Designing Matrices (For CIG Coordinators)

Many of the guidelines that apply to designing other types of wizards also apply to designing a matrix. First and foremost, avoid unnecessary complexity. Although it is possible to add lengthy instructions, links to files, and numerous forms to each cell, doing so may overwhelm your users. Focus on the essentials. If something seems to have little or no value at any point, leave it out.

To design a matrix, follow these steps:

  1. Analyze the activity or process that the matrix will support.
  2. Identify the two dimensions of the work -- perhaps (1) criteria or standards and (2) components or stages-- and map them to the rows and columns to reveal the structure that you will need.
  3. Identify the content needed (instructions, files, forms, etc.) for each cell of the matrix and for the matrix as a whole.
  4. Draw a diagram showing the organization of the matrix's components. Do NOT omit this step. Matrices are fairly complex and many aspects of them cannot be changed after publication, so it's very important to diagram the matrix and identify the content for each cell before creating them in the Matrices tool.
  5. If you plan to attach files to provide information to users of the matrix, create those files and store them in Resources in the site containing the matrix.
  6. Identify the cells in which formative and summative feedback are needed. Before making decisions in this regard, think carefully about the load placed on reviewers (those that provide formative feedback) and evaluators (those that provide summative feedback). Also, keep in mind that after a cell matrix has been submitted for evaluation, participants can no longer change it.
  7. Identify people to provide formative and summative feedback. Be sure they have appropriate permissions. Typically, the people that provide formative feedback are assigned to the Reviewer role and those that provide summative feedback are assigned to the Evaluator role. Role assignments are made in the Site Info tool and the permissions associated with each role are defined in the Matrices tool via the Permissions link.
  8. If you plan to use non-global forms in the matrix to provide structure for site participant work, reflection prompts, and review and evaluation of work in the cells, store the XML schema documents (.xsd files) files for those forms in Resources. Then add each form schema to the Forms tool so the forms can be incorporated into your matrix. For more information on this step, see documentation on the Forms tool.
  9. In most cases, it is good practice to use a single cascading style sheet (CSS) throughout the matrix. If you plan to use a style sheet other than the default, store the .css file for it in Resources. Then add the .css file to the Styles tool so it can be applied to the matrix. For more information on this step, see documentation on the Styles tool.