[IAEP] [DESIGN] Ideas and questions on SL.o
dc.loco at gmail.com
Sun Dec 27 15:21:32 EST 2009
While wikis, blogs, and other social networking phenomena may be great for
personal empowerment and self-esteem, not everyone can who wants to write
can write. It often seems to me that there is this illusion that wikis in
particular are self-organizing, self-correcting organisms requiring very
little maintenance, and that newcomers will be able to navigate them with
the same facility as the veterans. While efforts like Wikipedia have been
largely successful, it is in part due to the limited nature of the
individual pages. A page on any given topic will likely link to quite a
number of other pages, but should be able to stand on its own as a complete
(if not necessarily deep) entry. Brevity, in this case being more than
merely the soul of wit.
In addition, determining what a user will use as a search term is easier
with sites that are more focused on who, what, where and when. The problem
for groups like Sugar Labs (and several other sites) is that people often
come looking for how, and why which, in my opinion, are harder to pin down
into simple searches. People are rarely looking for an elaborate definition
or a history. More often they're looking for a set of instructions, a
roadmap, a recipe, an answer. Users also need a logical sequence from simple
to advanced, if for example, they want to learn to create activities. What
are the prerequisites and where should users find them?
Who is the audience? How do you steer different audiences to the most
appropriate information, both in terms of their needs and their skills /
knowledge? Is there a process for certifying information as not only
accurate, but "stable", or for those who prefer,a way to find only the
bleeding-edge unstable tidbits?
As for your template, it's one of many models that could work. Personally,
I'd like a section early on that states the problem(s) before offering the
solution(s). What's out on the page right now is a nice statement, but "Why
should I invest the time, energy, and 'emotional trauma' to try out this
thingie?" followed rapidly by "OK... HOW should I invest my time, energy,
etc in trying out this thingie?"
Too often the response to some question is "Well, join yet another mailing
list. Subscribe to yet another blog." Who has the time? The web should get
me to the best answer with the least amount of fuss, otherwise it becomes
millions of channels with nothing "good to watch" -- sorta like reality TV.
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