure where to begin. After doing the usability tests with different people and reading the texts, I had a better understanding of what to do. Don’t get me wrong, this was still very difficult. The formatting of an essay is much different than the formatting of a website. I had to change the formatting, the way things were written to suit the website, etc. I also picked different images than in my essay because I wanted more current photos. I had to decide what widgets or applications to add to the site that are offered through WordPress. I didn’t want to put too much of myself or my own opinions into the website. The website is about The Walking Dead and grammar; not my opinions of the TV show or even others opinions.
The first usability test I did was sketched out on a piece of blank paper. It wasn’t very good being as I am not a good artist but it had the basics of what I wanted it to look like. I did not take a picture of this sketch. It ended up being written all over so it didn’t really work out. The first tester was my fiance. He didn’t really understand what I was trying to do at first, i.e., create a website. After discussing it further he understood and was able to look at the sketch in the correct way. He was able to analyze the website. He said that it was okay for a rough sketch but the content I had so far was a bit technical and not clear enough for someone that may not watch The Walking Dead. After thinking about this, I wondered more about who I want and expect my audience to be. I was expecting that my audience would be people who are into The Walking Dead. But in case I have people who are not exactly apart of The Walking Dead community come upon my site (maybe they are coming for the writing/grammar aspect) I should work on it being more usable for them as well.
This first usability test made me think about our other text, Rocket Surgery Made Easy, by Steve Krug. It is a guide for finding and fixing usability problems. As I mentioned earlier, my first usability test was on a piece of paper. Krug gave me this idea because in his text, he mentions testing the sketch on a napkin.He mentions that the sketch on a napkin is mostly used to show what your Homepage of a website might look like or a product page. Not the whole website can work for a sketch on a napkin. He describes, What you get out of it. “You’ll learn whether your concept is easy to understand-whether people “get it.” They’ll confirm that you’re on the right track or point out basic problems that you can deal with early in the process.” (Krug, 35.)
This made me look back on our text, Letting Go of the Words, by Janice Redish. She speaks about content and the experience of your viewers on the topic of your website. “You may have groups with vastly different experience and expertise. You may have a range of expertise even within one type of site visitor. If you do, it’s critical to know about those differences so you can decide how to meet the needs of all of your site visitors.” (Redish, 24.) This is exactly what I was going to try and do in my next usability test.
The second round of usability testing was with one of my coworkers. I picked this person because he really loves The Walking Dead and watches it regularly. I wanted to see how someone who is a Walking Dead fan worked with my website. He loved the images and The Walking Dead incorporated into the grammar examples. But he said some of my language wasn’t totally correct. So I had to do some research to fix that. He also said my design was a bit boring. I decided to work on that a bit too. It’s very important to have language spelled correctly and have a good site design. Redish says, “Design continues to be important throughout the conversation. Information design- layout, spacing, fonts color combinations- can help or hinder your site visitors.” (Redish, 45.)
Working on this website was one of the best experiences I have done in any writing class. My uncle works on websites and I have always wanted to try that before. I liked working from a sort of template, my essay I used for the website, it helped give me better ideas and gave me somewhere to start. The hardest part was trying to figure out what I would keep from the paper and what not to keep. Some of the language and words from the essay wouldn’t work for the website. I had to cut some lines from the essay to make the formatting work. For example, in my essay I had the examples of each grammar rule side by side and that didn’t work on WordPress very well. I also remember feedback from my essay and a lot of users said it was too confusing that way. So I put them underneath one another with a bold heading to explain the text. I used different images that were more up to date for the show in its current season. The images that were in the essay were a little older, from past seasons. Someone who hasn’t watched the show before should get images from the show that are current. I also chose to add more content, not from my essay, that had a section that explained the goal of website, what The Walking Dead show is about, and include a list of the main (current) characters.
I think my main problem with building a website like this is what content to choose from the essay because simply, as Redish says, people do read online- sometimes. “Do people ever read on web sites and in apps? Of course we do. We read when we find what we came for- the answer to our question, information for the task we came to complete, sometimes labels on the form we are filling out.” (Redish 4.) Based on this statement, people aren’t always looking to read constantly. So I need to include what people want to read when they visit my site and what they are looking for. I think I accomplished this. Overall, I think this project gave me a good start to a website. I will continue to work on this website after this assignment to make it better. The website is as good as I can do it for now at this time.
- Redish, Janice. Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content That Works. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann, 2012. Print.
- Krug, Steve. Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-it-yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems. Berkeley, CA: New Riders, 2010. Print.