This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Week 4: Supplementary Content

Week 4: Supplementary Content Week.

We will cover more in depth information presentation and supplementary content (video, galleries, interactives, downloadables), as well as a short overview of copyright for the web and where to get legal content (images, sound, fonts). There will be an assignment relating to supplementary content - probably designing a site to include some in a usable way. Maybe also finding some CC licensed content to put into use in draft sites. 

There are two assignments this week, but the second (finding creative commons content) can be used in the first (creating a wireframe for a site that will include supplementary content). 
  • Will include a talk on copyright for the web and sourcing legal content (creative commons licensing). Big Blue Button, Thursday. 

Part one: making supplementary content usable 

The most crucial point in presenting supplementary content to your users is providing the user with choice in accessing the content. It is always best to provide the user with enough information about what that link to the content they want  will give them. If it will take them to video, audio, or other supplementary content formats instead of a web page, there should be some indication of what to expect.  Ways to do this include icons (use alt text for acessibility), short descriptions ("link to video" "Flash presentation" "PDF" "podcast" etc), or a full description in the link text. Thumbnails are an excellent way to present galleries of images, a selection of interactives or games, a library of videos or even a library of PDF documents.

Downloadable content is wonderful - but it's best to allow the user to have the choice to download that file. Users don't want to click a link and suddenly have a download file dialog interrupt them. It's also important to let the user know how large the file is, so they can choose whether to use their storage or bandwidth for that file.

Video content enriches the web experience - webcasts, screencasts, news video, television programs, presentations, classes, film previews, the list of uses for video is nearly endless. However, users don't like being forced to watch video content unexpectedly and will likely turn it off. On the other hand, if a user knows they are going to view a video after clicking a link, they will be more likely to sit through a short ad before watching it. Offer a text summary and subtitles or transcript of hearing impaired users. Audio content can both increase and inhibit usability. It can increase acessibility for visually impaired users if made available via text links and conversely can inhibit usability if audio files load or play without allowing the user to make a choice to do so. Users are more likely to turn off audio content that autostarts on load of a page than listen to it. Offer the choice to use the audio content, and as with video content, offer a text summary or transcript.
Photo content and galleries are ubiquitous features of internet life, but presenting a gallery in a usable way means providing easily navigable categories, keywords and a usable search. Photo content presented inline needs to be relevant to the user or subject, or it will be treated as unimportant.

Interactive content:

This category covers presentations not in video format, games, educational interactives and flash sites/minisites. Flash or interactives as a default is not the best choice, but careful use of such content can be beneficial. Sites that offer a great deal of such content can make it more accessible by presenting it in a gallery format, with categories to help users navigate. If it's intended to be embedded, don't overwhelm the user or the content will be wasted. The UX Matters article in the second link looks at the Yahoo homepage, which we looked at in our markup exercise in Week 3. is an interesting exercise in interactive content and alternative user interaction. Every step of the way, the user is given the choice to continue, and the site is actually somewhat entertaining as an alternative human interaction experiment.

Assignment: Put together a rough wireframe for a site and indicate how you will present supplementary content, and what kinds you will include. Describe your site, its purpose and your design goal.

Part 2: Copyright, creative commons and the designer

Copyright is a complex issue on the web, given the international nature of the internet and the fact that copyright and intellectual property laws and treaties are necessarily localized. Contrary to popular beliefs, content on the web is subject to copyright, unless the content is clearly labelled as being copyright free. Creative commons is a standardized way for content authors to provide users of their works with easily defined usage rights in regards to sharing, selling, republishing or alteration.

Assignment: use to find relevant content that you can use for your draft site design. 

Discusión de la Tarea