Website Upgrade

Background

Since I am the first staff member dedicated fully to  Assistive Technology at UCCS, there was no previous presence on the Disability Services Office website.  I hastily put up a page of text addressing some of services I offered. (See portions below).  As you can plainly see, this is not a user friendly site.  It does not contain any of the elements of a good design. There are no graphic elements.  There is no flow.  Instructional Designer, Clare Dygert would consider this webpage devoid of flow.  It has a high cognitive load and is not effective.  

Goal

Recently, I have taken the time to re-design the Assistive Technology presence to be more inviting and informative.  My goal is that, along with assisting students with disabilities, these changes will encourage faculty and staff to become more engaged and active in the efforts to create an environment that is universally designed to welcome people of all abilities.  

As you can see below, I have chunked the assistive technology web page into six sub-pages.  This categorizing will help clarify the material and reduce the cognitive load of having to sort them in one's head.  Faculty and staff will likely only use the Captioning Services, Staff/Faculty Training, and Resources sections.  This reduces what they need to see by half. 

Process

Due to time and website template access limitations, I could not analyze the entire site ahead of time and use an ADDIE or other standard approach to this design.  I started working before spending time analyzing the design.  As a result, I find it a bit haphazard.  

Instead, without knowing what layout I would be using, I did some of the preliminary work, including the photography.  With the photographs, I used faces and actual locations that are relevant to our office.  I tried to get a more informal, casual feel to appeal to people who did not know us.  Nancy Duarte (2010) tells us that first impressions are extremely important and we need to be seen as likable (p. 173). 

 

To this same end, I allowed my student workers to assist in the creation of an introductory video to our Assistive Technology (AT) Lab and included it in the appropriate web page.  It might be considered less than professional, but I believe it is beneficial to students to see themselves as participants and co-creators of the site. 

The website remains a work in progress.  Our web development team is in the process of upgrading our templates to a more marketable and consistent theme.  As a result, I was not able to complete the transformation. 

Reflections

Although disappointing, the delay in my completion of this project gives me more time to consider what I want as a final product.  Although there is overlap, I am considering making a complete split in the site between students and the staff/faculty group.  I am seeing effective web pages at other universities where the split is made early and clearly.  For example, Augsberg University has this student facing page and the faculty one is listed in the left margin.  I need to pay attention to who my audience is when creating these web pages.  

References

Duarte, N. (2010). Resonate: Present visual stories that transform audiences. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Dygert, C. (2016, July 28). What Makes For Great Instructional Design? Retrieved November 02, 2018, from https://elearningindustry.com/makes-great-instructional-design