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Design Roadmap

This Design Roadmap is an “executive summary” of the choices and actions underlying the construction of the computer lab at the Word Christian Bookstore. Please see the other sections on this website for specific details.

 

Vision for Space

The Word Christian Bookstore is a well-established venue in East St. Louis. Above all else it is most important to preserve the community and atmosphere that the proprietors have put so much effort into building. This is done through careful observation and analysis of the existing space, with effort put toward finding solutions for integrating technology holistically into the existing scheme. The focus is on enhancement, not revision.

The focus at this stage is on supplementing the existing business mandate as opposed to doing a wholly different thing or bringing in a different clientele. The expected uses for the machines include researching material for sermons, accessing online catalogs and ordering informational and religious materials, basic office activities, and printing. The audience is mostly adults, ranging in age from 20’s-60’s. We made some erroneous assumptions, like that the lab would require minimal supervision and information filtering due to the adult audience and that a kiosk machine on the counter could work well with their space, but we were ultimately able to adapt our initial site vision to meet the needs and constraints of the Word Cafe community.

 

Objectives for Integrating Technology

Computers installed in the Word would have to meet several requirements. First, they would need to allow the viewing, downloading, and/or printing of information from the Internet. Second, they should provide access to educational software and multimedia in a range of formats. Finally, they should encourage appropriate use of the space in a way that both enhances community resources and benefits the Word’s business as a whole.

 

Justification of Technology Choices

Four Dell computer systems with Intel Pentium 4 processors, equipped with Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Office 2003.

We outfitted the computers with a range of open source software, including Firefox (with custom browser profiles), OpenOffice.org, Scribus, antivirus software, and many others.

 

Recommendations & Plans for Implementation

There are five key elements that must be addressed to encourage the adoption of new technology: observability, trialability, complexity, compatibility, and relative advantage. We focused on these elements throughout the design and implementation of computer labs with our community partners.

We designed and installed custom desks to display the computers, configured the network and computer hardware and software, and tested everything for reliability.

 

Considerations for Sustainability

Effective sustainability requires both on-site and off-site support. On-site, Gracie Morgan arranged for her daughter, who has considerable computer experience and education, to help support the lab We also provided technical documentation in the form of printed and online resources.

Off-site documentation of the computer hardware and software components will bring technical advisors up to speed and serve as a roadmap for future sections of LIS 451 to continue the work.