Archive for October, 2008
Amongst the trainee web developer and designer roles that Northwest Vision and Media are championing, there’s a project co-ordinator role that looks like a good way to pick up some IA skills.
Have a look at the details of the Digital Placements particularly the Mando Group’s Project Co-ordinator.
The role will compliment (sic) Mando Group’s consultancy in requirements analysis and project management, particularly at the start of projects and seeing through to the end of the production cycle.
Client & user requirements gathering include conducting:
• Consultative workshop contribution and eventual facilitation
• Stakeholder interviews
• Industry & Competitor analysis
• User interviews, focus groups, and testing
• Other requirements gathering methodologies as and when required
• General project management and risk analysis
Requirements documentation & analysis:
• Documentation of all requirements gathered such as user testing reports, content
inventories, and other consultative documentation
• Produce proposed strategy, concept models, flowcharts, wireframes, and client & user
analysis (inc. Personas)
Last week I was invited to the V&A to talk about IA. The forward thinking web team had organised an afternoon of V&A staff and industry figures to discuss their web strategy, all in the presence of the V&A director.
In some ways this was much like any other web event I had attend. The food was, admittedly, better than usual and the building much more striking (the most ornate doorknob I’ve ever seen in a toilet cubicle and a highly intricate carved conference room table).
We discussed many, many ideas and possible paths but the real challenge remains; choosing the ideas to pursue and what order to tackle them in. And of course, the actual implementation. I left optimistic about the future of the V&A website. Not least because of how smart and pragmatic the V&A web team were but also because of the initiatives we heard about that are already live.
These include RSS feeds, V&A blogs, a Facebook presence and a beautiful Flickr group. Also interesting was the blogger outreach that they had undertaken to promote their knitting and dress patterns. Have a look at Things to Do to get a different view of the museum. There are no gradients or rounded corners but there are definite forays into the web 2.0 world.
The afternoon was wrapped up with drinks on a beautiful balcony with views across Kensington on a lovely autumn evening. Quite an inspirational place to work!
I spent Tuesday at TFPL’s SharePoint conference, described by the chair as a gathering of critical fans.
It was held in the Henry Wellcome auditorium at the Wellcome Collection, a very comfy place (dangerously so in the session after lunch)
Here are some quotes to give you a flavour of the day. I’ll do a proper write-up for FUMSI later.
“content management is the weakest point of SharePoint”
“I deleted 80% of the intranet content and no-one noticed”
“content management is in this weird space, fighting with accessibility”
” SharePoint help is c**p”
“please don’t tell me you were at school in 1991”
“out of the box doesn’t cut it for anyone”
“Groove is an interesting puppy”
“SFW are the best people I’ve found. They performed exceptionally and beyond expectation, gave me exactly what I wanted. I’m a happy client”
“…so the problem with search is not the technology, it’s the users”
(Google must be laughing that their rivals still don’t see anything wrong with that final quote)
On Nov 3rd I’ll be taking in part in a panel (with Silver Oliver and Helen Lippell) as part of ISKO UK’s Semantic Analysis Technology: in search of categories, concepts & content. The seminar “aims to examine the real issues and technical challenges presented by automating semantic analysis for whatever purpose”.
Presentations by Expert Systems, Rattle Research and SmartLogic will be followed by the three of us sharing our auto-categorisation (or should that now be semantic analysis) war stories.
Guide dogs vomiting at work is not actually a new thing for me. That happened at the BBC too. The story became the stuff of office legend but at the RNIB it merits a pan-building email (admittedly to explain why the second floor had been without power):
“Dog of the Week – a new slot. So there’s Jimmy, lying under John’s desk, dreaming of chasing rabbits and sniffing “things” whilst John beavers away earning a crust. Sod this for a game of soldiers thinks Jimmy, I want to go home, and promptly throws up in the floor-box, thus short circuiting the electricity supply to the second floor. Nice one Jimmy – the lads in my Team only do that at Christmas.”
I’m hugely looking forward to David Gauntlett’s inaugural lecture on 12th November.
“The particular significance of Tim Berners-Lee’s original vision is that it involved people making and sharing things – all users as contributors, not just readers. Thus began the shift from the ‘mass audience’ towards creative individuals and communities. David Gauntlett has had a long engagement with the Web, having produced the award-winning website Theory.org.uk for over a decade. Several years before the rise of ‘Web 2.0’, he was writing about the Web as a creative and collaborative playground of everyday culture, politics, and self-expression. He has continued to embed an interest in the Web with broader research about creativity and ways to engage people in social research and social issues.
Gauntlett considers these themes in the context of a broader growth in home-made culture, craft, recycling and remaking, which connects with environmental issues, transition towns and cities, and therefore – in one grand bound – the future of the planet. He will argue that this making-and-sharing culture may foster the ‘tools for thinking’ which will be required to solve social and environmental problems.”
The wine reception is all ‘sold out’ but that’s not the best bit, is it? Register for the free lecture here http://www.12november.org.uk/.
Our latest FUMSI manage article is by Silver Oliver and about the Semantic Web, which he introduces as follows:
“The goal of the Semantic Web is to enable people to share structured data on the Web as easily as they can share documents today.
‘The current Web is a Web of documents where documents (Web pages) are connected by embedded Hyperlinks (links). Thus when you click on one document, the result is a single step Web transversal to another document. This widely understood, and accepted, Web interaction pattern is facilitated by a resource locater called a Uniform Resource Locater (URL) and a messaging protocol known as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).’
We all know how successful this has been as a model because of its openness and simplicity. The Semantic Web builds on the things that made this model successful for publishing documents, but instead uses it for the publishing of structured data.”
Read the whole article: How the Semantic Web Will Change Information Management: Three Predictions
I nodded furiously whilst listening to I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. Not because of anything Star Wars related but because Marcus Brigstocke pointed out that Bladerunner is set in 1992 which in reality is the year that Windows 3.1 was launched, and not the hovercar.
I’m happy to concur that it’s not just the internet that is not a flying car.
Lot’s of people are asking how the RNIB compares to the BBC.
My journey is much better for one thing, shorter and simpler. That has a surprisingly big impact on how happily the day goes. Judd Street is also a delight compared to White City- there’s coffee shops, restaurants, bookshops, and loads of parks. Favourite so far is St George’s Garden. Oh and the British Library and the Brunswick Centre are both just a stone’s throw away.
There’s something more office-y about the job. Office wear is smarter, people start and leave earlier, and weirdly quite a number of websites are blocked. That’s quite a change from having porn permissions at the BBC (to monitor the BBC’s websearch, of course).
I’m hands on again, in a very intense way at the moment. As the lone IA there’s lots to do. I thought I might miss the sense of community of a big UX team but the virtual community of other SharePoint and charity IAs has helped loads.
Pleasant surprises were the lack of locked down desktop and Firefox installed as standard.
Something I hadn’t thought about was the extent to which the BBC is a visual culture. At the RNIB email is plain text as a matter of policy, sketching is rare in meetings and documents are printed in 14 point.
Which makes practicing IA a different kind of process and a topic I expect I’ll be returning to many times.
There was a rumour that the BBC implanted chips in long serving staff, with a view to preventing them leaving, Wedlock-style perhaps. I didn’t fall victim to anything so dramatic.
Nor can I blame my silence on overwork in my new job. There’s been loads to learn but that’s not the problem.
I’ve been over-committing myself elsewhere. Everything seems to be happening at once, from my writing for FUMSI, speaking events and Open University deadlines, plus trying to get the garden ready for winter.
Unfortunately blog-neglect also meant an unpleasant job of ploughing through weeks and weeks of comments spam. Always a nauseous task.
So to come…talking about the future of the web at the V&A, SharePoint IA, and the challenges of creating accessible IA deliverables.