Lou and I have talked shop about web search query logs and analysis for user experience design for many years now. He recently presented on this topic in Europe and has posted his slides. This is a great introduction into understanding why web analytics folks and user experience folks need to start talking. Fortunately for me, I've also included query logs as part of my ux work. Now if he can just get his book on the topic out there. It's not like he can't get a publisher.
This is what happens when my children's book writing association hooks up with my internet/user experience/social media profession.
SCBWI San Francisco/South presents:
Hands-On Social Media Intensive for Children's Book Writers & Illustrators:
Sat. June 6, 10:00-3:30 at Fort Mason in San Francisco
A Bring-Your-Own-Laptop Adventure into the Land of Social Media for Children's & YA Authors & Illustrators. Join Lynn E. Hazen and Susan Taylor Brown as we explore Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn, You Tube, Red Room and so much more. We'll have internet access, so bring your laptop (optional) and we'll have time for you to click along, ask questions and participate in Web. 2.0. As publishers expect more and more from authors and illustrators (before during and after you've published), come learn how to juggle your promotion efforts, social websites & online personalities and STILL HAVE TIME TO WRITE !
Lynn E. Hazen, M.A., M.F.A., writes books filled with humor, heart and hope. Kirkus praised her young adult novel, SHIFTY, as "a realistic story that resonates." SHIFTY was chosen as VOYA's Top Shelf Fiction, a CCBC Choice, and a Smithsonian Notable. Lynn's younger books include: MERMAID MARY MARGARET (a middle grade novel), CINDER RABBIT, THE AMAZING TRAIL OF SEYMOUR SNAIL, and BUZZ BUMBLE. Lynn gives writing workshops and author talks at schools, libraries and conferences, and teaches writing classes at Stanford Continuing Studies. www.LynnHazen.com www.LynnHazenImaginaryBlog.blogspot.com
Susan Taylor Brown is the author of the middle grade verse novel Hugging the Rock, which was named an ALA Notable Children's Book, an NCTE Notable Children's Book, VOYA's Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers, and a Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year Selection. Susan's other books include picture books Oliver's Must-Do List and Can I Pray With My Eyes Open? and the non-fiction book Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom. Susan leads writing and creativity workshops for writers and readers of all ages and conducts online workshops on the use of social media for authors. More info at http://www.susantaylorbrown.com and http://susanwrites.livejournal.com
____$50, SCBWI members (without in-class internet access)
____$55. SCBWI members (with internet access--bring your own laptop & surge supressor/power cord)
____$70. non-SCBWI members (without internet access)
____$75. non-SCBWI members (with in-class internet access--bring your own laptop & surge supressor/power cord)
Pre-registration required. We expect this workshop to sell out quickly. See what previous workshop attendees said about Lynn & Susan's shorter version of an earlier Social Media class.
I'm looking forward to reconnecting with colleagues again at the upcoming ASIST IA Summit 2009 to be held in Memphis, TN. This will be my first time away from B for a few days. I'm anxious but also looking forward to some downtime.
Unfortunately we will not be able to attend this summit this year in Miami. There are just many things going on at the same time that will conflict with having to travel so far especially with a baby. More podcasts this year please!
I'm currently reading two books both related to my professional and financial interests. In some way each chapter I read in either book is shaping my own understanding of information and economics/finance. However the challenge is although they represent my "leisure" reading for two of my interests there seems to be potential for overlap of ideas involving how we view information, how we digest it into our experiences, and how they shape our decision making process. I haven't digested all of it yet but I'm feeling there is something in between the lines that are really starting to get the mental/creative juices running around in my head.
This video is the reason why I enjoy what I do for a living; bringing meaning and context to all the information out there and also helping companies try to wrangle the information they have and will have. This is another KSU student video project that chronicles the continual transformation that have happened with information organization, management and access.
Please be sure to attend our (along with Margaret Hanley, Tom Coates and Matt Biddulph) panel "Real information architecture – new mighty deeds" sometime Sunday. It's been a 3 year hiatus for me, but it will be great to be in Vegas hanging out with friends & colleagues and learning from everyone.
My friend Daniel Szuc(HK) and his colleague Gerry Gaffney have recently produced an interesting product for small teams out there who want to try to implement some form of usability work on their projects.
The article talks about Web3.0 and differentiates with Web2.0. My first impression was that great let the common person understand but I'm thinking why should the common person care. As users we really don't care, I'm just glad there's something on the "net" that can solve my problem. Why dress it all up with these "slick" acronyms and monikers? The article is good, I'm just surprised the the Semantic Web hasn't gotten as sexy as Web2.0(mash-ups). With my active research recently on a couple of projects, I'm probably professionally active somewhere between both these phenomena.
On September 15, 2006, the academic journal ORAL TRADITION, founded in 1986 by the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition at the University of Missouri, entered a new chapter in its existence as an international and interdisciplinary forum for the study of worldwide oral traditions and related forms.
As of this date the journal became available electronically and free of charge at http://journal.oraltradition.org as a series of pdf (Adobe Acrobat) files, with key-word searching of all online texts and with embedded multimedia. In addition to the current issue (volume 21, number 1), four years of back issues have already been posted, and plans are underway to include the entire twenty-two years of ORAL TRADITION by the end of 2007.
We ask that you help us publicize eOT by forwarding this message to at least five colleagues in your field, and asking them to do the same. Also, please alert your students and your reference librarian. We are trying to use all possible strategies to inform everyone of this new resource – to reach as many people and institutions as possible, and thereby to make the discussions that occur in eOT as broadly based and diverse as possible.
Peter and crew are trying something different here. The conference features working designers (with a couple exceptions) working with a variety of media, environments, and tools, across a diverse range of disciplines, talking about their design work and processes.
This isn't so much exactly about information architecture except conceptually as a new industry one of the quotes reminded me of the IA field several years ago.
'Jennifer Kretschmer, an architect based in San Jose, who is designing her first shipping-container home for a client in Healdsburg, said that she hopes the designers who are interested in this form can come together and develop standards. "We are all in an experimental field," she said, "with each of us inventing the wheel on our own. It would be good to share our failures and successes."'
Planning to attend the IA Summit 2006 at the end of March in Vancouver, Canada. Conference program. Looks very interesting and will hopfully take the time to catch up with folks since I have not been at these events for 2 years.
I just had to post this taxonomy. It's from the hubbsite categories for browsing their archived images. I'd probably want to add another layer depth of colors and perhaps possible images in the photo. It feels too scientific for me and even confused cosmology for cosmetology. However I did like how they provided the number of images available under each heading and subheading however the numbers don't always add up. I appreciated the catch all category of Miscellaneous, click on it and you really do get some random photos in there. To keep from being overwhelmed by text they use some icons to help you dig into more metadata about the image. Very useful key on the right side so not to clutter the main focus of the results page. Option to narrow the results by browsing along 2 pieces of info was also helpful. I think this has to be a really interesting merge of search/browse experience with user option to change display, breadcrumbs for the taxonomy and navigation to go to other types. Would have been nice to be on the team who planned this taxonomy and its display.
Looks like lots of great speakers: Stewart Butterfield from Flickr.com, Molly Holzschlag, Cameron Moll, Eric Rice, Matt May, D. Keith Robinson, Thomas Vander Wal, BJ Fogg, Peter Merholz from Adaptive Path, and many more.
Had a blast last night with the HK UPA folks and guest of honor Peter Merholz. Finally met Kevin Cheng of Ok/Cancel too! These folks here in HK are truly an inspiration and I'm getting the sense that my calling is still in IA.
Just when I thought I slipped quietly away and the knocking gets louder at the door. Fleshing out a gig with possibly 2 more afterwards. Argh and I have only 3 weeks left here. Hmm, maybe I'll stay a little while longer?
IA Friends: I will be officially available in mid-April for the full spectrum of IA projects.
One of the questions I battled with when moving out here to HK was whether or not I would pursue my IA career here. Apparently there's already a great usability community here led by Apogee. UPA HK and UPA China are conducting a weekend series of workshops on usability next weekend in China.
Sounds like it's going to be a great conference with over 150 attendees expected. I unfortunately will not be able to attend but will look forward to any future UPA HK meetings.
If you're an IA here in HK, drop me a line. I would be happy to jumpstart an IA cocktail hour here. I'll probably ping the Yahoo folks I met a couple months ago as well. From the look of things, sounds like IA here is where it was 5 years ago in the US. I smell great opportunities here.
Patrick of Yahoo(Sunnyvale) put together a nice get together at Red in Central as a nice way to end the weeklong Yahoo Design Conference and set an opportunity for folks in the area who focus UE/IA/ID/Usability to meet. Folks from UPA were there too! I can't wait to learn from them and perhaps share some of my own experiences.
The discipline continues on its merry way. Just got back from First Friday at the BBC in Menlo Park. Will post photos shortly but it was amazing to see many new faces along side the oldies. It will be interesting to be away from the whole thing for several months but I will also be curious to see how it will progress as a discipline with the many off shoots of round tables of IA/UX folks from around the US. Lou just pinged me about a new org in the works around interaction design and then I thought maybe I should just go ahead and list the groups in around the area of IA/UX.
Wherever these groups may end up going as the web continues to develop, I hope that I can renew my interest in getting back in the saddle when we return from HK. However if my new found interest in the arts/humanities takes me to a new path, I'll just have to wish the folks good luck on their endeavors to grow the field.
So many of us use technology in so many different ways, from day to day surfing, PDAs, cell phones, and wifi at your local cafe. One of the things that I rarely hear is someone being satisfied that all the information they have ever heard, read, or discussed being managed in one way. The following articles caught me by surprise since it involves bridging two worlds that I value, library science and personal information(physical & digital).
Sarah Rice and I went ahead and submitted our trip report from the 2003 Dublin Core Conference. It was published recently in Boxes and Arrows. It doesn't cover every single session, but I think it gives a good overview of some interesting topics that overlap with some of the issues that information architects in general face when putting together a website, knowledge management system, or content management system.
According to CNET News, Dell will be launching a new site shortly. I'll be curious to see case studies from folk sinvolved in that project. Remember you have 3 weeks left o turn in a proposal. The new site will focus on small businesses and better management of pricing and promotions. Apparently there were some online error to pricing and certain businesses benefitted from it.
Paul Festa interviews Marc Smith, resident sociologist at Microsoft Research. "Microsoft's in-house sociologist." It's a good interview of insights in the use of Usenet Newsgroups to analyze social networks and hopfully improve information retrieval(search). Lots of the typical questions regarding spam, and value of short lists to answer questions, however the reason why this was worth blogging, was the fact that there really is a trend converging on the use of IR & social networks to not only help people find information, but also to help people find each other. Yes this is almost like knowledge management, but it definitely is about community. We aren't limited to our physical community, and tools such as Verity K2 or this new MS Aura project I can see a stronger pull towards better IR tools. All the better for us who are trying to find answers to questions.
This is really fascinating news. Just imagine if they are successful in negotiating access to the actual content of all the books they already have in their catalog. There are definitely issues, like having to secure the access to the full text content, a business model(like subscriptions) for allowing portions of the text to be accessible online. I can see publishers benefiting from this as well with perhaps some micropayments, greater access for their potential readers.
One of the shortcomings of our basic library catalogs, is that there is a definite separation of physical and online. What Amazon plans to do will probably effect how people do their research for homework, evaluate for purchasing a book online, and who knows whatever else.
I wonder what search technology they are planning to use. We already know that a parametric search technology(with good metadata) defintiely differs from full-text searching of unstructured information.
Just when I thought I was out of User Experience stuff
I have to be honest with myself, I am NOT so much part of that User Experience stuff anymore...unless you count developing search products and management metadata standards...but the more I want to get out of the scene(because of navel-gazing), there's always something pulling me back in...
I've been developing a garden in my backyard these past few months and one of the big challenges is knowing what to plant. The other day I was talking to my friend Lee Cline about how I think many gardening related websites need to implement a taxonomy. Yes I know taxonomies are from the botany world, but what I was thinking was a multi-faceted taxonomy in locating flowers that I don't know about. For example, Lee had shared a technique in tracking information about flowers...color, height, seasonal bloom, and what type of lighting it needs. I got all excited since I had been reading so many books about plants & flowers. I started to track all the flowers in a spreadsheet. But the disconnect was when I didn't know about a particular flower and I just wanted to locate flowers based on attributes. So to the IAs out there who work for a nursery website or gardening publication, would it be possible to provide access through search & taxonomy capabilities that let me select the various attributes of the flowers & plants and not just the botanical or common name?
Just got back from the Wilshire Metadata/DAMA International Conference that was held in Orlando, FL. The just recently published the trip report, but I have written a trip report as well that involves my thoughts through my IA "glasses." I'll post that shortly. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the official trip report.
I wish I was at the Emerging Technology Conference(ETCON)...it's only about 20 minutes from where I live. Hundreds of people from the around the world coming to Santa Clara to look at technology and innovative wares of the future...Keynote speaker Howard Rheinhold was featured recently in Wired News, "Futurist Fears End of Innovation." The piece was on his keynote address regarding the government's control over the sharing of new technologies. Although I wasn't there, I agree that we have a responsibility to share and constantly challenge ourselves to push our thinking about the use and usefulness of technology.
In the IA community there is always a need to find standards and to find best practices, are we doing our share to innovate the landscape of information access, architecture, management, retrieval, and user experience? Who are the folks? What are they saying now?
I follow Search Engine Watch pretty religiously since much of my work revolves around search engines. Today they launched a new look. I like the information design since I can distinguish ads vs. content and I can browse more easily through the their current vs. archived materials.
Some highlights of questions related to taxonomies/thesauri/content management/enterprise IA/search:
Merging thesauri...do it or not?
What other tools besides meta-tagging?
What are topic maps? How can you use them for aiding discovery?
What are the critical compoonents for enterprise content management strategy?
What are the alternatives to meta-tagging?
How does metadata help you visualize information? Which projects should people be watching?
I contributed my quick tidbits on the summit as a staff member of Boxes and Arrows. It's quite frustrating to listen and write when so many of the topics were very intellectually engaging. I'll be posting my presentation slides shortly through Nick Fink with the rest of the panels' slides. I'll probably write more provocative uncensored thoughts about the summit sometime this week. Like what I would have said if I had the guts to stand up at the 5 minute madness. The summit wrap up article also has links to other folks notes and photo albums. I've posted before about my albums already.
Didn't take as many photos as last year, but this years IA Summit in Portland, OR was the best of all the IA summits I've attended; rich content, great networking opportunity, and a really nice town with lots of books.
What's inside: Christina reflects on the year with some snippets of process, content, and people. George talks about immersive experiences including a new piece of cubical wall art. Dan does a great analysis of how to utilize the knowledge/experiences in the books that may be on an IA's bookshelf.
I look forward to great content to help push the learning in IA for years to come and hopfully I'll be able to wrangle more volunteers to help build it even more!
I'll be participating on a panel at the IA Summit 2003 in Portland, OR this coming March. Check out the great list of speakers, pre-conference and conference events taking place the weekend of March 21st.
My panel will be on Saturday afternoon and the topic will be on the tools that support IA work. My co-panelists include Andrew Hinton, Bob Boiko(of Content Management Bible fame), and the moderator will be Nick Fink(publisher of Digital-web.com). Come check us out and say hi.
Where is IA these days? I keep asking myself this over the past 6 months. Just when I thought I was going to ramp up again with the community I had to really step back and take inventory. I was confused and wondering where is this all taking me? Where is what I'm doing taking the community? Where is the value-add when I watch the SIG-IA list almost dissintegrate before our eyes. I'm frustrated and I'm trying really hard to be patient with what I see. I'm burned out and I'm totally out of the loop. Do I want back in? Is it worth it? Is it where I want to be?
A new series of articles at Boxes and Arrows will be coming up over the next few months on faceted classification. Karl, Fred, and Mike written a quick overview of the topics they will be covering.
I've provided some thoughts on areas they could probably touch on if they get the chance. I'm definitely looking forward to this thread as a way to communicate with colleagues on the value of integrating a controlled vocabulary with web design and development.
Just came back from breakfast at Stacks in Menlo Park. Just your typical Monday morning breakfast with my husband. With coffee in hand and menu in the other hand, our waitress approached us with PDA in hand to take our order. This isn't just your ordinary PDA, it was a PDA with wireless connection. Just moments earlier I had noticed hubs around the restaurant with blinking lights. From my experience they did not look like a security system. So when the waitress took our order, it made sense and I immediately saw the PDA/wireless hub connection.
So as she was taking our order, it looked a little cumbersome to see her go through the menu screens. The hostess said it was definitely faster since in most cases many restaurants only had 2 terminals to enter order with several wait staff members. I could see how this could save time; For instance a typical scenario is a wait staff taking your order on a paper and then heading over to the order entry terminal where there could be 2 folks ahead of you. By taking your order once, and having it sent directly to the kitchen it could save time.
This is my first exposure to a new venue for PDA use to improve efficiency. It was kind of weird seeing our wait staff trying to fill our order one person at a time. If we were a party of 6 or 8, it may have taken longer. How much time is really saved? Yes the restaurant is innovative and possibly the first to implement this type of system, but what about the customer experience? I'm very patient, but to see the wait staff just stare really(concentrate) hard at the PDA screen, I wasn't sure if she was really listening to me.
Here are some interesting potential challenges:
a) software is still new, lots of bugs
b) the battery dies
c) the pda freaks out, the cursor doesn't go where it should
d) someone wants something that isn't on the menu
e) you spill food/drink on the pda
f) parties of more than 6, could take longer than expected. Backup system should be used.
g) the internal network goes down, does your staff(wait & kitchen) know how to take orders the old fashion way?
Recently I've been trying to push the boundaries of Digital Libraries and Information Systems. It's quite a challenge trying to locate research and case studies that revolve around synergies among such fields such as digital libraries, knowledge management, data mining/data warehousing, and information systems. I've asked around and haven't found much. I guess my frustrations with search surfaced in my previous MyWhine entry.
So here is the problem: How can we truly connect people to people through the ideas or objects that they produce or publish?
Peter Morville's article touches on similar ideas. As information architects we develop the structures for gaining access to information. What if we all just took a step back(NOT backwards) and evaluate the organization and management of information from an enterprise perspective and see how we can take a top down review for providing the best solutions. I just have this strange feeling that many of the challenges we face as IA folks for web development could be easily averted with better IA of information systems.
Whining Part 2: Find, Locate, Search, Look For It...
It's been a few years now since I first got hooked onto the web and first entered my first search query into a web search box. So Google gets me what I want most of the time, but it's not always the only search engine I go to. Just like newspapers, I like to go to a few other engines to get a good mix of what I'd like to get.
Remember seeing that really cool diagram in the IA's cubicle the other day, you know the one that looks like this? Well the brains behind that diagram, just published a book describing the various components and why it's good for your business.
Speaking of new releases, I almost forgot to mention the godfathers of IA, Lou & Peter, released the second edition of their famous book, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web It's pretty hefty and I hope to get my brain wrapped around it completely after break
Didn't make it to DAMA International Symposium in San Antonio, TX? That's ok, I didn't either, but there are conference summary notes at their site. Lots of information from meta-data standards, data mining, data storage and taxonomies.
Senior business leaders who formulate Internet strategies for their organizations.
Marketing and product development executives who design the user experience.
Technology and design professionals who build the user experience."
Activity Theory and Its Application to Information Systems
Recently on the SIGIA List, I posted a request for information on people's use of activity theory to inform the application development of information systems. I received a few responses and one I hope to continue to add to.
BUSINESS CONTEXT OF THE INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE IN CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
-Amy Warner, Samantha Bailey, Paula Thornton, Bob Boiko, Lisa Chan
"This panel discussion will explore the various business issues for Information Architects that need to be considered when participating, evaluating or implementing content management systems(CMS). Some topics of interest that may surface during this interactive discussion include: CMS implementation (content inventory and modeling, sitemaps, workflow), working across an organization to define metadata, planning and implementing thesaurus development, the role of information architects in enterprise CMS, what kinds of organizations are more conducive for information architects to participate in CMS implementation or support, and who in the organization would advocate the value of IA at an enterprise level. These and other topics will provide a general perspective on understanding the business context of enterprise information architecture that translates beyond the web. "
I've been asked over the past few months of how to get started in learning more about information architecture from LIS and ontology/symbolic systems. I've compiled some quick pointers off to other sites that have richer content. There are probably more resources out there, but I think these are a good start.
Had our first SouthBay IA/UE Cocktail Hour. Took some photos. Lots of stuff to talk about and we probably had around 20 folks in the room at AOL/Netscape campus. Good to hear the suggested topics for future meetings and can't wait to see more folks come around next time.
This is an interesting question that I've been tackling the last couple of weeks since discovering some articles by Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School. I guess there's something instinctual of what he has mentioned about disruptive innovation, listening to your customers, and what Guy Kawasaki has mentioned a few times...you need to be ahead of the curve...an example of a company who did listen to their customers but it didn't take them anywere: Digital Equipment. There's probably a whole lot more.
Should we be really listening to what the user wants for information?
How would you fit these things into models that exists in the IA/UX community already?
Content Management System and metadata: what role do they play in user experience(1. the implementation of a technology 2. content granularity)
Search : how does this straddles information architecture and interaction design, and if search is directly related to the content and the thesaurus, how do their development play in user experience in general?
Your thoughts are welcome. I'll post more about this later.
Lots of activity this past week on the SIG IA listserv. I wanted to post to the list more of my thoughts on the future of IA, but what I'm discovering is that I have no stable idea what I want to get out of IA. In the past, I was excited about interaction/ information design and user experience design, but now I see myself more excited about the back end of information systems. Somewhere between information retrieval, metadata, taxonomies, and of course cognitive mapping of content to site architecture.
I don't know where it's taking me, but I'm definitely enjoying every step of the way.
Paula Thornton and I have been debating the future role of IA via email for the last couple of months. It's been an interesting thread wrapping around business, strategy, visibility, organization placement. Here's just a recent post:
I think you are totally thinking what I'm just dabbling in...it's about executive approval. We can continue to churn away in our discussion about the future of IA and i posted on Christina's blog about how organizations need to shift itself to be more effective in utilizing IAs and this is not limited to user experience design for web or products...it's beyond that....
I don't know where I'm going with this...but HBR and other literature already bring together emphatic design, organization psychology...but there's still a gap happening since these thigs are so fixated on customer relationship and product development...but nothing on coprorate intra-relationships and structures...
The more I go toward IA on the backend versus the online customer experience design I'm starting to realize that what I really want to do is higher level than this...something that takes me into corporate culture, organiztion behavior, sturcture to feed into good IA for product and services. Peter Merholz stated that he thinks CRM system force companies to change their practices to the CRM system...but I think in most cases the pain of the companies implementing CRM is because they had no streamlined/efficient practices so they saw the need for these tools to streamline their internal organization. LIkewise in order to really get effective IA work...companies needs to re-evaluate their existing structures and have IAs placed in the most efficient/effective aspect of the structure. We can't be an afterthought anymore.