Next Step of Our Collaboration — A design brief

After our interviews and discussions with W3C, this creative brief was formed to state the vision for our collaboration with the W3C. We have compiled this brief to inform and guide us through the process.


Background Summary:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open internet standards to ensure the long-term growth of the web. The directory of these can be found here: https://www.w3.org/TR/.

W3C standards and guidelines are developed by organizations, a full-time staff, and the public working together. They are accessed and used by web developers, designers, web authors, and educational institutions as a reference for the development of the web.

Goal:

Students of Master’s in User Experience and Interaction Design program at Jefferson University, have been invited by former Jefferson student and current W3C member Elika Etemad to participate in improving the usability of the specifications through changes to the design. We will not be addressing changes to the content, structure or HTML code of the specifications themselves.

Audience:

The end users of W3C web standards fall into different categories based on their purpose of using these standards. These are the key stakeholders who are either working to create or using these standards. We’ve listed down these users below to give a brief idea about their roles.

1. Specification Authors: Users who write new specifications. They are also members of a working group at W3C that has access to tools to write specifications and approve new specifications.

These authors are often informed by members of the public at large who show keen interest in the specifications and offer recommendations, feedback, and comments.

2. Implementers : The users in this group are generally using the specifications to implement the specification in their web browser. Based on what is written in the specification, implementers can ensure their browser will read that code.

3. Testers : This group comprises quality assurance specialists who test the specifications and sample code to report and assure compliance with current web standards and best practices.

4: Web Authors : This group comprises of front-end developers, web designers, software developers or anyone creating content for the web.

Tone:

The W3C is an authority for the development of the web. The existing design of the site is very traditional, functional and definitive. Though it is our goal to improve the usability of the site, we intend to retain the existing tone of authority.

The intention is to adopt modifications in visual design to improve the experience of searching, reading and referring to the specifications. We aim to develop a design that will have a long shelf life that is sustainable over time.

Deliverables:

The project is expected to run through early May over a few months. The first few steps have would involve intensive discussions with the client, understanding their requirements and hence defining the scope of the project. That information is documented here in the creative brief.

We have begun, with a duration of two weeks assigned to conducting user interviews, which will be followed by task analysis and evaluation. This will help define the personas and journey maps that will be used during the design phase of the project to inform our work.

Finally, we will dedicate the next step would comprise a larger section of time dedicated to creating high-fidelity wireframes, conducting user testing and iterating on the designs. This will be one of the most crucial phases in finalizing the design. The last few weeks will be entirely focused on visual design and compilation of work. If time in our semester allows, we will deliver updated high-fidelity wireframes, a style guide, usability test findings and a functional (clickable) prototype.

  1. Define and present project objectives : 
    a. Design Brief — Defining the scope of the project, target audience, research methodologies, expected outcome and the timeline.
  2. Evaluate the current state of the product :
    a. Heuristic Evaluation — Evaluation of the existing system and describing the current usability issues with the interface.
  3. Conduct, analyze and present user research :
    a. Task Analysis Findings — Examining the current usage, how the users achieve their goals and detecting difficulties with the navigation, content hierarchy, etc.
    b. Interview Findings — Recognizing expectations of users and understanding their pain points.
  4. Design, present and evaluate a design solution:
    a. Wireframes
    b. Prototype
    c. Style Guide
    d. User Testing Findings

We are honored to continue our work with the W3C. We look forward to collaborating and conversing with you as we post the work to come.