Title:User-Centered System Design
Authors:Noni Korf Vidal
Publication:MW97: Museums and the Web 1997

The Utopia Project was conceived as a means to test the ability of a unified, digitized database to reshape teaching and research and to encourage interdisciplinary and cross cultural approaches to learning. From the beginning, it was felt that a "Build it, they will come" approach would not meet these ambitious needs. For the project to succeed, there needed to be active involvement of faculty in the design and use of Utopia. The author will detail the involvement of faculty in the design of the Utopia project, the changes that have been made or are anticipated in response to their requests, and how the faculty have then tried to incorporate Utopia into courses at Cornell. Faculty involvement is only part of the process of developing a user-centered system design, however. Input from students is also needed. This fall the Utopia database was incorporated into a large general undergraduate survey course. This paper will present as well the findings of a recent survey of students in the course and discuss the implications of the results of the survey for Web-based cultural heritage projects that hope to appeal to undergraduates.