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Task based design of a digital work environment (DWE) for an academic community

Author(s): Narayanan Meyyappan | Suliman Al-Hawamdeh | Schubert Foo

Journal: Information Research: an international electronic journal
ISSN 1368-1613

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 125;
Date: 2002;
Original page

Keywords: task-based design | software | interface | Digital Work Environment | faculty | students | interviews | focus groups | digital library

Task based design is considered one of the effective ways of designing functional software. It is generally accepted that tasks play an important role in system and user interface design. Identifying the user's tasks enables the designer to construct user interfaces reflecting the tasks' properties, including efficient usage patterns, easy-to-use interaction sequences, and powerful assistance features. In this paper, we present a prototype of a Digital Work Environment (DWE) to support a task-oriented design to information access in a typical community of academic users. The resources in DWE are organized according to specific tasks performed by the research students and staff in the Division of Information Studies of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The tasks and resources were elicited based on the needs of faculty and students through interviews and focus groups. Examples of these tasks include preparation of a new course outline, setting of examination papers, preparation of reading lists and assignments, conducting literature reviews and writing dissertations. This paper discusses the problems of digital library users in an academic environment, highlights task oriented projects and focuses on the task of preparing and writing a Master dissertation. It highlights the importance of task based design in assisting and helping students and instructors from the time of selecting the research project to the time of submitting the final bound copies of the dissertation.
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