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What researchers want from project websites
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What researchers want from project websites

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Describes research on the use of project websites by funded program principal investigators and their staff, with a view toward optimizing website design

Describes research on the use of project websites by funded program principal investigators and their staff, with a view toward optimizing website design

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  • Introduction\n\nThe first thing we need is a little context\n
  • Work for MPRC at the University of Maryland\nGot involved with PloneEdu project couple years back\nMIM thesis - a relevant program\nFortunate to have such great support\n
  • Mike Halm put me in touch with Catherine Williams and Helen Sargam, both quite helpful.\nSally Kleinfedt’s presentation to this symposium in 2009 was a useful starting point for understanding the questions that needed to be asked.\n
  • Involvement in PloneEdu on the Higher Ed side\nMPRC focused on Researcher projects\nWhere researchers live - the dotted path name\nWe know almost too much about these sites from the developer perspective\n
  • I’m sure this is a familiar sentiment . . .\n\nWhat I was after was something a little harder to get one’s hands on\n
  • \nWhat I wanted to do was write a method . . . .\n
  • This presumes that researchers are objects -\nBut they’re not . . . .\nWhich means that I had to come up with different methods\n
  • Mixed methods approach\n\n\n
  • Mixed methods approach\n\n\n
  • Mixed methods approach\n\n\n
  • Mixed methods approach\n\n\n
  • Mixed methods approach\n\n\n
  • Mixed methods approach\n\n\n
  • \n
  • I learned a lot more from these interviews and could have written an entire presentation around it, but let’s move on . . .\n
  • This is a much more robust group\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \nSo, how did these two groups use project sites that they visited on a regular basis ?\n\n
  • \n
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  • \n\nAnd, what about their own site ?\n
  • \n
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  • \n\nOk - so, summing up\n
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  • \n\nHowever, there are some important qualifications\n
  • \n\n. . . and some important questions\n
  • \n\nSo - with all of this in mind, here are my recommendations\n
  • \n
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  • \n\nHere are some of the things it would be nice to know . . .\n
  • \n\nSo, what’s next ?\n
  • \n\nI’d love to hear from anyone interested in this project\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n

What researchers want from project websites What researchers want from project websites Presentation Transcript

  • W HAT RESEARCHERSWANT FROM PROJECT WEBSITES : A PILOT STUDY William Fennie University of Maryland
  • CONTEXTMaryland PopulationResearch CenterPloneEduMaster of InformationManagement
  • COMMUNITY SUPPORTMike Halm, PloneEdu Co-Chair and WebLion guruCatherine Williams, Princeton UniversityHelen Sargam, Oxford UniversitySally Kleinfeldt, JazkartaScientific Collaboration with Plone: A Case Studyhttps://streaming.psu.edu/media/?movieId=8538
  • PROBLEMPloneEdu looks at Higher Education or K-12University.College.Department.ResearcherResearch projects live apart from teaching / departmentalresponsibilitiesEasy : Developer / integrator perspective on needs
  • PROBLEMDeveloper’s Take"I have found from bitter experience that if you ask people[PIs and university personnel] what they want they rarelycover what they need and will use but get sidetracked, sowhen we set up this project I made up a list of what *I*thought people needed (looking at several existing sites thatworked well and talking to the admins of those projects),and then in the last year we have been ready to listen torequests for new needs and see if we can accommodatethem." (Sargam, 2011)
  • PROBLEM
  • PROBLEMHarder : Researcher / staff perceived & actual needs
  • OBJECTIVE
  • OBJECTIVEUniversity.College.Department.Researcher.getProjectInfo()
  • METHODS
  • METHODSQualitative - Semi-structured interviews
  • METHODSQualitative - Semi-structured interviewsQuantitative - Survey
  • METHODSQualitative - Semi-structured interviewsQuantitative - SurveyWhy mixed methods ?
  • METHODSQualitative - Semi-structured interviewsQuantitative - SurveyWhy mixed methods ?
  • METHODSQualitative - Semi-structured interviewsQuantitative - SurveyWhy mixed methods ? Satisfy my curiosity
  • METHODSQualitative - Semi-structured interviewsQuantitative - SurveyWhy mixed methods ? Satisfy my curiosity Test survey method applicability in this use case
  • INTERVIEWSN=4 Principal Investigator Sees websites as a tool to further research program Webmaster / support staff Provides content, some development Statistical programmer / support staff Provides content, some development Webmaster / sysadmin Responsible for development
  • RECOMMENDATIONSFOR SURVEY TEXTTarget Researchers and Support staff IT professionals require a separate research projectInclude questions about : Navigation Document sharing Custom-built products
  • SURVEYSN=30 19 Researchers 11 Support staffTargeted questions for each subgroup
  • IDENTITY :RESEARCHERSResearchers :Who are theseguys galspeople ?
  • IDENTITY : STAFFExperience - over 80% more than two-yearsProjects supported, over 80% support two to five projectsKind of support Update content : 100% Create new pages / sections : 66% Develop resources for other users : 66%
  • IDENTITY : STAFFTools used Dreamweaver - 75% Wordpress - 30% Python, Perl, other scripting - 30% CMS, PHP/MySQL, Javascript - 25%
  • IDENTITY : STAFFTools used Dreamweaver - 75% Wordpress - 30% Python, Perl, other scripting - 30% CMS, PHP/MySQL, Javascript - 25%A significant representation of accomplished web developersin a group where everyone updates content.
  • USE OF OTHER SITESPreferred tasksNavigationSearch
  • USE OF OTHER SITESTasks :Preferred
  • USE OF OTHER SITESTasks:Navigation
  • USE OF OTHER SITESTasks:Search
  • OWN PROJECT SITEServicesFeaturesTime-to-deployCustom products
  • OWN PROJECT SITEServices :Overview
  • OWN PROJECT SITEFeatures :Overview
  • OWN PROJECT SITETime to deploy 1 to 6 weeks team member and consultant university unit (25 %)Custom products a factor in 23 % of the cases deployment time either 1-2 weeks or 4-6 weeks
  • OWN PROJECT SITECustom products, generally Are a factor, sometimes No evidence to support or refute the idea that adding a custom product will negatively affect deployment time, based on these numbers
  • SUMMING UPResearchers accessing a project website want Publications, working papers, and citations Related events and links to the associated resources (if any)Researchers presenting a project site want Store and publish project reports Provide news and updates
  • SUMMING UPResearcher biographies and contact information aresecondaryBlogs, wikis, and collaborative tools are barely presentMost of the services designated as important can beprovided by static HTML
  • QUALIFICATIONSVery small numbersAll researchers come from one university
  • QUESTIONSIs there a bias toward web 1.x technologies that will changeas web 2.x technologies emerge in this space ?Needs more research : evaluate deployment schemes evaluate relative effectiveness of a CMS solution evaluate impact of custom products on deployment / go- live moment
  • RECOMMENDATIONSFirst priority : access to publications, working papers, andcitationsNext : Related events and links to related sitesUse analytics to find out what visitors want, and adjust thenavigation scheme, and tagging, accordinglyProject site as a blogging platform or conversation space isan unfulfilled category
  • RECOMMENDATIONSA product, of course : List of relevant publications, working papers, and citations Deploy as part of the home page, perhaps as a portal, and available to be installed as a portal anywherePrompt to install an analytics tool
  • RECOMMENDATIONSPloneEDU Best-practices reference page for project websitedevelopers Guidelines and documentation linking analytic data (or user research) to tagging regimes or navigation tweaks Provide several ‘typical’ use cases with tips
  • RECOMMENDATIONSMore research, of course More interviews, bigger scale on the survey side Divide types of project sites into categories and do more target research within those categories Research models unique to European university world
  • THINGS IT WOULD BEGOOD TO KNOWThe effectiveness of university dedicated web-developmentunitsThe efficacy of a CMS solution for project websites when does one make sense ? how many features and services can be delivered out of the box ?The purpose of the project site - specialized functions suchas dataset access or providing information to the generalpublic
  • NEXT STEPSPloneEdu best-practices pageFind sponsors at institutions in USA, possibly overseasCreate a new interview scriptDevelop a new survey instrument
  • CONTACTWilliam FennieMaryland Population Research Centerwfennie@umd.eduwm.fennie@gmail.com
  • CONTACTWilliam FennieMaryland Population Research Centerwfennie@umd.eduwm.fennie@gmail.comMahalo nui loa . . . Courtesy Merrie Monarch Hula Festival 2004