Tag: framework

Frameworks Are the Future (Slides From EuroIA 2008)

October 8th, 2008 — 6:28am

In case you couldn’t make it to Ams­ter­dam for EuroIA 2008, or if you were in town but pre­ferred to stay out­side in the warmth of a sunny Sep­tem­ber Sat­ur­day than ven­ture into the mar­velous Tsuchin­ski the­ater, I’ve posted the slides from my talk Frame­works are the Future of Design.

Comment » | Building Blocks, Information Architecture, User Experience (UX)

Understanding Juicy Rationalizations: How Designers Make Ethical Choices

June 23rd, 2008 — 5:35pm

Under­stand­ing Juicy Ratio­nal­iza­tions, part 3 of the Design­ing Eth­i­cal Expe­ri­ences series, just went live at UXMat­ters.
Here’s the teaser:
From “The Big Chill“
Michael: “I don’t know any­one who could get through the day with­out two or three juicy ratio­nal­iza­tions.“
“They’re more impor­tant than sex.“
Sam: “Ah, come on. Nothing’s more impor­tant than sex.“
Michael: “Oh yeah? Ever gone a week with­out a ratio­nal­iza­tion?“

Design­ers ratio­nal­ize their choices just as much as every­one else. But we also play a unique role in shap­ing the human world by cre­at­ing the expres­sive and func­tional tools many peo­ple use in their daily lives. Our deci­sions about what is and is not eth­i­cal directly impact the lives of a tremen­dous num­ber of peo­ple we will never know. Bet­ter under­stand­ing of the choices we make as design­ers can help us cre­ate more eth­i­cal user expe­ri­ences for our­selves and for every­one.

Under­stand­ing Juicy Ratio­nal­iza­tions is the first of a pair of arti­cles focused on the ways that indi­vid­ual design­ers make eth­i­cal choices, and how we can improve our choices. This sec­ond pair of arti­cles is a bit of eye-opening win­dow into how peo­ple make many of the choices in our daily lives — not just design deci­sions. Or, at least it was for me… Read­ers will see con­nec­tions much broader than sim­ply choices we explic­itly think of as ‘eth­i­cal’ and / or design related.
The final install­ment in the Design­ing Eth­i­cal Expe­ri­ences series is titled Man­ag­ing the Imp of the Per­verse; watch for it some­time soon.
With the pub­li­ca­tion of these next two arti­cles, the Design­ing Eth­i­cal Expe­ri­ences series con­sists of two sets of matched pairs of arti­cles; the first arti­cle in each pair fram­ing a prob­lem­atic real-life sit­u­a­tion design­ers will face, and the sec­ond sug­gest­ing some ways to resolve these chal­lenges eth­i­cally.
The first pair of arti­cles — Social Media and the Con­flicted Future and Some Prac­ti­cal Sug­ges­tions for Design­ing Eth­i­cal Expe­ri­ences — looked at broad cul­tural and tech­nol­ogy trends like social media and DIY / co-creation, sug­gest­ing ways to dis­cover and man­age likely eth­i­cal con­flicts within the design process.
It’s a nice sym­met­ri­cal struc­ture, if you dig that sort of thing.  (And what archi­tect doesn’t?)
For com­muters / multi-taskers / peo­ple who pre­fer lis­ten­ing to read­ing, Jeff Parks inter­viewed me on the con­tents of this sec­ond set of arti­cles, which he will pub­lish shortly as a pod­cast.
Thanks again to the edi­to­r­ial team at UXMat­ters for sup­port­ing my explo­ration of this very impor­tant topic for the future of expe­ri­ence design. In an age when every­one can lever­age professional-grade adver­tis­ing the likes of Spo­tun­ner, the eth­i­cal­ity of the expres­sive tools and frame­works design­ers cre­ate is a ques­tion of crit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance for us all.

Comment » | Ethics & Design, Social Media, User Experience (UX)

Speaking at EuroIA 2008 In Amsterdam

June 20th, 2008 — 11:37am

I’m happy to announce I’m speak­ing at EuroIA 2008 in Ams­ter­dam, Sep­tem­ber 26 — 27. My ses­sion is titled ‘Frame­works Are the Future of IA’. If the excit­ing title isn’t enough to sell you on attend­ing (what’s more com­pelling than a case study on an open struc­tural design frame­work for self-assembled user expe­ri­ences and infor­ma­tion spaces…?), here’s a descrip­tion:
The Web is shift­ing to a DIY (Do It Your­self) model of user expe­ri­ence cre­ation, where peo­ple assem­ble indi­vid­ual com­bi­na­tions of con­tent and func­tion­al­ity gath­ered from many sources to meet their par­tic­u­lar needs. The DIY model for cre­at­ing user expe­ri­ences offers many ben­e­fits in pub­lic and con­sumer set­tings, and also inside the enter­prise. But over time, it suf­fers many of the same prob­lems that his­tor­i­cally made por­tals unus­able and inef­fec­tive, includ­ing con­gested designs, poorly planned growth, and inabil­ity to accom­mo­date changes in struc­ture and use.
This case study demon­strates a sim­ple design frame­work of stan­dard­ized infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture build­ing blocks that is directly applic­a­ble to por­tals and the DIY model for cre­at­ing user expe­ri­ences, in two ways. First, the build­ing blocks frame­work can help main­tain find­abil­ity, usabil­ity and user expe­ri­ence qual­ity in por­tal and DIY set­tings by effec­tively guid­ing growth and change. Sec­ond, it is an exam­ple of the chang­ing role of IA in the DIY world, where we now define the frame­works and tem­plates other peo­ple choose from when cre­at­ing their own tools and user expe­ri­ences.
Using many screen­shots and design doc­u­ments, the case study will fol­low changes in the audi­ences, struc­tures, and con­tents of a suite of enter­prise por­tals con­structed for users in dif­fer­ent coun­tries, oper­at­ing units, and man­age­r­ial lev­els of a major global cor­po­ra­tion. Par­tic­i­pants will see how the build­ing blocks pro­vided an effec­tive frame­work for the design, expan­sion, and inte­gra­tion of nearly a dozen dis­tinct por­tals assem­bled from a com­mon library of func­tion­al­ity and con­tent.
This case study will also explore the build­ing blocks as an exam­ple of the design frame­works IA’s will cre­ate in the DIY future. We will dis­cuss the goals and design prin­ci­ples that inspired the build­ing blocks sys­tem, and review its evo­lu­tion over time.
The con­fer­ence pro­gram includes some very inter­est­ing ses­sions, and Adam Green­field (of Every­ware reknown) is the keynote.
Ams­ter­dam is lovely in Sep­tem­ber, but if you need more rea­son to come and say hello, Pic­nic 08 — with a stel­lar lineup of speak­ers — is just before EuroIA.

1 comment » | Building Blocks, Information Architecture, Social Media, User Experience (UX)

IA Summit Slides: Effective IA For Enterprise Portals

April 17th, 2008 — 3:34pm

I’ve posted slides for my recent Effec­tive IA For Enter­prise Por­tals pre­sen­ta­tion at the IA Sum­mit in Miami. Por­tals are not a tra­di­tional space for user expe­ri­ence prac­ti­tion­ers, so many thanks to the packed house that turned out, and stayed as we both started late to accom­mo­date the crowd, and then ran long.
These slides include a sub­stan­tial amount of case study and exam­ple mate­r­ial that I didn’t cover directly in the talk. For the repeat ses­sion on Sun­day, I showed addi­tional exam­ples beyond those included here in the start­ing slides.
Stay tuned for a more detailed writeup of both pub­lished and unpub­lished exam­ple mate­r­ial — one that shows the build­ing blocks in action at all lev­els of a multi-year por­tal effort from ini­tial strat­egy through design and into gov­er­nance / evo­lu­tion — in part six of the Build­ing Blocks series run­ning in Boxes and Arrows, due out once the post-summit flurry set­tles down.

Comment » | Building Blocks, Dashboards & Portals, Enterprise, Information Architecture, User Experience (UX)

"Enhancing Dashboard Value and User Experience" Live at Boxes and Arrows

March 5th, 2008 — 5:12pm

Boxes and Arrows just pub­lished Enhanc­ing Dash­board Value and User Expe­ri­ence, part 5 of the build­ing blocks series that’s been run­ning since last year. This install­ment cov­ers how to include high-value social and con­ver­sa­tional capa­bil­i­ties into por­tal expe­ri­ences built on top of archi­tec­tures man­aged with the build­ing blocks. Enhanc­ing Dash­board Value and User Expe­ri­ence also pro­vides an explicit user expe­ri­ence vision for por­tals, meta­data and user inter­face rec­om­men­da­tions, and as tips on mak­ing por­tals eas­ier to use and man­age / admin­is­trate.
Thanks again to all the good peo­ple who vol­un­teer their time to make Boxes and Arrows such a high qual­ity publication!

Comment » | Building Blocks, Dashboards & Portals, Information Architecture

Connectors for Dashboards and Portals Live on BoxesandArrows.com

November 1st, 2007 — 4:22pm

Boxes and Arrows just pub­lished Part 4 of the Build­ing Blocks series, Con­nec­tors for Dash­boards and Por­tals.
We’re into the home stretch of the series — just two more to go!
Stay tuned for a down­load­able toolkit to sup­port easy use of the build­ing blocks dur­ing design efforts.

Comment » | Building Blocks, Information Architecture, User Experience (UX)

Building Blocks Definitions Published On BoxesandArrows.com

September 28th, 2007 — 11:41pm

Boxes and Arrows has pub­lished part 3 of the Build­ing Blocks series, describ­ing the Con­tainer blocks in detail. Next in the series is part 4, which describes the Con­nec­tors in the build­ing block sys­tem in detail.

If you’re work­ing on a por­tal, dash­board, or tile based design effort of any kind, the build­ing blocks read­ily serve as a com­mon lan­guage and struc­tural ref­er­ence point that allows effec­tive project com­mu­ni­ca­tion across tra­di­tional dis­ci­pline bound­aries. These two arti­cles in tan­dem (parts 3 and 4) pro­vide details on how the Build­ing Blocks can pro­vide a strong, flex­i­ble, and scal­able usr expe­ri­ence and infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture frame­work for the long term.
My cur­rent plan is to release a toolkit at approx­i­mately the same time as part 4 of the series. Part 4 is in the edit­ing stage now, so this a good time to ask read­ers for sug­ges­tions on what should be part of the toolkit, and what form it should take. Suggestions?

Comment » | Building Blocks, Information Architecture, User Experience (UX)

Portal Building Blocks Intro on Boxes and Arrows

July 24th, 2007 — 10:36am

Boxes and Arrows just pub­lished part two of the Por­tal Build­ing Blocks series — Intro­duc­tion to the Build­ing Blocks. This sec­ond install­ment cov­ers the design con­cepts behind the por­tal build­ing blocks sys­tem, and guide­lines on how to flex­i­bly com­bine the blocks into a well-structured user expe­ri­ence.
If you are work­ing on a por­tal, dash­board, wid­get, social media plat­form, web-based desk­top, or any tile-based design, this series should help clar­ify the growth and usabil­ity chal­lenges you will encounter, as well as pro­vide a pos­si­ble solu­tion, in the form of a sim­ple design frame­work that is plat­form and ven­dor neu­tral.
Stay tuned for the third install­ment in the series, due out shortly!

Comment » | Building Blocks, Dashboards & Portals, Enterprise, Information Architecture, User Experience (UX)

Suggested Tag for Building Blocks Stuff

December 31st, 2006 — 2:19pm

I’ve cre­ated a sug­gested (and highly orig­i­nal) tag for book­mark­ing items related to the build­ing blocks:


I’ve tagged a few items on del.icio.us — my default book­mark­ing ser­vice — and will mon­i­tor tag streams from some of the other book­mark­ing ser­vices.

Comment » | Building Blocks, Enterprise, Information Architecture

Enterprise Information Article on Portal Usability Problems

December 9th, 2006 — 2:08pm

Janus Boye (of CMSWatch) just pub­lished an arti­cle called The trou­ble with por­tal dash­boards… in Enter­prise Infor­ma­tion, in which he dis­cusses the usabil­ity prob­lems of enter­prise por­tals.
Janus iden­ti­fies the essen­tial prob­lem of cur­rent por­tal design approaches built on flat tiles:
Today most organ­i­sa­tions blindly adopt the default ‘build­ing block’ approach to lay­out found in enter­prise por­tals — a relic from the early days of pub­lic inter­net por­tals. But users com­plain that while such an inter­face may look slick in early sales demon­stra­tions, in pro­duc­tion it typ­i­cally only facil­i­tates work for tech­ni­cally adept super-users. The occa­sional user eas­ily gets con­fused and frus­trated work­ing with a clut­tered screen of lit­tle boxes show­ing many dif­fer­ent portlets. Get­ting ade­quate value from the por­tal typ­i­cally requires sub­stan­tial train­ing.
This is a good snap­shot of the long term weak­nesses of a flat por­tal user expe­ri­ence, what Janus calls “the default ‘build­ing block’ approach” [empha­sis mine]. It strongly par­al­lels my recent post out­lin­ing some of the inher­ent usabil­ity weak­nesses of por­tals, and is a great lead in for the build­ing blocks. (Note: Janus uses the term build­ing blocks dif­fer­ently.)
In another high­light worth men­tion­ing Janus iden­ti­fies six dis­tinct types of por­tals, refer­ring to them as use cases. I think of these as types of infor­ma­tion envi­ron­ments. The dif­fer­ence is a seman­tic one that’s shaped by your con­text for the term por­tal. Janus is speak­ing from the busi­ness per­spec­tive, thus his focus on the busi­ness prob­lem solved by each type of por­tal.
They are:

  • Dynamic web pub­lish­ing; the sim­plest use case and a com­mon entry point for por­tal developers
  • Self-service por­tal; enabling staff or cus­tomers to help them­selves and obtain ser­vice on their terms
  • Col­lab­o­ra­tion por­tal; enabling dis­persed teams to work together on projects
  • Enter­prise intranet; help­ing staff work more effi­ciently, often via mul­ti­ple spe­cialised por­tal applications
  • E-business por­tal; enabling enter­prises to extend com­mer­cial infor­ma­tion and ser­vices to exter­nal trad­ing part­ners, sup­pli­ers and customers
  • Enter­prise inte­gra­tion; link­ing sys­tems to achieve greater effi­ciency and agility.

What’s impor­tant to under­stand from this list is that the default flat tiles approach under­ly­ing these dif­fer­ent envi­ron­ments is the same, and so are the result­ing usabil­ity prob­lems, with their atten­dant busi­ness costs. The build­ing blocks will sup­port all six por­tal types handily.

Comment » | Building Blocks, Dashboards & Portals, Information Architecture, User Experience (UX)

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