This project aims to bring some of the affordances of consumer social networks to teaching and learning, and will deliver applications within CamTools, our Sakai-based VLE. This is an informal blog by the project team at CARET, University of Cambridge.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

It's design time!

The blog has been somewhat quiet of late, as the Academic Networking team have been working mostly offsite through an intense 6 week user-centric design phase. Five weeks down, one (this one) to go!

Oszkar Nagy and Tjhien Liao have been working out of Flow Interactive's London offices, learning from the Flow team as they work. We have gone many phases already, which I can outline very roughly here:

  1. figuring out requirements from the user research
  2. initial ideation of many many small design concepts
  3. placing those concepts on axes of "user benefit" and "technical difficulty" (this was a tricky one!)
  4. working up over a dozen concept ideas into rich descriptions (a phase which generated such intriguing concept names as "Ballroom dancing" and "The Spy")
  5. selecting 3 concepts and refining them into extreme examples reflecting the ideas we had
  6. user testing some paper prototypes of the concepts
  7. refinement of the concepts based on user feedback, plus some work to bring them in from the extremes to something more mainstream
  8. a second round of user testing
It's been a real whirl for everyone!

We are now into a final concept refinement round, and Anne-Sophie de Baets is doing a splendid job of documenting all our work so far.

We're looking forward to some reflective time at the end of our 6-week sprint, when we'll be figuring out where to go next (including what to implement in Sakai and when) and also taking the time to wrap up our documentation effort and start to prepare user research results for publication.

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