UX Design for DH Accelerator Program

UX Design for DH Accelerator Program

The UX Design for DH Accelerator Program supports faculty researchers in a team-based, collaborative process for co-creating websites, digital exhibitions, databases, and other digital projects. The Accelerator team includes a UX Designer, DH Developer, and CDHI team members with expertise in research design, ethics, and project management, as well as divisional digital scholarship librarians.

This program takes the faculty researcher past the threshold of “consultation” with experts and into team-based collaborative making. The Accelerator team meets weekly with the faculty member and collaborators weekly, moving from project planning and prototyping to testing and implementation. Faculty members will leave the program with documentation and plans for next steps.

The call for expressions of interest for Summer 2023 and Fall 2023 spaces in the Accelerator is now open. Please apply by 10 March 2023. See the UX Design for DH Accelerator Call for Expressions of Interest for full details.

UX Design for DH Pilot Project

The Accelerator Program was piloted in Summer and Fall 2022. The UX Design for DH Pilot Project was co-funded by CDHI and the Collaborative Digital Research Space (CDRS). Peter Luo was the first UX Design Co-op student hired for the pilot project in May 2022. DH Developer Matthew Lefaive joined the team in September 2022.

The UX Design for DH Pilot Project supported six projects.

Sexual Representation Collection Page Redesign

PI: Patrick Keilty (Associate Professor, Faculty of Information)

The Sexual Representation Collection page on the Mark S. Bonham Centre website is the digital presence of the physical Sexual Representation Collection Archive. It serves both to provide contextual information around the collection, but also a way for interested researchers to browse the collection’s finding aids online and contact the PI for a physical viewing. Through the six-week project timeline, the Accelerator Program reorganized the content in a more intuitive way, made the page more graphically interesting, and redesigned the Finding Aid section to be easier to use and more accessible for user groups less familiar with archives or the Collection.

Decolonizing Archives of Water

PI: Bhavani Raman (Associate Professor, Historical & Cultural Studies, UTSC)

The Decolonizing Archives of Water is a GIS based project that seeks to create a website centered around a Story Map called “Lifecycle of a Storm” that showcases a Chennai based fisherman’s traditional knowledge and interpretation of wind, water, currents during monsoon season. The website will also contain a section that allows users to layer historical maps over the current map of Chennai, as well as provide additional resources surrounding the subject matter. Through the six-week project timeline, the Accelerator Program helped explore and define the visuals, design, and contents of the different website sections, and created high fidelity prototypes for both desktop and mobile as a handoff for future developers. Through discussions with the international research team, the designs were catered to meet the narrative, ethical, and political concerns of the research team. Significant thought was also put in to ensure the design met the needs of both English and Tamil speaking users.

Pussy Palace Digital Exhibit

PI: Elspeth Brown (Professor, Historical Studies, UTM)

The Pussy Palace Digital Exhibit is an oral history project that seeks to create an interactive, immersive digital exhibit website to showcase the Toronto Pussy Palace and its history from 1975 till now. Throughout the 16-week project timeline, the Accelerator Program helped take an initial idea of allowing the user to explore an illustrated version of the palace in first person, to a fully fleshed out design and prototype for the website and its multiple content sections. In particular, the program was able to define exactly how users would interact and navigate around the palace to consume the oral history content, and how users would learn about the palace’s history in the website’s other sections. Through discussions with the research team, designs were modified to ensure the right message and experience would be delivered to website visitors. Efforts were also spent on usability testing to ensure the website is intuitive and pleasant to use, and feedback was collected to improve the website’s interaction and interface.

Borders, Boundaries, Bodies

PI: Anna Korteweg (Professor, Sociology, UTM)

Borders Boundaries Bodies is a research project centered around European Women who joined the Islamic State, what happened to them and their children, the media discourse surrounding their citizenship, and the effect this discourse had around other Muslim citizens in Europe. Through the 13-week project duration, the Accelerator Program helped create a standalone website that showcases the findings of the research team, provides extensive resources and bibliographies on the subject matter, and illustrates the journey of key figures in an accessible and interactive way. Efforts were spent on making large amounts of information and data clear and easy to consume.

homepage of the Dancing Black in Canada website

It’s About Time: Dancing Black in Canada, 1900-1970

PI: Seika Boye (Assistant Professor, Centre for Drama, Theatre, & Performance Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science)

It’s About Time: Dancing Black in Canada is an exhibit that showcases archival records of Black dance in Canada and additional artistic discourse around these records in our modern lens. Throughout the Accelerator Program, the focus was on improving the website of this exhibit, particularly around improving its usability and reorganizing its contents that better communicates the message and intentions of the exhibit.

Asexuality & Aromanticism Bibliography

PIs: Liza Blake (Associate Professor, English, UTM) and Jenna McKellips (PhD Candidate, English, Faculty of Arts & Science)

The Asexuality & Aromanticism Bibliography is an online searchable bibliography that provides a much-needed tool for researchers to browse through many resources surrounding the subject. During the program, focus was put on improving the bibliography’s usability but also making it as accessible as possible to a wide range of user groups. This involved redesigning and reorganizing various pages of the site, and implementing new PI-requested features.

Sealings and Lives of Maresha homepage

Sealings and Lives of Maresha

PIs: Boris Chrubasik (Associate Professor, Classics, Faculty of Arts & Science | Associate Professor, Historical Studies, UTM) and Chris Young (Head, Collections & Digital Scholarship, UTM Library)

Sealings and Lives of Maresha (SLiM) is a searchable, online collection of clay seal impressions from the Iron Age city of Maresha, located in The Shephelah, Israel. Seals were used to mark and authenticate documents, or prevent interference in packages/envelopes, and through examining the impressions left behind by these seals, SLiM aims to tell the story of the lives of the people of Maresha. Through the accelerator program, the goal was to design and ideate on the project collection’s website, with a focus on colour-pallette, typography, page layouts, and overall sitemap.

“We started out with far too much focus on text, then in interaction with Peter, the UX designer/developer, and the rest of the team figured out ways to manage the information and add visual interest. This made a huge, positive difference in how the project developed. We created a beautiful website that I’m really proud of.”

— Anna Korteweg

Professor, Sociology, UTM, Borders, Boundaries, Bodies

“Peter heeded acutely to all our requirements for the website and he was also very quick to adopt the changes in the design according to the progress of our research. We certainly recommend this program to other researchers.”

— Bhavani Raman

Associate Professor, Historical & Cultural Studies, UTSC, Decolonizing Archives of Water

“Peter and Matthew had different skillsets and goals, so it was almost like we had two months of help! We also thought the form of the collaboration (weekly meetings, and spreadsheets to keep track of things we wanted done) was really useful and productive. We also appreciated the way that the program included a whole team, and so was also a way of networking with people in DH-related fields and programs across the university.”

— Liza Blake & Jenna McKellips

Associate Professor, English, UTM & PhD Candidate, English, Faculty of Arts & Science, Asexuality & Aromanticism Bibliography

Current Co-op Student

Headshot of Parita Patel

Parita Patel

Portfolio: https://www.paritadesign.com/

Parita is the CDHI UX Designer for Summer 2023.

Previous Co-op Student

Peter Luo

Portfolio: https://www.peterluo1.com

Peter Luo was the CDHI UX Designer from May 2022 through January 2023. Peter worked on: Sexual Representation Collection Page Redesign; Decolonizing Archives of Water; Pussy Palace Digital Exhibit; Borders, Boundaries, Bodies; It’s About Time: Dancing Black Canada, 1900-1970; Asexuality & Aromanticism Bibliography; and, Sealings and Lives of Maresha.