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Designing Interfaces to Improve Learning & Usability

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This was the very last session of the conference and I’am glad to say it was one of the very best sessions of the entire conference. It wasn’t just because I won an Amazon gift card the speaker gave away at the end of the session, it was geniusly good. The presenter was Nick Floro, CEO of SealWorks. I liked his session, so I taped almost all of it. Please send me an e-mail if you want a copy of the video.

Here are some of my notes: 7 questions to define the project:
-What is the goal?
-What are the learning objectives?
-Who is the audience?
-What is the timetable?
-Current technology solution?
-Does the content exist?
-What is the budget?

5 step process:
-Discovery
-Define
-Design
-Develop
-Deliver

Inspiration.com. You should visualize your projects and organize the different topics. Use sketches and wireframing. Use Keynote or PowerPoint – allows you to be more visual and creative, gives you a feel of how it will look like.

Design:
-Focus on audience
-content is key
-transparent interface

Posterous.com. You email this service. Takes an email and builds an entry. Marumushi.com. Just for Me: all about the user and how they can interact. Design: Keep it Simple. Take a picture of things that inspire you and collect them. Then look at them and try to get ideas from all the images that you were attached to you.

Emulating GUI elements increase usability. Respect user experience. Site structure should reflect user needs. Incorporate a search engine with your LMS.  AJAX: spotlight kind of search feature. Design for Consistency. Target low-bandwidth users: target should be 100k. Reduce download time. Design for accessibility: make your content avaialble to all users, including those with disabilites (508 compliant). Use highly descriptive Alternative Tags allow your content to be interpreted. They spend like 3 or 4 weeks of making the content 508 compliant, Design for flexibility.

Testing for Usability: He emails his mom and asks her to look at content. Test Cases: -Test on Windows 2000, XP, Vista +Home/Pro, IE 5.5, 6, 7+, Firefox 2,3, Test on OS X, Safari.

Re-test the site each time you make even small changes. Wireframing – changing the possibilities. Textflow.com. Google Docs.

Keeping your mind creative, Watching, Recording, Analyzing. Windows/Mac: JingProject.com. -AJAX: DHTML + CSS + Javascript + XML + Everything Nice.Project management: 37signals.com.

Design Engineering: -Workflow, -Flexibility, -Learning objects, -Re-expression, -Experiment, Managing Expectations, -Communication, -Review goals prior, -What works, -What works / what doesn’t work, -Final Goal.

GoToMeeting.com. -Resources: Designing Interactions. Designing the obvious – Hoekman. –How Design Conference – Austin, TX. –Emotional Design, Don Norman. –Tipping Point – Malcom Gladwell. –Blink – malcom gladwell. –www.manager-tools.com – great podcast. –BusinessWeek.com – Top Designers podcast. –iStockPhoto.com – inexpensive. –Thinkvitamin.com – top 10 designers doing things on the web. –SmashingMagazine.com. –PresentationZen.com. –Silverback.com – Mac system to track people.

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