Language of Software – sketchnotes and slides

Des Traynor spoke to lots of developers from both the Sanger Institute and the EBI about content strategy for application developers. Read on for sketchnotes, slides and a note on “micro copy”.

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Content strategy and software development – Nov 14th

Des Traynor, InterComOn November 14th, Des Traynor will talk about how content strategy fits in with software development. Des is a user experience and user interface designer with a background in software engineering. With a wealth of experience to draw on, Des will talk to us about  “The language of software: the role of content strategy in software development”.

WHERE: M203, Cairns Pavilion, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus

WHEN: November 14, 15h00 – 16h00

If you don’t work on the Genome Campus, but you would like to attend this event, please contact me, and I can help to arrange that. (I can’t help with travel costs, though – sorry!)

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Science & Social Media – Making Your Work More Visible and Engaging

The EBI Interfaces talk  on September 22 was “Science & Social Media – Making Your Work More Visible and Engaging“, given by Nicola Osborne, Social Media Officer for EDINA.

Science & Social Media prezi - click to go to the presentation

Click to go to the presentation

Nicola spoke about effective ways to use Social Media to communicate your work. This included strategies, tools, guidelines and ways to plan, manage and monitor social media to engage the people you want to communicate your scientific work with. She drew upon her extensive experience of advising JISC-funded projects, academic researchers and the wider community on social media.

Some key points

  1. Social media channels give you a way to engage with an audience or community, and start a dialogue;
  2. Go to where people are already, rather than trying to create a community in a vacuum (i.e. Twitter is not always the answer!);
  3. You need a strategy to manage this effectively – goals, time, resources, measuring success;
  4. You need to consider Who?, What?, Where?, and When? as part of that strategy;
  5. Think about how to [re]use content across different channels;
  6. Develop ambassadors. Create content for them, and let them communicate to their networks.
  7. Tell stories (this is engaging!);
  8. You must budget time and resources for effective social media activity
  9. Guidelines, written well, can help content authors
To find out more about Nicola’s work, have a look at her EDINA blog. You can also download the EDINA social media guidelines, if you’d like to read them.

Science and Social Media – Sept 22, 2011

After a sumertime hiatus, EBI Interfaces will be back with a talk  towards the end of September with a talk on “Science & Social Media – Making Your Work More Visible and Engaging“.

Twitter birdy saying "science"

Nicola Osborne, Social Media Officer for EDINA, will talk about effective ways to use Social Media to communicate your work. Nicola will talk about strategies, tools, guidelines and ways to plan, manage and monitor social media to engage the people you want to communicate your scientific work with. She will draw upon her extensive experience of advising JISC-funded projects, academic researchers and the wider community on social media.

WHERE: M203, Cairns Pavilion, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus

WHEN: Thursday, Sept 22, 15h00

As always (though it perhaps isn’t obvious), external visitors are welcome to attend this talk. Please contact me, though, to arrange your visit.

To find out a bit more about the kind of things Nicola works on, you can read her Soapbox Science article written for

Science, stories and better design

Being able to communicate effectively is fundamental to successful collaboration in scientific research. The same is true of application or website design.

If we learn more about how scientists share concepts, and particularly the stories and vocabulary they use to do it, we can design more useful, usable applications to aid that research.

communication and finding common ground

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UX design and return on investment (ROI)

In the world of publicly-funded scientific research, we don’t often think about commerce and transactions, because we’re not selling anything. However, there is obviously money involved somewhere (ask any PI!).

Someone has paid for those data to be produced, and someone has funded the project to create an interface to make those data available and usable.

I am interested in applying commercial thinking to our situation, even if we never talk about customers, conversions and profit, as some of you might have noticed when I work with you. It is worth considering the ROI, or return on investment, of applying user experience (UX) design practices to scientific projects (where a web app or piece of software is the main, tangible product).

Part of Human Factors International's ROI of UX Design poste

With that in mind, have a look at this short video explaining why it is worth including UX or user-centred design principles in the project development:

Aiming to clearly define project requirements early on, to communicate well, and to sort out and align stakeholder politics can pay dividends for the project as a whole.

If you want to know more about how to apply UX design practices to your project, keep an eye on the articles that appear on this blog, contact me or Jenny Cham, and we will help you out however we can.

You show me yours, I’ll show you mine

Brainstorming ideas during the speed sketching event

Speed Sketching

Well, the somewhat experimental speed sketching event we held to mark World Usability Day seems to have been a quiet success.

Some of the people there told me afterward that they went away with new ideas, and even solved some issues, as a result. That’s great – it is exactly what I had hoped for: cross-pollination of ideas; brainstorming with people from different teams or research fields; rapidly sketching interfaces and ways to visualize data. Ah, the power of communication.

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