Advanced Navigation Design – sketchnotes

Here are my sketchnotes from James Kalbach’s webinar, “Principles of Web Navigation: Advanced Design Techniques“. James investigated three broad aspects of navigation, “transitional volatility”, “information scent” and “berry-picking”, and proposed three techniques we could use to support each. Good stuff from Mr Kalbach.

Advanced navigation design sketchnotes


Transitional volatility (David Danielsen)

Information scent (Jared Spool and UIE)

The vocabulary problem (George Furnas et al)

Berry-picking (Prof. Marci J. Bates)


Search UX: Going with the flow

Charlie Hull, organiser of Cambridge’s Enterprise Search Meetups, invited me to talk at one of their events about UX design for search.

I spoke about “going with the flow“, and how any search activity needs to fit within a user’s flow of overall activities. I also wanted to make the point that developers can have a big impact on UX design. In the world of search, part of this is the power of analytics, which can give us quantitative data about what people are searching for, and how successful they are.

Talk: Human factors in computational biology – from mathematical models to user interfaces

Anna DivoliOur speaker for April is Anna Divoli, who will  give a talk entitled  “Human factors in computational biology – from mathematical models to user interfaces“.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 13, 14h00
WHERE: M203 (the function room next to Murrays restaurant, where the HSF meetings take place), Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton

Anna is a postdoc in the Dept of Medicine, University of Chicago, where she carries out research in the field of text mining, search and user interface design.

Her talk will address how taking a user-centered approach can ensure successful design and allow bioscientists to get the most out of the algorithms behind the user interfaces.

Anna will also discuss the development of the web interface of the BioText Search Engine, and how it was carefully designed to be useful and usable for scientists.

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Cambridge Usability talk Monday 11 April: “From Search to Discovery”

The next Cambridge Usability Group event will be on Monday 11 April, when Tony-Russell-Rose will give a talk entitled  From Search to Discovery:

Search user experience has come a long way from just a simple text input field. Faceted search interfaces have become standard on most e-commerce websites and search results help guide users to related and featured content. But how and why have search interfaces evolved so much in recent years?

We are delighted to welcome Tony Russell-Rose, from Endeca Technologies, to talk about how search interfaces can support users in a process of exploration and discovery.

Date: Monday 11 April 2011, Time: 18.30 for 18.45 to 20.00

Venue: Microsoft Research, Cambridge ( Map & address).

Registration: The event is FREE and you do not need to be a UK UPA member to attend. You can register now with Eventbrite.

New EBI search offers easy access to biological data

EMBL-EBI has launched a unique search service that makes it easier for life scientists to browse vast stores of publicly available biological data and related information. With more than 300 million entries indexed and updated daily, the search provides an efficient gateway to all of the major EBI data collections. Find out more about searching the EBI (PDF).

EBI homepagem featuring the enhanced search box

My colleague, Jenny Cham, led the user experience analysis which fed into the development of this enhanced search service, and I helped out with some of the user interviews and usability testing sessions that were carried out as part of this.

Observing a wide range of scientists, working at different institutions, gave us a lot of insights into what works and what makes sense to them, and they helped us develop the prototypes into what you see on the EBI website today.

Enterprise Search Meetup group in Cambridge

If you’re interested in search technology, systems and interfaces; if you know your Xapian from your Lucene Solr; if you’re looking for something else to slot into your social calendar, then perhaps you will be glad to know that Cambridge now has its very own Enterprise Search Meetup group.

Organiser Charlie Hull describes it as follows:

“If you’re working with, developing or planning to use any search technology, be it open source, commercial closed source, appliance-based or simply theoretical join this Meetup! Interest or experience in Lucene/Solr, Microsoft FAST, Endeca, Xapian, Autonomy, Exalead, Attivio, Grapeshot, TrueKnowledge, Google Search Appliance, Vivisimo, Muscat, Sphinx – or anything else – is all that’s required.”

I know there are quite a few people on the Wellcome Trust campus who might be up for this, so I encourage you to investigate further. And I’ve met Charlie a couple of times – he’s a nice bloke!

Their first meeting will take place on Feb 16, and will feature a 20-30 minute talk from Charlie on searching news media with open source software, with case studies including a major UK newspaper and a leading UK media monitor.

Drinks and nibble provided.

Slides from Tyler Tate’s Scent of Search talk

For those of you who missed it, or if you just want to recap, here are the slides from Tyler’s talk (Oct 14, 2010). Let’s not forget  –  we got 11 tips for improving search interface usability for the price of 10! Not bad!


Note: there is a mistake on the penultimate slide: the link to details of Marti Hearst’s book “Search User Interfaces” is actually