About the Department
In July, 2014 the University Writing Program became the Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies, making it one of several high-profile institutions in the country to better identify its role locally and nationally. We now offer a growing major and minor while still offering essential writing courses to undergraduate and graduate students across campus. Our interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Writing and Rhetoric Studies is currently offered through three partnering departments; students take courses with us and complement their scholarly interest through the partnering department.
Usability Testing Community Partnership
During Fall semester, Dr. Natalie Stillman-Webb’s Document Design and Usability Class partnered with the Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts (SPA) to conduct usability testing on the charter high school’s website. Writing students gathered user feedback about the website in the usability lab at the Marriott Library, employing specialized software that tracks people’s mouse clicks and reactions as they interact with a website.
According to SPA principal, Dr. Susan Brady, “The class, through in depth analysis and usability testing, was able to make recommendations that will improve our site. The group looked at our targeted needs such as ease of website navigation, number of clicks to access information, location of important information, and appearance of the website as a recruitment tool for prospective parents/students. The class produced a report of troubled areas that we targeted, suggestions for fixing them, as well as other concerns the test subjects and focus groups brought up that were beyond our initial focus. We are developing a plan to implement the changes that these wonderful students from the U suggested based upon their research and findings.”