Timothy Gilbert Krause

Strategic web design: Practice and peril in user-centered web design

Timothy Gilbert Krause

  • School: Purdue University
  • Degree: PhD
  • Date: 2008 pp: 255
  • Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia
  • Committee Members: Bay, Jennifer; Blakesley, David; Salvo, Michael
  • Source: DAI-A 69/09, Mar 2009
  • Keywords:: Rhetoric
  • Subjects: Rhetoric
  • ProQuest Document Number: 1609298931
  • ISBN: 9780549826781
  • UMI Number: AAT 3330290

Abstract:

    The dissertation is an ethnographic case study of a Web redesign project conducted at a large food and food ingredient company from mid-2002 through summer of 2005. The study focuses on the overall process outlined in Lean Six Sigma of defining, measuring, analyzing, implementing and controlling a corporate Web site. For the team responsible for the project, this was a very different way of thinking about Web design. The dissertation outlines the history of Web design and development from 1995-2005 and analyzes the company’s decision-making processes as its Web designers evolved in their approach to projects. Much of the discussion of the redesign is a study of many smaller studies, including the use of heuristic reviews, best-practice research, interviews, surveys, prototyping and usability testing to develop a new Web strategy for the company. The culture of Web design at the company is largely viewed through the lens of de Certeau’s notion of strategies and tactics as well as Selber’s framework for defining technical literacy skills. I show how the company decoupled some of the more tactical work from larger strategic issues and how that impacted the outcome of the project. I also examine the decision-making and communication processes involved in the project as they relate to the ongoing challenges that the organization faces as the Web team struggles to move forward tactically. In that context, I discuss the role of Web designers and developers as technical communicators, and the importance of developing an ongoing, more strategic approach to Web site management.