On this page you can read about the following course projects:

Blog post and commenting on our course site (200 points in total)

To interact with the course content on a deeper level and to practice blogging skills, you will be assigned to write a blog post on a course topic and post it to our course site.  You will receive a notification email at the beginning of our course about your posting privileges to our course site. You can sign up for a specific topic, and you will post your blog entry by Monday night during your assigned week. All class members will comment on these blog posts by Friday night.

Blog post description (100 points)

For every weekly unit, our course site lists several links to additional in-depth readings mostly published by web design and user experience professionals. You can find these links under the “Additional Resources” heading in the right side bar for each weekly unit. When it is your turn to post, you will explore these links and create a summary of these resources for your class mates. Also, you will explore additional sources related to your topic and include links to these sources in your blog post. The summary of the resources should make up about half of your blog post and the exploration of additional resources should comprise the other half. The point value possible for this single blog post is 100 points depending on how well it fulfills each of the following criteria (see Blog on Course Site Evaluation here).

Blog post requirements

Your blog post will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Provides effective summary of the weekly resources with embedded links
  • Includes explanation of and links to your additional resources
  • Starts with a descriptive title that connects to an overarching, well-defined theme
  • Illustrates  a clear understanding of audience and purpose
  • Is written in a style  appropriate for a professional blog post in our content area
  • Uses content-specific vocabulary correctly
  • Applies effective structure for blog posts with headings, subheadings, lists, and short paragraphs
  • Incorporates and links to their original source relevant images such as screenshots and photographs with Creative Commons license
  • Has a word count between 1000-2000 words.

Blog commenting description (100 points)

Each week, you will read the assigned weekly blog post(s) by your classmate(s) and place a comment for one blog post on our course site. Some weeks there will only be one post, other weeks there will be several posts. While you should read all posts for the week, you will only need to comment on one post per week. In your comment, highlight what you appreciate about this blog post, what you find interesting and what additional topics your have explored as you engaged with your classmate’s blog post. Always connect your discussion of the topic to the assigned readings of that specific week by using the terminology within these readings. The goal here is to become website professionals who are taking charge of their own professional development by following current topics and posting professional blogs. Use this opportunity to find articles and posts related to the weekly topic on the web that you find interesting or that you  think connects well with your career goals. The total point value possible for all blog comments you posted during the course is 100 points depending on how well all of your comments fulfill each of the following criteria.

Blog commenting requirements

Your bog commenting activity throughout the semester  will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Connects effectively to the weekly blog post while explaining what you found valuable about the post
  • Uses the terminology of the weekly topic also applied in the assigned readings
  • Summarizes an article/post you found in connection with this topic and includes links to this post
  • Explains how this additional topic connects to the original and also why you are interested in this topic
  • Illustrates  a clear understanding of audience and purpose
  • Is written in a style  appropriate for a professional blog comment
  • Uses content-specific vocabulary correctly
  • Has a word count of 100-200 words.

Guest blog post (100 points)

As we learn about effective blogging strategies and practice these on our course site, you will also have an opportunity to create a blog post based on your interests on a topic not necessarily related to the course content. This blog entry should be written to be posted on an existing website or blog site as a guest post and can be based on local events, a hobby, or specific area of knowledge.

Guest blog post description

You will explore possible guest sites for your blog and join the blogger community of your chosen blog site. This might require pre-approval by site admins or can be as easy as placing a post after joining a community. Before you can write an effective blog post for the site, you should analyze the writing conventions of this community, so that your blog post will share the same purpose as other blogs on the site and will appeal to the audience targeted by this site.  At the time of your posting your blog entry, you will also submit a written rhetorical analysis of your target blog site that provides the context for my evaluation and a rationale for the choices you made when writing your blog post. This Rationale will also include the description of your process of pursuing to be a guest blogger on a site and will address your degree of success with actually having your post published. Be sure to have your selected site approved by me well before the due date of this blog post. The points for this post will be based on how effective your guest post is for the specific site (see Guest Blog Post Evaluation). If you are successful by having your post published by the time of final exam, you will receive 10 points as extra credit.

Guest blog post requirements

Your guest blog post will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Starts with a descriptive title that connects to an overarching, well-defined theme
  • Illustrates  a clear understanding of audience and purpose
  • Is written in a style  appropriate for your chosen blog site
  • Applies effective structure for blog posts with headings, subheadings, lists, and short paragraphs
  • Incorporates relevant images such as screenshots or photos with Creative Commons license
  • Has a word count between 500-1500 words (depending on the requirements of your site)
  • Is accompanied by a rational describing your selected blog site’s audience, purpose, style, topic focus, commonly used structure and

Rationale requirements

Your rationale needs follow the following requirements:

  • Describes your selected blog site’s audience, purpose, style, topic focus, and most commonly used structure of posts
  • Explains and argues for your topic choice, writing strategy, and design decisions
  • Discusses the process of posting as a guest blogger on your selected site describes your experience/success with this process
  • Is written in the form of a memo to your instructor with descriptive headings and subject line.

Website usability report (200 Points)

Only usable websites are helpful to their visitors. We will discuss website usability and the different aspects of a website’s organization, navigation, design, and interactive features that allow the users to achieve their goals. We will also talk about how to design the optimal user experience. Withe these concepts in mind, we will learn about website usability testing that can help with detecting usability issues of websites. Once you are familiar with the basic concepts, you will select a website  that you will analyze for content and design and test for usability. This website should be, in general, an effective and informative site at first sight. You will only uncover areas of improvement through close analysis and testing. Your will summarize your findings in a formal report.

Usability report description

Your website usability report will be the summary of your findings based on your analysis and usability testing. The primary audience of your report will be the organization whose website you selected. Your report will not only have informative content but will also appear in a professional format.  The content of your report will include two main components: 1) your analysis of the website with regards to its apparent purpose and audience, its main content, organization, and its ability to create a conversation with website visitors (basically, the concepts covered in the class up to this point)  and 2) the findings of the usability testing sessions. The report will conclude with your recommendations for the website’s owner. Your report should include the following main topics:

    • Title Page
    • Table of Contents
    • Executive Summary
      • Short (one-page) version of the whole report with recommendations included (write this after your report is mostly done)
    • Introduction
      • 1 paragraph about the company
      • 1 paragraph about the goal of this report
    • Analysis of the Website
      • 2-3 paragraphs about the company’s current website, its purpose and audience, its main content, organization, and its ability to create a conversation with website visitors
    • Usability Testing Process
      • 2-3 paragraphs about methods used (remote testing v. recruiting participants, description of participants, and general description of scenario and tasks – detailed description of these will go into the Appendix)
    • Usability Testing Results
      • This can be broken down in two ways
        • Option #1: Add separate subsections with headings for each task and break it further down by participant: e.g., Task 1 (subheadings: Participant A, Participant B, Participant C); Task 2 (subheadings: Participant A, Participant B, Participant C) etc.
        • Option #2: Add separate subsections with headings for each major finding/observation consistent through participants (without recommendation): e.g., Finding 1:…, Finding 2:…, etc.
    • Conclusions
      • 1-2 paragraph summary of overall observations
    • Recommendations
      • Provide 3-4 major recommendations (1-2 paragraphs each) for improving the website while prioritizing the improtance of each recommendation
    • Appendix (to include: scenario, tasks, pre-test questions, post-test questions – label these by using capital letters. e.g., Appendix A: Post-test Questionnaire, and refer to these inside the report where applicable)

Usability report requirements

Your report will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Describes the website, its intended target audience and purpose in detail and matches these with the overall goals of the organization
  • Explains the usability testing process and findings with additional supporting details
  • Includes actionable recommendations for the website’s owner to improve the website
  • Makes a professional impression based on visual appearance, formatting, and effective organization
  • Incorporates properly labeled visuals (at least 3 – mostly screenshots of the website) that are explained and embedded into the textual argument
  • Is written in a professional tone of voice with parallel headings, transitions between sentences and paragraphs, well explained observations and supportive details
  • Has a minimum word count of 1200 words .

Intercultural website team project (380 points in total)

The intercultural website project is a complex collaboration project where you will work in teams to create an accessible website for a proposed company. In the current setup of this project, each student team of 3 students from our class will be paired up with a team at Budapest Business School in Hungary. The Hungarian students are taking an entrepreneurship class, and for their class they will come up with a business idea and develop a full business plan. Our class will create the websites for these proposed businesses. As you work on the intercultural project you will be able to apply your knowledge about creating digital interfaces that will serve your international communication partners’ purpose and will be accessible by potential audiences.

Website project description

The project will span several weeks in the second part of the semester. Throughout the duration of the project, you will constantly communicate with your partner teams to ensure that your final site meets their intended purposes. Effective business communication practices in these emails and encounters will be essential for success. You will need to devote time outside of classroom with your team towards the completion of this project, but we will also spend some time in each class to discuss each deliverable, to address questions and possible issues with partner teams, and to make progress on the project. During this project, your team will submit several deliverables that will all help you to create an effective and accessible website. These deliverables ( one per team, except the last item) are described below and include:

Website planning document (100 points - one per team)

As your team is working to create a website for your partner team in Hungary, you will go through the necessary steps of planning this website. First, you will do some general research about Hungary and the specific industry to gain a better understanding of the website’s prospective users. Based on this research and on the input from your partner team such as their description of personas, you will put together a planning document that will describe the purpose of the site, include 4 persona profiles, explain several scenarios, incorporate a journey map, a sitemap, and the wireframe of all important pages. In addition, a section with competitor analysis will help you to assess similar websites with regards to their structure and functionalities. While this document is mostly for your own planning purposes, you will write it with your partner teams as secondary audiences in mind. This document will be submitted to me, but will also receive feedback from the partner teams.

Website planning document requirements

Your planning document will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Describes the purpose of the website in detail and connects it to the target audience
  • Incorporates 4 persona profiles
  • Demonstrates understanding of customers’ goals as represented in scenarios built into journey maps
  • Illustrates planning of website architecture with the help of a sitemap and wireframes for each major page
  • Includes competitor analysis of 3 websites
  • Is written with primary, secondary, and all other audiences in mind
  • Is  structured with headings and subheadings as a unified document.

Accessible website (200 points - one per team)

For this assignment, your team will create a website to be used by the prospective customers of your partner team’s proposed company. On this website you want to have a clear focus on the intended audience of the website, and create an effective message about the company. Your website should have a good balance between text and visuals and should follow basic usability and accessibility principles. While creating the website, consider how you will address the following aspects:

  • Appearance (the visual appeal of layout and images of a website)
  • Content (the information a website provides)
  • Functionality (the way the site functions – everything works as expected)
  • Accessibility (the website can be accessed by users of all abilities – including blind users)
  • Usability (the website is easy to use)
  • Findability (the website can be easily found using search engines).

Accessible website requirements

Your website will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Applies design principles and elements effectively to create a visually appealing and highly functional design
  • Follows the requirements for website accessibility
  • Incorporates elements of storytelling on at least one page of the site
  • Is based on carefully crafted copy that is targeted towards a specific audience
  • Shows evidence of applying editing skills for international English

Team project evaluation and reflection memo (50 points - turned in individually)

At the end of the team project, each team member will write a memo that will provide a rationale for the design choices on the website while also evaluating each team member’s performance and reflecting on the learning connected to the website project.  The memo itself is worth 30 points with 20 additional points allocated for your team work performance. This memo will be addressed to me and will be prepared in memo format with headings. Structure your memo in a way that will allow you to best address the following aspects of your project:

  • summarize your website content, audience, and purpose
  • describe your website design elements and its accessibility and explain your design choices
  • elaborate on the overall teamwork within your GVSU team (also submit the completed  Team Evaluation Grid as a separate document)
  • address learning connected to the partner university collaboration aspect of the project 
  • conclude your document with takeaways about website design, disability, and accessibility.

Team project evaluation and reflection requirements

Your team project evaluation and reflection will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Describes the website (its visual, structural, textual, and accessibility elements) while providing a rationale for the choices that were made during the design process
  • Addresses each team member’s team work performance
  • Provides a reflection on your learning as a result of your involvement in this intercultural collaboration project
  • Addresses aspects of learning that are directly connected to website accessibility.

Final presentation of the website (30 points)

During our Finals week, each team will present their website. The presentation will go over your website creation process explaining how your team has made decisions along the way and will showcase the final site. Your presentation will be evaluated based on how effectively it showcases your now professional skills as a web designer. Be sure to use the correct terminology as you discuss your website creation process. The presentations require a minimal amount of slides (as the website will be your main visual) and should be about 10-12 minutes long. Slides should include 1.) Explanation of target business 2.) Explanation of design process 3.) The final website – no slides needed here, just share your website and walk us through its pages) 4) Overall takeaways about website design and web writing.

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