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Revision as of 19:46, 28 April 2008 by Jtoal (Talk) (About Me)

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Hello. My name is...

Jason Toal

Please feel free to contact me via email or phone: 778.268.7243


Educational Technologies Index

Second Life


SFU Social Software

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About Me


I'm a designer in the LIDC, with a special interest and focus on the (web)user experience. That means I talk to 'users' (people) to find out what they like and dislike about certain websites. I'll do this formally, (user testing, interviews) and informally, (blog reading/writing, the water cooler!) but always try to generate some useful artifacts or documentation to inform the project process (See Service Scenarios below).


My objective is to collaborate on projects aimed to enhance learning experiences. New technologies are continually being adopted by society at large, each of them have a role to play in the classroom.

Training, seminars/workshops on a various computer technologies, (everything from email to 2ndlife) Online resources for above. Possible topics: (How to podcast, blogging, etc) Templates for blogs, webCT courses, whatever really Presentation support. Perhaps something to augment the Vocalization workshop. Includes powerpoint tips and such Digital Organization - How do you keep all your digital artifacts together and manage them over your academic career?

My Sites

Education Building (my blog at work) - - an effort to blog for sfu educators interested in the use of social software for teaching & learning, and the general goings on around SFU webscape.

My work "start page" - is my purpose - I use it because it is my default SFU domain. Integral to my digital identity. This kind of URL ( is ground zero for all students, staff and faculty to maintain and present themselves within the university context.

Service Scenarios

As part of the services I contribute to, the development of user friendly websites is among the most challenging. With the large number of people, departments and wide variety of information and processes that SFU wishes to share with their audience, its not always easy to design a site that will please both users and the clients. As part of my process, it is important to meet with clients regularly and gain a clear understanding of their business objectives and overall goals they have for the website. At first it usually seems obvious but there are always a few surprises waiting once your start digging around. Equally critical is an understanding of the user needs, the tasks and activities they need to complete or, why they are at the website in the first place. It is very rare that these two disparate perspectives are adequately addressed in the design of the website. I usually breakdown my goals into a series of meetings with specific documents being generated from each, including the 5 basic elements of user experience design as developed by jesse james garret; which include the broad areas described a; surface, skeleton, structure, scope and strategy. Each of these elements affect the ones before or after, but can be worked on in any order, or as needed by a specific project.

The following examples show some of the documents that are associated with the **skeleton** of the site.

//The skeleton is a concrete expression of the more abstract structure of the site. The skeleton might define the placement of the interface elements on our checkout page; the structure would define how users got to that page and where they could go when they were finished there. The skeleton might define the arrangement of navigational items allowing the users to browse categories of books; the structure would define what those categories actually were.//

    • Student Services Screenshots** - A high level view of the various sub sections within the Student services website. Each of these sections represents a different working group and different web development process and strategies. (not to mention timelines and people.) Yet, for the user, these distinctions are inconsequential and it is important that navigation and information be organized across these sites as a whole.

    • Student Services Sitemap** - An actual sitemap of all the pages within the first level of the Student Services website. This representation also attempts to show which pages are displayed in which menus.

Co-operative Education Sitemap - a more generic site map style showing strictly a representation of the existing information of the website and how each page is interrelated. You can tell from this diagram that some of the information is buried seven clicks beneath the front page, typically seen as a user experience no no.

Recommended Readings

I use google reader to organize the various blogs and news sites I like to track. The latest articles that stand out are displayed below. These feeds are not working. <rss></rss> <rss></rss>

SFU Second Life events (also not working) <rss></rss>