Posts Tagged ‘informationArchitecure’

Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context

September 25, 2017

“Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context”, said the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen. “A chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.”

When designing for the web, it’s tempting to think in terms of interactions like swiping, tapping, clicking, scrolling, dragging and dropping. But very few people wake up in the morning looking forward to a day of scrolling and tapping. They’re more likely to think in terms of reading, writing, sharing, buying and selling. Web designers need to see past the surface‐level actions to find the more meaningful verbs beneath.

In their book Designing With Progressive Enhancement, the Filament Group describe a technique they call “the x‐ray perspective”:

Taking an x‐ray perspective means looking “through” the complex widgets and visual styles of a design, identifying the core content and functional pieces that make up the page, and finding a simple HTML equivalent for each that will work universally.

Jeremy Keith: Resilient Web Design

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Shearing layers

September 25, 2017

In his classic book How Buildings Learn Stewart Brand highlights an idea by the British architect Frank Duffy:

A building properly conceived is several layers of longevity.

Duffy called these shearing layers. Each of the layers moves at a different timescale. Brand expanded on the idea, proposing six alliterative layers:

  1. Site—the physical location of a building only changes on a geological timescale.
  2. Structure—the building itself can last for centuries.
  3. Skin—the exterior surface gets a facelift or a new lick of paint every few decades.
  4. Services—the plumbing and wiring need to be updated every ten years or so.
  5. Space plan—the layout of walls and doors might change occasionally.
  6. Stuff—the arrangement of furniture in a room can change on a daily basis.

In a later book, The Clock Of The Long Now, Stewart Brand applied the idea of shearing layers—or pace layers—to civilisation itself. The slowest moving layer is nature, then there’s culture, followed by governance, then infrastructure, and finally commerce and fashion are the fastest layers. In a loosely‐coupled way, each layer depends on the layer below. In turn, the accumulation of each successive layer enables an “adjacent possible” filled with more opportunities.

From Jeremy Keith: Resilient Web Design

March 16, 2017

“Make sure every click makes the user more confident”

Jared M Spool in Disambiguity conference

Taxonomy questions

October 21, 2015
  1. Purpose: Why? What will the taxonomy be used for?
  2. Users: Who’s using this taxonomy? Who will it affect?
  3. Content: What will be covered by this taxonomy?
  4. Scope: What’s the topic area and limits?
  5. Resources: What are the project resources and constraints?

(Thanks to Heather Hedden, “The Accidental Taxonomist,” p.292)

Cardinal, Ordinal, or Nominal Numbers?

July 3, 2011

A cardinal (or counting) number shows the quantity of something, e.g. 3 apples or 1200 search results

An ordinal number expresses the rank or position of an item in an ordered list or a comparison of items, e.g. 1st in line, 3rd repetition, or 22nd row

A nominal number is used to identify something, similar to a calling name, e.g. a post code or a phone number.

LATCH

June 21, 2011

5 ways to organise information (Richard Saul Wurman)

L ocation
A lphabetical
T ime
C ategory
H ierarchy

information density

May 9, 2011

Higher information density = less need to move around and higher likelihood that you see what you want.

J Nielsen in Utilize available screen space

IA/UX: Making stuff meaningful

April 9, 2009
    My job is making applications and Web sites meaningful (wow, big word). How does that work?

  • Thinking relevance. I ensure that functionality and content is relevant to what users actually want or is in the scope of what they might want.
  • Thinking logic. I develop a structure that is consistent but does not exclude users with a different view on the content’s organisation.
  • Thinking culture. I explore shared values, ideas, and activities of users in order to create a meaningful digital environment.
  • Thinking narrative. Every product wants to tell a story. I apply that story to the structure, the navigation journeys, and the placement of contextual information.

Information Revolution

January 30, 2009