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Forthcoming Boxes and Arrows Series on Portal Building BlocksDecember 7, 2006 02:41 PM | Posted in: Building Blocks , Dashboards & Portals , Information Architecture
Hurray for volunteer publishing: Next week, Boxes and Arrows, is publishing the first installment of a series of articles on information architecture for portals and tile-based user experiences. It introduces a system of reusable building blocks that provides consistent structure for and lowers the costs of designing and maintaining portals.
The building blocks are a portal design toolkit I developed while working on several executive dashboard projects in close succession. I've used the building block system in portals, Web applications, business intelligence tools, dashboards, and content management systems: essentially any design relying on or incorporating tiles or portlets. The building blocks play nicely with RIA, AJAX, and other evolving user experience and development approaches, because they address information architecture concerns without requiring any specific technology or platform.
Follow up articles will explain the building blocks in detail, and how to use them quickly and efficiently.
The series will cover:
- Basic principles and assumptions
- Guidelines for assembling blocks into larger units
- Modular building blocks of all sizes (Containers)
- Modular navigation components (Connectors)
- Standardized Convenience Functionality for blocks
- Common Utility Functionality
- Suggested metadata attributes for blocks
Assuming the response to the first pieces is positive (be sure to read and comment!), we'll provide a case study, and create a set of supporting materials to make it easy to use the building blocks for your own projects. The goal is to offer a complete package for someone who needs help creating an effective and scalable user experience for a portal or tile-based environment.
Aside from being a resource for the design of portal user experiences, the building blocks are the first attempt (disclaimer: that I know of...) at creating a reusable IA design framework for a common type of business problem / user experience / information environment. It's not as broad in scope as Jesse Jame Garrett's Visual Vocabulary, because it works at a more granular level of detail, but it should support design efforts in a wide variety of settings.
I'll be on holiday (in Jamaica: did someone say Red Stripe...?) next week, but will try to log on to catch up on comments and questions.
Hope everyone enjoys the articles.
The first article The Challenge of Dashboards and Portals is live as of December 14th