Design activity #4: strategizing

Design activity #4: strategizing
In which we attempt to describe how we think we are accomplishing our rhetorical goals, and
satisfying our audience expectations, through our design choices.
Through the preliminary reflection, learning, and especially the envisioning activities, we’ve
started to get a sense of what we want our collections to be, what our audiences might initially
expect when interacting with our collections, and how we might use the various design elements
at our disposal—resource selection, descriptive strategies, the grouping and arranging of
resources, and other digital library features—to negotiate between our ideas and audience
expectations and forge a truly persuasive rhetorical strategy. In this activity, we start to get
rigorous on our own behinds; we begin to describe what we are trying to do and how we think we
are doing it.
The product of our strategizing is the brief, the second of the three design documents that together
make up your collection design. The brief has two parts: in the first part, you articulate your own
authorial goals for the collection, as well as the background of audience beliefs, values, and
expectations that your goals must be modulated against. You also describe the scope of the
artifact you want to create to advance your goals in this audience environment. (That is, you
describe what you mean by “a collection of videos,” similarly to the way that Marcia Bates
clarifies what she means by “systematic bibliography.” In our case, the video collection will
include the digital library features that provide access to and describe the videos, and form the
collection experience.) In the second part, you lay out in some detail precisely how each design
decision you make, in terms of resource selection, resource description, information design, and
so on, works to facilitate the goals that you described.
In your first draft of the brief, your documentation will be concise and general. As your design
takes greater shape, via the scenarios and the “sketch,” you should be able to explain how every
decision fits into your overall plan, and you will be able to provide greater detail in the brief. At
the conclusion of the project, you should provide some rationale for the way you’ve approached
every item listed in the following outline. You won’t need to provide a blow-by-blow of every
decision that you made in cataloging each video, but you should, for example, describe the
general strategy you used in to determine the values for each cataloging attribute, how you
created titles for your videos, your approach in writing abstracts and summaries, and so on. You
might use specific examples to clarify things: if your basic approach in writing abstracts was to
seamlessly connect simple activities portrayed in the videos to larger sustainability goals, for
example, you might show how you did this in one or two cases.
Note: You do not need separate sections for each of these items in your final brief. These details
are included to help you, not unduly constrain you. You might end up writing a paragraph or two
for each numbered section in the Goals part of the brief, for example.
For next week’s class on February 18: Bring an initial brief with material for Part 1 and Part 2.1
(not Part 2.2). Will the strategies you describe in the brief require changes to your scenarios? I
think so! Revise those too.
INF 385 U, Digital Media Collections
Spring 2010
Strategy brief structure
Part 1: Goals
1. Authorial goals
Your definition of sustainability
Your position on sustainability
2. Design solution
The artifact you are creating to articulate your position on sustainability
What does it include?
What does it exclude?
Does your conceptualization of this artifact differ from typical manifestations of
such artifacts?
3. Audience background
Expectations for this type of artifact
4. Outcomes
What constitutes a successful outcome for audience interaction with this artifact?
What constitutes a failed outcome for audience interaction with this artifact?
Part 2: Design Rationale
1. General strategy: how will you design your artifact to persuasively articulate your
position to this audience?
Overall approach
Specific approach for basic areas
Resource selection
Resource description
Information design (arrangement of elements on home page, for
example, general tone of writing, etc)
2. Specific strategy: how is your general strategy implemented when making specific
design decisions?
Resource selection
Resource description
Design of descriptor types (browsing categories) and their ordering on
the home page
Customization of other metadata (roles, date types, and so on)
Description of individual resources (or why you decided not to use these
Content (abstract and summary)
Descriptor assignment
Poster frame selection
Other metadata, if you choose to use it (roles, dates, etc)
Information design
Library settings (tab names, library name, image, etc)
Use of featured videos
Use of “collections” within the library
INF 385 U, Digital Media Collections
Spring 2010
Feature decisions
Specific proposals for additional features in any area, with associated rationale
INF 385 U, Digital Media Collections
Spring 2010