Curricular Technology website

The members of the Curricular Technology team would like to get some feedback from the rest of LIS on our new website, if you are so inclined. The basis for the information architecture is a three-pronged approach: what you can do (Uses), what you need to do it (Tools), and how are other people doing it (Stories). Not everything is fleshed-out yet, but for examples, see: Uses>Audio>Music notation or Tools>Voice recorders or Buzzwords> Blog. Here are some of the points on which we are waffling:

– The labels / descriptions under the various Uses. Are they too wordy? Can a user find what they are looking for?
– The left-hand menu under Uses – should it appear at all?

We welcome your comments, thoughts, suggestions, accolades, applause, donations, etc.

5 thoughts on “Curricular Technology website

  1. Brenda

    I like that you break out the types of technolgies, but I expected to see this under Tools (not Uses), which is where I first went, then was frustrated to just see them named with no clue about what some do. I’m guessing you’ll add content to describe them when you click on them – but I hate clicking thru levels and lots of hirarchies. I’d rather have things listed out on one page and scroll if necessary (of course if more of the page weren’t taken up by the menus, you’d have more content room). I guess I’d prefer to combine what you have under Uses with what you have under Tools, since the distinction is unclear to me. That is, present your tools arranged by type with brief description on one page and maybe have a drop-down menu or side box of the technologies by name A-Z for quick access. I like that you have buzzwords and I like that you have stories (though I really don’t like that term used to describe projects but I’ll have to get used to it given the main homepage). Also, I think you should seriously consider not having the right hand sidebar on subpages, esp. the stories page, because it limits the main content severely. Thanks for seeking input.

  2. Arabella

    I agree with Brenda about being confused between Uses and Tools, what I was expecting to see where, and in particular the list of ‘tools’ with no annotation about what tools can do what. (Maybe that’s coming?) When I see the word ‘Uses’ in the left menu, I think “Uses for what?” Then I remember that I’m looking at the Curricular Technologies page, so it must be “Uses for curricular technologies” and then I get stumped. (Admittedly, I’m probably not in your primary target demographic.) I really like that in the opening paragraph of the ‘homepage’ you say “… how it can be _used_, what _tools_, …” but “Uses” as a category for what you’ve got listed under it just doesn’t work for me. They seem to be more like Purposes or Objectives or … I dunno. The more I think about it, the more I see that ‘Uses’ is about as good as it’s going to get.

    Under uses (and the note says there’s duplication, so maybe this is part of that) – “Research” and “Data Collection and Analysis” are listed separately. I’m trying to think of ‘research’ that doesn’t involve some kind of ‘data collection/analysis’ and I’m not coming up with anything. I see that you’re categorizing what I used to call ‘literature research’ (now perhaps better termed informational research?) as “Research.” Information is just data in a language. I’d lump it all under ‘research’ – that could cut down the length of your left-hand menu list a bit, if that’s an objective.

    Also, I’m certainly not a musician, but I would never think to look under ‘audio’ to find how to create sheet music. Since Dan’s on your team, I assume you’ve thought through that and if that’s ‘intuitive’ for a musician, then so be it.

    Despite these persnickety comments, I do think overall you’ve done a good job of organizing a lot of content very well. Thank you!

  3. Jess Isler

    Take it or leave it!:
    1) I appreciate the value of brevity on a website but sometimes taking out words obscures meaning. Uses and Stories don’t mean anything in particular to me (also, when I first read “uses” in my head I pronounced it the other way). I would consider renaming Uses to “Technology uses” tools to “Technology tools” and stories to “Tools in action”.
    Also, in retrospect, I didn’t even read the first paragraph you have on your page—I just went straight to the left-hand menu and started clicking. That said, maybe someone who does read that text would understand what Uses, Tools, and Stories mean in the context you’ve set up and would remember “I am on the CT site, these are Uses as they relate to CT…” but apparently not me :)
    2) Categories under Uses are good. I didn’t know what “visualization” meant but I clicked on it and found out.
    3) Also, Re: left-hand menu under Uses. To figure out what “visualization” meant, I clicked on the left hand menu, not the list on the center of the page.
    4) After visiting the Uses page, I expected the Tools page to behave in the same way with regard to the left hand menu. I personally liked seeing the subpages listed, but I don’t think the nav. method you choose matters, so long as it’s consistent throughout your site.

  4. Dan

    Jess – I agree about the consistency of the left-hand nav – we’ll see what the team says. Arabella – the sheet music placement is tricky. We weren’t sure where else to put it. Brenda – thanks for the suggestion about the right-hand content after the first level.

    Thanks for the comments – the team will discuss these and continue to add content. Feel free to add additional comments at any time!

  5. Alex Chapin

    Thanks Brenda, Arabella and Jess for feedback on the current IA for the Curricular Technology portion of the new LIS website.  It seems none of you like the terms “Uses” and “Tools.”  Our goal for the site as a whole was to basically answer the question, “What should I use to do X?”.   To achieve this goal, we made lists of both the answers to this question and the values for X. We assumed the answers would be “tools” (i.e. software or hardware) and X would be the “uses.”  But I do see the ambiguity…  For example, where do you go to find out how to “use” a “tool”? or how a “tool” can be “used”? “Uses” or “Tools”? 

    I think we assumed most people would go to the “Uses” section to find out how to use technology to “do something,” to achieve some goal, objective, purpose… and from there would be directed to specific tool(s) for “doing that thing,” “achieving that goal or objective” (see: record/edit/format audio).  I think we further assumed that people would only go to the “Tools” section if they wanted to learn more about a particular tool.  From there, they would find links to the “Uses” section showing how a given tool can be used (see: Audacity).  Throughout, we wanted to keep it as simple as possible, avoiding overly techie/edu-greek language, but maybe the navigation terms are too simple…

    We hoped to be able to have a fairly complete list of all the ways to using technology for teaching and learning.  We came up with nearly 60 different ways of using technology which we then tried to organize into categories.  I see the case for combining “Data Collection and Analysis” with “Research.” I think coming up with a definitive taxonomy of technology uses is a daunting task…  I welcome more feedback in this area.  Difficult too has been finding ways to “label” technology uses in a way that “describes” the use succinctly enough that it can be discovered in a list…

    Thanks again for feedback.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *