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Information design

Information design is the skill and practice of preparing information so people can use it with efficiency and effectiveness. (source: Wikipedia)

Is The Grid a better web designer than you?

We just have to wait for a Turing test of website designs. Was it a synapse or an algorithm?

“However, if you’re doing the job of a web designer properly, The Grid has no way to compete. No artificial intelligence will ever replace a human designer, because design is largely about emotional intelligence. Good design extends into every facet of a website, and it’s not about computers talking to each other, it’s about human beings communicating.”

(Benjie Moss a.k.a. @BenjieMoss ~ Web Designer Depot)

Designers can do anything

Articulating the new role and opportunity of designers in the digital and physical world of now and beyond.

Jon Kolko: “The switch to an empathy focus is actually really easy. You need to watch behavior, so that means actually watching people do things. We talk about watching people work, play, and live because sometimes the things they do are actually not that utility driven.”

(Nick Lombardi a.k.a. @NickLombardi482 ~ O’Reilly Radar)

Conversations with the past: Hermeneutics for designers

Allways good to look back into the future. The cultural heritage we can use from.

“When we think about our work as designers, we imagine ourselves with our head in the future, surrounded by latest ideas of how things will be: the natural user interface, the internet of things, self-driving cars, ubiquitous computing. Within this world it’s easy to forget that the future is just a thin sliver on top of an enormous past. All that we think, all we know, everything we can imagine, comes from this past, and has been shaped by thousands of years of human history. We sometimes like to imagine that the future comes to us as a simple continuations of our past activities, but quietly we all know that it’s more complicated. The past is full of unfinished projects, disappeared companies, dusty books and long forgotten heroines. Deep in our past there are thousands of visions of different worlds and different lives. There are the great works of philosophers, painters, sculptors and interaction designers no longer known and no longer understood waiting to be rediscovered.”

(Sjors Timmer a.k.a. @sjors ~ Medium)

The next era of designers will use data as their medium

We used to call it Information Visualization of InfoGraphics. What’s in a name.

“The software industry today is in need of a new kind of designer: one proficient in the meaning, form, movement, and transformation of data. I believe this Data Designer will turn out to be the most important new creative role of the next five years.”

(Mark Rolston ~ Wired)

When Information Design is a matter of life or death

Besides medical information, Tufte also showed the disaster with the Challenger (28 january 1986) was due to bad information design as well.

“(…) design and writing has the potential to make a real difference in regard to medical errors and that design, writing, and production of a medicine information leaflet can have a real positive effect on people’s health. The design of medicine information leaflets provides some interesting challenges because they might not be seen as a typical creative graphic design job. Just because they do not contain overly designed text or graphics, however, does not mean creativity is not needed, in fact creativity is usually lacking in leaflets typically produced.”

(Thomas Bohm ~Boxes and Arrows)

Connecting government, libraries and communities: Information behavior theory and information intermediaries in the design of LibEGov.org

InfoScience meets eGov.

“As e-government grows in scope and complexity, an increasing number of e-government services have surpassed the digital technology access and literacy of many members of the public. The “digitally excluded” often seek information intermediaries — such as public libraries and other community anchor institutions — to bridge their information needs and e-government systems. The purpose of this paper is to examine the phenomenon of user-librarian-agency government interaction within the context of the information worlds framework. In this paper, the authors describe the data — surveys, case studies, interviews, site visits, and usability and accessibility testing — used to analyze the needs of the public, libraries, and government agencies.”

(Paul T. Jaeger, Ursula Gorham, John Carlo Bertot, Natalie Greene Taylor, Elizabeth Larson, Ruth Lincoln, Jonathan Lazar, and Brian Wentz ~ First Monday 19.11)

The designer’s dilemma

After the dilemma of the innovator, we have the one of the designer.

“If you have ever worked on a design project or any other open-ended, ill-defined problem, you’re familiar with the designer’s dilemma. It works like this: at the beginning of a project you have a lot of freedom to take the design or project in many, possibly infinite, directions. But you also don’t know that much about the problem or the potential solutions, so making decisions during those early phases of the project of the project is challenging because your level of knowledge is low.”

(Durward Sobek ~ The Lean Post)

Edge practices: How do you measure value?

A longstanding and (still) happy marriage: design and systems.

“I think its significant that most large organizations have no formalized design processes, they have – at best – practices in different locations. Yes, the major product companies have UX teams, but I’d remind (anyone) that Google had a very marginal design practice until only recently. (…) So this question will keep coming up in systemic design. When value is delivered by creating collaborative engagements across stakeholders, we have to understand how they value and measure collaboration. Are the outcomes better projects and programs, better strategies and planning, faster time to delivery, making the right decisions earlier? There are ways to show these values, but we can’t measure everything. You want to measure what sponsors value most, and demonstrate how your practices delivered that value.”

(Peter Jones a.k.a. @redesign ~ Design Dialogues)

The culinary model of Web design

So much to learn from established experience design fields, like music, cinematography and gastronomy.

“Just as Escoffier took Ritz customers on a kitchen tour, Guillaume recommends explaining to your clients how their site or app has been cooked. The more open and understood our design processes are, the more their value will be recognized. Have you ever been running late and prepared dinner in a rush? I have and it was, unsurprisingly, a disaster. So tell your clients their website is nothing but a good meal; it takes time to make it a memorable experience.”

(Antoine Lefeuvre a.k.a. @jiraisurfer ~ A List Apart)

How to create great UX documents

‘Document’ is so much better than ‘deliverable’ as a label. UX documents are information objects and need to be designed as such: comprehensive, attractive and understandable.

“Like all good usability professionals I’m sure that you’ve previously carried out usability testing on a design, or perhaps watched usability testing sessions taking place. But have you ever usability tested a document? Why not? In the same way that usability testing will give an indication of how usable and appropriate a design is, it can also do the same for a document.”

(Neil Turner a.k.a. @neilturnerux ~ UX for the masses)

What is a card?

My C5 design law of cards: Cards contain content chunks and code.

“(…) when we talk about cards in digital products, it’s important to understand that there are actually two, interrelated concepts at work that some people conflate as one. I’ll use some grossly simplified language to label them as cards as presentation and cards as third-party content. (…) A card is a single unit of content or functionality, presented in a concise visual package. More advanced cards use that form to surface content or functionality from other apps, and allow users to interact with that content or functionality directly in the context of where a user encounters the card.”

(Khoi Vinh a.k.a. @khoi ~ Subtraction)

Deciphering data through design

That’s why the byline of this stream is ‘Understanding by Design’.

“Understanding problems are common when trying to visualize data. Designing a layout to effectively communicate complex or even simple data can be a challenge. If the visualization isn’t immediately apparent to a user, it requires a level of understanding to get the most out of their experience. (…) In this podcast with Jared Spool, Stephen outlines what he calls the 7 Problems of Understanding. These range from problems of comprehension to problems of discovery and more. Each of these problems is usually brought about by a design or display decision. Looking further at these issues, simple changes can greatly increase the experience for users.”

(Stephen Anderson a.k.a. @stephenanderson ~ User Interface Engineering)