tl;dr Our task was to redesign the IG Wiki — an older platform for collecting study projects at the HfG in Schwäbisch Gmünd. During the process we realized that a simple redesign is not enough. So we realigned the whole concept and the IG Portfolio was born.
How the IG Wiki became the IG Portfolio.
IG = Interaktionsgestaltung = Interaction Design
The IG Wiki was a platform for students of the degree course Interaction Design at the University of Design in Schwäbisch Gmünd. It launched together with the first year of interaction design students in 2007. The students used it as a communication and collaboration platform. The functions ranged from collecting projects, tutorials, blogs for every student to possibilities for shared calendars and lectures.
As you can see there were a lot of different functions. In the first few years they were all used intensively. But when we started to redesign the platform in summer 2013 as an extra-curricular project, we realized that a lot of these sections were not used anymore. A few of the latest entries dated back to the year 2011/12.
The only section, that was still actively used was the collection of the projects. Since 2007 the students documented nearly 400 projects from various semesters and subjects. This creates a broad knowledge base.
Realizing, that a lot of functions were not used anymore, we could just not do a redesign of the whole platform. We had to focus on what was still being used and bring the content — this vast amount of information — to the front.
What are we trying to accomplish here?
Presenting unselected work out of every year of a course is the most honest representation you can get. If you show graduation projects to applicants it can be quite startling; “How will I ever get there?”. But if you show them what happens in the first few years, you can show them how to get there!
But it is not only helpful for applicants.
Active students who come into a new year can search for projects that were done in the years before. When they see these projects and their documentations, it gives them the possibility to learn out of these projects and to build upon them.
So out of these thoughts we created two focus points:
- This platform should be a knowledge and information platform for active students to learn and develop out of previous projects.
- Besides it should give the students an attractive possibility to collect and present their study projects.
We realized, that if we succeed in fulfilling these points, the platform will be helpful to many other parties.
How are we trying to accomplish this?
We developed an extremely focussed concept of connecting and presenting the projects.
On one hand the formal connection is given with the information on the supverisors, year and subject of the project. The content-related connection is given over tags. All of these information-links will start a search query to easily find similar projects.
We tried to make searching for projects as easy as possible. Start to type and the search field will appear. If you want to search for a specific word in a text, just select it and hit enter.
By giving every student their own portfolio. It is now possible to see the process that a student goes through. You can see with which projects he started in his first years. In most cases you can even download the whole project documentation, which allows deep insights into the specific projects.
Because we reduced the functionality that is available to the students, we could make the backend for the students cleaner. It is now much easier to upload and edit projects.
Presenting the IG Portfolio
The biggest challenge in presenting the IG Portfolio was to revitalize the engagement for the platform. We invited the students for an evening with snacks and beers. It was a complete success. Since then nearly 50 new projects have already been uploaded (04|2015).
But there is still a lot to do. We still have a few things to fix and right now we are searching for people who can continue to take care of the platform. There are a lot of ideas. We need to structurize them and see what we can do and achieve in the next years!
Thanks for reading!