Due Date: Finals Week
Your final project for ENGW 3332 should demonstrate your abilities as a writer, a coder, an information architect, and a usability specialist. To ensure that your final project aligns with your educational goals and professional plans, you may select one of two options, and you may choose to work alone or in a small group (preferably no more than three people).
Because each student’s project will be unique, your work for this assignment will be governed by a memorandum of understanding between you, me, and (if applicable) your client. As soon as you decide which option you will pursue, you should download the MOU template and begin drafting your proposal. Your MOU is due at the beginning of class on Tuesday, November 16.
Option A: Client Website
This option calls for you to develop (or redevelop) a website for a real client. In your memorandum of understanding, you should propose a plan for an extensive website project that will be your focus for the remainder of the course. Clients may include employers, nonprofit groups, friends, and relatives, as long as they need a website and are willing to participate in the project before the end of the semester.
If you choose to work on a client’s website, you will need to maintain regular contact with your client throughout the project. Your project should demonstrate evidence of an iterative design process, including mockups, draft text, prototypes, client feedback, etc.
Depending on your client’s needs, you may focus most heavily on writing, design, or content management. Whatever the case, your work should be commensurate with a culminating project and should reflect well on yourself and on St. Edward’s University.
Option B: Electronic Portfolio
This option calls for you to design an electronic portfolio that showcases your best work from ENGW 3332 and your other courses. You should reflect upon the full range of your academic and creative work at St. Edward’s (both inside and outside the classroom) and present your best work on your personal website. Your e-portfolio should include, at minimum, these basic elements:
- An introductory page to your portfolio that welcomes visitors and explains the purpose, organization, design, etc., of your site
- A revised résumé page
- At least five samples of your best work at St. Edward’s (at least one should come from your work in ENGW 3332)
- Reflection and commentary on these samples
Depending on your goals (grad school, job placement, consulting work, etc.), your portfolio may have a strong academic orientation or it may serve to establish yourself in the professional world. You may build your site from scratch, use a WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver, modify an open-source template, or use a content management system like WordPress. Whatever the case, your work should be commensurate with a culminating project and should reflect well on yourself and on St. Edward’s University.
The primary deliverable for this assignment will be the finished client site or finished e-portfolio. You will submit electronic copies of all site files on a CD/DVD or flash drive.
In addition, your project should be accompanied by a two-page memo of transmittal (single spaced, using memo format) that explains and justifies the choices you made over the course of the project. Your memo should address issues of audience, content, and purpose, as well as more technical topics, such as coding, color, typography, usability, etc. Your memo should also address any problems you encountered during this project and discuss what you might do differently if you had more time, different software, greater expertise, etc.
Your project will almost certainly include additional deliverables, such as evidence of client feedback, drafts of web content, and screenshots of early prototypes. Your MOU should include a full list of the specific deliverables you intend to produce for your project.
Like everything else related to this assignment, the criteria I will use to evaluate your project are negotiable and will be finalized in your MOU. As you draft your evaluation criteria, you may want to draw upon these examples:
- Audience: What primary or secondary audiences does your client need or want to address in establishing a presence on the web? Have you anticipated the information needs of these audiences and does your site fulfill these needs? Who are these people and how can you draw them into your client’s website?
- Information Architecture: Does the site you created reflect the information needs of the audiences you identified above? Does the site have an organizational scheme that is used consistently throughout the site?
- Longevity: Is the site structured and coded in such a way that your client will be able to maintain the site without coming to you for help? Have you provided documentation to your client that explains how to maintain the site?
- Completeness: Does the portfolio contain a welcome page, a résumé, and samples from a variety of courses and/or extracurricular activities?
- Audience: How well does the portfolio address the needs of your audience(s) (e.g., potential employers)?
- Reflection: Does the reflection component of the portfolio display a mature analysis of the included artifacts? Does the reflection component help “situate” the artifacts within a larger context (i.e., your academic career)?
- Ethos: Does the portfolio project a personal image that is appropriate for your academic or professional goals? Does the site strengthen your reputation with your intended audience(s)?
- Visual Design: Is the site visually appealing? Does the site employ best practices in design, color, and typography?
- Usability: Is the site easy to navigate? How quickly would first-time visitors be able to find the information they are looking for?
- HTML/CSS Coding: Does your code conform to current standards, and if not, why have you deviated from these standards? Have you tested your site on a variety of browsers running on a variety of machine configurations to ensure no one in your intended audience is excluded from viewing the site because of the code you have written? Does the code pass the W3C Validator tests?