Beta Group Responsibilities

The site is being previewed and tested by a "beta-Group". "Beta-testing" is a term used in the software industry to describe the process by which a new piece of software is tested by a sample group of users, so that all the bugs can be found and fixed before the final version is issued for the general public.

The beta-Group for consists of school board representatives and others who are part of the design team and sponsoring organizations. The designers need feedback from the beta-Group on a number of questions, including the following:

1. Loading and appearance

- on your browser, do the arrival page and subsequent pages load reasonably quickly?
- is the overall appearance acceptable?
- is everything you see reasonably understandable?
- do all the links work?
- what is missing in the format that you would like to see?

2. Usability

- is the site set up in such a way that you think people in your board will be able to use it?
- are instructions on the site clear?
- should more instructions be given?
- what aspects do you think your people will use most readily and easily?
- what aspects do you think your people will use least or never?

3. Content

- allowing for the limited nature of the initial content, were the content pages understandable and do you think they will be useful to people in your board in this form?
- should topics be in more detail or less?
- should they be longer or shorter?
- should there be more "hyperlinks" from the text in topic pages to further clarification?
- in Topics and Case Studies, is it clear where to go for the source of the advice, for further background, for other examples?
- what other topics and kinds of case studies should be included at minimum, before this is made available to others in Ontario school boards?
- do the topic pages need more or less graphic illustration?

4. Glitches

- what didn't work?
- did any parts of the site look wierd on your browser?
- what frustrated you most about the test site?
- what difficulties did you face getting started?

5. User Groups

- is there anything about the site that is not suited well for the different user groups (e.g. board officials, school plant managers, principals, teachers, parents)?
- can you suggest additional kinds of materials that would make the site more useful for each of these groups?
- are there other kinds of users you know of, that we have not anticipated?
- do you have any other persons to suggest to add to the beta-Group, who would add a useful viewpoint that is not already represented?

6. Contributions of Material from the beta-Group

- do you have any material related to this subject that you would like included or referenced on the site?
- have there been actions within your Board that we could write up as case studies?
- who can we list as contacts within your Board?
- would your Board object to having a listing of all its schools available on the site, along with appropriate contact numbers for the principals?
- does your Board have a policy or strategy on indoor air quality that we could make available on the site, either to all users or to other school boards?

7. Security

- is the separation of the site into public access and school board access useful?
- can you assist us in determining what kinds of material should be reserved for school board access only?

8. Instructions for beta-Group Members

As you go through the site and test it over and over, please feel free to address any or all of the above questions, as you think of them. E-mail your thoughts as they come up to the beta-Group, so that the database designers can see them, and so that others in the beta-Group can also see them. (If you are not a member of the beta-Group, e-mail your thoughts to Feel free to send many short e-mails rather than waiting to send one long one. Don't worry about duplication with other people's comments.

The site designers will be expanding the content of the site progressively during the next several months. Please check in about once a week to see what else has been added and to see whether the additions trigger more ideas or comments you would like to pass on to the working group.

We thank you for your help.

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