All posts from
March 2014

Information Architecture Summit 2014 Closing Plenary

Always a pleasure to read a deep mind.

“We can struggle to create a positive vision for the future as individuals, organizations, and societies. We’re in the midst of an in between stage of liminality. We’re on the threshold of sustainability or collapse. To thrive, we will need to change culture. It won’t be fast, but a little change can add up. It won’t be easy, but there’s no other way. And I know this community will contribute, because it’s all about connecting the dots…”

(Peter Morville a.k.a. @morville)

Forms: The complete guide

Capturing data online has been a field of design and implementation for many years. Also, designing the best paper forms has been around for more than half a century. A different medium doesn’t necessarily mean different design principles.

“Forms are one of the most important parts of any site or app – they are the most common way for our users to give us the information that we need to help them do what they want to do.”

(Martin Polley a.k.a. @martinpolley ~ Boxes and Arrows)

Good writing and editing is part of great design

Design is making decisions shaping the materials you work with. How many decisions do you make when writing and shaping your words, sentences, paragraphs, and stories? Writing is designing.

“Good writing is arguably the most important piece of a design project. Yes, writing. It happens before the first sketch. And then it continues to happen throughout the design process as text is written, rewritten and edited multiple times.”

(Carrie Cousins a.k.a. @carriecousins ~ design shack)

State of Design: How design education must change

Schooling versus learning. Formal education of a field becomes significant if the demand for a profession exceeds the supply. But how to find the proper pedagogy, didactics and curriculum? Instructional design revisited.

“Design is the practice of intentional creation to enhance the world. It is a field of doing and making, creating great products and services that fit human needs, that delight and inform. Design is exciting because it calls upon the arts and humanities, the social, physical, and biological sciences, engineering and business.”

(Donald A. Norman)

Content-out layout

Old typographical systems get a second life.

“Grids serve well to divide up a predefined canvas and guide how content fits onto a page, but when designing for the web’s fluid nature, we need something more… well, responsive. Enter ratios, which architects, sculptors, and book designers have all used in their work to help set the tone for their compositions, and to scale their material from sketch to final build. We can apply a similar process on the web by focusing on the tone and shape of our content first, then working outward to design fluid, ratio-based grid systems that invite harmony between content, layout, and screen.”

(Nathan Ford ~ A List Apart)

InfoDesignPatterns: A design pattern taxonomy for the field of data visualization and information design

Pattern thinking can by applied to every field and practice. Information is an obvious application for patterns.

“Written by Christian Behrens and originated as the companion website for his Master’s thesis The Form of Facts and Figures in the Interface Design program at Potsdam University of Applied Sciences. Its goal is the development of a design pattern taxonomy for the field of data visualization and information design. The project core consists of a collection of currently 48 design patterns that describe the functional aspects of graphic components for the display, behavior and user interaction of complex infographics. The collection is part of a 200-page book that additionally includes a profound historical record of information design as well as an introduction into the research field of design patterns.”

(Christian Behrens a.k.a. @c_behrens)

Writing user stories: How to write a useful user story

This used to be called use cases, user requirements or task flows. With Agile, everything that has been done before need new labels. The semantics stays the same.

“User stories are an essential part of the agile toolkit. They’re a way of organizing your work into manageable chunks that create tangible value, and can be discussed and prioritized independently.”

(Government Service Design Manual)

Moving beyond the design

Some want to design, others want to make a difference. Through design or by changing the behaviour of people in organizations.

“How do you take user experience to the next level? Simple. Forget about the design! Stop tweaking those wireframes, editing those annotations, and pushing those pixels, because, if you don’t, you’ll never figure out how to move beyond the details and see the bigger picture. Five years ago, I couldn’t have imagined saying that my role included facilitating and storytelling. And if you’d asked me what my role was, I’d likely have said that the core of my work was creating wireframes and documentation. These days, the core of my role as a UX professional is much different. Today, my role is to be the design storyteller and the vision facilitator – not just the wireframe maker. And it’s my foundation in theatre that gives me the confidence that this move was the right one.”

(Traci Lepore a.k.a. @TraciUXD ~ UX matters)

Expanding the 3Cs framework for the IoT ecosystem: Multi-device experiences can be approached in very diverse ways in a connected world

IoT shaking up the UX design world.

“The Holy Grail lies in making that data actionable for people, preferably in an intelligent and seamless way, so that it actively helps them achieve their goals. Nest is a good example of a product experience that goes that extra mile — from just informing users with its data, to using that data behind the scenes to fuel the product behavior in an adaptive, contextual manner.”

(Jenn Webb a.k.a. @JennWebb ~ Radar O’Reilly)

Crafting link underlines on Medium

Even the underlining of texts is a design challenge in the digital world.

“How hard could it be to draw a horizontal line on a screen? It seems wrangling a few pixels together to stand in a file would be something computers should be pretty good at anno domini twenty-fourteen. One would think so, but simple things are rarely simple under the surface at least if they are worth anything. Typography, likewise, is a game of nuance. This is a story on how a quick evening project to fix the appearance of underlined Medium links turned into a month-long endeavour.”

(Marcin Wichary ~ Medium)

Ending the UX designer drought: A new apprenticeship architecture

UX design is steaming up upstream.

“UX design is a strategic discipline in which practitioners make recommendations that can have a big impact on an organization’s revenue. Frankly, a designer isn’t qualified to make these kinds of recommendations without putting in some time doing fundamental, in-the-trenches research and design work.”

(Fred Beecher a.k.a. @fred_beecher ~ Boxes and Arrows)

Wearable technology: Designing the fashion of the future

Fashion gets enriched by information technology, therefore information design must be incorporated.

“A lot of people in the mobile industry were surprised that mobile happened as fast as it did. Once the iPhone was released, within two years we saw companies like Motorola and Nokia go from top of the mobile phone world into basically junk stock. And I think a lot of people see wearables as sort of that next big tidal wave. People don’t want what happened in mobile to happen again, so they’re interested in wearables.”

(Laura Kudia a.k.a. @laurakudia ~ Why this way)

Managing website accounts in cross-platform contexts

Functionalities and features across touchpoints. Compare and contrast.

“So you want to extend your website’s account management features to mobile devices. Well you’re not alone; most major websites today have cross-platform accounts and profiles that make for a more engaging and cohesive user experience. And many sites enable account management features on mobile devices.”

(Will Hacker a.k.a. @willhacker ~ Boxes and Arrows)