Deliverables Exchange

Another great idea from Jess McMullin. Jess says:

"I'd like to see a place where everyone can work to create IA deliverables
and then upload them and critique each other's work. Something I'd personally like to do is reverse-engineer some existing site(s) or webapps using Jesse's visual vocabulary. It would be interesting to have everyone do the same site or app and then discuss why one chose things one way or another..."

This seems like it wouldn't be that hard to develop, and rumor has it that Jess is working on a blog to do just that. Rumor also has it that Michael Angeles of IA Slash fame might also be involved. ;-)

Of course, if it's going to happen, we need your help. And it looks like there are already some really smart people involved, so you won't be alone.

Posted by Louis Rosenfeld at December 01, 2001 05:01 PM

Something to note here - the idea is an *exchange*, not an archive.

The idea is an ongoing, online deliverables workshop, where we can talk about how to make deliverables better, and "practice through play" with deliverables for our own sites, pro bono work, etc.

Posted by Jess at December 14, 2001 8:39 PM

Good point - which means the structure would be different to just an archive. It would need to facilitate comments on uploaded artifacts (nothing new there), but then also facilitate additional versions of the same document, each with their own comments (ie. what's improved, how different).

It should also permit forking of a development, to allow multiple alternate variations (including simply converting to alternative file formats).

Each update upload should also permit rich commentary - not just a written blurb but also excerpted images (eg. just that corner of the whole document which was tweaked). All the better to explain what is different. Actually not just upload comments, but all commentary should permit image attachments.

The entire history of all versions should be maintained so that the exchange can serve as a learning center.

Posted by Eric Scheid at December 16, 2001 1:28 PM

You might be interested in looking at photoSIG, an online community where photographers post their work for critiques and ratings by their peers. They have a nice model that might deserve a looksie.

Posted by Michael at January 25, 2002 7:56 PM

Wonderful idea. If implementation gets too hairy, consider a light weight version where people could store the files on their _own_ server and simply post a link to them. The community server is simply a comments server, like this Movable Type system, but with a different ordering of the critiques.

Posted by Victor at March 23, 2002 2:41 AM

I love this idea.

I am willing to help out with some server space as Victor suggests (depending on the volume of traffic expected of course) to help host some of the files. I have two web hosting accounts for IA/usability related sites and they don't use up much of the alocated bandwidth so it's shame to waste it.

I imagine that people with their own webspace would use that to post examples of their deliverables but those who haven't got any can share the "spare" space that the others have got.

Posted by Paul Nattress at March 25, 2002 7:37 PM

There's not much traffic here...I'm guessing this is the kind of concept that won't resonate with the masses until they see it work. Design critique is a touchy matter and there would not only have to be good interaction design so it's easy to use but also a way to encourage constructive (aka not nasty) criticism.

Sounds like a case for careful community building, perhaps...
- everyone can view everything
- everyone can submit files for criticism
- only certain members have priviledges to offer critique, let's call them 'colleagues'

- someone posts a file and that pushes an email to the colleagues with a URL
- the colleagues go to the site, view the work, and write a critique. Critiques have to be submitted within a certain time period to be useful

- I've tried doing small critiques at work, and there's always a question of scope. How do we focus on the part that someone wants feedback on when an IA design can cover address artifact? How do we encapsulate all the background info about users, business, etc. in order to judge the design?
- Poets have a very good format for presentation and critique that is effective and tries to avoid nastiness. We used it at a design patterns workshop at CHI once. I'll try to dig it up.

Posted by Victor at April 3, 2002 2:57 AM

I found that writer's workshop format and posted it here.

Posted by Victor at April 5, 2002 2:00 AM

I run a creative writing site and for a while I ran a scheme where people could submit their short stories for critiques. At first most people simply submitted stories and I got very few critiques. So, I changed the rules to this:

If you want to submit something for criticism, first do a critique of existing work.

This approach made sure that enough critiques came in to make the whole thing worthwhile. Would this suit what we're trying to do here?

Posted by Paul Nattress at April 25, 2002 1:21 PM

There's an online writer's workshop starting up, and whose creator has some interesting ideas:

"...a workshop benefits from anonymity by forcing a direct confrontation of the work itself without distraction. By removing the temptations of the mob mentality, we can be sure that the process is focused entirely on making the work more enjoyable and profound. The final product, I hope, benefits from a diverse set of reactions from a diverse set of participants who are neither influenced nor awed by the author or each other."

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