Designing the in-betweenies for meaningful IA.
"Successful cross-channel user experiences rely upon a strong informational layer that creates understanding amongst users of a service. This pervasive information layer helps users form conceptual models about how the overall experience works (irrespective of the channel in which they reside). This paper explores the early development of a practical framework for the creation of meaningful cross-channel information architectures or 'architectures of meaning'. We explore the strategic roles that individual channels can play as well as the different factors that can degrade a user' s understanding within a cross-channel user experience."
(Jon Fisher, Simon Norris, and Elizabeth Buie ~ Journal of Information Architecture Fall 2012)
Visual tools empower all design fields.
"When we speak about a service or a system, an ecosystem or concept, they are a lot of times abstract things. Visualization representation is a way to make them more tangible."
(Elizabeth Wood ~ frog design mind)
CX or UX? Who cares. Users are customers for capitalists.
"The necessity of providing user satisfaction on every key touchpoint in your business is critical to your success. The issue, however, is identifying those crucial touchpoints. Customer journey maps could be an incredibly helpful solution in this area."
Shared understanding, commitment and direction, team work.
"Products are developed by large multidisciplinary teams. The teams deal with many topics requiring the expertise of several specialists simultaneously. They have to decide together if something is a problem; propose multi-disciplinary solutions; and align their activities into a seamless whole. Stated differently: team members have to 'think collectively', which is named team cognition."
Search, find, and use. But then the fun part starts: the information experience.
"Findability is a constant theme in content strategy and technical communications, yet it seems to me that people often treat findability as a problem existing outside the content. Findability is addressed using SEO tactics and by devising sophisticated top-down navigational aids, such as taxonomies and faceted navigation, but it is seldom seen as issue to be addressed in the content itself. I believe this focus on top-down findability is wrong. Top-down finding aids have their place, but the majority of the focus should be bottom up, and it should start with the content itself."
Go Marc, go!
"You might know that a customer journey map is a visualisation of interactions between a customer and your organisation. But what are the things that could make your next customer journey map even better?"
The fourth screen coming soon in this theatre.
"At the BBC R&D, we have been working on how to exploit the interactive functionality now available through connected televisions through a number of projects under themes such as companion screens, authentication, Internet of Things, recommendation services, accessibility and so on. They are all exciting topics to explore and we were interested in finding out what the research community had to say on the subject."
Many things can be stopped or changed, except age. So change the web.
"Users aged 65 and older are 43% slower at using websites than users aged 21-55. This is an improvement over previous studies, but designs must change to better accommodate aging users."
Service design is it, sort of.
"Increased competitive pressure, technology convergence and changing user behaviors require a new approach to future-proof businesses and organizations. Service design has a track record of being a catalyst towards customer orientation, organizational alignment and improving the total customer experience."
Getting your hands dirty with markup for real.
"Content strategists should realize that XML isn't scary and it is really powerful for doing cool things with your content. In the 'olden days' when we first began creating Web-based content we used to have to use HTML codes to tag the content, now you create content in web forms or Word and rarely, if ever, have to think about the HTML codes. The same is true of XML, you don't have to use codes to create content, there are lots of tools that 'hide' the XML tags. However, XML is much smarter than HTML. HTML tags describe the formatting structure of the content, XML defines the semantic structure of the content. For example, we can define that some content is a teaser and then have the system handle it differently when published to the Web, mobile, or even print."
The more data the document contains, the stronger the need for proper information design.
"UX deliverables had a rocky year so far. I feel particularly bad for the humble wireframe, which took some serious knocks over the past few months. There's also a growing skepticism about the value of Personas. The Persona thing made me particularly uneasy because I've always been a huge fan, and we still start most of our projects with a workshop to define Personas and User Journeys."
Depicting the growth of a discipline as the growth of human is based upon biological and social laws. Mmmm... let me think.
"Imagine if you will information architecture as a pimply-faced, malcontent teenager. IA is eager to express and redefine itself. It wants to be an individual yet accepted by its peers. It is simultaneously aggravated and apathetic about its parents, mentors, and role-models. It is a bit of a mess, but a wonderful, beautiful mess with endless opportunity and potential."
So much to change in enterprises. How about metadata?
"The increasing need to dynamically deliver targeted content that is contextually relevant rests on three things – the technology to deliver it, the appropriate personalization and targeting strategies, and a robust enterprise taxonomy. Developing and managing your taxonomy is not a painless exercise, and it requires the help of an expert and the involvement and buy-in of key stakeholders, but based on our experiences, the benefits far outweigh the effort."
A list of so-called secrets, with a description phrase. We want narratives.
"I know many UX designers present themselves as unquestionable experts on human beings; as seers whose edicts should be followed to the letter. Come on."
Nice example of a rhetorical question.
"Listen to your users and always check whether the new features are desirable. As you first release an app, start with your core competency and consider the features that are essential to your primary user path. As you iterate and add more features from your business and product road map, take into account what users are saying. You may find yourself adding or sunsetting features based on how and where people are using your app. Mobile or not, the tablet market is here to stay and, directly or indirectly, users will tell us what features to build next."
The larger the organization, the more important this component becomes.
"While all three components (creation, publication, governance) of the content strategy lifecycle are intended to be ongoing, it's the Governance component that often requires the most dedication due to its never ending need for attention. Once content is created and published then it will forever need to be managed, maintained, optimised and compliant which leads to the age old question of 'where to begin?'"
Explaining it to UX designers is one thing, to your mother is another.
"If you are in an agency or consultancy environment, you might categorise service design as part of user experience and/or experience strategy. If you come from a product environment, service design might vibrate more to what you consider as product management and business design. In a nutshell, service design is delivering a designed experience onto different levels of actors with a more holistic approach in mind. Let me elaborate on that."
Great piece of content marketing.
"User experience is arguably the most important aspect of a connected digital device such as a tablet or a smartphone."
Text and typography is the ultimate user interface and experience.
"The good news is that most applications are already set up for integrating information. With planning and creativity, you can create a successful, positive information experience for your users."
Service design and change. Any design field is a changer.
"Framing a people-centred design challenge as a service design project, will always initially require lots of pursuasive communications. This is why my focus is now on the generative research, co-discovery and co-design fuzzy front end of the design process, where you begin by understanding the experiences of people who are the new design experts, but who are too often ignored in design process."
Interdisciplinary team work at its best.
"Soccer teams, just like teams in any other sport, share a lot of difficulties and joys with UX teams. Think about how each player needs to have his or her role in the tactic scheme. Isn’t that the same as each creative having his or her own place on the UX team based on specific skills and abilities? Egos, collaboration, controversy, fast decisions, and especially the unpredictable moves are the beauty of being part of the game or the design project. Success in both cases is also closely related to teamwork, individual talents, and leadership."
The theatre metaphor provides so much inspiration, insight and knowledge.
"Good interaction design is about attending to every moment that passes between a person and the device (or system, or service) with which he or she is interacting. These moments can be explicit, as with gestures, taps, a button-click, or the completion of a form field. Or, these moments may be more elusive, such as a pause while you try and understand what is being asked of you or how to answer. It's these internal conversations that users have at any given moment that often get overlooked."
Design for the experiences of kids, the KX.
"As technology becomes more advanced, interactive devices find their path into our everyday lives. Education is one of the most recent fields where new and interactive devices such as the iPad are being introduced. When interactive systems are used to teach children, it is essential to make sure that these systems are easy to learn and easy to use. They must not create a barrier between the child and the information to be accessed. On touch screen interfaces, interaction happens through direct contact between the hand and the interface. Especially for kids this offers great perspectives, as children naturally tend to touch things they want to interact with. However, due to the young age of interactive learning systems, little research has been done on how children interact with mobile devices."
Love the title of 'User Experience Librarian'. Information architecture meet UX for real.
"UX in libraries needs to be a completely immersive experience. We make sure our shelves are full of items patrons want and need. The surroundings are designed to be home-like with fireplaces, couches, power outlets, lamps, and meeting rooms. Across the country, libraries are thus transforming themselves from book warehouses to places where people want to come and hang out."
Taxo's are great tools for hierarchical thinking.
"The only answer that makes any sense when managing large amounts of content is – perhaps counter-intuitively – to use a flat structure, without a taxonomy."
Service design as the vehicle for adding corporate value: E2 ('Experience Engineering').
"I believe that the strategic process of experience engineering is why it is imperative that the benefits of Service Design are communicated to and supported by people working at the highest organisational business level."
Although I like the label 'prototypathon', I still wonder why you should have them.
"In our work with design teams, we see a lot of teams using prototypes today. We're also seeing many of those same teams fall into traps that reduce the effectiveness of their prototyping efforts. Here's five of the most common ones we see."
It always gets more interesting when meaning is involved.
"We inhabit many different semantic environments as we go about our lives. For example, religion is one such semantic environment: we use a particular set of words, in particular ways, when we are in church. Semantic environments are also composed of many subenvironments."
Including the notion that form (a.k.a. presentation) has meaning too.
"Arguing for 'separation of content from presentation' implies a neat division between the two. The reality, of course, is that content and form, structure and style, can never be fully separated. Anyone who's ever written a document and played around to see the impact of different fonts, heading weights, and whitespace on the way the writing flows knows this is true. Anyone who's ever squinted at HTML code, trying to parse text from tags, knows it too."
Governments is some countries are stepping up regarding design and their added value for citizens.
"Design is a key source of innovation and therefore part of the solution to the growth challenge Europe is facing. Every day we see start-up businesses inspired by design and creative thinking, and leading global enterprises using it as a means to boost business development and gain competitive advantage. Worldwide there is also an increasing focus on how design and other creative skills can contribute to a green transition. A major part of a product's environmental footprint is defined through the early design phase, so many environmental issues can be solved by focusing on reducing environmental impact early in the development process. Rapid urbanisation is another example. The rise of mega-cities with millions of inhabitants is increasing the need for design solutions both technical and social that can meet the challenge of creating sustainable urban environments on a huge scale."
A great piece on being successful online, every designer, manager and marketeer should read.
"Strategy is about trying to take control and trying to win. Strategy is about trying to predict the future or at least enough of that future that will give you a competitive advantage. Strategy is about being specific. It is about helping you get from A to C by doing B. It's about putting your cards on the table, placing your bets."