Wednesday, 28 February 2007

IA book club - April 5th, thursday

Next round of IA book club on April the 5th

what: London IA Bookclub
where: twentysix London, 1 Dorset street, London, W1U 4EG
(more directions)

when: thursday 5th April @ 7pm
Nibbles & Libation provided.
Daniel Brown's hilarious romp "Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning"

I have two loan copies if you want to read it for free. Only condition is that you have to write a short 500 word review of it.

Monday, 26 February 2007

most hated phrases # 2

"I'm not feeling this"

Said by people who have skim read 'blink' and now believe their inner sub-conscious designer is far more useful than any logical argument or observed behaviour.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

most hated phrases # 1

"Aggressive timeline"

Generic attribute given to ALL projects, by ALL project managers at the start of EVERY project.


Often given as an excuse for not getting proper users in.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Content Strategy

This is the generic content strategy triad that we use at work (scribbled & scanned). I'm quite pleased with it.

It's not terribly complicated to look at but it does expand nicely to allow for the most complex of sites/problems.

Before you get to it though, you need to define what is meant by a 'Content Strategy'. I would define it as "A Long term plan for what and how content should be created, organised and maintained to help achieve business/organisational goals"

Sometimes this is purely about the organisation of the content across a business. eg what content do we produce, how can we streamline it so that we reduce effort across channels?

Sometimes it's about back end management of data, eg what do you want to encode with the content that enrich it with information on how your company works

Sometimes it's about what content needs to be created in the first place.

This diagram sums up the key relationships that need to be considered pretty darn well.

First IA book club meet up

We had the first London-IA book club last week and it went well.

I forgot to take photos of the people to came, but there was a mix of permie/contractor, Annie from Agency, Leisa from flow interactive, Margaret, Giorgio, Dina, Liz. (if any of you have blogs let me know and i'll set up a link)

The book was Persuasive Technology by B.J. Fogg and was a pretty good choice. It raises some interesting questions and talks about some really interesting research.

My Quick summary:
Fogg defines Persuasive Technology as "Any interactive computing system designed to change people's attitudes or behaviours"
He then lays out a 'functional triad' made up of technology as 'Tool', as 'Media' and as 'Social Actor'.

Technology as a tool is where the technology helps you complete a task, or guides you through a process (eg a wizard)
Technology as persuasive media allows the simulation of activities, explore cause & effect, explore potential outcomes and motivate via experiences.
Technology as social actor considers human relationship behaviours and how these can be employed or translated online. Modelling target behaviours, providing social support etc.

Fogg goes through each of these in quite a lot of depth pulling out some really interesting research.

Everyone agreed that the section on Technology as Social Actors was the most interesting (if not the most easily applicable).

An example of some of the most interesting research were the effects of similarity and of reciprocity.

in the affiliation study:
- participants were given a problem to solve and the computer was either a 'teammate' or it was given no label
- interaction was identical for all participants
- the 'teamed' participants considere theh computer was more similar to them, smarter and offered better information.

in the reciprocity study
- participants had to complete a task
- half the time the computer was 'helpful' the other half, 'not helpful'
- subsequently the participants were asked to do some work to help the computer improve it's functions
- those who worked with a 'helpful computer' performed almost twice as much work as did the other participants.

Fogg goes on to speak about Credibility and how to attain it - this is the most practical 'how-to' part of the book, and the most widely known.

His final two chapters discuss mobile technologies & the ethics of persuasive technology.

The term 'Captology' was roundly dismissed as a bit rubbish, and doesn't really seem to have been taken up by the community.

The idea of identifying which role your project was trying to fulfill (eg, change behaviour or initiate action) and then considering which aspects of the functional triad elements are most appropriate for the project (tool/media/social actor) was considered considered a useful tool.

The chapter on credibility was seen to be a bit less interesting, although great for clients.

The use of the book as a tool for selling ideas was discussed.

We all agreed that if it was written now, some 5 years later it would be far more weighted towards the chapters at the back - ie, the mobile & social side of computing.

There was lots more by my brain can't recall it all.

Anyway it was good, if anyone has any more comments about the book then you should continue the discussion below.

details of the next book club to follow...

Book loans
I have 2 copies available for loan if you want them, i'll post them to you, the only requirement is that you write a short (500 word) review of what you thought about it. the first review is below, from Annie Drynan at agency (thanks annie)