Designing a Matrix

Many of the guidelines that apply to designing any other type of wizard also apply to designing a matrix. Avoid unnecessary complexity! You can add unlimited instructions, forms, feedback, evaluation, and other features to each cell of a matrix. As a result, it's possible to make a matrix overly complex and difficult or burdensome to use. Remember this: You do not have to use every element and feature at every opportunity. 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 rows and columns 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: Because matrices are fairly complex and many aspects of them cannot be changed after publication, we strongly recommend that you diagram the matrix and the contents of 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.
  6. Identify the points at which formative and summative feedback are needed. You may allow for feedback on the matrix as a whole or cell by cell. Before making decisions in this regard, think carefully about the load placed on reviewers (those who provide formative feedback) and evaluators (those who provide summative feedback). Also, keep in mind that after a cell or a 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.
  8. If you plan to use forms in the matrix to provide structure for site participant work, reflection prompts, and review and evaluation of work in the cells, store the .xsd files for those forms in Resources.
  9. In most cases, it is good practice to use a single style throughout a matrix. If you plan to use a style other than the default, store the .css file for it in Resources and use the Styles tool to create the style.