Digital Rhetoric Class Materials Michael Wojcik

This is a collection of materials I, or groups I worked in, created for WRA 415, Digital Rhetoric, taught by John Monberg at Michigan State University in Fall 2009. Most of this work revolves around the Our Michigan Ave website.

Persona Research Group

For the first half of the semester, I was a member of Research Group 1, which created personas for further development of the OMA website. My notes on the course readings on personas are available here.

Our Checkpoint Presentation describes the state of the research approximately halfway through the project.

In Personas' Progress (PDF, 200KB), I reflected on the Persona Research Group project.

Final report

A version of the group's Personal Report (Word document, about 14MB) is now available. This version has had interviewee's last names redacted to preserve their anonymity.

A similarly-redacted version of the mashup spreadsheet of our interview data is also available.

Visual Identity Design Group

During the second half of the semester I was part of Design Group 4. The Design Groups worked with the existing OMA website to incorporate our user research from the first half of the semester with additional research techniques to propose design updates (including additional content, changes to information architecture, and so on) for the site. Group 4, the Visual Identity group, was asked to consider questions like the following:

We summarized our assignment and some of our initial ideas in this in-class presentation (PDF, exported from a Google Docs presentation).

After brainstorming and discussion, the group used lo-fi design review to refine our ideas and select among alternatives, then created rapid prototypes using source from the site and other materials. Details are in our final report (8MB PDF), which also includes links to (mostly) working prototypes.

In Redesigning Home (Before the Holidays) (PDF, 235KB), I reflected on the Visual Identity Group project.

Website Updates (Final Project)

For my final project, I wanted to use my programming skills and the prototypes I had developed with the Visual Identity Design Group to begin making updates to the site itself. This required a fair amount of preparation to do properly, since OMA has, since its inception, been built using a mature, shared development process with distributed change management (originally using Subversion, now git) and local development and testing. So I had to set up the development and testing environment on my own system, make and verify changes there, then commit them to the main repository, before I could deploy them on the site. There are more details in my project proposal (PDF).

In the end, time constraints prevented me from actually deploying any changes to the live site. I did accomplish a number of tasks toward the project, though:

At this date, I'm continuing to work with John and Matt Penniman on the OMA site. The three of us also have a panel presentation about the project coming up at ATTW 2010 in March.