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Higher Education Web Symposium

A conference focused on the unique challenges of web design and development in academia

July 14, 2009
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Home > Agenda

8:00am Breakfast & Conference Registration  
9:00am-12:00pm Practical Prototyping: Realizing What Your
Designs Can Be

Todd Zaki Warfel
State-of-the-Art E-Learning: Extending the Classroom
Across the Internet

Lisa Neal Gualtieri
  Free Lunch with conference registration
Sponsor Presentation
1:30pm-4:30pm What Makes A Design Seem Intuitive? Overcoming Complexity in Design
Jared Spool
Designing with AJAX: Building Interaction
into the Design

Derek Featherstone
  Evening Social Event(s)
Sponsored by PhillyCHI
  Optional - Show & Tell
Several attendees report interest in doing a shared show & tell session on July 15. Bring a website, a web app, anything of interest to share & learn. Free critiques and all the praise you can handle!

Practical Prototyping: Realizing What Your Designs Can Be
Todd Zaki Warfel

Everybody loves a surprise, except in design. Nobody likes the moment when they reveal all of their hard work and receive an unenthusiastic, "Is that it?"

All too often this is because too much was built without the right feedback. The design and development went forward, based on assumptions about the users, their needs, the technology, and the business. Yet, it turns out those assumptions needed testing and validation.

Prototyping--building a mockup of the design to validate its direction--has never been easier. Designers today have a plethora of tools for every stage of the development process. New techniques make it fast and easy to get a design working.

To guide us through the landscape of prototyping, we've invited Todd Zaki Warfel, author of the upcoming book, A Practitioner's Guide to Prototyping. Todd's put together an amazing seminar, chock-full of the latest techniques and tools. You'll see the full gamut of prototyping techniques, from paper to JavaScript and everything in between.

You'll come away from this seminar, ready to tackle your own prototyping projects, so you realize what your design can be right away.

State-of-the-Art E-Learning: Extending the Classroom Across the Internet
Lisa Neal Gaultieri

Whether we like it or not, the Internet has changed the way we teach. Subject matter no longer comes from only textbooks. Informal learning is everywhere. Social networking makes it easy to find experts.

Formal learning is also essential. People want to be engaged. In addition to the traditional classroom, the Internet gives us a way to extend that engagement online, letting those who are distant to join in on the experience.

In this seminar, Lisa Neal Gaultieri, editor of eLearn Magazine, will show you the state-of-the-art in e-learning technologies. She'll show you the wide range of delivery technologies that are now available for online learning. You'll see when these technologies can improve the classroom experience, by helping people engage with their learning material, their peers, and their instructor in a way not possible in traditional approaches.

The risk, of course, is that online learning can be dreary. It's way to easy to take engaging material and turn it into a miserable learning experience that students only suffer through. Lisa will show you a variety of techniques to make e-learning more engaging, some using technology and some putting students into roles that engage them in the material.

Whether you've been tasked with creating your school's e-learning strategy, or want to take advantage of the newest techniques for your class, this seminar will show you today's state-of-the-art e-learning technologies.

What Makes A Design Seem Intuitive? Overcoming Complexity in Design
Jared M. Spool

Everyone wants an intuitive interface: the users, the designers, and the content publishers. But do we really know what we mean when we say intuitive? It's a term that we bat around a lot, saying it as if we all know what we're talking about. Yet a solid definition, let alone good examples of intuitive and unintuitive interfaces, is very hard to find.

Some will tell you that intuitiveness is related to simplicity, where complex experiences quickly become unintuitive. Yet it's easy to come across seemingly simple interfaces that are inscrutable. Others will tell you that an interface becomes unintuitive when it loses its consistency, but we can find many examples of new and novel designs that just work logically.

So what is it that dictates when a design seems intuitive? If we want to create great designs, how do we ensure we're not messing up our users' experience by creating unintuitive interfaces?

Jared M. Spool and the team at User Interface Engineering have been looking into these questions for more than 10 years. Their research has uncovered what it means to build an intuitive design, showing us exactly what it takes.

UIE's research discovered that to build an intuitive design, a designer has to do two things: (1) Take complete advantage of what the user already knows, so what they see is completely familiar to them and (2) make the act of learning anything new completely imperceptible to the user. It turns out, if the interface requires the user to realize they are learning something, the intuitive label disappears instantly.

In this workshop you'll;

Jared will show you, through dozens of great examples from Microsoft Word, MSN, Google Talk, Flickr, Avis, and Disney, how an intuitive interface work and what you need to ensure your design works perfectly for your users.

Designing with AJAX: Building Interaction into the Design
Derek Featherstone

Designing web sites just got a little sexier, a little cooler, and a whole bunch harder. Whereas, in the olden days, we just needed to think in terms of a complete new page, now we can make each page feel interactive. With this newfangled Ajax stuff, we can update content, retrieve and display new data, and move elements around, all without ever refreshing the page.

Incorporating Ajax into both existing and new web pages can dramatically improve ease of use by improving flow, reducing errors, and increasing both satisfaction and performance. Don't be fooled, though. Ajax done well can provide these, but Ajax done poorly can be nothing short of frustrating, effectively neutralizing the advantages of using Ajax in the first place.

In this seminar, Derek Featherstone, sought-after expert on Ajax and Accessibility, will show you Ajax from the ground up, ensuring that you're well versed in its technical fundamentals, best practices, and design implications. Not only will you leave with a toolset that helps you recognize Ajax when you see it, you'll also learn to identify opportunities to achieve success in your applications -- using easy-to-spot design patterns and implementation guidelines.

Derek will show you, through dozens of great examples, how to use Ajax as a design tool and how to avoid the traps that designers all into. You'll leave confident to know when Ajax is your best design approach and when you should leave it for another day.

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