Portals and Front Door Design University of Chicago
Our Motto • Victory usually goes to those green enough to underestimate the monumental hurdles they face --Tom Peters.
Front Door Design • Cognitive maps: As users come into a site, they build a sense of how the site is structured and how they can successfully navigate. We want to push the navigation paradigm as far down as possible in order to make it easy on the users.
Challenge: working together • How to get people to work together and follow guidelines so that the whole institutional space will come together. Alumni, SSA, Law, BSD. How to use carrots and sticks to make the institutional space work coherently for the audience and successfully present the University to the constituency and to the world, given the reality that departments often view the web as a place for "self expression."
Challenge: Clarifying the Institution • How to arrange information so that people can find the various units of the University. The outside audience often has only a limited understanding of the structure of the institution. Institutional maps are therefore another way of helping people find what they are seeking within the site. How to structure these successfully.
Challenge: Coherence • Pulling together various publishing "factions" and making them appear to the audience as a coherent message. For instance, the registrar: classes, Academic Publishing: "Announcements“ and the departments each want creative home pages that express their "individuality,“ which are often at variance with the nature of the image the University wants to project, and often lacking in the sort of content we desire, and quite frequently don't match up with the information in the catalog.
Challenge: Integrating the Site • Whether to view by audience e.i., "for students," "for staff" or by area "departments and schools," "campus life" or by both, and when to use each one.
Challenge: Paradigms for Presentation • How to make information "findable." Different finding mechanisms--effectively utilizing an index, a search engine, a table of contents, customized tables of contents for various topics, quicklinks as a SHORT index to the most important information. Indexing pitfalls and advantages. • Different models of presenting menus. How to get people to look beneath the covers (callouts--linked and unlinked), pop-up menus)
Challenge: Stretching Resources • How to get departments to link back to centrally provided resources to get people to stop recreating the wheel, always slightly differently and with uneven quality. • How to work with departments to leverage resources so that a little goes a long way.
Benefit • Done right, tremendous benefit to students: making the info findable, useful, and USED!! • Risks: Potential staff sink, realistic approach, biggest bang for the buck • Politics • Socialization of the technology
Student Services Portals • Scenario Nets: What does the audience need start to finish? • Right now we have much better front door design than we had before. Helping to pull it together, but the individualization is missing. Students can find everything easily through our student pages, but they cannot individualize the experience.
Living Online users guide Information and Interactivity Courses Application Email – IMP mail Student Organizations Registrar, Bursar Web services (Ride Board) Religion Calendars Discussion groups Grades Bookstore, shopping and textbooks Housing and dining Payments—ecommerce Calendars Chicago card Types of Student Info
Student Services Portal cont • Exeter system –marked up in IMS, of course – portal to course info pages: separate faculty machine courses.uchicago.edu Home.uchicago.edu chalk.uchicago.edu (Blackboard) • Targeted portals: courses determine what you see on your page. Link courses to information we might provide. XYZ library resources. Can save if you want. New material each quarter depending on courses registered for.
Special Interest Portal • Now, docuSPACE has document collections and search mechanism. Working on adding a table of contents, but still very generic. • Ideally, everything we have now, plus: • 1) Natural language question and answer. • 2) Profiles with targeted and saved search • 3) Continuing search and email facility (use Verity to sort out the information and provide good answers.)
Discussion topics • Discussion: Paying outsourcing benefits. Anyone using “meet our sponsor?” How to pay for this? What are you doing? Technology? Gocampus, involving commercial entities. What political problems? What are you most high benefit portals? What application for portals do you see?