My Blog

IAs are designers too – World IA Day 2014

16 February, 2014     /

On February 14th 2014 I spoke at World IA Day in Bristol. I talked about how an IA-mindset that can be shared across UX teams and organisations to seed IA-thinking throughout products and services. Rather than focus on the practice and process of IA, I wanted to talk about how IA theory can have an impact across experience design. Here is what I planned to say. I work for the…

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Design sprints – what I’ve learned at the BBC

18 December, 2013    

As a user experience architect at the BBC I get involved in lots of different types of design projects. This year our team has been experimenting with a way of developing ideas using a method called ‘design sprints’. Inspired by Google Ventures (and described here), we’ve been exploring how we can use this approach to develop ideas, test them, fail fast and learn lots. I’m going to share what I’ve…

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Lots of ideas

Trends for 2014 – Storytelling in UX design

18 December, 2013     / /

After reviewing submissions for IA Summit 2014 it occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity to think about trends for the coming year. This is the final trend, and probably not so much a trend as the way I like to think about the world generally, but it helps out at work too. I’ve already written about search and being ambitious, everyone and everything. Today is about storytelling…

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Trends for 2014 – Everyone is a designer, everything can be designed

19 November, 2013    

After reviewing submissions for IA Summit 2014 it occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity to think about trends for the coming year. I went back over the feedback I’d given and grabbed some of the sentences that seemed to make more general points about a trend or an insight that is worth thinking about. I’ve already written about search and being ambitious. Today is about everyone and…

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Trends for 2014 – Being ambitious

14 November, 2013    

Another tip for 2014 – being ambitious. IA is the safety rail to keep people going in the right direction. But there is a higher task that IA is capable of supporting, it’s not just keeping people moving in the right direction, it’s keeping people moving.

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Trends for 2014 – Search is the norm

11 November, 2013    

After reviewing submissions for IA Summit 2014 it occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity to think about trends. IA summit is where some of the best minds in IA gather, so the proposals for talks and workshops should represent some dominant themes and concerns. Right? I went back over the feedback I’d given and grabbed some of the sentences that seemed to make more general points…

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Motivation and need in experience design

21 October, 2013     / / /

The shape of experiences are defined by the time and spaces they occupy, and even Doctor Who knows that moving through time and space requires energy. But real people don’t have two hearts and a TARDIS to push them forward through the space and time of the experiences we design. Real people are either pushed or pulled through experiences by other forces. Information architecture needs to get to grips with…

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What’s a user experience architect at the BBC do?

1 October, 2013     /

What is information architecture? In my experience it’s a question that information architects aren’t too confident answering. It’s ironic that for a professional discipline so focused on classification we sometimes have a hard time describing what it is we do. I make information architecture. I’m a user experience architect at the BBC. But how can you judge whether an IA or UXA, at the BBC or anywhere else, is doing their…

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Hick’s Law – a matter of choice

19 September, 2013     /

Bill Hicks has obtained legendary status in the world of stand up comedy. At least part of this is probably down to the fact that he died young. There are recordings of Hicks, but relatively few. We don’t have much on which to build a picture of who he was, but what we have is good. This ‘Hicks Law’ reveals an important truth – the value of quality over quantity….

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The wisdom of thumbs* – design heuristics

3 September, 2013    

I like to think of design heuristics as rules of thumb. Testing is definitely the surest, cheapest and most interesting way to ensure that the thing you’re building is the thing that the people you’re building it for want. But I think the wisdom of our thumbs is just as important as the wisdom of crowds you might get from testing. Heuristics shape and refine practise. It shouldn’t be a…

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Jean Eugene Robert Houdin

Trajectories at the BBC – after two days*

12 July, 2013     / / /

Steve Benford describes Trajectories as offering a new way of thinking about the design of extended user experiences. I think the more ways we have to think about the design of experiences the better. Structured methods for interrogating the result of our designs forces us to move our focus from the design of objects to the design of experiences. I think this is the real potential in trajectories. From interface…

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My experience design manifesto

17 June, 2013    

My experience design manifesto is based on the idea of experiences being floopy, gloopy things suspended in the flowing stream of our lives. Picture life as a river, and imagine cleaning a paintbrush in it (which isn’t very environmentally friendly and the imaginary version of yourself should feel ashamed of being bullied into it by a blog post). The speed of the water pulls the colour from the brush and…

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