Tag: userexperience

The Architecture of Discovery: Slides from Discover Conference 2011

April 16th, 2011 — 1:11pm

Endeca invites cus­tomers, part­ners and lead­ing mem­bers of the broader search and dis­cov­ery tech­nol­ogy and solu­tions com­mu­ni­ties to meet annu­ally, and show­case the most inter­est­ing and excit­ing work in the field of dis­cov­ery.  As lead for the UX team that designs Endeca’s dis­cov­ery prod­ucts, I shared some of our recent work on pat­terns in the struc­ture of dis­cov­ery appli­ca­tions, as well as best prac­tices in infor­ma­tion design and visu­al­iza­tion that we use to drive prod­uct def­i­n­i­tion and design for Endeca’s Lat­i­tude Dis­cov­ery Framework.

This mate­r­ial is use­ful for pro­gram and project man­agers and busi­ness ana­lysts defin­ing require­ments for dis­cov­ery solu­tions and appli­ca­tions, UX and sys­tem archi­tects craft­ing high-level struc­tures and address­ing long-term growth, inter­ac­tion design­ers and tech­ni­cal devel­op­ers defin­ing and build­ing infor­ma­tion work­spaces at a fine grain, and

There are three major sec­tions: the first presents some of our tools for iden­ti­fy­ing and under­stand­ing people’s needs and goals for dis­cov­ery in terms of activ­ity (the Lan­guage of Dis­cov­ery as we call it), the sec­ond brings together screen-level, appli­ca­tion level, and user sce­nario / use-case level pat­terns we’ve observed in the appli­ca­tions cre­ated to meet those needs, and the final sec­tion shares con­densed best prac­tices and fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples for infor­ma­tion design and visu­al­iza­tion based on aca­d­e­mic research dis­ci­plines such as cog­ni­tive sci­ence and infor­ma­tion retrieval.

It’s no coin­ci­dence that these sec­tions reflect the appli­ca­tion of the core UX dis­ci­plines of user research, infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture, and inter­ac­tion design to the ques­tion of “who will need to encounter infor­ma­tion for some end, and in what kind of expe­ri­ence will they encounter it”.  This flow and order­ing is delib­er­ate; it demon­strates on two lev­els the results of our own efforts apply­ing the UX per­spec­tive to the ques­tions inher­ent in cre­at­ing dis­cov­ery tools, and shares some of the tools, insights, tem­plates, and resources we use to shape the plat­form used to cre­ate dis­cov­ery expe­ri­ences across diverse industries.

Ses­sion outline

  1. Under­stand­ing User Needs
  2. Design Pat­terns for Dis­cov­ery Applications
  3. Design Prin­ci­ples and Gudielines for Infor­ma­tion Inter­ac­tion and Visualization

Ses­sion description

How can you har­ness the power and flex­i­bil­ity of Lat­i­tude to cre­ate use­ful, usable, and com­pelling dis­cov­ery appli­ca­tions for enter­prise dis­cov­ery work­ers? This ses­sion goes beyond the tech­nol­ogy to explore how you can apply fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of infor­ma­tion design and visu­al­iza­tion, ana­lyt­ics best prac­tices and user inter­face design pat­terns to com­pose effec­tive and com­pelling dis­cov­ery appli­ca­tions that opti­mize user dis­cov­ery, suc­cess, engage­ment, & adoption.”

The pat­terns are prod­uct spe­cific in that they show how to com­pose screens and appli­ca­tions using the pre­de­fined com­po­nents in the Dis­cov­ery Frame­work library.  How­ever, many of the product-specific com­po­nents are built to address com­mon or recur­ring needs for inter­ac­tion with infor­ma­tion via well-known mech­a­nisms such as search, fil­ter­ing, nav­i­ga­tion, visu­al­iza­tion, and pre­sen­ta­tion of data.  In other words, even if you’re not using the lit­eral Dis­cov­ery Frame­work com­po­nent library to com­pose your spe­cific infor­ma­tion analy­sis work­space, you’ll find these pat­terns rel­e­vant at work­space and appli­ca­tion lev­els of scale.

The deeper story of these pat­terns is in demon­strat­ing the evo­lu­tion of dis­cov­ery and analy­sis appli­ca­tions over time.  Typ­i­cally, dis­cov­ery appli­ca­tions begin by offer­ing users a general-purpose work­space that sat­is­fies a wide range of inter­ac­tion tasks in an approx­i­mate fash­ion.  Over time, via suc­ces­sive expan­sions in the the scope and vari­ety of data they present, and the dis­cov­ery and analy­sis capa­bil­i­ties they pro­vide, dis­cov­ery appli­ca­tions grow to include sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of work­spaces that indi­vid­u­ally address dis­tinct sets of needs for visu­al­iza­tion and sense mak­ing by using very dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions of com­po­nents.  As a com­pos­ite, these func­tional and infor­ma­tion­ally diverse work­spaces span the full range of inter­ac­tion needs for dif­fer­ing types of users.

I hope you find this toolkit and col­lec­tion of pat­terns and infor­ma­tion design prin­ci­ples use­ful.  What are some of the resources you’re using to take on these challenges?

User Expe­ri­ence Archi­tec­ture For Dis­cov­ery Appli­ca­tions from Joe Laman­tia

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

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)

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)

Blogtalk 2008 slides available

March 3rd, 2008 — 7:12am

My slides from Blogtalk 2008 are avail­able online now: I went through a lot of ideas quickly, so this is a good way to fol­low along at your own pace…
FYI: This ver­sion of the deck includes pre­sen­ters notes — I’ll upload a (larger!) view-only ver­sion once I’m back from hol­i­day in lovely Éire.

Comments Off | Ideas, Networks and Systems, User Experience (UX)

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)

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)

Presenting on Ethics Panel at EuroIA 2007

July 2nd, 2007 — 3:28pm

*Apolo­gies for another announce­ment post­ing* but now that the pro­gram is final, I can men­tion that I’ll be speak­ing at EuroIA 2007 in lovely Barcelona, as part of the panel Per­spec­tives on Ethics, mod­er­ated by Olly Wright. My pre­sen­ta­tion dis­cusses con­flict and ethics as an aspect of design for social online envi­ron­ments.
I shared some ini­tial thoughts on this (under served) area last year, in a short post titled Conflict-Aware Design: Account­ing For Con­flict In User Expe­ri­ences. The essen­tial mes­sage of this post — and the thing I’m think­ing about most regard­ing the ques­tion of con­flict — is “con­flict equals inter­est, and inter­est should be a focus for design.” The panel will be the forum for shar­ing promised (but not com­plete) follow-up post­ings.
While prep­ping the sub­mis­sion, I was work­ing with this treat­ment for the topic.
Con­flict is a fun­da­men­tal com­po­nent of human char­ac­ter and rela­tions, with impor­tant eth­i­cal dimen­sions. Yet con­flict rarely appears as an explicit con­sid­er­a­tion dur­ing the process of design­ing the expe­ri­ences, archi­tec­tures, sys­tems, or envi­ron­ments that make up the new social and par­tic­i­pa­tory media we use daily. Now that media are social, con­flict is inevitable.
How can (or should) design­ers eth­i­cally address con­flict within design efforts? Does an eth­i­cal frame­work for design require us to man­age con­flict in char­ac­ter and rela­tions actively? What mech­a­nisms or social struc­tures should design­ers use to address con­flict within new expe­ri­ences? Are there new kinds of con­flict cre­ated or neces­si­tated by the social and par­tic­i­pa­tory envi­ron­ments emerg­ing now?
Some spe­cific areas of dis­cus­sion: pri­vacy, iden­tity, own­er­ship, respon­si­bil­ity, speech.
I’d love any thoughts on the topic, the treat­ment, the impli­ca­tions, etc.
Fel­low pan­elists at EuroIA include:

Barcelona is a mag­nif­i­cent city…

The full con­fer­ence pro­gram is avail­able at this address http://www.euroia.org/Programme.aspx, and the ros­ter of speak­ers along is worth the trip to Barcelona.
And Dru­pal­Con Barcelona hap­pens at the same time — I won­der what sort of cross-pollination will emerge…?
Viva Catalunya!

1 comment » | User Experience (UX)

Moving Beyond Reactive IT Strategy With User Experience

May 9th, 2007 — 5:16pm

For those in the enter­prise IA / UX space, The next fron­tier in IT strat­egy: A McK­in­sey Sur­vey cen­tered on the idea that “…IT strat­egy is matur­ing from a reac­tive to a proac­tive stance“is worth a look.
This nicely par­al­lels a point made about the reac­tive mind­set com­mon to IT in many large orga­ni­za­tions, in dis­cus­sion on the IAI mail­ing list last month. Lou Rosenfeld’s post Infor­ma­tion archi­tects on com­mu­ni­cat­ing to IT man­agers, sum­ma­rizes the orig­i­nal dis­cus­sion in the IAI thread, and is worth read­ing as a com­pan­ion piece.
Lou’s sum­mary of infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture and user expe­ri­ence voices in the enter­prise arena is note­wor­thy for includ­ing many exam­ples of strong cor­re­spon­dence between McKinsey’s under­stand­ing of how IT strat­egy will mature (a tra­di­tional man­age­ment con­sult­ing view), and the col­lected IA / UX view­points on address­ing IT lead­er­ship — typ­i­cal buy­ers for enter­prise any­thing — and inno­va­tion.
Dialogs that show con­ver­gence of under­stand­ing like this serve as pos­i­tive signs for the future. At present, a large set of deeply rooted cul­tural assump­tions (at their best inac­cu­rate, usu­ally reduc­tive, some­times even dam­ag­ing) about the roles of IT, busi­ness, and design com­bine with the his­tor­i­cal lega­cies of cor­po­rate struc­tures to need­lessly limit what’s pos­si­ble for User Expe­ri­ence and IA in the enter­prise land­scape. In prac­ti­cal terms, I’m think­ing of those lim­i­ta­tions as bar­ri­ers to the strat­egy table; con­strain­ing who can talk to who, and about which impor­tant top­ics, such as how to spend money, and where the busi­ness should go.
Con­sid­er­ing the gulf that sep­a­rated UX and IT view­points ten — or even five — years ago, this kind of emerg­ing com­mon under­stand­ing is a good sign that the cul­tural obsta­cles to a holis­tic view of the mod­ern enter­prise are wan­ing. We know that a holis­tic view will rely on deep under­stand­ing of the user expe­ri­ence aspects of busi­ness at all lev­els to sup­port inno­va­tion in prod­ucts and ser­vices. I’m hop­ing the rest of the play­ers come to under­stand this soon.
Another good sign is that CIO’s have won a seat at the strat­egy table, after con­sis­tent effort:
Fur­ther evi­dence of IT’s col­lab­o­ra­tive role in shap­ing busi­ness strat­egy is the fact that so many CIOs now have a seat at the table with senior man­age­ment. They report to the CEO in 44 per­cent of all cases; an addi­tional 42 per­cent report to either the chief oper­at­ing offi­cer or the chief finan­cial offi­cer.
Look­ing ahead, infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture and user expe­ri­ence view­points and prac­ti­tion­ers should work toward a sim­i­lar growth path. We fill a crit­i­cal and miss­ing strate­gic role that other tra­di­tional view­points are not as well posi­tioned to sup­ply.
Quot­ing McK­in­sey again:
IT strat­egy in most com­pa­nies has not yet reached its full poten­tial, which in our expe­ri­ence involves exploit­ing inno­va­tion to drive con­stant improve­ment in the oper­a­tions of a busi­ness and to give it a real advan­tage over com­peti­tors with new prod­ucts and capa­bil­i­ties. Fewer than two-thirds of the sur­vey respon­dents say that tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion shapes their strat­egy. Only 43 per­cent say they are either very or extremely effec­tive at iden­ti­fy­ing areas where IT can add the most value.
User Expe­ri­ence can and should have a lead­ing voice in set­ting the agenda for inno­va­tion, and shap­ing under­stand­ings of where IT and other groups can add the most value in the enter­prise. To this end, I’ll quote Peter Mer­holz (with apolo­gies for not ask­ing in advance)
”…we’ve reached a point where we’ve max­i­mized effi­ciency until we can’t max­i­mize no more, and that in order to real­ize new top-line value, we need to inno­vate… And right now, inno­va­tions are com­ing from engag­ing with the expe­ri­ences peo­ple want to have and sat­is­fy­ing *that*.“
McK­in­sey isn’t mak­ing the con­nec­tion between strate­gic user expe­ri­ence per­spec­tives and inno­va­tion — at least not yet. That’s most likely a con­se­quence of the fact that man­age­ment con­sult­ing firms base their own ways of think­ing, orga­ni­za­tional mod­els, and prod­uct offer­ings (ser­vices, intel­lec­tual prop­erty, etc.) on address­ing buy­ers who are them­selves deeply entrenched in trad­tional cor­po­rate struc­tures and world­views. And in those worlds, every­thing is far from mis­cel­la­neous, as a glance at the cat­e­gory options avail­able demon­strates; your menu here includes Cor­po­rate Finance, Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Mar­ket­ing, Oper­a­tions, Strat­egy…
BTW: if you weren’t con­vinced already, this should demon­strate the value of the $40 IAI annual mem­ber­ship fee, or of sim­ply read­ing Bloug, which is free, over pay­ing for sub­scrip­tions to man­age­ment jour­nals :)

Comment » | Enterprise

Text Clouds of the Democratic Debate

April 28th, 2007 — 1:36pm

Mark Blu­men­thal, of Pollster.com, recently posted a set of text clouds show­ing the words used by each can­di­date in the Demo­c­ra­tic pres­i­den­tial debate Thurs­day night. The clouds were gen­er­ated from tran­scripts of the debate, using Daniel Steinbock’s Tag Crowd tool.
Can­di­dates’ Text Clouds

In the screen­shot of Mark’s post­ing, it’s easy to see this is a great exam­ple of a col­lec­tion of text clouds used for com­par­a­tive visu­al­iza­tion and inter­pre­ta­tion. The goal is to enhance under­stand­ing of the mean­ing and con­tent of the candidate’s over­all con­ver­sa­tions dur­ing the debate, an idea I explored briefly last year.
Just a month ago, in a post that iden­ti­fied text clouds as a new and dis­tinct tag cloud vari­ant, I sug­gested:

text clouds may become a gen­er­ally applied tool for man­ag­ing grow­ing infor­ma­tion over­load by using auto­mated syn­the­sis and sum­ma­riza­tion. In the infor­ma­tion sat­u­rated future (or the infor­ma­tion sat­u­rated present), text clouds are the com­mon exec­u­tive sum­mary on steroids

Sup­port­ing the com­par­i­son and inter­pre­ta­tion of polit­i­cal speeches is an inven­tive, timely, and resource­ful appli­ca­tion that could make text clouds a reg­u­lar part of the new per­sonal and pro­fes­sional toolkit for effec­tively han­dling the tor­rents of infor­ma­tion over­whelm­ing peo­ple in impor­tant sit­u­a­tions like vet­ting polit­i­cal can­di­dates.
I espe­cially like the way this use of text clouds helps neatly side­step the dis­heart­en­ing ubiq­uity of the sound­bite, by aggre­gat­ing, dis­till­ing, and sum­ma­riz­ing all the things the can­di­dates said. I sus­pect few — if any — of the cam­paigns real­ize the poten­tial for text clouds, but they def­i­nitely know the detri­men­tal power of sound­bites:

“It’s a mess,” said an exasperated-sounding Mr. Prince, Mr. Edwards’s deputy cam­paign man­ager. “Debates are impor­tant, but in these big mul­ti­can­di­date races they end up not being an exchange of ideas, but just an exchange of sound bites. They have become a dis­trac­tion.“

From Debates Los­ing a Bit of Lus­ter in a Big Field

The value of a col­lec­tion of sound­bites over an insight­ful dia­log is — apolo­gies for the pun — debat­able. But even if a sim­ple exchange of sound­bites is what the new short­ened for­mats of many debates yields us, text clouds may help derive some value and insight from the results. The com­bined decon­struc­tive and recon­struc­tive approach that text clouds employ should make it pos­si­ble to bal­ance the weight of sin­gle remarks of can­di­dates by plac­ing them in a larger and more use­ful con­text.
His­tory Repeats Itself
In the longer term view of the his­tory of our responses to the prob­lems of infor­ma­tion over­load, the appear­ance of text clouds may mark the emer­gence of a new gen­eral puprose tool for visu­al­iz­ing ever greater quan­ti­ties of infor­ma­tion to sup­port some qual­i­ta­tively ben­e­fi­cial end (like pick­ing a good can­di­date for Pres­i­dent, which we sorely need).
The under­ly­ing pat­tern — a con­sis­tent oscil­la­tion between man­ag­ing effec­tively and inef­fec­tively cop­ing, depend­ing on the bal­ance between infor­ma­tion quan­tity and tool qual­ity — remains the same. Yet there is also value in know­ing the cycles that shape our expe­ri­ence of han­dling the infor­ma­tion cru­cial to mak­ing deci­sions, espe­cially deci­sions as impor­tant as who leads the coun­try.
The NY Times tran­script of the debate is avail­able here.

Comment » | Tag Clouds

Designers, Meet Systems (Recommended Reading)

March 9th, 2007 — 12:27pm

2007 looks to be the year that the user expe­ri­ence, infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture, and design com­mu­ni­ties embrace sys­tems think­ing and con­cepts.
It’s a meet­ing that’s been in the mak­ing for a while -
At the 2006 IA Sum­mit, Karl Fast and D. Grant Camp­bell pre­sented From Pace Lay­er­ing to Resilience The­ory: the Com­plex Impli­ca­tions of Tag­ging for Infor­ma­tion Archi­tec­ture.
Gene Smith has been writ­ing about sys­tems for a while. At the 2007 sum­mit Gene and Matthew Milan will dis­cuss some prac­ti­cal tech­niques in their pre­sen­ta­tion Rich map­ping and soft sys­tems: new tools for cre­at­ing con­cep­tual mod­els.
Peter Mer­hholz has been post­ing and talk­ing about the impli­ca­tions of some of these ideas often.
– and seems to have reached crit­i­cal mass recently:

Here’s a set of read­ing rec­om­men­da­tions related to sys­tems and sys­tem think­ing. These books, feeds, and arti­cles either talk about sys­tems and the ideas and con­cepts behind this way of think­ing, or con­tain work that is heav­ily informed by sys­tems think­ing. Either way, they’re good resources for learn­ing more.
Resilience Sci­ence recently fea­tured three excel­lent essays on the work of C.S. Holling

And for a lighter read, try any­thing by author Bruce Ster­ling that fea­tures his recur­ring char­ac­ter Leggy Star­litz — a self-described sys­tems ana­lyst ( likely the first exam­ple of one in a work of fic­tion that’s even mod­er­ately well known…). His sto­ries Hol­ly­wood Krem­lin, Are You for 86?, and The Lit­tlest Jackal (two in short story col­lec­tion Glob­al­head), are good places to start. The novel Zeit­gest focuses on Star­litz.
Sus­tain­abil­ity, Sta­bil­ity, and Resilience
We’ve needed to bridge the gulf between views of design rooted in sta­tic notions of form and func­tion, and the fluid real­ity of life for a long time. I hope this new friend­ship lasts a while.

3 comments » | User Experience (UX)

Back to top