Smithsonian Commons Prototype - Experience Brief
Table of Contents | Attributes of the Smithsonian Commons >>

Smithsonian Commons Prototype -- Process Overview

We are creating a clickable interactive prototype to demonstrate key features of the Smithsonian Commons.

In July, 2009, we (the Smithsonian Institution) completed a Web and New Media Strategy on this very wiki (!). The strategy describes an updated digital experience, a new learning model that helps people with their "lifelong learning journeys," and the creation of a Smithsonian Commons, a new part of our digital presence dedicated to stimulating learning, creation, and innovation through open access to Smithsonian research, collections and communities. The Smithsonian Commons will, in many ways, be the platform through which we accomplish the Four Grand Challenges articulated in the Smithsonian Institution Strategic Plan.

The purpose of the prototype is to help the Smithsonian community (broadly defined) understand and discuss the attributes and benefits of the Smithsonian Commons in terms of its impact on real users. The prototype project is conceived as a rapid, research and development process taking place over 12 weeks. Like all prototypes, it will not be perfect, but it will significantly advance our understanding of the Smithsonian Commons, what its goals and benefits are, how to talk about it, and how to fund and build it.

The "Experience Brief" Outlines the Flow...

The Experience Brief on the following (linked to) pages describes the themes and stories the Smithsonian Commons prototype will address. The first versions of these pages didn't address the look-and-feel of the prototype but now we're starting to flesh that out. When looking at these pages, imagine that each story will be represented by a 5 - 10 slide animated PowerPoint show that uses narration and captions to illustrate how users will interact with the Smithsonian Commons. (We'll probably be doing this in SlideShow Pro.) We’ve chosen four user types—persona—(from among 10 - 15 possibilities) to highlight based on an analysis of which persona would help us tell an important story about the commons in a compact and efficient way. A fifth story will focus on the overarching themes and outcomes.

Following the official timeline of the project, we collected feedback on the draft Experience Brief through December 2nd, and I worked with Navigation Arts (who is helping us with the prototype) to compile comments and update the brief (still in progress). I'll leave these pages open for comment, discussion, and improvement for the duration of the project.

(Note: I've posted a summary of comments on the draft Experience Brief. - - M.E. 12/4/09)

Currently we're working on storyboards, visual design, and detailed scripting for the prototype based on the Experience Brief.

Experience Brief Table of Contents

Note: I'll be adding updates to these pages throughout the process. Right now they're kind of hybrids between the design spec (in the form of the Experience Brief) and the emerging designs.

Workspace Pages

(pages related to actually building the prototype)


Download the commons prototype website and videos
(1.3GB Zip file, available upon request)

Smithsonian Commons Prototype - Experience Brief
Attributes of the Smithsonian Commons >>