This semester’s Big New Thing

Every semester, there seems to be a Big New Thing for me. Here’s the current one:

As part of the overall Simmons College “web refresh” project currently in the works at the Web Office, the GSLIS Publications/Web Team was invited to propose a new information architecture (IA) for the GSLIS web sites (http://www.simmons.edu/gslis and http://my.simmons.edu/gslis). Our team . . . put together a process and a schedule to meet our ultimate goal: to propose a new information architecture scheme to the Web Office by Thanksgiving, and to make any revisions before the end of the semester.

We are doing some (of what I understand to be) classic usability testing: creating user personas, doing a card sorting study, and running paper prototyping. The work is being done by a team of 9 GSLIS students, 6 of whom are participating as part of an independent study, and three of whom are working on this as volunteers. This is in addition to myself and five staff members. The schedule is ambitious, but we have an excellent team and (at the moment) I’m not worried.

I am the project manager for this, so as you can imagine I have been quite busy building the team, getting people set up & answering questions, and preparing for and running an orientation meeting we held on Monday.  Luckily for me, at this point my involvement will start to lessen a bit, and I will step back to a schedule-wrangling, question-answering and meeting-running role. Believe it or not, that will take up a lot less time. (Um, freeing up some time for the background readings.)

Anyway, the plan is for this to be a very open and transparent process for the GSLIS community, and to that end we are in the process of putting all kinds of project background information on a wiki, which will also host regular updates as to what’s going on with the project. For now, the background is living on a web page, but I we will redirect that to the wiki once it’s ready in a week or so. I encourage you to take a look and follow along with our progress if you’re interested in this sort of thing.

I’m really excited about this, but it’s been a bit draining so far, and has wreaked havoc on my schedule. Luckily only my online class has much of anything going on right now (it started almost a month ago, my in-person class has only met twice) so I have not been knocked too far off track. Mostly there has just been a lot of switching around of scheduled things, and ignoring of other things I do at the job that is paying me to work on the IA Project.  🙂 Not ideal, but as I continuously state, “I’m a student, I have homework to do!”

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