My Blog

Design Sprints at the BBC – EuroIA 2016 – Appendix

27 September, 2016     /

Design Sprints are a method of moving quickly but designing thoroughly. You innovate and you learn. You mix techniques, focus on different skills at different times and work quickly and collaboratively. At EuroIA we delivered a workshop that was all these things – Design Sprints at the BBC. This is one of two blog posts to supplement the workshop. This is a summary – plus extra techniques and resources that we didn’t…

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Structure, movement and interaction – Three pillars of information architecture

19 August, 2016    

We don’t make pages anymore. It’s odd. In the past the majority of my creative output focused on creating whole things. I made pages. I arranged them. I created structures made of information. I’ve always thought about the parts of the things I designed. I realised early that most digital things are really bundles of other, smaller things. My job title was once ‘content manager.’ I managed content –taking assets and making content, combining…

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Mind the gap – Taxonomies, tags and trajectories at the BBC

7 May, 2016    

In this post I talk about the dangers of ignoring gaps, the importance of making the invisible stuff in projects more visible – assumptions, the connections and relationships, the dependencies and possibilities. I also discuss the structures we make and the ways we can understand and explain the experiences they contain.

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When should you think like an architect?

11 March, 2016    

Eddie Obeng taught me about four “types” of projects: “Paint-by-numbers” projects are the kind you can approach with most confidence. You know what to do and how to do it. If you follow the method defined by the problem, you should succeed. But it’s hard to innovate. “Movie projects” occur when you’re less certain of what to do but you have a good understanding of method. You can explore goals,…

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‘Architecting’ is a word

16 February, 2016    

I love words. I love the sounds they make and the shapes they form. I love the ideas they can inspire. I love words. Words, for me, provide the perfect balance of freedom and containment. I mention this because I recently read an interview I’d given and in it there was a word that gave me pause for thought. The offending word was ‘architecting’. I’ll put my cards on the…

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I'm architecting a space in which experiences happen

Everyone makes IA – World IA Day 2015

22 February, 2015     /

This is a post inspired by my talk from World IA Day. On the day I had 20 minutes to fill – I did a magic trick and talked about an imaginary uncle. This post has the benefit of an edit, but recreates the central argument – everyone makes IA. Information architecture is everywhere, it’s a part of every project, every design includes it. But I think there’s often a…

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Everyone makes IA – running a team away day

23 January, 2015     / / / /

Before you read this post. Choose a card. Remember it. In December 2014, just before Christmas, the UXA team at the BBC took on the challenge of convincing 120 UX designers that they all make information architecture. IA is a specialism. But it also underpins all user experiences. I wanted to give UX designers the confidence to consider IA more in their day-to-day work, and to ask IA questions when things get…

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Reflective practice

21 November, 2014     / / / /

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably quite good at a few things. But if you are like me you probably sometimes have a hard time bragging about those things or even quite believing you possess them. This post is about the relationship between the things we do well (and not so well) and what we think and know about them. It’s about how self awareness and reflective practice can help you consolidate what you’re good at and get better at the other stuff.

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Interact 2014 – Dan Ramsden

23 October, 2014    

Design like you’re right. Test like you’re wrong. And be careful what you throw away. Interact London is a UX design conference which brought together leading speakers with talks that explored the importance of design and the roles that User Experience and Information Architecture play in today’s digital society. I chose to talk about reflective practice and the importance of teaching in developing your own confidence, skills and experience. This…

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Curations in space and time

30 June, 2014    

Information architecture is preoccupied with space. I work hard to understand the shape and nature of the information spaces I create online. I work even harder to try to imbue these spaces with meaning, making sense of the content individually and considering what will happen when these pieces are combined into a whole. I want to create the right kind of ‘wholes’. Because I learnt something when Alice fell down the rabbit hole….

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What’s a UXA?

19 June, 2014    

I’m a User experience architect or UXA. UXAs are part of the BBC design team, but it’s a job title that can sometimes be difficult to decode – as I’ve learned when trying to describe what I do to family and friends. It’s fairly easy to imagine what a designer might do, but a user experience architect is a little less obvious. I wanted to share what UXAs do and…

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UXAs make meaning using information architecture

Content discovery and consumption – delivering the virtuous circle

23 May, 2014     / /

The main challenges for online audiences of the future (and content publishers) isn’t finding content, it’s finding (and recommending) the right content. The homepage is dead. Or perhaps now every page is a homepage. But what does that tell us? This post is about three stages of the user experience – content discovery, consumption and continuation. In online experiences, discovery leads to consumption which sets the user off on a…

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Designing navigation – the information to affordance ratio

25 April, 2014    

When you’re designing navigation you need to keep in mind that on the web, signposts don’t jump point, they also transport. The last time I had a big ‘navigation’ job on, I wrote about this. I observed that links on the web describe a destination and provide the means by which to travel there. Navigation is both information and affordance. When I wrote that post, I’d started to realise that…

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UXAs at the BBC – The horizontal discipline

4 April, 2014     / / /

IAs are the connective tissue that connect and combine ‘verticals’ into experiences. Being a UXA is a difficult job and it requires a specific skill-set and mindset. But to be truly effective, the difficult challenges are the ones that we need to seek out. And we need to take responsibility.

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Segovia Aqueduct