CPSC 547

Evaluation of WebGrid


Chris Kliewer


The grid I created for exploring WebGrid dealt with different breeds of dogs. I used nine different breeds of dogs covering a general spectrum of the types of dogs available as the elements in the grid. For the constructs I used different attributes that the dogs might possess such as swimming ability, intelligence, and size. When I the used Focus on the elements and constructs for the dogs I found that the breeds of dogs had been grouped very much as I would have grouped them without WebGrid. The dogs were grouped into the classes that best represented the type of dogs they were such as retrievers, show dogs, working dogs, etc. To me this indicated that the program was able to take the information that I gave it and give back an accurate picture of how I viewed the subject matter.

My initial impressions of the WebGrid application itself were not good. Though the program did what it was supposed to do in creating the grids I found the interface was a bit confusing at first to understand. I found that it didn't explain the method for setting up the constructs clearly. Also the program on the Internet would not allow you to make both a Focus grid and a PrinCom diagram during the same session. This meant that I had to run the application twice in order to obtain both the Focus and the PrinCom diagrams.

The program would have some value in software design by allowing the designer and the users to see if their ideas and concepts matched and were relevant to the software being developed. This would save time and prevent misunderstandings during the development stages.

Webgrid Focus and PrinCom forExploration of Dogs

Elicitation of Constructs

During part two of the assignment I used the same constructs and elements that I had used previously in part one. I also gave Simon Yung a copy of the elements and constructs and he did his own rankings of them and then gave me the GIFs that contained his Focus and PrinCom grids on dogs. By comparing the grids that Simon did to the ones that I had done I was able to see how we viewed dogs differently.

The Focus grids showed that Simon did not group the dogs into the same general types that I had done. His groupings were more random for certain breeds of dog and when questioned about the differences it turned out that Simon was not familiar with the breeds in question this was especially apparent in his rankings for Pekinese dogs. These differences helped to point out the differences that the two of us have when looking at the subject of dogs. On the PrinCom diagram the differences can be seen even plainer as very few of the constructs or elements match on either of our two diagrams. I can see from my PrinCom diagram that there are two distinct grouping one containing swimmers and non-swimmers and the other having working dogs and show dogs. These groupings show very strong evidence of dissimilarity in the rankings and definite views on how I perceive the breeds of dogs. Simon's PrinCom diagram on the other hand does not distinguish the rankings into any really distict groupings though there is some grouping in the area that contains the ranking for show dog and working dog.

It is unfortunate that the application did not allow us to see the comparisons of our data on-line. Since we had to visually assess the diagrams we did not obtain the full benefit of the application for data analysis. This was another problem that we had in using WebGrid.

Webgrid Focus and PrinCom forComparisons

Elicitation of Constructs for Presentation Topic

The presentation topic that I did for CPSC 547 was Digital Libraries. This is the topic that I used for my grid in part three of the assignment. The elements in the grid were ten different Digital Libraries that can be found on the Internet. These libraries are a good representation of the libraries on the Internet and show different approaches to presenting library material electronically. The constructs that were used were based upon the library interfaces, availability of material, special features, and several other criteria that I felt contributed to a good Digital Library.

Analysis of the Focus grid showed that there was some distinction made between visual interfaces and text based interfaces. The Michigan Electronic Library and Planet Earth Virtual Library were grouped together and both of these use a strong visual metaphor for their interfaces. The BIBSYS Library System, Project Gutenberg, and On-line Books were grouped together and these three libraries use a text based interface. The Alexandria Digital Library and the Berkeley Library were grouped together but this is because these two libraries both have the smallest number of features of any of the libraries compared.

The PrinCom diagram that was generated for Digital Libraries did not show many definite or clear seperation of the constructs or elements. Two areas were clear though, one grouping contained; can order material, lots of material on-line, and easy of search, but unfortunately none of the libraries ranked were near this grouping. The other grouping contained two rankings; text based metaphors and few graphics, and again few of the elements were near this grouping. The libraries were seperated by the vertical axis with text based libraries on the right and the more visual libraries on the left of the diagram.The visual libraries are spread pretty evenly over the left side but on the right the text based libraries are seperated into two groups on either side of the horizontal axis but is is not clear from the diagram why this has occurred. It is possible from the PrinCom diagram to chose a library that has features 'close' to the ones that you are looking for but there are no libraries that stand out as better than others on the diagram since the constucts and the elements are spread out fairly evenly.

For the presentation topic grid it would have been better to compare my own grid with one done by someone else. I feel this would have given me a better look at the differences in the libraries and also allowed me to see what someone else thinks is important in a good Digital Library.

Over all I found the WebGrid program interesting and it does have possibillities for analyzing the differences in ideas and concepts between people but it is quite buggy in it's present form and I would probably tend to avoid it.

Webgrid Focus and PrinCom forDigital Libraries

C .J. Kliewer_____E-mail: