Monday Oct 11, 2010

SocialChat on Infoglut

How to deal with Infoglut? This was the question in our internal weekly microblogging chat a couple of weeks ago. Here are my tweets. Hope they make some sense without revealing the other parties. I fliped the order, so please read top down:

  • compared to 30yrs ago the border between information media and communication media went away. That makes it so difficult and pressing to keep on top of the wave.
  • You also have to distinguish between push and pull info channels. A library is 'pull' for example. You decide what you want to find, and you set the pace.
  • e-mail is 'push'. It is easy to get flooded by the steady stream of incoming mails. There you need special habits to keep up with it
  • My RSS reader stopped counting at 30.000 unread items. Now I feel better. But the situation is ridiculous.
  • Top 8.5 reasons why the new Google News sucks
  • I have 5 twitter accounts. Both for sending other kinds of messages and following other kinds of people.
  • Pros for twitter. 1) It is a pull-medium. It does not make you feel guilty if you miss something.
  • Pros for Twitter 2) It is a communication medium, i.e. there is almost always a social story between you and the sender that adds relevance to the tweet.
  • Cons of Twitter: there is not space to really describe a thought and reasoning. Everything is chunked by the silly technical limitation of 140 chars.
  • I am interested if anybody has a clear notion of data, information, and knowledge?
  • Good catch. So to rephrase your definition: You need knowledge to create information out of data. Is then Twitter (or any other medium) an info medium or data medium?
  • I don’t know HootSuite, but in order to agree with you it must be a tool to capture and apply your knowledge to get the info out of Twitter’s data.
  • First the question is how easy it is to find the right info wells...
  • If you search for some real info it is easy to be flooded with data. It is quite time consuming to find the needle in the haystack.
  • And one for the road: I would say Neil Postman’s statement "we are overnewsed by underinformed" turned into "we are overinformed but underknowledgeable".     cheers, bye-bye -Matthias

Wednesday May 20, 2009

IA Konferenz 2009

ok, let's see where to start my little report on the Information Architecture Konferenz – with K and Z – because it was mostly the German IA community coming together for it's annual conference. I must start with the lovely venue, the new Riverside Hotel in Hamburg on top of the river Elbe. That was a perfect location for 200 IA folks attending the 2-day conference last weekend.

Should I write for the web and start with the highlights? Or should I keep my fingers crossed and hope that you continue to read (or at least skip) to the end? Anyway. Mr. IA Institute, Louis Rosenfeld, gave the opening keynote on Web Analytics and User Experience (slides) – a call for data driven people to consider the Why – and a call for designers evaluate the What.

"It's not much use to know what is happening if you don’t know why.
You can’t know why things are happening if you don’t know what is happening."

In the afternoon I was skeptical about the talk "Design und praktischer Einsatz von UI Patterns" (slides). And I was not disappointed. I do not want to understand, why information architects follow just the design patterns approach rather then using the much broader notion of Christopher Alexander, BTW_ a real architect of the 1960s and 70s. [Resources on Patterns]

Claudia Urschbach made us shout "eya" when a pig shows up on her slides. I was not first. I did not get the beer. But I got vivid  impressions from web design work at the BBC in London. They are heading towards the semantic web by generating single web pages for each and every actor or singer and band on the radio or TV and each and every episode of their soap operas, or shows or you-name-it. They expect to get a hyperlinked network where e.g. the website for a cooking show can link to the BBC page of their singing celebrity guest.   (slides)

On Sunday we had two presentations on agile software development and information architecture. Oliver Emmler and Wolf Nödinger gave a very good example by applying agile philosophy on the presentation itself. "What do I want to say? How many time units? Hmm, does not fit in 30 minutes, so let's skip the history of extreme programming and have an interactive part with the audience instead." I liked that. Here are the (slides) of the other talk on agile IA.

Persuasive web design and pervasive information architecture. I am just glad that these come from two different talks. Sebastian Deterding talked about the relation between usability and motivation. Poor usability is less of a problem if you are motivated to accomplish a certain goal. (But this is no excuse for bad design.) On the other hand, a website can persuade a user in the sweet instance when the user's attention is focussed on an issue (eg. her CO2 footprint in dopplr) and an action button is offered (here_ donate to plant some trees).

Pervasive Information Architecture impressed by the presentation style. Andrea Resmini used the zooming UI capabilities of for his closing keynote. Give it a try and you can imagine the wow-effect it made on the audience.

But the ultimate highlight of the conference was Peter Boersma's invited talk on user experience deliverables. He extended the common view of user stories, wireframes, mood boards!, usability reports etc. by pitch presentations, product launch activities, and management documents like strategy papers, risk and planning documents, and requirements engineering.  You might wonder why this is the highlight! Well, it was quiz time. An incredible show regarding the various deliverables of user experience. Definitely worth my trip from Hamburg to Hamburg ;-)  

> collection of presentations and audio webcasts

Friday Nov 28, 2008

My Roller Tag Cloud

here are some code snippets that show how I implemented the tag cloud on this blog.

Step 1: Log in to Roller, go to Design-Theme and select 'Custom Theme' for your blog.

Step 2: Go to Design-Stylesheet and add to the end of the CSS code:

/\* Tag Cloud -----------------------------------------------\*/
.tagcloud { font-size: 130%; light-height: 90%; word-spacing: 3pt; 
            text-align: center; 
            margin-top: 13px }
a.tag     { border-style: none }
a.tag.s1  { color: #a3b8cb; font-size: 70%; letter-spacing: 1px  }
a.tag.s2  { color: #a3b8cb; font-size: 90% }
a.tag.s3  { color: #5382a1; font-size: 100% }
a.tag.s4  { color: #5382a1; font-size: 120% }
a.tag.s5  { color: #35556b; font-size: 140%; letter-spacing: -1px }

Step 3: Go to Design-Templates, open the 'sidebar' template and add to an appropriate position:

<!-- TAGCLOUD -->
<div class="navsect">
<div class="tagcloud">
  #set($mytags = $model.weblog.getPopularTags(-1, 100))
  #foreach ($tag in $mytags)
    #if ($tag.count > 1)
      <a class="tag s${tag.intensity}"
  <a href="$url.home">(all)</a>

The surrounding navsect-div depends on your general theme. The tagcloud-div is the link to the special font style above.
Tags show up in the tag cloud as soon as they are used twice.

Step 4: The footer for each blog article should also contain the tags. For me this is coded in the '_day' template (3rd line from the bottom):

<div class="entryfooter">
  $utils.formatDate($entry.pubTime, "dd MMM yyyy")
  | <a href="$url.entry($entry.anchor)">Permalink</a>

  #if ($utils.isUserAuthorizedToAuthor($
    | <a href="$url.editEntry($entry.anchor)">$text.get("macro.weblog.entrypermalink.edit")</a>
  #set($commentCount = $entry.commentCount)
  #if($entry.commentsStillAllowed || $commentCount > 0)
    #set($link = "$url.comments($entry.anchor)" )
    | <a href="$link" class="commentsLink">$text.get("macro.weblog.comments")[$commentCount]</a>
  | Tags: #foreach($tag in $entry.tags) <a href="$url.tag($" title="$tag.count">$</a>  #end

Step 5: Tag your articles. Use the Tags field above the edit field when you create an article. All tags are yours. Build your own vocabulary that makes sense to you –– by adding popular tags you can drive some traffic to your site.

Step 6: Enjoy. Let me know if this was useful for you, and share a link to your blog with the new tag cloud.





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