Category Archives: Uncategorized

Reusing patterns and components to creating a more holistic approach to the design

The reuse of patterns and components creates a more holistic approach to web based application where products can be scaled up more quickly. The idea is to continually build on current knowledge and not reinvent the wheel. Designing a set of standards which provide the foundations that designers can build on.  This approach is not as rigid as reusing templates – it’s more designing the concept of a component which can then be recreated in a number of different situations. There can be issues that this restricts creativity but as outlined in the Components versus Patterns article but you don’t need to be creative 100% of the time. Not everything requires innovation, novel ways of getting people to login aren’t necessary and the aim is to focus innovation on key areas.

http://www.uie.com/articles/components_vs_patterns

findability : the rich get richer

With the google multi algorithmic approach combining, text metadata and popularity measures, the more people link to a site the higher it is in the search results and thus the more likely it is to be linked to.
People often place findability higher than content quality, if something is easily accessible, they will take what is easy to find and often give up looking further, even if further searches could have given them better results.
Networks – the greater the visibility the more likelihood of being found which further increases visibility.

Questions to consider during the information design phase

Do the users want to see the information grouped by subject, process, business group, or information type?

How similar are the needs of the different user groups?

How different are their needs?

How many potential main categories are there? (typically relates to navigation)

What should those groups be called?

What terms do customers find confusing?

Are there any items be included in more than one section?

What action would you take if you could not find the information you need here?

What items and groupings were easy to create?

What items and groupings were difficult to create?

card sorting a definitive guide

Heuristic evaluation

The site should provide mulitple ways to access the same content
Indexes and sitemaps should be employed to supplement the taxonomy
The navigation system should provide users with a sense of context
The site should consistently use language appropriate for the audience
search and browsing should be integrated and reinforce one another.
[information Architecture – Louis Rosenfeld & Peter Morville]

Jakob Nielsen’s Ten Usability Heuristics

Emotional Branding

“Emotional branding is about building relationships;it is about giving a brand and a product long-term value”….”It is based on that unique trust that is established with an audience. It elevates purchases based on need to the realm of desire. The commitment to a product or an institution, the pride we feel upon receiving a wonderful gift of a brand we love or having a positive shopping experience in an inspiring environment where someone knows our name or brings an unexpected gift of coffee – these feelings are at the core of Emotional Branding.” Sergio Zyman former chief marketing officer Coca Cola]

Women in Business

Make it Your Business – Bella Mehta and Lucy Martin
Great presentation from two inspiring business women.

Common sense no nonsense approach to setting up your own business, outlining some of the essentials to running and setting up a new business. Strong business plan, know where you’re going. What is your USP, what’s your elevator pitch. Take the business seriously and price with confidence. Think about key strategic alliances and think laterally about getting them.

Great quote – ‘There are more Davids in the House of Commons than there are women’

The Women in Business event was organised by Finsbury Park Business Forum and held at the impressive Arsenal Emirates Stadium.

Kids: The Converged Consumer – inSync event

Energetic session posing a series of questions. Are children over indulgent Technology Eating Monsters or are they still children? This was proposed by Gary Pope from Kidsindustries who gave a great presentation, raising some interesting points. Looking at sociometric status it is the revered child that has all the technology and is the early adopter. He went on to discuss the work of Lev Vygotsky and Rubin, Fein and Vanderberg 1983, looking at the importance and value of play to this age group. Play is how kids learn, it is an education activity, socially interactive, requires the guidance of partners, playing at getting it right. Play is also intrinsically motivated, an end in itself, freely choosen and a pleasurable, non literal engaging activity. The zone of Proximal Development the space where kids are ‘Just out of their depth’ where they engage and learn the most. Kids also play a whole 18 months beyond their average age.__Richard Deverell gave us his perspective on the Broadcasters multi-platform Perspective. In an ideas centric culture the need to work across platform and bring about a convergence of production. This is a fascinating question and poses a huge challenge for an organisation like the BBC.__Case studies: Bamzooki – Paul Tyler BBC, Blackbeard Connection – Frank Alsema 4XM._Speakers: Gary Pope – Kidsindustries, Ashley Cooksley – AOL UK, Richard Deverell – BBC Childrens.

Digital Futures Design Day

Very enjoyable day with a great line up of speakers. A couple of my favourites were Ron Pompei and Jeff Veen. The key thread running through out the day, was the user being the co author of the experience.__Ron Pompei presentation “Emerging Trends in Creative Thinking” explored the principles of environment and experience design. Integrating commerce, culture and community to create value and meet human expectations. Creating transformative environments such as a “a shop or work space that impacts on the user not simply on a physical level but emotionally intellectually and spiritually as well.” Working with clients to understand the emerging culture and growing shift in values. __A rich presentation by Jeff Venn which looked at designing the new web, mainly focusing on relevance of Web 2.0.__http://www.veen.com/digitalfutures.pdf_One thing that I really hooked into was developing trust at every level. From surface through to strategy. Trust your users – users as peers. Amazing quote that users can deduce whether to ‘trust’ a site within 1/20second._”even if a website is highly usable and provides very useful information presented in a logical arrangement, this may fail to impress a user whose first impression of the site was negative” – Dr Gitte Lindgaard Carleton University._Veen also went on to touch on the Halo Effect. Surprisingly the Halo Effect may or may not have anything to do with the physical appearance of a site. It can equally be applicable to any attribute the user holds valuable. For example a site may look good, and because of this it’s deemed that the content is good, even if the two items are not related. In marketing the Halo Effect is one where the perceived positive features of a particular item extend to a broader brand.

What is Web 2.0

Web 2.0 has been a buzz word around the office for a while.‘ What is Web 2.0; Design Patterns and Business Models for the next generation of software’ authored by Tim O’Reilly is an extremely helpful article, offering real clarity to the concept.

Web 2.0 is about web based software rather than desktop software applications. Sites are used as components of tools that people build – just as libraries or components are used in software. The web is no longer about publishing it’s about participation. Internet applications encourage social networking and that grow stronger from user participation. The user adds and enhances the data which inturn adds value. [Amazon, Flickr]

Web based services can tap into the whole web and not just focus on the top websites, by reaching deep into the long tail, they can serve up individual and niche content experiences.