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									Austin Technology Incubator:
     Web Site Redesign
       October 8, 2002 update

                                 Kayla Chioco
                                Emily Hebard
                                 Jennifer Jobst
                                Lisa Kleinman
                                Mike Normura
1 Introduction
The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) would like to redesign its current website to
have it better reflect their mission and provide better services to a wide variety of users.
Our LIS385T group has agreed to provide ATI with suggestions and prototypes for a new
information architecture, including navigation architecture and a limited graphical re-
design. We will also provide a web site style guide so that ATI can implement the re-

2 The Project
The major components of this re-design include:
 Restructuring the underlying information architecture
 Standardizing the navigational structure by developing a navigation scheme
 Identifying page templates
 Heuristically evaluating the overall usability of the site (Update 10/08/02 – Time
   constraints prevented writing of a formal heuristic analysis, but all team members
   participated in an informal verbal analysis of the site.)

The re-design of the web site will be based on the input provided from primary ATI
stakeholders and end users (using interviews, scenario development, and usability
evaluations), as well as benchmarks. This re-design will allow ATI to have a framework
that allows future content to be easily added and is in line with ATI’s ability to support
the website.

Update 10/8/02 – Due to lack of contact with ATI, our input will consist primarily of user
scenarios that we have developed and our own observations and heuristics. Refer to
section 4.1 for details about our user scenarios. In addition, because we are having
difficulty contacting ATI, we do not know about ATI’s ability to support the website.

2.1 Purpose
The purpose of this project is to provide ATI with a web site architectural framework
that, when fully implemented, allows ATI's users to accomplish their goals, including:
     Communicating ATI’s mission and goals
     Allowing prospective companies to submit proposals
     Showing employment opportunities
     Fertilizing a knowledge network (11/3/02 – We decided that the content currently
        known as the “knowledge network” should be in the intranet, and since the scope
        of this project only includes ATI’s Internet, we would not include it as part of the
        project. In our final submission to ATI we will recommend that they move the
        knowledge network to their intranet only. However, current architecture redesign
        does support access to the existing knowledge network through a member login.)
     Showcasing available consultants and ATI companies
     Attracting potential investors
Further discussions with ATI may widen or narrow the project's scope.

2.2 Objectives
      Define the mission of the website in the context of the overall mission and vision
       of ATI (Update 10/08/02 – With the help of ATI, we have defined the mission to
       be catering to the four most important target audiences – emerging technology
       companies, job seekers, prospective professional service providers, and investors)
      Analyze current and projected content (11/03/02 – Due to lack of contact with
       ATI, we are unable to get projected content. Instead we will focus on improving
       existing content and making suggestions in the style guide for developing
       consistent content in the future.)
      Consult with primary stakeholders and end users to determine their usage patterns
       and requirements (10/08/02 – lack of contact with primary stakeholders forces us
       to rely on our scenarios and personal experience to determine usage patterns and
      Develop a taxonomy that describes the organizing of the current content, then
       create a new taxonomy (if necessary) that also encompasses any new content
      Create an information architecture model based on the design requirements
      Create a navigation scheme for the information space
      Test the usability of the information architecture through low-fi prototypes
      Create a site style guide

2.2.1 Critical Success Factors
      Communicating among team members and between the team and ATI
      Meeting as many of ATI’s goals as are realistic in the time frame given
      Managing ATI's expectations

2.3 Assumptions
      ATI will work with us to:
          o Identify target users
          o Provide contact information where appropriate
          o Identify what they would like to see accomplished
          o (10/13/02 – ATI has told us what they consider to be their target users, and
              has identified a few things that they would like to see accomplished.
              Fortunately their goals mesh will with everything we have developed so
      We have the freedom to change the site as we see fit (graphically, content, and/or
      We are not implementing a technologically functional web site (see 3.2
2.4 Constraints
      Time (schedule only permits 10 weeks of work)
      Quality of ATI contacts and assistance
      Existing back-end site architecture and other engineering constraints (10/23/02 –
       due to lack of contact with ATI, we do not know the back-end site architecture or
       any other engineering constraints, and so will not consider this a constraint.)
      Legal or business policies (10/23/02 – as far as we know, the only business or
       legal policies are that it needs to be obvious that ATI is affiliated with the
       University of Texas, and with IC2.)

2.5 Risks
      Infrequent in-person client contact
      Managing ATI’s expectations (for example, we will not deliver a fully functional
       web site)
      Version control of all deliverables (documentation, prototypes, wireframes, etc)
      Technological meltdowns (system/storage failure, etc.)

2.6 Team Members
      Kayla Chioco        
      Emily Hebard        
      Jennifer Jobst      
      Lisa Kleinman       
      Mike Nomura         

2.7 Team Responsibilities
      Attendance at team meetings
      Responsiveness to email and other communications
      Consistent communication with ATI (Update 11/24/02 – after the preliminary
       meeting with ATI, due to time constraints we decided to go ahead with the project
       based on this information.)
      Hand in of weekly deliverables (Update 11/24/02 – most of our weekly
       deliverables were internal to the team, and team members feel that this process
      Individual responsibilities will be assigned as the project evolves

Currently, Kayla is our web master and Jennifer is responsible for the weekly updates of
our deliverable document. All team members are breaking up the workload as needed: we
are each working on developing user scenarios and looking at how the goals of each
scenario could be met using the existing web site. Refer to section 3.4.1 and section 4 for
more information on our current workload.
3 Project Planning
Refer to section 3.3 for dates for these deliverables.
    Meet with ATI to identify site goals and target users (Update 10/7/02) (Update
        10/13/02 – we were in fact able to meet with ATI on October 11 to identify site
        goals and target users.)
    Evaluate user requirements
    Write user scenarios and content matrix
    Evaluate comparable web sites for benchmarking (refer to section 4.2 for a
        competitive analysis)
    Develop navigation and information architecture based on scenarios and content
    Design wireframes for key pages, focusing on use of templates
    Implement low-fi prototypes
    Refine prototypes through usability testing (Update 11/24/02 – instead of formal
        usability testing, we chose to do informal verbal heuristics, cognitive
        walkthroughs, and card sorting.)
    Write style guide
    Present deliverables to ATI and class

3.1 Project Scope
      Information architecture of select content as mutually agreed on by ATI and team
       (Update 10/7/02) (Update 10/13/02 – ATI’s input was incorporated.)
      Prototype pages (or templates) of key pages
      Style guide will address scalability (Update 11/24/02 - of information, not
       implementation), maintenance (Update 11/24/02 – for style, not technology), and
       other issues (Update 11/24/02 – design, layout, and presentation)

3.2 Deliverables
The final product for ATI will be a document outlining the proposed information
architecture for their web site, including:
      Prototyped pages (possibly with some interaction) (Update 11/24/02 – Prototype
       pages can be found at
      User testing summaries (Update 11/24/02 – Informal verbal heuristics
       (, Cognitive walkthrough
       ( and card sorting
      Style guide (Update 11/24/02 – Style guide can be found at
      Presentation of project

3.3 Timeline for Deliverables
Oct. 1 - 15, 2002 – Planning
The planning phase will involve gathering information to shape the requirements of the
IA and determine the context in which the IA is developed. To gather the necessary
information, we will interview primary stakeholders (ATI Director and Webmaster) and
end users, develop user scenarios, study website usage, review design of the current
website and legal and business policies. In addition, we will gather content from the
current website.
       Update 10/8/02 – we are currently on track with this phase as we have developed
       user scenarios, have performed benchmarks of other comparable sites, and are in
       the process of gathering content from the current site.

Oct. 16 - 31, 2002 – Analysis
As information is gathered, we will begin a detailed analysis. The analysis will yield the
requirements for the architecture and will reflect the users’ expectations and goals for the
web site. This includes developing the website mission, a user oriented taxonomy to
categorize information in the website, and structuring the content based on the taxonomy.
To support an effective design we will also study other web sites and commercial web
sites to develop benchmarks for the new web site. (This was already taken care of in the
planning stage and so can be removed from the analysis stage.)
       Update 11/02/02 – we have completed the content analysis of the website. After
       much discussion and testing, a new taxonomy and labeling system has been
       developed to better categorize the information on the site. As for the website
       mission, that has more or less been defined both by us and ATI as catering to the
       users presented in the scenarios.

Nov. 1 - 15, 2002 – Design
The architecture for the website will be constructed using the detailed requirements,
content, and user analysis derived in the Planning and Analysis phases. The architecture
and navigation scheme will be based on the user oriented taxonomy and content matrix.
A wire frame of pages will be developed to represent the key pages of the web site.
       Update 11/17/02 – After discussing the web site’s graphical design and layout and
       brainstorming on a whiteboard, we agreed to develop 3 prototypes and decide
       which we liked most (or which aspects we liked in each). From these 3 prototypes
       we agreed on a single wire frame for the main page and the secondary pages. We
       also redesigned the content somewhat to fit the new navigation scheme.
Nov. 12, 2002 – Construction
The style guide will be written and the prototypes implemented, based upon our research.
       Update 11/23/02 – The style guide will be completed on 11/24.

Nov. 19, 2002 - Verification and Deployment
We will perform user testing of prototypes and refine the prototypes based on test results.
       Update 11/17/02 – this phase of the project was really done in the Design phase,
       when we tested our three prototypes.
Nov. 26, 2002 - Final Walkthrough Review
We will meet with ATI to assure project goals have been met. In addition to the design,
recommendations will be made for content maintenance and web site expansion and
       Update 10/13/02 – Instead of meeting with ATI, we will send them the
       deliverables, and meet with Dr. Turnbull to make sure all goals for this project
       have been met.

Dec. 3, 2002 - Group Project Presentations/Post-Mortem Report
We will present our project to the class and to ATI, and we will provide a post-mortem
report that reviews what we felt went well with the project, as well as areas that could be

3.4 General Content Specifications
Currently there are several main areas of content that we have identified on the existing
        About us (that is, about ATI)
        Jobs
        Admissions (to ATI)
        Services (that ATI provides)
        Miscellaneous

3.4.1 Existing Content and Design
We are currently in the process of developing a template to capture the site’s current
content. Once we have the template, we will be reviewing the following html pages for

       Update 11/11/02 – Template for content audit has been developed (it can be found
       at, and we will be using it for the

MIKE - About Us:

EMILY – Jobs section & misc.

JENNIFER - Admissions:

LISA - Services:

       Update 11/22/02 - The content audits for each of these pages can be found at

3.4.2 New Content and Design
Once we finish analyzing the existing content and test our user scenarios to find what
content is required to satisfy user needs, we will develop new content to fill any gaps.

    Update 11/10/02 – Because of lack of contact with ATI, we do not know what kind
    (if any) of new content they want. Instead, we have made suggestions (based on our
    competitor analysis and user scenarios) to revise the existing content to fit with the
    new navigation and architecture schemes. These suggestions include:
             More information for investors
             A “business resources” section
             Architectural support for a “resume database”
4 Analysis
4.1 Users
Because we were unable to contact actual users, we devised user scenarios to describe
why people might visit the ATI site. We then followed our scenarios to get an idea of
what pages potential users might visit on the site and what information they would be
looking for. We will use this information to develop a taxonomy and ideas of what the
site’s content should contain, so that we can then develop new content as needed.

A description of the user scenarios can be found at, and the scenario paths (that is, what
paths users would follow on the current ATI site based on each scenario) can be found at

4.2 Competitive Analysis
As part of our evaluation, we reviewed other similar sites to use as a benchmark for
ATI’s existing site. The site reviews can be found at

4.3 Content Analysis
We analyzed the content of the existing site. These analyses can be found at

5 Design
5.1 Design Elements

5.1.1 Two-tiered navigation
The navigation scheme for the new ATI site incorporates a top navigation bar that
contains global links on the main page. On sub-pages, an additional left-hand navigation
bar contains links for the information that can be found in that section. We chose this
navigation scheme both to update ATI’s existing site to a more standard method of
presentation, and also because our cognitive walkthrough showed that this sort of
navigation scheme helped people stay oriented within the site.

5.1.2 Footer navigation
Sub-pages include footer navigation that repeats the top global navigation links. We
chose to include footer navigation on the sub-pages because many of them have content
that goes “below the fold” and thus requires the user to scroll.
5.1.3 Affiliates logos
One if ATI’s requirements was to include links to their affiliates’ sites. On other sites,
this is commonly done by placing the logos of the affiliate sites at the bottom of the page
(but preferably “above the fold”), and having the logos link to the appropriate site. We
chose to follow this standard in the redesigned site, instead of using ATI’s text-only links
to affiliates’ sites.

5.1.4 Content
Content layout can be an important design element, and we felt that it was critical to have
a similar look and feel for the content throughout the site. The ATI style guide
( was designed to ensure consistent
typographical and layout elements. This standardization contributes to improved site
branding and increases ease of user navigation (as shown in our cognitive walkthroughs).

5.1.5 Logo as link to home
Another standard we chose to follow in the site redesign was to make the ATI logo a link
to the home page. This also eliminates the need for a “Home” link on the global
navigation bar.

5.1.6 Audience focus
ATI’s main goal with their web site redesign was to cater to several key user groups:
prospective incubator companies, prospective investors, and job seekers. The site’s
overall design and layout, including the three audience-centric links on the right-hand
side of the main page, are geared with these audience members, and their goals, in mind.

5.1.7 Periodically updated content
In order to keep the site’s content fresh and to encourage users to visit the site often, we
implemented two areas on the main page that contain content that must be periodically
updated. The “Latest Headlines” section will contain information about press releases and
other media-related information, and the “Success Story” section will feature an
incubator company. It is important that these sections be updated frequently so the site
will not be stale.

5.1.8 Web page templates
We chose not to design a template for our home page, since there is only one page like it.
However, we did create a template for our sub pages. You can see the template for the
sub-pages applied to the prototype at

6 Construction
The objective of this project was to design templates that could be implemented. In
addition to fulfilling this goal, we also built interactive HTML prototypes, and this
section discusses this process.
6.1 Version Control
Because each team member was responsible for a specific aspect of the project, we had
little problem with version control. Two team members did use the Dreamweaver check
in/check out function when working on the web site prototype. In addition, the project
web site contributed greatly to communication, since the latest version of each aspect of
the project was always available on our web site.

6.2 Standards and Conventions
The standards and conventions to be used in construction of the ATI web site are covered
in the style guide, available at

6.3 Development Tools
We used a variety of tools to develop the prototypes, wire frames, content, etc. for the
new ATI site. Most team members used what they were familiar with, including:

          Dreamweaver
          Microsoft Word
          Adobe Photoshop
          Visio
          Omnigraffle

7 Verification
We used several methods of verification throughout the process of redesigning ATI’s
site, including:
          User scenarios
          Scenario paths
          Competitor evaluations
          Content audit
          Content analysis
          Cognitive walkthrough
          Card sorting

We were unable to perform an heuristic evaluation of actual users on our interactive
prototype due to time constraints (and because we were not planning to have a working
prototype to test). However, we verified that the delivered prototype conforms to the style
guide, and we validated the prototype’s functionality (e.g. checking that links work and
images appear correctly).

8 Maintenance
At this time, ATI does not have a dedicated web master. Thus, we wanted to design a site
that was relatively easy to maintain. However, with the rotating content we have
suggested in the redesign, if this is not maintained regularly then the content will look
9 Outstanding Issues - Items to be resolved after review
  of this document
          Because of time constraints, lack of contact with ATI led to many
           assumptions being made about many aspects of the web site
          Lack of time to do full iterative design based on think-aloud protocol
          Lack of access to web logs precluded us from doing a full evaluation of site
           traffic and patterns of use

10 Post Mortem (possibly another document with
   considerations for future enhancements, etc.)
What we would have done differently:
       Weekly meetings with ATI
       Think-aloud user testing
       Contact with actual users for research, better scenario development, and user
       We would like to develop the content under the audience-specific links

We will be handing this project off to Prentiss Lee for use in her Capstone class in the
spring of 2003.

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