All posts from
July 2010

Knowledge Visualization in Design Practice (.pdf)

Exploring the power of knowledge visualization in problem solving – “This paper presents knowledge visualization as a design activity in problem solving. In contemporary design practice the increasing complexity of problems and range of information that design practitioners engage with is driving the need for more robust processes and tools in order to design relevant, meaningful solutions for people. We situate visualization within a four phased model where the intent is to understand the dimensions of a problem. Visualization aids in sensemaking and cognitive processing of complex information. It accomplishes this through framing ambiguous states, bringing order to complexity, making sense out of seemingly unrelated things or finding insights that are buried in data. We propose that in a problem solving context its value goes beyond the functional level of simply representing information but rather operates as a powerful instrument for thinking in analysis, synthesis and insight generation. Visual models and frameworks serve as tools to illuminate relationships and meanings within data and define the areas to explore and construct solutions.” (Joanne Mendel and Jan Yeager ~ Parsons Journal for Information Mapping Volume 2 Issue 3)

The Information Architecture of Cities

“Cities can be viewed as information architecture systems. Here, ‘architecture’ is used in the sense of computer architecture — it refers not to the design of buildings, but to how the components of a complex system interact. Information exchange includes the movement of people and goods, personal contact and interactions, telecommunications, as well as visual input from the environment. Information networks provide a basis for understanding living cities and for diagnosing urban problems. This paper argues that a city works less like an electronic computer, and more like the human brain. As a functionally complex system, it heuristically defines its own functionality by changing connections so as to optimize how components interact. An effective city will be one with a system architecture that can respond to changing conditions. This analysis shifts the focus of understanding cities from their physical structure to the flow of information.” (L. Andrew Coward and Nikos A. Salingaros ~ Journal of Information Science, Volume 30 No. 2, 2004) | courtesy of @wantmag

Why traditional intranets fail today’s knowledge workers

“(…) most of today’s intranets primarily consist of pre-produced information resources which are intended to serve information needs which can be anticipated in advance. They aim to serve people who perform predefined and repeatable tasks. These intranets are push platforms. As such they might work well for repeatable routine work where the information needs can be defined in advanced, but they are quite dysfunctional for knowledge work. It’s not a coincidence that many knowledge workers find it much easier to find information on the web than in their internal systems and that the intranet plays a marginal role in their daily work.” (Oscar Berg ~ The Content Economy) | courtesy of @everbass

Supporting User Experience Throughout the Product Development Process

“For most of us, the ideal when working on a product-development project would be to work with a group of like-minded professionals, each with their own areas of responsibility, but sharing the same overarching goal. Yet all too often in User Experience, we encounter unwarranted resistance to our ideas, making the product-development process much less efficient and adding to a project’s costs. The apparent cost of involving User Experience early and throughout a product-development process becomes a series of hidden costs, resulting from project delays, incomplete requirements, and less than optimal products that result in higher error rates and reduced efficiency for users.” (Peter Hornsby ~ UXmatters)

Design Is a Process, Not a Methodology

“(..) I’ll provide an overview of a product design process, then discuss some indispensable activities that are part of an effective design process, with a particular focus on those activities that are essential for good interaction design. Although this column focuses primarily on activities that are typically the responsibility of interaction designers, this discussion of the product design process applies to all aspects of UX design.” (Pabini Gabriel-Petit ~ UXmatters)

Still awaiting Tufte’s influence?

“I concede that my knowledge of the US government is largely informed by the West Wing and so I don’t fully understand the relationships between and alignment of the various councils, departments, panels and bodies. Furthermore, I’m unclear about the role of the department that appears responsible for delivering the spending sites – Chief Information Officer’s Council nor entirely clear about the potential scope or reach of Tufte’s appointment.” (Andy Kirk ~ Visualising Data)

Celebrating the World Cup Visualizations

“We really enjoyed watching the World Cup over lunch here in the Cooper office. The games sparked many conversations about soccer, beloved sporting traditions, and why FIFA is so bloody minded about goal-line technology use (okay, maybe that last one was just from a bitter England fan). It’s also been a time to admire the many new and unusual visualizations used for the tournament brackets, game-by-game breakdowns, and statistical replays. For the fans that wake up in the coming weeks with an empty feeling, perhaps this library of visualizations will provide a glimmer of comfort and distraction until the next tournament.” (Nick Myers ~ The Cooper Journal)

The ROI of UX: Proving the Value of User Experience Design

“I was recently asked to describe what a user experience designer does in less than 7 words. I could only narrow it down to 16: A UX Designer designs or enhances products, services and environments based on a holistic consideration of the user’s perspective. Pulling it all together, the tactics described in this presentation are intended to help you prove the ROI of UX. To me, that means: Proving to our clients and potential clients that designing their products or services with a holistic consideration of the user’s perspective will reap larger returns than other potential business investments.” (Erin Young)

Where business analysis and user experience intersect: The benefits of collaboration

“The real benefits of BA/UX collaboration is making a product users want to use! A product that rocks their world! A product that even makes your company money! A product that improves work processes, reduces errors, gets the information to the user the quickest, or whatever your goals are. It will achieve these objectives simply by focusing on the users’ needs and understanding how they relate to your business goals and needs. Oh, not to mention that it will also result in BAs and UX professionals with expanded skill sets and a new lense to look through!” (Evantage)

Content strategy and customer service: A talk with Ann Rockley

“A unified content strategy is a repeatable method of identifying all content requirements up front, creating consistently structured content for reuse, managing that content in a definitive source, and assembling content on demand to meet your customer’s needs. Intelligent content/smart documents are the way in which we prepare our content so that it’s structurally rich and semantically aware, and is therefore discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable. So the content strategy is the plan of action, and intelligent content is the way we implement it.” (Jill C. Nagle ~ Zengage)

Six Questions from Kicker: Kim Goodwin

“It wasn’t when I got my first job as a designer, I felt I had to achieve some degree of skill before I deserved the label. I’m not even sure where I had set that internal bar, but it took at least a couple of years. The beauty of interaction design being a relatively new profession is that it’s been easy for people to get into the field. The problem with interaction design being a relatively new profession is the same thing…there are lots of people with the job title who have great intentions and no idea what they’re doing. This can affect perceptions of the profession as a whole, which is one of many reasons I think it’s important to evangelize good techniques.” (Kicker Studio)

Agile UX and The One Change That Changes Everything

“(…) changing your attitude can be much easier if you have a clear and concrete goal you are working toward. And one of the most common challenges I come across when talking to UX designers transitioning to Agile is that they do not have a clear understanding of the journey. It is not clear what is different and what remains the same. It is not clear where to begin in making a change.” (Anders Ramsay)

Lou Rosenfeld On Search Analytics

“So one thing I encourage people to do is to try to categorise the data in other words gee it seems like there is a lot of queries here about physical places, maybe our organisation has different offices or campuses or different buildings, look for things that seem to be people or different topics that emerge what you start doing is that you force yourself to get very close to the way users are thinking because you are looking at what their needs are, and actually it is a good way of looking at what sort of metadata your site ought to have and what kinds of content type people seem to be asking for and it might even help you do things like prioritise your next content migration because you start getting a sense of what are the really important content types that people seem to be requesting when they are searching so there are other things which you might delve into.” (Boagworld)

Needs, affect, and interactive products: Facets of user experience

“Subsumed under the umbrella of User Experience, practitioners and academics of Human–Computer Interaction look for ways to broaden their understanding of what constitutes ‘pleasurable experiences’ with technology. The present study considered the fulfilment of universal psychological needs, such as competence, relatedness, popularity, stimulation, meaning, security, or autonomy, to be the major source of positive experience with interactive technologies.” (Hassenzahl, M., Diefenbach, S., and Göritz, A. ~ Experience Design)