Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cheers to Technology!

My use of technology this week has been an expansive high. One of the first reasons is that my laptop finally works after multiple fixes. I get accustomed to my personally designed shortcuts, favorites, and saved files. The familiarity saves me time and effort. However, what I have realized about myself this semester is that I can be flexible and resourceful.

The focus of technology function through the usability test is complex, challenging, and invaluable. The process of analyzing test purpose, goals, and objectives makes me consider the initial starting point of the project. Writing the test forces me to question what I ultimately want to know about user response. For instance, is the category hidden on the home page? Does the wiki navigate in a user friendly manner? The comments and feedback after the test offer constructive feedback. Sometimes when I am absorbed in my own project, my myopic view causes me to miss obvious aspects. What I find most interesting is the varied remarks about the wiki.

The other reason that I have had a positive week is that my team is in the final stage of wiki completion by posting the training materials. This is like running a race and catching a glimpse of the finish line! Last night I prepared an excellent Mexican dinner. The sharing a meal and conversation was the reward of a lot of effort. With the wiki, I also believe that through persistence and diligence, a beneficial resource was created for the library. The similarities between technology and cooking are simply that both have the potential to connect and to link others through community. It can be such a grand celebration when the end product turns out well!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

#11 Approach is everything!

This week I have focused on writing training material for the Managed Spaces of our wiki project. Though I was indifferent about what portion of the wiki I would be writing instructions, it seems to me that this particular area is by far the most complicated because it holds the heart of wiki management. The Space Contents, Settings, and Promotion include many brief subcategories that can have involved processes. Therefore, I constantly ask myself, “What is the most logical approach?”

I find the most intriguing aspect of technology is analyzing the user. I wonder how user personality and preference influence the depth and the breadth of technology training. For instance, I much prefer a global picture with instructions broken down into specific tasks. Others may be content with receiving a general overview of the area and locating more specifics when they need the material. Regardless of style, I believe everyone arranges, organizes, and prioritizes information in a manner that makes the most sense. The difficult area for me is figuring out where to begin and what kinds of directions will be the most beneficial.

It is comical to think that it was only a few months ago that I first viewed the class wiki. I remember feeling a sense of panic that I did not know where to go or what to do. The feeling of the novice is one of the things I must keep in mind when I write directions. There is a balance with providing too little or too much information during the initial experience. I find that there is a correlation in the simplicity to recipe instructions and those basic steps in training materials. Hopefully those who use the wiki will seek help and have a positive experience.