Information wayfinding – Tyler Tate

Tyler Tate - head & shouldersIt was great to have Tyler Tate come and speak on campus again. He was previously here, back in October 2010, speaking about maximising findability, and the “scent of search”.

This time round, Tyler was expanding on some of that thinking, and talked to us about information wayfinding – the concept of helping people locate themselves in an information space, and navigate around it efficiently.

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Card sorting resources

Card Sorting - the book by Donna SpencerSome of you might have attended the most recent how-to workshop we ran on campus, looking at card sorting as a technique for organising information. If you’d like to follow up on that and learn more, Donna Spencer (@maadonna), author of the Rosenfeld Media book “Card Sorting – designin usable categories” has just updated her resoursces page for the topic.

Lots of great information, advice and articles.

Talk: Beyond the Polar Bear – Mike Atherton – July 4

Mike Atherton, independent UX consultant

I’m excited to announce that our next invited speaker will be independent UX consultant, Mike Atherton.

Mike has worked closely with the BBC recently, particularly in the realm of information architecture (IA) – that is, the structure and organisation of information.

Earlier this year, he presented this same talk at the big IA conference in Colorado, where it created a buzz of interest and positive responses, so it is great that he can present it here, too!

WHERE: M203, Cairns Pavilion, Genome Campus

WHEN: 16h00

Please note that this talk will be held a little bit later than usual. Partly, this is to make things convenient for Mike, and also to see if this works better for you, the audience.

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Information Architecture and Structural Biology

Send me your examples of structures in biology, and help to put a new perspective on information architecture.

There is an interesting project underway, across the Atlantic… Carl and Katie are both design graduates from the University of Michigan. They are exploring how structures, networks and relationships in biological systems can help to develop ideas about information architecture. They are happily embracing the idea that we can always learn something from other disciplines!

Interaction hearts biology

In terms of information architecture, sometimes, trying to work with a simply hierarchical structure for a website or some other system simply isn’t adequate.

Instead, you might want to think about an “ecology” (or perhaps an “ecosystem”), where there are numerous related and interacting elements.

So with that in mind, we could look at examples of structure in biology. This is where I hope you can help.

The guys need more examples.

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Deep user experience, information architecture and the BBC

Some of you are no doubt still chewing over the great talk we had at the end of February from Bronwyn van  der Merwe and Andy Greenham – they covered the visual identity and what one may think of as the “surface user experience” of the BBC’s websites.

Some of you may also have attended Tom Scott’s talk in the middle of February, where he told us about how he and his colleagues work with linked data and ontologies to craft the BBC Wildlife web pages. This gave us a glimpse at how one might use information and the mental models of our users to construct an architecture.

If you liked that, I can highly recommend this excellent presentation from the Beeb’s Mike Atherton (@mikeatherton). It was presented recently at the IA Summit 2011, and generated a lot of positive tweeting and reviews.

Mike covers some great points about the deeper user experience; that which is based on the architecture of a website. Do the mental models of the consumer overlap with that of the provider? What about the URLs? Are they usable? He also talks about domain-driven design, which is something I’ve heard Ryan Singer talk about in the past… and also promotes the classic model of starting at the deep level of information and content, and building up towards the surface

This presentation pulls all these topics together really rather well. Enjoy.

EuroIA round-up from Martin Belam

I didn’t get to the EuroIA (Information Architecture) conference in Paris this year (Sept 24/25), and maybe most of you didn’t either! If you’re interested, Martin Belam has gathered together links to almost all the talks and slides on his website.

He says,

“…if you fancy reliving your favourite presentation, or flicking through the slides from some of the sessions you didn’t see, then here I have attempted to gather together the blog posts or linklogs or slides that went with each of the talks.”

Martin is an information architect at guardian.co.uk, and is co-hosting an Enterprise Search London meet-up entitled “Search the Guardian” on Oct 18, if you’re interested. I can’t get to that either. *sigh*

Thanks to Matthew Solle for the heads-up.

Guest Speaker: Roy Ruddle – Navigation in information spaces, and using giga-pixel displays to visualize biological data

We are very happy to announce Roy Ruddle as our next guest speaker. Roy is a Reader in Interactive Systems, and a member of the Visualization and Virtual Reality research group at the University of Leeds.

WHEN: June 18th, 14h00

WHERE: M203 (the function room next to Murray’s restaurant), Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton

TITLE: Navigation in information spaces, and using giga-pixel displays to visualize biological data
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Review: Search User Interfaces

The book, Search User Interfaces (CUP) was published in autumn 2009, and is written by Marti A. Hearst, professor at University of California, Berkeley, who has done research on search user interfaces for 15 years. It would make an excellent addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in search and navigation design.

It was thanks to Nils that I found out about it, and I think both of us have a copy now. I haven’t read mine cover-to-cover, preferring instead to dip in and out, reading various sections or whole chapters as required.

I got my copy at the Cambridge University Press (CUP) shop in Cambridge, but it also available on Amazon.

Even better… in an effort to maximise the impact of her writing, Hearst was able to convince CUP to allow her to also make the book available for free, in HTML format, on her website, so you can check it out there, too. This means you can also electronically search the book, which is really handy. I have found myself using both the hardcopy and the online copy.

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