Conan community feedback processed

Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Dear IxDA,

I want to thank everybody who stepped up to participate in the recent round of feedback on the design concepts presented for IxDA Conan, our website redesign project. In addition to the members of the Conan team themselves, about 60 IxDA members asked to review designs in the ConceptShare system. Special thanks for the most cogent & detailed feedback from IxDA members goes to Maureen Murphy & Shilpas Shukla!

As the Creative Director & Project Manager of Conan, I have reviewed all the feedback and produced a set of design change recommendations as well as questions that need to be answered. These items are becoming work items that will be addressed by the design teams. Please feel free to take a look at the processed feedback published online at: http://docs.google.com/View?id=df6bq4tg_0ffzp5s3p

One issue raised repeatedly by reviewers that I’d like to address in this forum questioned our intention to utilize the existing visual design.

Firstly, it was a tactical mistake for us to represent the Home page as identical with today’s visual design; we will in fact be re-considering the layout and organization of this page to reflect the new, dynamic community contents that will be delivered with the new site. (Unfortunately, the design concepts for this page were not completed in time for this feedback round.)

However, it is a deliberate strategic decision on the part of the IxDA leadership team to minimize our risk on this major initiative by using our existing visual design. The current style of the website was professionally procured in 2007. When we surveyed our membership in December 2008 about various aspects of the current website in order to inform the Conan feature list & prioritization thereof, the visual design was judged to be the most successful aspect of the site. Adopting the adage of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” we have chosen principally to devote our resources to the interaction design and development challenges of the redesign project. The most urgent driver for this project has always been the technical instability of the current website’s discussion forum coupled with the extreme growth of our members & local groups.

Nevertheless, the Conan team intends to push the envelope on the visual design, based on the questioning feedback in this area. We all tend to agree that the overall look is too sterile or corporate, and we want to bring more life to the site in keeping with the vibrancy of our community. We also will reconsider the layout of the top-level navigation in relation to the logo, log-in fields and search functionality, and will ensure that second- and third-level navigation is clearly comprehensible and well-integrated with the page design.

Thanks again for your support of this initiative, which creeps ever closer to reality. Spare a kind thought for all the volunteers making this project happen! I believe that we’ll probably release a couple areas of the site for additional review of revised design concepts, and I hope you’ll help us polish it further when we release alpha/beta versions during the development phase. Just let me know if you have any questions in the meantime!

Cheers,
Liz


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