This blog post is long overdue. At UX Cambridge 2012, I was lucky enough to be joined by my friends Mel Findlater (@melfindlater) and David “Sheff” Barker (@mcshefferty) in running a workshop called “Design for Society”. The aim was to give participants an taste of running a participatory design session, and we included both UX designers (conference attendees) and “real people” – in this case, long-term wheelchair users and their carers. Thank you to everyone who took part!
Here is a preview of Jenny Cham’s poster for the ISMB/ECCB 2013 conference happening in Berlin, 19-23 July 2013:
The poster tells the story of the EMBL-EBI website redesign
The poster (number B44 at the conference) is a timeline showing the process we used to redesign the website from start to finish (although it’s never really finished!) As far as possible, we applied a user-centred design philosophy – where evidence from users helped us to decide on the layout, the way search works, navigation, and other stuff.
We used BBC’s Global Experience Language (BBC GEL) as a shining example
BBC GEL provided the inspiration we needed to create style guidelines for the new site. These include a style guide, design patterns and other advice (such as UX techniques), which designers and developers can follow to make the look and feel (and behaviour) of webpages consistent across diverse services under the EBI banner. These guidelines will be available later this year, via the EBI website.
Acknowledgement of help
Jenny would like to thank Spencer Phillips (Graphic designer at EMBL-EBI) for his tips on improving the timeline and call out boxes in this poster. Thank you!
See you in Berlin!
As well as the poster, check out Jenny’s talk on Tuesday 23 July (12.00-12.25, Hall 7) “Designing with the user in mind: how UCD can work for bioinformatics”
I recently had the pleasure of attending a one-day tutorial on data visualisation, given by Andy Kirk (@visualisingdata) on the Genome Campus. I was particularly glad that we were able to organise for Andy to run his tutorial here since, rather like Noah Iliinsky and Miriah Myer, Andy frames his guide to data visualisation in terms of a design process; something close to my [UX design] heart.
Taking a step-by-step approach to exploring one’s data, learning about the audience and their goals, deciding on the purpose of the visualisation, and taking time to experiment with different possible solutions is an essential grounding to set down for people, I think.
Following on from some email discussions, some of my EMBL-EBI colleagues asked me if I could give a general talk on the topic of user research.
They work on Ensembl, one of the joint flagship projects of both the Sanger Institute and EMBL-EBI. It is described as “[a project that] produces genome databases for vertebrates and other eukaryotic species, and makes this information freely available online”. It is a complex system that supports the activities of thousands of scientists around the world.
There were a couple of specific questions that they wanted to explore, and I tried to cover them. I also made the general point that to gain value from user research, we need to dig below the surface, to have articulated goals, and to have a mechanism for reporting findings and acting on them.
A big thank you for the invitation.
It’s about that time of year again! Vizbi, the conference for visualizing biological data, returns in March. This year, it will take place at the Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA, between March 20 and 22. There are half-day tutorials available on March 19.
Early registration closes on February 8. If you cannot make it to Cambridge, USA, you have the option of virtual registration: this allows participation via streaming video, with the possibility to ask questions of the speakers