Decision making and design

alan dawson's picture
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The recent pradsa2 workshop at University of West of England had a session on decision making. Our group decided assess the design decisions in developing this web site. I'll start putting my understanding of that process here.

Before the first workshop I perceived the site to be a place where people would come to ( ie log in ), produce content ( ie blog stuff, post forum questions ), building a corpus of examples and knowledge.

What happened though was, due to time constraints and environmental factors, the infrastructure at Sheffield Hallam wasn't able to move as quickly as the participants at the workshop, who quickly developed channels that they could continue interacting in.

A mailing list was set up using google groups and most of the interaction and dialogue moved into it.

Web resources that seemed relevant to pradsa were being tagged on delicious

and a facebook group was set up.

This then created a challenge to use the site to track and aggregate the conversations that are being held in these external spaces.

To collate the content from the email list, I used the mailhandler and listhandler modules. Again this threw up further challenges as they were not compatible with the version of drupal we are using and required changes to be make them work.

Delicious provide a rss feed on their tags, so its easy to grab the content using the drupal news aggregator module.

Facebook seems still be a closed space. Though it may be possible to access content through the Facebook API and construct a widget that that allows facebook user to connect their accounts to a personal blog or similar.

Participants are often working on other projects and don't have the time to log into an extra site to blog activity. The leech module allows participants to create a special blog entry which will pick up the RSS feeds from their own projects and automatically import the content into a blog entry on this site.