My Blog

Unexplored trajectories in experience design

12 May, 2013     / / / /

Experiences provoke responses as you move through them. They’re interactive and the level and type of interaction fluctuates. Designing experiences asks us to think about this ebb and flow, consider the categories of interaction and engineer an experience that will channel and shape the user response. We afford experiences. But users create them. Forrest Gump told us that life is like a box of chocolates. He didn’t provide too much…


Invisible art, intrinsic motivation

8 May, 2013     / /

10,000 hours Imagine waking up at 8am practising something for 12 hours, going to bed, getting up in the morning and doing it all over again. Imagine eating soup, wearing the same pants everyday* and avoiding all distractions. Imagine that you take weekends off, but use them to visit your Aunty Doris, who you hate.  According to some ‘experts’ you can adopt this sort of lifestyle and master a skill…


The invisible man

You don’t get anything for free

1 May, 2013     /

We’re doing more and more with content these days. There was a time when you wrote a page for the web and that was that. Hyperlinking created the webbyness of the net. But basically, a page was on the web, with a URL to locate it, and that was that. Since search engines came along and started breaking pages up and detecting meaning, the experience of the web has started…


Turtles all the way down

15 April, 2013    

For some time I’ve had this bon mots rattling around in my head, like an earworm, infinitely repeating as if it knew it’s own meaning. When this happens it usually means either that my brain has made a decision and it’s waiting for the rest of me to realise, or it’s a request for more brain resources on a particularly tricky problem. I like to think that it’s the brain…


The third way

2 April, 2013     / / / /

You should probably read this with a hat hard on – it’s a work in progress, but published here mainly as a motivation to edit and finish it. Alternatives are tricky things. They complicate the world. If you were to tell me right now that I can have a ham sandwich I would be delighted. Honestly. But give me a choice between a ham sandwich and a vanilla slice and…


Learning online

16 January, 2013    

One size fits all? Motivation in learning can be enhanced by setting clear expectations and defining a direction of travel, creating a sense of where you are going and how far into the ‘ideal’ journey that you are. But the ‘ideal learning journey’ will vary depending on who you are. Learning has a lot to do with context. An expert in a field of study has a detailed mental model, a…


Places don’t exist

8 December, 2012     / / /

Cartographers can’t be trusted. It’s a controversial view (possibly), but I feel like they’ve always kept to the furtive fringes of society – happily knowing exactly where the fringes are – and they’ve done this for a reason. First off, maps are difficult to fold. Secondly and worse than that, they’re also full of lies. I’ll reluctantly admit that they’re the good sort of lies.  They’re the sort of lies…


Learning and being curious

17 September, 2012    

Curiosity killed the cat. Because I’m a dog person I was delighted. But as soon as we leave formal education, dog people and cat people alike, curiosity is probably the thing that’s going to drive most of our learning. That cat-killing compulsion will replace the person at the front of the class and take charge of what and when we learn. Learning takes effort. Learning something new can leave us…


the map and the territory

3 August, 2012    

“What a useful thing a pocket-map is!” I remarked. “That’s another thing we’ve learned from your nation.” said Mein Herr, “map-making. But we carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?” “About a six inches to a mile.” “Only six inches!” exclaimed Mein Herr. We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards…


Managing information

24 April, 2012    

Content management systems, digital rights management technologies, search and user experiences all rely on well organised content. As a way of categorising content, taxonomy and vocabulary management helps you to stay organised and create smooth and intuitive user experiences. I strongly believe that information architecture needs to help both clients and systems make the most of  content. A content management system needn’t refer to a specific piece of software. All…


Content management and systems

24 April, 2012    

As an information architect and content manager, I spend time getting to know the priorities and working practices of the clients I work with. Content comes in lots of formats, flavours, shapes and sizes and finding a way to shape the messges of a client to the audience they’re trying to reach can be one challenge. But much of my work over the last few years has also been focused…


Teller – on how magic works

24 February, 2012    

In its most fundamental form, magic is about what happens when what you see differs from what you know. You seem to be seeing something that is really happening, you know it can’t be happening, and those two forces come into collision. That purely intellectual element of magic, where what you know about the world is being challenged by what you think you’re seeing, is, I think, a very pure…


Magic, information and interaction design

20 February, 2012     /

All projects require a focus on the result you need to achieve and the audience that the product is being designed for. It’s only then that you can combine and negotiate the needs of both client and audience to ensure that they intersect and the solution is a success. That’s a bit of a jargon-laden way of saying that a good project should take what the client wants and design…


On Moodle

14 February, 2012    

Question: You can’t just use Moodle out of the box – the basic Moodle install just isn’t that sophisticated Answer: Have a look at the feature list, all of which comes as standard with every Moodle download. Additional themes, blocks and activities are easy to integrate and the vast majority are free, open source code too. In fact, one of your problems will be to determine which combination of sophisticated…