Context and Overview
Your main project for this course will consist of working
in a collaborative group to plan, research, design, and
implement a substantial portion of a web site for a group,
an employer or business, or a local nonprofit organization.
You are encouraged to choose a project that is most relevant
to your interests and professional goals. Although your
project content will be determined largely by the needs
of the organization and intended audience you are working
for, your web site should include most of the following:
procedures, and organizational mission
or instruction manual
help instructions and site map to assist users
recommendations or feasibility study results for implementation
of major organizational change or program development
other documents or components that identify and solve
some problem or need within the organization
This project will develop through many stages, each providing
you with opportunities to learn and utilize different
tools and resources available to you as a technical communicator.
Each group will negotiate the exact scope of their project,
according to established deadlines, goals, and constraints.
Among the objectives for this project are the following:
writing, testing, and revising text-and visual-based
communication in a professional, workplace context
how to integrate written content, graphics (photos,
tables, graphs, icons, etc.), document layout and site
navigation in order to create a usable, reader-friendly
user-centered, rather than system-centered web sites
how the rhetorical situation (audience, purpose, and
context) shapes the development and final production
of technical communication documents
to work effectively and efficiently within collaborative
Document Stages and Due Dates
Proposal Directions (2-3 pages)- Due 3/15
In this proposal you will identify a project that you
are interested in pursuing for the rest of the term. This
assignment is your opportunity to describe a project and
its central need or problem, to argue for its appropriateness
to your personal interests or professional goals, and
to convince me and others that you are qualified to attempt
this project. This proposal should be written as an informal
memo, following the format and categories given below.
This document should be a relatively short (2-3 pages),
informal memo that identifies a possible project to be
developed further over the course of the term. It should
follow the general memo format outlined in chapter seven
and should include the following categories of information
in the body:
Identification- identify and describe project and organization
it will serve
of Problem or Need- describe what need within the organization
this project will fulfill and why it needs to be done
of Approach and Solution- explain how you intend to
approach this project and what eventual solution you
plan to implement
of Qualifications- describe what skills, interests,
and qualifications make you the person for this project
You will have approximately 2-3 minutes in which to present
an overview of your project to other members of the class
in order to convince them of its importance and usefulness.
Your objective is to raise interest and to recruit at
least one other person to join your project team for the
remainder of the quarter. Once you have formed a team,
your group will work collaboratively to develop and refine
the original individual proposal. Not all individual project
proposals will be pursued.
Proposal Memo and Presentation (5+ pages)- Due 3/24
This proposal will be the result of your project groups
development and refinement of an individual project proposal.
Its purpose is to help your team focus clearly on your
intended audience, objectives, and methods for completing
your project over the term. In order to write it, you
will need to do some initial research and interviewing
with your proposed client and your intended audience.
This should be a formal proposal that follows the general
guidelines laid out in chapter 11 of Woolevers text.
The completed document should include the following components:
title page, cover letter, table of contents, and an
abstract or executive summary
project and organization/client
brief statement of need/problem and solution
Overview the proposal document contents
background of organization/client and problem/need-
What is the context and situation?
target audience- Who are you creating this web site
for, who will use it?
proposed work- What will you accomplish and for
scope of project- What are the boundaries of your
project; what will you do and what wont you
Discuss potential benefits and the feasibility of
the project- What is likely to be the ultimate outcome
of doing this project?
your project rationale and objectives- How do you
justify your proposed work?
your methods, procedures, and schedule for completing
this project- Specifically, how will you accomplish
Describe your qualifications- What skills, interests,
and qualifications do the individual members of
your group bring that will help you accomplish your
your required resources and costs- What do you need
to be able to complete this project? How do you
plan to access this?
As a team, you will have approximately 4-6 minutes to
present your project and proposal to the rest of the
class. The purpose is to gain additional feedback on
your overall objectives, approaches, and methods. You
will also be responsible for responding to the details
of other groups presentations and projects.
of Concept Report (10+ pages)- Due 4/19
Your Proof of Concept Report will offer a substantial
update to your teams original project proposal.
In addition to providing information about how your project
has evolved and been refined in the preceding weeks, this
report will contain detailed information about the development
and progress of your web site You will need to include
considerable discussion and rationalization of the organizational
and design elements you have chosen to include.
In addition to updating the categories of information
required in the group project proposal, this report should
contain the following items:
Definition or Goals-
what the site will do (its general purpose and specific
objectives), what disciplinary or generic category it
will belong to
the target audience is, why they would need or want
to use this site
and Concerns- what materials are needed to construct
the site, what copyright or trademark issues the team
and Function- how the site is organized, why, and
what advantages and consequences there are for this
the overall look and feel is (interface)
will visual coherence be maintained throughout site
visual elements (icons, graphics, image maps, etc.)
will be used
how the text and graphics will complement each other
strategy lies behind the placement and hierarchy
navigation cues will be used
document will also require two further types of information
for both the report and the presentation:
hand-drawn or screen-capture versions of either the
prime segments of the web site or the representative
portion that the team is creating for the final project
of the options and features that typical users would
encounter as they navigated the site
In this 5-6 minute presentation, your team will share
the main points of your Proof of Concept report. You will
also use your storyboards and flowchart to solicit feedback
and suggestions from other class members about how you
might further develop and revise your ideas before full
implementation. You will also be responsible for responding
to the details of other groups presentations and
Usability Testing- In Lab on 4/26
When technical communicators want to get a sense of how
real audiences will respond to a document, product, or
set of instructions, they perform a Usability Test. Usability
Testing takes many forms, including activities such as
direct observation, audio and video user protocols (where
microphones and/or cameras are used to capture readers
thoughts that they say aloud as they attempt to complete
a task), and pre- and post-test interviews. Testers then
evaluate the data they collect and provide feedback and
suggestions to designers, engineers, and writers in the
form of a Progress Report so that appropriate changes
and improvements can be made to the product.
For this assignment, you will conduct Usability Testing
on the functional prototype of your web site using three
different class members from other project teams. There
are two steps you need to do in order to complete this
the Usability Testing form on the following page to
solicit feedback- you can either ask each participant
these questions and write down the essence of their
responses yourself, or you can ask each participant
to write in their own responses on the form. Regardless,
you must photocopy enough forms so that there is one
for each participant.
field notes of your observations of each test participant
as she or he moves through your web site
a participant seem to struggle at any stage?
a participant ask for clarification of anything?
a participant move too quickly or too slowly from
page to page with no difficulty?
questions, comments, or suggestions does a participant
have for the web site once the test is complete?
Date of Test-
Document Design Group-
Document Tester Signature-
Did you need to ask for clarification or help at any
point during your use of the web site? Where and why?
additional information or elements would you have found
helpful for using this web site?
you feel that this web site had and followed a clear
purpose, or were there parts that seemed out of place?
would you rate and describe the graphical elements and
overall design of the web site (i.e. useful, appropriate,
distracting, beautiful, professional etc.)?
What suggestions do you have for improving this site?
Please be as specific as possible.
(2+ pages)- Due 5/1
Technical communicators are often responsible for writing
progress reports in order to inform supervisors or other
team members about the status of a project. Its purpose
is often to document work that already been completed
and to describe what activities are currently underway
or still need to be started. In this progress report,
you task is to analyze the data you have collected from
your Usability Test and to discuss the revisions you plan
to undertake as a result.
Your progress report should include the following:
Update on Project Status
Feedback- Summarize and characterize the comments you
have received on your web site from testing participants
Plans for Revision- Formulate and explain an organized
plan for revising your web site Draw on your participant
feedback and the reading you have done for class to
justify your reasons for suggesting the changes you
think are necessary.
Attach all of your notes and participant forms to the
end of your progress report
The PowerPoint presentations will be held the last two
days of the last week of regular classes (5/10 and 5/12).
The purpose, beyond giving you the opportunity to gain
experience using presentation software that is standard
in most industries, is to show off and celebrate your
final web site creation. Each group should plan a 5-7
minute presentation to demonstrate your overall site,
as well as to discuss the significant changes you had
to make over the course of the quarter.
site Project- Due Finals Week
This project will represent the final product of all your
efforts throughout the term. It should include a fully
functional section of the web site you have designed,
as well as storyboards and a flowchart that demonstrates
what else you would do if you were to continue to work
on this project.
While the size and scope of all projects will vary depending
on their purpose, intended audience, and number of team
members, each groups final web site should have
a minimum of six fully functional screens. And though
your project content will be determined largely by the
needs of the organization and intended audience you are
working for, your web site should include most of the
following when applicable:
procedures, and organizational mission
or instruction manual
instructions and site map to assist users
or feasibility study results for implementation of major
organizational change or program development
relevant to the purpose of the web site or organization/client
documents or components that identify and solve some
problem or need within the organization
Your final project, including all of the assignment components
leading up to it (proposals, memos, reports, and presentations),
will comprise 70% of your final grade. This grade will
be calculated based on the following elements:
The final memo assignment is designed to get you to reflect
individually on the work you have done throughout the
quarter. It should contain your thoughts on and analysis
of your experience in your project group and the rhetorical
strategies which guided your overall web site organization
In composing this individual, informal memo to me, you
may want to reflect on some of the following questions.
Of course, you are welcome and encouraged to add questions
and ideas of your own.
was your overall experience in the group like?
problems did your team encounter as you worked on
various assignments and how did you go about solving
strategies did your group employ to make the collaborative
process work? What did you learn from each other about
working together? How did you decide who would do
do you wish your group would have done differently?
did you learn as an individual about working on project
teams that might help you in future?
site Rhetorical Strategy:
decisions guided your overall design strategies?
difficulties did you run into as you attempted to
develop content and integrate it into the web site?
did you balance your own ideas against those of your
client, intended audience, and Usability Test participants?
guided your decisions about site navigation and the
use of visual elements?
you were to start this project all over again, what
would you do differently and why?