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IXD301 Designing with Content

This module explores the importance of considering content – in all its forms – as a core element of any piece of interaction design that can, itself, be designed. As content strategist Karen McGrane puts it: “Well-structured content is the backbone and starting point of all successful web designs and user interactions.” Through an emphasis on developing strategic approaches to content and its generation, students are introduced to additional possible career pathways, including that of the content strategist.

Students undertake a series of exercises, which include: identifying content types and taxonomies; designing content systems; considering future, as yet unimagined content delivery platforms; learning the principles of programming; and exploring Content Management Systems (CMS) and a Micropublication workshop.

-- Dr. Kyle Boyd

Overview

  • Week 01: Masterclass: Micro-Publications
  • Week 02: Briefing and Overview: Project 01 Portfolio
  • Week 03: Wrestling Jekyll
  • Week 04: Where Content Comes From
  • Week 05: If a tree falls in the forest…
  • Week 06: Group Critique (Portfolio Sites)
  • Week 07: Briefing and Overview: Project 01 Portfolio (Elements) + Content Stratedgy
  • Week 08: Pixel Pioneers (No Class)
  • Week 09: Who's it for?
  • Week 10: The Art of the Pitch
  • Week 11: Future Friendly Content
  • Week 12: Group Critique (Elements Sites)

Class Times

  • Lectures: Thursdays: 10.00-16.00
  • Tutorials: Wednesdays 10.00-12.00

Week 01: Masterclass: Micro-Publications + Module Overview

28 September, 2017

At heart we are designers of content. In the absence of content, our role is almost impossible to fulfil. (Lorem ipsum does no one any favours.) This short, intensive masterclass explores how content is changing, or – more accurately – how we consume content is changing.

We’ll be developing concepts for ‘micro-publications’ – short, easy to consume content frgaments – and exploring how these might be packaged, delivered and consumed. Our goal is to create a portfolio piece that might (but needn’t be) developed further.

This is a one day masterclass supplemented with a week to develop and realise ideas. Masterclass on Thursday, deadline the following Wednesday. A short, sharp one week project.


Week 02: Briefing and Overview: Project 01 Portfolio

05 October, 2017

Briefing: The first half of the module is focused on portfolio site and content strategy. It's really all about self-promotion. Things to consider:

  • Content Audit
  • Learning from Others (How are your heroes structuring their sites?)
  • Site-Mapping Your Site

This first week is pretty much focused on explaining the shift from static to dynamic content. We will be talking about:

  • Static Site; vs
  • WordPress, Ghost, etc. (Database); vs.
  • Jekyll, Kirby, etc. (Flat File)

We will be doing a Jekyll install and getting you to start looking at this.

Tasks to be done:

  • Perform Content Audit
  • Create Site
  • Install Jekyll

URLs


Week 03: Wrestling Jekyll

12 October, 2017

This week is pretty much all about getting the content gathered. Returning to your Week 01 Content Audit and the site map you created, start to generate the content for your site.

We will be considerig 'Where content comes from?'

  • Client
  • Self-Generated
  • Wikipedia or other Third Party Sites
  • User Generated Content

We will also be looking at the power of Jekyll with includes, data, header and footer etc.

Today is pretty much about getting GitHub Pages and Jekyll running.

Tasks to be done:

  • Get dirty with Jekyll
  • Consider how your site will piece together, header, footer etc
  • HTML/CSS Pages of Home and one of your case studies
  • A style tile of the overall look and feel. Dont know what a style tile is? Research! This can be done in Sketch/Illustrator. Look at this

URLs


Week 04: Where Content Comes From

19 October, 2017

This week is all about where content comes from and also who owns that content. We'll look at sources of content, for example:

  • Client Supplied
  • Self Generated
  • User Generated Content
  • APIs
  • Etc.

Once we've identified different sources of content we'll look at who owns what. We're really underlining that you can't just raid Google for images and use them with abandon. We'll explore:

  • Copyright
  • Creative Commons

We'll also identify different sources of imagery, etc., for example Illustration, Icons, Photography…

  • Illustration
    • iStockPhoto
    • Others?
  • Icons
    • The Noun Project
  • Photography
    • Unsplash
    • iStockPhoto
    • Shutterstock
    • Getty

Tasks to be done:

  • Start to consider the content for your site, portfolio pieces, case studies
  • Start to build out your portfolio site in HTML and CSS.
  • Want to see more progress, you should have completed your home page and a case study. Now start work on the about page and main portfolio page (which links to case studies.)

Week 05: Promotional Stretegy: If a tree falls in the forest…

26 October, 2017

Great, you've built a site, now how are you going to promote it? The promotional three-pronged approach:

  1. Portfolio Site
  2. Social Profiles (Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  3. Inspiration and Priming the Brain (Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.)

This week is really all about developing a strategy and connecting with people online in preparation for placement.

Get the students to start strategically following and interacting. Also stress:

  • Don't be a dick.
  • Spelling and Grammar
  • What's appropriate?

URLs


Week 06: Group Critique (Portfolio Sites)

02 November, 2017

A group critique encouraging peer learning, this session affords an opportunity to gather feedback on the work done to date. Expect honest opinions, expressed fairly.

This critique affords the students formative feedback, providing them with an opportunity to address any issues and to improve the quality of the submission before the January hand-in.

What we are looking to see here is two deliverables:

  • Your portfolio site complete and online
  • Your Micro-publications

Week 07: Briefing and Overview Elements + Content Strategy

09 November, 2017

This week is about outlining the next project, the 'Elements' site. we will look at some of the best projects from last year: Hannah Sharp, Aaron McAlinden and Mark Sleator.

We will be organising data in a spreadsheet. Talking about taxonomies, explain what we mean by considering different content types.

We will be looking at how to analyse content. Look at, for example:

  • A tweet and pull out all the different bits of content.
  • A blog post, etc..

Tasks to be done:

  1. Organized raw periodic table data into a spreadsheet
  2. Design an A4 poster explaining one element include all information you feel is necessary
  3. User Flow Diagram - what happens when you go to site, what is the user flow
  4. Style Tiles think about brand, layout, color scheme typography, icons
  5. Paper Prototype a design for your periodic table
  6. By Week 09 HTML Structure
  7. Visit the elements exhibition at the Ulster Museum

Week 08: Pixel Pioneers Conference (No Class)

16 November, 2017

Pixel Pioneers is a brand new series of affordable events bringing world-class advice from the brightest minds in web design and development to the UK. Curated by Oliver Lindberg, former editor of net magazine with more than a decade of experience in the web industry, the events are tailored to the web's vibrant community.

Student Tickets Available: Student Tickets

YOU SHOULD GO TO THIS


Week 09: Who's it for?

23 November, 2017

This week is all about users and user personas. You will create a couple of user personas for the Elements web site and show how these personas will require different things.

###Persona A - A Child (12-14)

What are they interested in? Is this to do with teaching? Is it fun? Is it serious? Is it gamified? IMPORTANT: Are we leaving some of the content out, because it's not appropriate to the audience, for example the atomic weight might be a bit boring.

###Persona B - A Scientist (30-60+)

A different kind of person, different kind of needs. This person might want the atomic weight (in fact they might need it).

Stress that the different personas will lead to different outcomes and that before we begin to design something we need to think about who is using it and what their needs are.

Tasks to be done:

  • A persona for your project
  • Consider doing some user research, a questionnaire to a primary school?

Week 10: The Art of the Pitch

30 November, 2017

Everything you need to know about selling your ideas. How to design a slick slide deck and present it.

Tasks to be done:

  • Fill in the

Week 11: Future Friendly Content

07 December, 2017

Today is about the future.

We always need to spend time on the HTML… Everything else is icing on the cake.

Content that is well marked up lasts longer. In terms of ability to open in 20 years time… The items lower down the list are likely to pose problems (often because they are proprietary solutions):

  • Plain Text
  • Plain Text + Markdown * (Markdown is a bonus!)
  • HTML
  • HTML + CSS *
  • HTML + CSS + JS *
  • WordPerfect
  • Etc.

* Markdown, CSS and JS are bonuses.

We will talk about Future Friendly design and watch Jeremy Keith's talk on Resilience:

https://vimeo.com/166140718

You can check out alot of what Jeremy talks about as parts of his book is available here: https://resilientwebdesign.com/

Well-structured content is the backbone and starting point for all successful web designs and user interactions. Karen McGrane

Tasks to be done:

None this week! Finish Elements site!


Week 12: Group Critique (Elements Sites)

14 December, 2017

A group critique encouraging peer learning, this session affords an opportunity to gather feedback on the work done to date. Expect honest opinions, expressed fairly.

This critique affords the students formative feedback, providing them with an opportunity to address any issues and to improve the quality of the submission before the January hand-in.

What we are looking to see here is one deliverables:

  • Elements Website

A more detailed breakdown of the assessment, with deliverables, is available here.