I arrived in Rochester, New York earlier today for my second HighEdWebDev conference. This year the conference has moved to downtown Rochester and should offer more to do each evening. Earlier today, three colleagues from Penn State and I did a second run of our Paper Prototyping workshop, the first being earlier this year at the Penn State Web Conference. Twelve people attended today’s workshop. We had a few problems with the facility, but we were able to juggle the order of our presentation to keep things running smoothly. Everyone in attendance semed to enjoy the workshop and if that is any indication, then it was a success.
Things are now winding down after an orientation session and a mixer that closed a few minutes ago. Conference sessions start tomorrow morning and have yet to decide which sessions I am attending. A second day of sessions are planned for Tuesday with a poster sesssion at the end of the day. I’ll be presenting at the poster session. My poster covers my participation with the Web Standards Project Education Task Force. If you are attending the conference and have an interest in Web standards, stop by and introduce yourself.
The Web Standards Project Education Task Force has been quite busy during the past six months and during that time we’ve had the opportunity to publish three interviews. In March, we published an interview with Tim Hannigan of Queen’s University. Tim was involved with Queen’s conversion to Web Standards and shared his insights with us. Next up, was an interview with Steve Smith of the Notre Dame Web Group and the Unverisity of Notre Dame. Steve talks about the advocacy efforts at Notre Dame in which he’s been involved. Our last interview was with José Trudel, a teacher in design at Cégep de Saint-Jérôme. José shared his thoughts on teaching tomorrows Web professionals the importance of Web standards and best practices.
Today is the first day of the 2006 edition of the Penn State Web Conference. This year I had the opportunity to work with a group of web professionals at Penn State presenting a tutorial on Usability and Paper Prototyping. Wendy Jones, a Marketing Manager at Penn State first proposed that we do the tutorial after attending a workshop at the UI Conference in Boston last fall. Wendy, together with Rose Pruyne, Programmer/Analyst, Lynne Shala, Senior Webmaster, and myself pulled together the tutorial over the last few months.
Paper prototyping is a method used to gather user feedback on a Web site before you create your first HTML file. During the tutorial this morning, tutorial attendees were provided with a variety of supplies and 90 minutes of time to create a mockup of a site on paper. Supplies included post-it notes, paper, markers, glue, etc. Attendees were seperated into small groups and were asked to create a site selling iPods and accessories. Once their paper prototype was created, users were invited to test their prototype. The test users were presented with a set of instructions asking them to order an iPod and a couple of accessories and add the items into a shopping cart and procede through the scenario through checkout where they would presented a receipt of their order.
Attendees immediately discovered just how usable their paper prototype was and were given time to correct any problems discovered during the user testing phase of the tutorial.
We will be presenting a 4 hour workshop on Usability and Paper Prototyping at HighEdWebDev in Rochester this coming October. Conference details and session information should be released soon. Registration opens July 1.
My grandson, who recently celebrated his fifth birthday has created his first, real piece of refrigerator art. I’m proud to say that he drew a picture of his family (but only included himself and me.). A quite like his rendition of my hair. To avoid any confusion, Isaiah is the handsome boy on the left.
Tantek Çelik has written an excellent article exploring CSS hacks. He covers a lot of ground and wraps up the article by stating that one should write cross browser validating code. He cautions developers only to use CSS hacks and filters at a minimum. He finishes the article asking all of us to keep up the pressure on the browser vendors to build browsers that use web standards. This article is also cross-posted on the Web Standards Project site.