Japanese Course - Irasshai
Objective: Redesign a Japanese language and culture site that accompanies a video-based high school course to incorporate new activities and better navigation and structure. The new design is still live, though it has undergone some changes and sports a different splash page. It can still be viewed within the Georgia Public Broadcasting site.
Process: We had a team of interns who would be transferring the existing content into the new templates. We opted to use Dreamweaver for the transition in order to utilize the control features of the Dreamweaver template system. Once we had a plan for the team, we looked into the existing content structure to begin the new design.
Information Architecture: The existing content was catalogued, and new content areas were added to the structure. Much of the reorganization was based on feedback obtained from and data collected on users of the existing site.
The primary function of the site was to offer additional lesson materials for students in the video-based course. We focused our design around the notebook lessons.
For visual interest, we added an area below the left-hand navigation entitled "Snapshot of Japan." It displayed a photo and caption, which were randomly selected from a database of cultural items, and loaded a new image with every load of a page in the site. These were photos taken by our team while in Japan during the planning stages of the original Irasshai project.
Final Design: The final design offered a much more fun learning environment for students, incorporating better graphics along with the learning experience. The navigation proved to be much better suited for users. The site structure offered room for growth, as every year the students produced more project materials to display.
The site featured audio reference charts for learning Japanese characters, as well as animated drawings for learning stroke order and games for review.
The online Irasshai project was originally conceived around the Launch Pad, which was a collection of online sites with information related to Japanese language and culture. Students routinely used this area for project research.
The Irasshai site was honored with two different awards as shown below.