Interface designs for Community Networks, The Web, & System Architecture

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Nigel Kerr
Patrick Finn

Nigel and Patrick essentially presented a mini-workshop or design forum on how to design an interface for a telecommunity. Focus was on the design of the interactive design process that involves community participation.

The design of a telecommunity interface should be thought of as a design cycle. The outcome of the design cycle is that it determines what works and what does not work.

A hypothetical community was created, and an interface was designed for the community. Slips of paper with participant roles written on them were passed out to audience members. The audience worked as a design team of users, and individual needs were written down in terms of user needs.

Following are the steps in the design cycle:

  1. Asking questions
  2. Specifications
  3. Prototyping and development
  4. Public Release, Asking Questions Redo
  5. Evaluation and Re-Iteration

Three crucial questions to ask when designing your interface:

  1. What are the goals of this design/Why are we here?
  2. Who will use this design, why?
  3. What will the users use this design for?

Questions such as the following address the above questions:

The next thing is the style guide. A style guide includes layout conventions, templates, graphics, construction, etc. You should update your style guide, and it should be written so that any HTML author that has been separated from their design team can write a few pages in the correct style by just using the guide as a reference.

Things that work:

Issaquah Online is an excellent example of a well designed interface.

Microsoft's homepage was presented as a bad example of an interface.

Following are some issues to take into consideration when designing your interface:

The handout for Nigel and Patrick's presentation I available at the following url:

Reported by Marcel Albritton