Iowa State has one. EVL has one. NCSA has one. We don't have one...until now. With all the equipment rolling into Virginia Tech's doorway, a 10 processor SGI Onyx and an Immersadesk to name a few, Virginia Tech up until now was without a compehensive Hompage for information regarding the CAVE arriving early next year. The VT-CAVE Information Center was created on the basis that a tool should be created to inform, educate, and promote the new VT-CAVE to the Virginia Tech community and beyond. The campus will be receiving technology better than any educational facility in the country; professors and outside industry have the ability to take advantage of this rare and exceptional visualization tool. The goal of the VT-CAVE Web site is to:
Virginia Tech will be very lucky to receive a CAVE in 1997; undergraduates as well as graduates will take advantage of learning about this quickly evolving technology first hand. The VT-CAVE Website starts from the beginning, explaining the history and development of a CAVE then going into detail what makes it work and finally what technology is needed to power such a device. There are many pictures and VR rendered movies throughout, so that the user can actually see a CAVE without having to go to the facility. From there the user can learn about what educational or commercial applications the CAVE could be used for. Examples of projects already in progress on campus will also be published.
- Educate students and faculty about the CAVE and virtual reality technology.
- Inform students and faculty of applications/usage and people to contact for more information.
- Promote the CAVE project on-campus, off-campus, and nationwide as part of Virginia Tech though means of the Web.
One of the most important catagory of users are professors from Virginia Tech and beyond. Usage of the VT-CAVE does not have to be limited to students by any means. Professors from all kinds of disciplines, not just Computer Science and Engineering, can take advantage of the VT-CAVE. Creating Virtual Models of data could help students understand class material better as well as create a better appreciation for Virtual Reality and visualization. Professors can use the VT-CAVE Information Center as a central location for getting information about usage, guides and manuals, contacts, and general information.
Going beyond the boundaries of Virginia Tech to promote the CAVE is beneficial for good Public Relations between schools, between industry and Virginia Tech, and alleviating quallms from skeptics. The fact is that the VT-CAVE is beneficial to Visualization; explanation of the the extensive examples from various departments on campus will hopefully give a better understanding of types and amount of usage. The VT-CAVE will be the first CAVE east of the Mississippi River and public relations and partnerships with other schools will be beneficial for the future.
Now that the objectives have been stated, and the product complete, the next task is to test the site for effectiveness, efficiency, readability and content. the following questions were written on a piece of paper and given to a tester (each having varying degree of knowledge of World Wide Web use) and without myself in the room, to answer the questions:
After evaluating the questions and answers, changes and modifications were made to accomidate the responses that were returned.
- How often do you use Netscape in a week?
Under 1 hour, 1-3 hours or more than 4 hours
- Is information easy to read?
- Is information easy to find?
- Is the information made stimulating or relevant?
- Are there enough visual aides in the web site?
- What could be added?
- What could be subtracted?
- Does any part in the website confuse you?
- Tell me in your own words what this site might be used to accomplish, or who could be a good target audience?
- Overall, what is your general feelings/reactions to this website?
Even though the project is "complete", it is complete for only the time being. the technology and requirements for the Website will undoubtedly change as most sites do, so the Website will be changing slowing over time to fullfill future requirements.
Andrius Benokraitis, December 12 1996.