Web Interventions

In class today your team is going to synthesize your knowledge of vizrhet (i.e. CRAPHATS) and new media writing styles and usability  (i.e. from Nielsen, Lynch & Horton) to redesign some mediocre web pages. We need five teams to redesign the following Purdue pages:

    1. ITaP “Gold Answers” Support Page: http://bit.ly/1qJJmXd. (I made a bit.ly link because the real URL was ridiculous.) You must click on “home” and enter Purdue career credentials to see this home page.
    2. Confucius Institute: http://tell.cla.purdue.edu/confucius/
    3. PMU Green Initiative: http://www.union.purdue.edu/home/greeninitiative/Index.html
    4. PUSH’s Home Page: http://www.purdue.edu/push/
    5. Purdue Libraries: https://www.lib.purdue.edu/

1. Read the page and click around the site (follow its navigational links, see where they lead you) to get a better idea of the site’s overall vibe as well as its primary uses. Consider if any of the pages’ content should go elsewhere.

2. Focusing on the homepage, sketch out how you’d rewrite the text and redesign the page. I have large (11″ x 18″) paper on which you can sketch out your redesigns. If you have additional time, you can outline redesign recommendations for other pages on the site.

3. Conclude by making three lists:

  • What does the page do well (before you intervened)?
  • What needs the most work?
  • What further research should be conducted in order to better accomplish this redesign/rewrite project?

We’ll spend about 20 minutes redesigning/rewriting. If time permits, we’ll use the remainder of class for teams to briefly present their redesign sketch and giving their synopsis to questions (what the page does well, does poorly, and further research required) and make connections to the Lynch & Horton readings.

Team 1: Elizabeth, Jordan, Sanah, Rina

Team 2: Megan, Kelsey, Fitz

Team 3: Sri, Amanda, Kristen, Monica

Team 4: Matt, Brad, Daniel, Emily

Team 5: Liz, Nick, Katelyn, Natasha



Twitterative Design

In class today you’re going to play the role of PR Specialist/Communications Strategist/Social Media Marketer.

Having read Jakob Nielson’s articles on “Twitter Postings: Iterative Design” and “Writing for Social Media,” apply your understanding of rhetorically effective tweets to iteratively design a promotional tweet for one of the following people/organizations represented in the news stories below:

  1. Find your own current event you’re interesting in marketing via Twitter.
  2. Put Your Phone to Work Doing Some Good
  3. Science Finds Drinking Alchohol and Energy Drinks Has Same Effect as Cocaine
  4. Daniels Announces International Engagement Campaign
  5. Trump’s White House Win to Reshape U.S. Political Landscape

Compose 5 iterations of your tweet (aka 5 “twitterations”). After each iteration, follow up with a brief paragraph explaining what’s good/bad about it and how/why you revised it. When finished, post all 5 tweets and their revision rationales on your blog.

Remember: “The shorter it is, the more important it is to design text for usability.”

In-class Activity: Developing a Bull$#!t Meter

In a team of three or four, take a look at the following websites listed below. As you do so, ask yourselves, “Do we trust the information provided by these sites? Why or why not? What are the hallmarks of a reliable website?”

As you formulate some answers, begin to draft a how-to guide for using the internet, like an Internet for Dummies book. Together compile a list of criteria and critical questions that one should consider and ask as he or she evaluates a web source.