I have been writing a script for the Ellie's Log Website usability test. Steve Krug's book has given me the basic layout, but I find it a little difficult to find the right word choice for our audience. Half of the tests will be children from ages 9 to 12, and the other half will be adults (preferably teachers).

Once my script is finished, which should be this coming Tuesday, I hope to quickly have our first round of tests underway. From what Margaret has told me, it looks like most (if not all) of the tests will be done in the conference room. We will have the essentials and nothing else for the test. I plan to be as efficient as possible, and to help the test subject feel comfortable.

I have been working more and more in the fourth floor rotunda. I do appreciate my little cubicle space in the office, but it is nice to feel the warmth of the sun.

I will be visiting Seaside one last time this summer. Our pugs, Thor and Malcolm have passed away. We will be burying them underneath the tiny Maple Tree, a tree that has been soaked by their urine. Perhaps that is too much information, but I think they will like that spot. It is odd not having them around.

Fall is slowly, but surely, approaching Corvallis. I am enjoying the heat but a part of me is ready to see brown leaves and pumpkins.

I have been spending the last part of this week fine tuning my own useability tests. It was hard to complete the usability intake form, but I feel as if I have finally finished my training on usability. When I would first look at a website I would  see all the aesthetics and think how great the website was. After doing my own research, I have learned that one of the most important aspects of a website is how simple it is to use. Simplicity is key.  We will be meeting with the usability team on September 3rd. Since they actually do this sort of thing for a living, I am assuming I will be able to better refine my skills.

After, and possibly during, the usability tests I will be focusing on creating a video that will help market Ellie's Log. I plan on returning to my home in Seaside this weekend to start my storyboard. Sketching is always more enjoyable when you can hear the ocean hugging the shore.

I have been using OSU's LYNDA account to brush up on my Final Cut Pro 7 abilities. The man on the tutorial is such a goofy guy. He makes the tutorial a lot more tolerable so I appreciate him for that. I am a little rusty when it comes to editing and shooting film. I am prepared to get back into it.

This past Tuesday and Wednesday marked the last of the summer concerts in Central Park, for this summer. They have been very relaxing and I am glad to have lived here this summer just so I could hear them. The Corvallis Community Band ended with songs from Disney's Aladdin; Mango Django ended with "Sweet Georgia Brown". Excellent choices in my opinion.

This upcoming week will really determine how well my research will help the usability tests. I am so excited it almost feels like I am nervous.

This week I was able to meet with Margaret, Judy, Peg, and Micki to discuss a new project for Ellie's Log Website. I will be interviewing a graduate student from H.J. Andrews and capturing it on film. Hopefully this video will be able to show children what a scientist actually does.

Earlier this week my thumbs took quite the beating. I was putting together Ellie's Log Buttons that will be passed out at the EEAO conference. My hands began to sweat and I would poke myself. The next time I have to do something like that again I will definitely be bringing a paper towel.

On a more personal note, I had a wonderful weekend with my closest friend. We ate and danced at the Benton Bite, splashed around at the pool, and went on a somewhat stressful bike ride that led us to a castle of hay. Standing at the top with her made me forget about my current stress. She would get annoyed by me, but it would eventually disintegrate. Our last stop of the weekend was Washington Square. It felt good to hold her hand again. What a squirrel she is.

I have been looking for a new place to live this Fall. Some of the apartments I have been looking at either require a certain amount of income or have already been taken for the year. The other difficult part is finding a place that leases month to month. Since I will only be here at OSU for four more months, signing a year lease would be a bad thing.

This week has been stressful. But the new project ideas have been keeping me focused. I am determined to do well.

My work has started slow, but I am slowly gaining momentum. Rhonda Hankins, who contributes to The Valley Library Facebook page, was kind enough to advertise my blog. Hopefully this will allow me to generate activity on this blog and possibly Ellie's Log Website.

Most of my work this week focused on creating scenarios for usability testing and reading Steve Krug's, Rocket Surgery Made Easy. It is a very simple and nice read. Krug has allowed me to have a basic understanding of usability testing. I find it easier to read outside of the office than inside.

My scenarios I have created describe a task/objective someone would have when visiting the website. These tasks can range from logging in, to posting an image to the forums. These scenarios mainly target teachers and students.

I will be meeting with Margaret, Judy, Peg, and Micki next week to brainstorm a new project idea that would benefit Ellie's Log.

It feels like these past weeks have flown by.

My second week here at Ellie's Log has been filled with reading, webpage editing (via Drupal), meetings, photos for the OSU magazine, and cake. I met with Susan earlier this week and I have completed my basic training/understanding of the program Drupal. At this current moment, my Drupal skills allow me to fix broken links, adjust certain format issues, and edit images to be displayed correctly. I expect to be more efficient with the program in the coming week.

Micki and I sat down today to talk about the pros and cons of adding social media to the Ellie's Log project. I had originally planned on using Facebook to generate users, but Micki than suggested the possibility of implementing Instagram. Although I am not the biggest fan of Instagram, it may prove useful for displaying interesting photos to both teachers and students while generating users for the Ellie's Log Website.

My work place may seem dull at the moment, but I have big plans to spice up my current arrangement.

Instead of my normal one, I have upgraded to two cups of coffee a day. I find myself needing an extra boost after sitting in my chair for an extended period of time. A cart came around the office offering cake and coffee. Being myself, I gladly accepted the offer. My grandmother (Yeya) taught me to never refuse a food offering.

This upcoming week I will be meeting with the Usability Team and help design simple usability tests for the website. Maybe I can have my younger siblings take part in the test.

Slowly but surely, I am feeling more comfortable with my work at Ellie's Log.

My first week at Ellie's Log Website has been a very interesting experience. My boss, Margaret Mellinger, has been very helpful and kind. The first day I left my wallet at my apartment and she bought me lunch. I had the privilege to meet with the author and illustrator, Judith Li (Judy) and M.L. Herring (Peg). We discussed each others background and goals for the project. They both seem to have an unlimited amount of energy. On my last day I was able to once again meet with Micki Reaman. We discussed the possibility of implementing social media into the project. We plan to meet at a later date to discuss the details.

I have created both student and teacher accounts at ellieslog.org and have been focusing on any problems these accounts may have. I just finished a spreadsheet containing information about broken links and other issues. It was a different experience than what I am normally used to, but I feel that I am starting to understand the importance of usability testing.
On my student account, "studentjosh", I have completed activities, posted to the monthly calendar, and started a new topic on the tracking animals/plants forums. I am starting to get a feel for the way the website works.
I have been keeping myself busy by trying to perfect any task I am faced with. I have high hopes for this experience. I cannot wait to start up again next week. I will be meeting Susan McEvoy this upcoming Tuesday. She will be training me to work with Drupal.

As of right now I am completely content with my work and the direction of the project. I cannot wait for more.

So far, so good.

    Josh Garhofer

    I am a Senior at Oregon State University and I am currently interning at Ellie's Log Website. I love the outdoors and hate standing still.