Understanding and Serving Users was one of four required courses forming the core curriculum at the iSchool. The course comprised five major topics:
- Models of information-seeking behavior
- Research methods and paradigms for user studies
- Interaction design
- System evaluation and usability studies
- Web 2.0 and information services
Primary class project: research-based web design
Our main project in this class was a group project to create a prototype design for a research-based informational website. Our group's selected audience was immigrants to the United States. After an initial review of immigrants' information needs, we decided to design a website delivering health care information for immigrants.
We first carried out a literature review on immigrant health information-seeking behavior, which I was principally responsible for writing. Two immigrant members of our group also volunteered as consultants. Drawing on our research, we created two personas to represent our users and guide our design process. We then carried out an information needs analysis and sorted the results into categories of information, which we used as the basis for our site architecture. For each category of information, we carried out a task analysis, which we used as the basis for our content and navigation.
Based on our group's design concepts, I used html and css to develop an initial working prototype. Using group design critiques, we developed the website through multiple design iterations. Finally, we presented our working prototype along with a paper explaining our research and design process and presenting a methodology for a usability test for the website.
Second class project: topic presentation
With a partner, I carried out research on mobile tagging systems for museums. We focused on the differing tagging styles of distinct user communities. Using Google Docs Presentation software, my partner and I presented the results of our research to the class.
Third class project: Glifos Social Media
Using the GLIFOS Social Media toolset, I synchronized transcripts of Texas oil industry oral histories with their corresponding digital audio files, verified the transcripts' accuracy, hyperlinked index entries to the corresponding points in the audio and transcripts, and generated a map of the places mentioned in the oral histories. The specific segment I worked on was the O.G. Lawson Interview.