Matt MacAdam UA Portfolio


Accessing your Windows Desktop from Outside the UW Campus


Many departments at the University of Washington connect their desktop computers to the University’s private network (instead of the public network).  This increases security, but also makes it difficult for employees to remotely access their desktops from home.  One way employees can access their office desktops from home is to “tunnel” through a public computer.  The Physics computer provides such a public computer, but the software required to set up the “tunnel” is difficult to configure. This procedure is designed solely to help the user set up the software and then save the settings they have configured.


Even though the procedure is straightforward, it is crafted from experience and helps the user avoid likely pitfalls.  Specifically:




Removing a Tree Stump Using Hand Tools


This is a natural world procedure--explaining a real world task rather than walking a user through a computer interface.  It’s an interesting contrast to most UA because the procedure is much longer and contains more narrative than a typical software procedure.  The natural world is more varied than a computer interface, so the possible situations require extra effort to predict and explain. 


Critique of a Procedure from the University of Washington’s eProcurement Documentation


 eProcurement is a centralized purchasing system used by the University of Washington.  This procedure explains how to “pull” a saved quote from Dell’s website into the eProcurement system.  The original procedure (original link here, archived copy available locally) drags on for eleven pages and consists mostly of uncropped screenshots.  There are a number of problems with the procedure, from style issues to outdated information. 


I distilled the procedure to approximately half a page, even though it contains slightly more text than the original.  The screenshots are gone, and the revised procedure follows industry-standard style guidelines.   


The revised procedure has the following strengths over the original:



     More accurate and easier to follow. 

     Entire document can be viewed at standard screen resolutions.

     Title is more accurate.

     More likely to remain accurate if eProcurement is updated, and easier to update if changes render the procedure inaccurate. 


Other views:  I personally avoid screenshots unless I feel they are absolutely necessary.  However, strategic use of cropped screenshots could add value to this procedure.  In particular, a marked up screenshot for steps seven and eight (the one screenshot would apply to both steps) could call the user’s attention to the various links and buttons on the screen. 


Task Hierarchy for University Sailing ClubMinder(tm) Software


This is a task hierarchy for a piece of software used by a University sailing club to manage most aspects of their operations.  It is used by the general membership, club officers, and employees. 


The task hierarchy is broken into roles, and for each role lists which tasks a certain class of person (a general member, an employee, or an officer) is able to complete with the software.  There is some overlap between roles. 


Overview of University Sailing ClubMinder’s(tm) Boat Management Functions


This is part of the online help system for ClubMinder.  It is an overview of the tasks an employee of the club would perform, with links to detailed procedures for each task.  In most cases, the titles of the procedures sufficiently describe what they are for, but in other cases I have added some extra text to clarify what the procedure covers.