My Blog

Teaming with the Virus, UX New Zealand 2020

18 November, 2020    

Here is the text of the talk I gave at UX New Zealand: It’s great to be back at UX New Zealand, if only virtually.  I got the speak at this conference in 2016 and loved the feeling of community. Now I’m sat here, on my own, imagining you, sat in a room on the other side of the world – and it reminds me that reality is a bit…


Confidence, competence and curiosity

20 March, 2019    

Here are about 3,000 words about the growth mindset, confidence, competence and imposter phenomenon. This is the culmination of thinking I’ve done about how to support myself and others to be more engaged and thoughtful about development and the things that stand in the way of growth. I presented some of these ideas at The IA Conference in 2019. Versions of these sentences were published on Medium in 2017. I…


Intentional architecture

28 January, 2019    

Why do information architects make an intentional effort to architect things? It’s to make them easier to make sense of and use.


Navigation, content and interactions – a model using intention and ability

2 June, 2017    

At the start of the year I wrote lots and lots and lots and lots about a range of behaviours connected to information seeking and navigation. The stories and sets of behaviours I described have been useful for teams thinking about the different modes and behaviours that users might flow through and between as they complete tasks and use our services at the BBC. But I’m not sure the model I proposed is…


Reflective practice in information architecture, IA Summit 2017

28 March, 2017    

Photo credit Peter Morville Using the model At IA Summit in 2017 I shared a model that I’ve been using to consciously focus my attention on the challenges I face and the value I bring to teams and projects. The model is in the shape of a fish — a rough approximation of the divergent and convergent process I go through on most projects. I use the fish as the basis for reflective practice…


Behaviour sets and stories

16 March, 2017    

The Moleagle is comfortable with zoomed-out strategic thinking and they love to dig down into the detail too. I’ve described how taking a zoomed out view as you consider a Primary mode of information seeking helps you understand the core of your information offer. Once you’ve identified your Primary mode you can move a little lower towards the details that will help you design. You’re probably most like a squirrel at this…


Designing navigation and supporting seeking

8 March, 2017    

What’s the point of coming up with information architecture or a model to describe behaviour if it isn’t useful? Models should help you understand and make decisions – they’re a means to an end. IA is a means to an end too – it helps people make sense of stuff. I’m going to share with you how we’re using my model of navigation that I’ve written about previously. The legendary Moleagle…


Not necessarily navigation

21 February, 2017    

If you want to understand something, look towards the boundaries* The edges of things are interesting. IAs should be comfortable identifying that distinct boundary that marks the end of one thing and the beginning of another. We know the power of thinking about the ‘thingness’ that makes a thing the thing that it is. But we also know the power of the seams and loose joins we can use to…


Foggy finding – navigation with persistence

21 February, 2017    

You can’t always get what you want… Information is a delicate, immaterial thing. Information-rich environments present challenges – to designers and actors navigating them. Environments intersect and overlap. Actors have different needs at different times. Information changes. Content and the spaces that contain it alter and evolve. The means to access information vary. Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things….


Delightful discovery – navigating the unknown

8 February, 2017    

The world is full of wonders yet to be discovered. Good navigation often results in discovery – ask John Mandeville. Sometimes we want to encourage and support an explorer mindset in our audience. We create new content, features and services. Information architects must be able to empower actors to find them. My second category focuses on discovery. Delightful Discovery sees actors getting knowledge, learning, gaining sight or finding out about…


Motivated movement – navigation with intent

30 January, 2017    

I know what I want and where I want to go. There are times in life when we have a clear goal in mind and a fairly good idea of how to achieve it. We’re highly motivated. But we also have enough information to make informed decisions. We’ll know when we’re getting ‘warmer’ or ‘colder’ as we move through a space or structure. We’ll usually have strategies for efficiently getting…


A model for navigation and information-seeking

27 January, 2017    

Navigation is both a noun and a verb. Navigation describes the activity and behaviour of moving with intent. And, at least on the web, it’s the word we most often reach for to describe the tools that enable this movement. As an information architect I want people to be able to move through and across the structures I design. I care about navigation – both the behaviour and the bits…


Concurrent information architecture

6 January, 2017    

I often think of information architecture as providing ‘direction’ – it defines an axis along which an experience should flow. IA lays the foundation for a design – so it prescribes some of the shapes that will emerge as a product or service is designed and built. But I like to think it also helps to shape the experience contained in those places – it points and provides a direction to follow…


A Miracle at Christmas – UXMAS 2016

1 January, 2017    

In 2016 I contributed to UXMAS. Here is my submission. When it gets to this time of year I start thinking about what I’ve achieved in the last 12 months, and what next year might hold. I’m not a great believer in New Year’s resolutions. But I thought it might be fun for us all to take part in an experiment that should commit us to making a change to…