Articles

I regularly write articles about design and UX topics. Here are some of them.

The ultimate IA reading list

Within the UX industry, there are myriad terms and concepts you’ll need to understand in order to get your job done. One of the most common you’ll come across is information architecture (IA). What is it? How do you find it? How do you research it? And how do you...

De-jargonising Design

De-jargonising Design

Words are amazing things. They pack big thoughts into small spaces and let us get ideas out of our head and into someone else’s head. Jargon is an even more amazing thing; it lets us communicate complex ideas with our peers. Instead of having to say that we’ll get...

Influences, the nature of liking and relationships

I'm meant to be smashing out some wireframes for a client, but instead I'm sitting here with my headphones on, listening to Jean-Michel Jarre and thinking about relationships, influences, and what it means to like something (in...

Why it’s Okay to Reinvent the Wheel

Why it’s Okay to Reinvent the Wheel

In project contexts we often hear people complaining that a team is wasting time reinventing the wheel, that they shouldn’t be solving something that’s already been solved, that they should instead focus on working faster or being more innovative. This is particularly...

Old Dog? Time to Learn some New Tricks

Old Dog? Time to Learn some New Tricks

Do you remember when there was so much to learn you didn’t think you’d ever learn it all? The feeling of trying out a technique for the first time? Or how about the first time you presented an idea and people actually agreed with...

How to Conduct A Content Audit

If you’re working on any kind of redesign project involving a large amount of content, such as that of a website, intranet or mobile site, one of the first tasks you’ll need to perform is a content audit. I say need, not want—a content audit isn’t something you’re...

5 popular UX techniques I rarely use

Originally published by UXmas. Please note this was a deliberately controversial post (I think some of the commenters didn't quite get that). 5 Popular UX Techniques I Rarely Use 5. Sketching I rarely sketch. I don’t own a pencil...

7 reasons for crappy web content

We’ve been thinking a bit about content recently, so in a casual email to Donna Spencer, we asked her… “So why do people end up with crappy web content?” This is her most excellent response. Of course, this is easy for her given that she teaches web writing and wrote...

There’s no right answer

When we are working on a hard design problem (or even on a fairly easy one), we often realise there are many ways we could go – lots of options and lots of potential solutions. It can be frustrating to figure out which is the right direction to take, the right...

Classification schemes (and when to use them)

Classification schemes (and when to use them)

This post was part of a series of posts written by the speakers of UX Lx, a UX conference in Lisbon, Portugal. When you do information architecture work, you’ll realize that most sets of content can be organized in more than one way. One of the challenges for an IA...

How I Draft an Information Architecture

How I Draft an Information Architecture

  When I teach information architecture, the most common questions aren’t about the principles, but about the process. Just how do you decide on a particular method, how do you choose categories, how do you know what you’ve come up with is right? As a teacher...

Why are intranets structured like the organisation chart?

Many intranets are structured around the organisational chart. It is well known that this method of grouping content is difficult for staff – they can’t find information if they don’t know who is responsible for it. However, it often seems too difficult to move from an organisational- based structure to a more intuitive topical structure.

Before moving to a better structure it is necessary to identify why the intranet is currently designed around the organisational chart, and address these issues first.

10 ways to continually improve your intranet

This article outlines 10 practical ways that an intranet can be improved incrementally without yet another redesign. Although some of the methods may require mini-projects to be set up within the intranet team, many of the methods can be applied alongside the team’s usual maintenance activities.

Using a “strawman” for page layout design

Designing the page layouts for a new or redesigned intranet can be complex. One of the most difficult aspects is creating the first layout. Starting with an empty screen, you need to determine what will go on each page and where it will go. Using a strawman design - a...

Card sorting – A definitive guide

Card sorting is a technique that many information architects (and related professionals.) use as an input to the structure of a site or product. This article provides a detailed description of the basic technique, with some focus on using the technique for more...