a place for independent study

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Library and Information Studies @ FIX University

LIS 534 – Information Architecture: Web Design for Usability

Course Outline (Winter 2012)

Calendar Description:


examination of the principles and practice of web usability, with a

focus on information architecture, layout and design, metadata and

other topics related to effective web design and management. Includes

an introduction to HTML and other web coding.


By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. understand the role of information architecture in building effective websites;
  2. examine and apply usability principles to effective web design;
  3. examine the role of usability evaluation in web design decisions;
  4. create standards-compliant websites using XHTML and CSS.



combination of lectures, in-class discussions, hands-on exercises and labs, group work, student presentations,

and computer demonstrations will be used throughout this course. Where

possible, guest lectures and/or special presentations will also be


Required Text:

  • Morville, P., & Rosenfeld, L. (2006). Information architecture for the world wide web. 3rd edition. O'Reilly Media. 
  • Krug, S. (2005). Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. 2nd edition. New Riders Press. (read online at Safari Books Online)
Good to have

  • Meyer, E. (2007). CSS Pocket Reference: Visual Presentation for the Web. 3rd ed. edition. O'Reilly Media.

  • Robbins, J.N. (2006). HTML and XHTML Pocket Reference. 3rd ed. edition. O'Reilly Media.

Course Relationships:

LIS 501 & 502 are pre- or co-requisites.

Recording of lectures

Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written
consent of the professor or if recording is part of an approved
accommodation plan.

Inclusive Language & Equity:


Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of

equality and respect for all people within the university community,

and to educating faculty, staff and students in developing teaching and

learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends

that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom

atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with

equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background,

sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds. Students who require

accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility,

vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to

discuss their needs with Specialized Support and Disability Services.

Assignments and Evaluation (Winter 2012)

  • Class Contribution (10 marks)
  • Labs (learning assignments, not graded)
  • Usability by example assignments (8 x 6 = 48 marks)
  • Website design and construction project (42 marks)
*Marks are raw scores that are totaled at the end of the course and
converted to the University of Alberta's letter grading scale.

All assignments must
be professional in appearance. Spelling, grammar and overall
professionalism will be considered in the grading process in addition
to other aspects of the assignments. Extensions will only be granted
with appropriate documentation (e.g., a doctor's note) in advance of an
assignment's due date. Late assignments will be assessed a penalty of
10% of the assignment value per day (i.e., if the assignment value is
30 marks the late penalty is 3 marks per day). Some late assignments
will not be accepted (e.g., usability by example assignments).

Class Contribution

This represents individual contribution for the benefit of the
class, and is intended to encourage all students to actively
participate in the learning process. This includes (but is not limited
to): class discussion, small-group interaction, preparatory reading,
attendance, attitude,
providing additional
resources, etc. Comments, criticism, and questions are expected to be
relevant to the topic, to reflect preparatory reading on the topic, and
are expected to be respectful of other students and the instructor.
Anticipated absence from class must be communicated to the instructor
prior to the class. At the end of the course, in class time, you will
be given the opportunity to submit a brief self-assessment of class
contribution which will be considered when assigning your class
contribution marks.


Labs are intended to help you learn XHTML and CSS concepts and skills,
and / or further develop your understanding of the topics covered each
week. These are individual learning assignments and are not graded. It is
your decision how you want to make use of the lab materials, but your
Usability by Example assignments must demonstrate that you have
acquired the techniques and skills covered in the labs. You will also
need to know these techniques and skills well in order to complete the
Website design and construction project successfully.

In-class time will be provided for each of the labs, and the
instructor will be available during the lab sessions for questions and
feedback. To make full use of the in-class lab time, you are encouraged
to go through the lab materials before the class so that in class you
can focus on asking questions and applying techniques covered in the
lab to your usability by example assignment.

You do not need to
submit lab reports, but you may find it beneficial to your learning if
you keep notes of the problems and solutions during the lab activities
as well as of the thinking that has gone into figuring out the
solutions. Keep the submission items listed in the lab instructions to
yourself. (You may want to create a website to organize and keep track
of your
work for this course including all labs and assignments since they are
all in a Web format anyway.)

Usability by example

This assignment is designed to help enhance your understanding of major
topics of this course through examples and collaborative learning.
Before class, you will first do the preparatory readings, and summarize
key points from the readings. You will then apply what you have learned
from the readings to the evaluation of two websites, and present your
individual work as a web page using the XHTML and CSS techniques you
have learned. In class, you will share and enhance your learning
through group work and class discussion. Based on enhanced
understanding of the topic, each group will synthesize your individual
work, and submit a single report for evaluation.

Website design and construction

This assignment provides an opportunity to develop your individual web
design and implementation skills. You will create a small website for a
library or information service of an organization of your choice based
either on a real organization, or on a hypothetical one that could
reasonably exist in the world. You will first identify the purpose of
the website and contextual issues and constraints, analyze its target
audience, and design an information architecture for the website. You
will then put your design skills to work by creating a prototype of the
site's main pages by hand-coding XHTML and CSS (i.e., not using
Dreamweaver or other web design software). 

Tentative Schedule (Winter 2012)

time: Thursdays 1:00-3:50 pm

*Full citation of books frequently referred to on this page

* RR - required reading; SR - supplementary reading

January 12

January 19

January 26

  • Content design and organization systems; Copyright issues
  • Readings:
    • Morville & Rosenfeld - chapter 5 - RR
    • Noel, Wanda. 1999. Copyright on the Internet & FAQ.
      In Copyright guide for Canadian libraries, 47-64. Ottawa:
      Canadian Library Association. KF 2995 N66 1999 (Rutherford North
      -Reserve) - SR
  • Tutorials and labs
  • Assignment due: Usability by example 1 - Organization

February 2

February 9

February 16

February 23

  • No Class – Reading Week

March 1

March 8

March 15

March 22

March 29

April 5

April 12


Information Architecture

Web usability


    Collections of general web development resources

    No comments:

    Post a Comment


    Blog Archive

    Powered by Blogger.