Earlier today I presented my preliminary design proposal to a group of Exbiblio team members including Ania, Martin, Jesse, Ed Tang, Ed Mahlum, Adam, and Hugh. The meeting was held as a review point at the boundary between the planning and development portions of the redesign effort. When it comes to building things, I’m of the “measure twice, cut once” mindset. Careful planning and consideration does much to prevent having to do the whole thing over again.
On the other hand, change is the only constant, and a web development effort should plan for change so that the redesign effort results in a scalable solution. As Peter Morville put it, we can avoid “The Infinite Loop of Destructive Creation” by seeing a web effort as a program rather than a project (for more of Peter’s thoughts on this topic, see his article entitled The Speed of Information Architecture). This is a sentiment that was echoed during the meeting today, as we stand poised at the transition to product launch, creating a need for growth in web-based user support.
The group generated some excellent structural suggestions that will be considered in the final site design, proposing changes to navigation elements and reinforcing the need for fresh content at regular intervals. But what struck me most were the deeper levels of thought. A major topic of conversation was how we will use the site to not only communicate from the company, but to also encourage participation and communication into the company. I think it’s rather unique that we are not only are we talking about citizenship, but we’re also actively looking for ways that we enact and cocreate citizenship with our users.
All in all, I thought it was a highly successful review. Thanks go out to the participants for their focus and attention during the meeting. On to processing everything we’ve discussed into a final design proposal!
By Ariel van Spronsen