SIMS 202 Assignment 7
Assigned 11/16. Due 12/05.
Sano, Newman & Landay, Hauser & Clausing, Nielsen
The goal of this assignment is to give you exposure to the process of
participatory design of an information organization.
For this assignment, work with two other students (we'll set this up
in class). This is going to require a bit of scheduling, so we've
allocated some extra time, but you need to plan ahead.
- First, read the Sano chapter in the reader and Card Sorting
section in the following excerpt from:
SunWeb: User Interface Design for Sun Microsystem's Internal Web
Jakob Nielsen and Darrell Sano, in the Electronic
Proceedings of the Second World Wide Web Conference '94: Mosaic and
the Web, 1994.
- Next, with your partners, choose a topic. This should be a fairly
rich set of information that is to be used to organize information on
a web site. Don't make it too complicated, however. Choose
something that can be characterized by about 50 concepts as described
above. In order to aid in the information organization part, you also
need to specify what type of tasks a person using the site might wish
to accomplish using this information. Focus on sites that show
information, rather than those that require user interaction other
than following hyperlinks and reading. For example, for an ecommerce
site, you would focus on the catalog rather than on the purchasing
portion of the site.
Be sure to choose a topic that classmates will be able to understand.
Example topics from last year: national parks, sportswear catalog.
- After choosing the topic, do the brainstorming step in which you
generate a list of categories as described in the excerpt above and
the Sano chapter in the reader. You should have
around 45 or 50 concepts. [This part should take about 2 hours.]
- Then exchange information with another group. Each person in
group A should individually organize the cards of group B, and vice
versa (without looking at what the others are doing). You don't have
to all be physically present at the same time -- just do the exchange
in some way. You can give the other groups whatever instructions you
feel will be helpful, although you may want to use the methodology
described in the excerpt above ("not too few, and not too many"
categories). [This should take 40 minutes to an hour per person.]
- Get back together with your original partners and make a final
classification system based on the results of all three of the sorts.
You don't have to use a clustering algorithm or other fancy
statistical techniques; instead try to ``eyeball'' where the best
similarities are. You can also exercise your judgement and override
or discard some of the results. Create an organization like that in
Table 3.1 of the Sano chapter. (Optional: You can use a software
tool for this: see bottom of this page.)
- Now that you have the information architecture for your site,
sketch out the navigation architecture. For this last part of the
assignment, use the DENIM sketch-based design tool to make an initial
navigation design. This should include a site map and a story board
showing at least one set of interactions. The sitemap should show at
least 10 pages and 3 levels (including the home page). The storyboard
should illustrate how a user would start from the home page and follow
links to find a particular item on the site. It should follow at
least three links.
- Write a paragraph describing what you did and did not like about
using DENIM, to be used by the developers (it is ok to criticize it if
you find problems). How do you think it compares to using pen and
paper? To using a more formal interaction tool?
You first have to install DENIM. I had a MIMS student try this in
room 210 and it worked for her. Download version Beta 4 - SIMS from
and install it
in your home directory. You can also run this on your machine at
home. If you have problems, this page has support information:
Here are some hints and tips on how to use DENIM.
- First read through the tutorial. It is very helpful.
- Although DENIM is designed to be used with a computerized tablet
and pen, it now works pretty well with a mouse. The key thing to
realize is that you can use a caret gesture to bring up a dialog box
that lets you type in words. I found that it took me about 15 minutes
to get used to using the mouse for drawing and gesturing, but after a
while I got pretty good at it.
- When you make the caret gesture, make the angle wide. I found
this made it easier for the system to recognize the gesture.
- Start with the site map first. There are two ways to do this.
You can draw narrow boxes for pages and then use the caret gesture to let you type in
words to label the pages (select the "heading" option). Or you can
just use the caret gesture to type in labels. They will automatically
be converted into labels when you do this at the site map level. Draw lines to
link the boxes into the main organizational structure. Use your
information architecture to decide how to organize at this level.
- Then move to the page level and sketch in wavy lines to indicate
text, to indicate images, etc. You can use the text tool at this
level too to type in words. This is especially useful for labeling
the hyperlinks that you'll want to use to make the storyboard.
- Next do the storyboard. Move to the storyboard view. You make a
storyboard link by drawing a line (using the pencil tool still) from
the "ink" on one page to any part of another page. This should
produce a green arrow, which is different than the organization arrows
that you drew at the site level. The storyboard is supposed to show
the sequence of links a user would follow while using the site.
- Finally, run the storyboard. Move to the storyboard view, and
bring up the pie menu (by right-clicking). A new window should
appear. Select a link highlighted in blue from that window and the
system should show the page that the user would end up at after
selecting that link.
Turn in the following (one per group):
[Be sure to record information as you go so the writeup goes faster.]
- Names of students in the group.
- Topic and intended users and use of the topic.
- Original list of terms that you gave to the other group.
- The three classifications you received from the other group.
- A table showing the organization you came up with based on what
the other group gave you and your group's discussion of these.
Include a justification for these choices.
- Screenshots of your DENIM designs.
- Feedback to the DENIM designers about the tool.