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An open reply to Komal's questions

posted Dec 12, 2008, 8:37 PM by Eddie Woo
Over in her classroom work section, Komal asked some questions about the project (particularly the Gantt chart). I began to write a reply as a comment to that post, but realised very quickly that everyone else might like to know as well. Hence I'm writing my reply here - just in case you're curious!

To get context for the questions I'm answering, go and read her post first. Here are my answers to her questions (in bold):

Q & A

"What sort of documentation would that be?"
Part of this is for you to think about yourself. We spent some a lesson or two talking about the need for documentation in the Prelim course; essentially, documentation is a guide that enables an end user to effectively use an information system. 

The main kinds of documentation we have are called "manuals", but there are other kinds (like "frequently asked questions"). What kind of documentation will your portfolio require? What can you do to guide end users so that they can effectively use the site you will create. Don't assume people are experts - in fact, do the very opposite! 

Your register is a kind of documentation, but it is not so much for end users - it is more for other participants (and curious onlookers). An end user doesn't need to know when and how and what challenges you've faced in designing your context diagram, but your fellow system participants would.

"With implementation of a system prototype, would that be making the website available to some students so that user feedback can occur? Or does it include us putting all the information on as well?"
I imagine it would be a bit of both, but don't get too confused here. A prototype is a functioning model of a system - and this can be implemented without any students seeing it (that is arguably what it is right now). Don't forget that the main function of a prototype is not user feedback, but for the system's designers to understanding the system and clarify whether the basic premise of the system functions or not.

I find it difficult to picture you having much a prototype if it didn't have any information in it. Of course, I don't expect it all to be there - it's just a functioning model, after all, so we are only really looking for something that will represent the system when it is finished.

"Also, in initial design, I just put the subheadings of Prospectus and Outline of content. Do I need to go into any more detail?"
That's sufficient, but barely. I would hope that a bit more work than that goes into your initial design.

Okay, I think I'm done! I hope that helped. Happy prospectus writing.