Saturday, 12 April 2014

IA practical guide book - free chapter

I was sad to read via Twitter this week that information architect and UX'er Donna Spencer has had so much trouble with her book - A Practical Guide To Information Architecture. On the plus side, it's prompted me to share a great chapter from it and encourage you to dig deeper.

Social media integration in websites

I've been thinking about social media sharing buttons recently. We're developing a new CMS for the University of Edinburgh at the moment, and this kind of functionality is on the to-do list. I'm currently wondering whether they're worth bothering with at all.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

UX conference in Edinburgh, June 2014

Fantastic to hear that the UX Scotland conference is going ahead again in Edinburgh. I had a great time there last year - some fantastic talks and workshops.

UK Higher Ed web managers conference 2014

I was really, really pleased to hear that the annual UK Higher Ed web managers conference - known as IWMW (Institutional Web Managers Workshop) - is going ahead this year.

Content strategy & CMS management podcast

I've recently discovered, and been listening to, a podcast series called - Insert Content Here. It's produced by a company specialising in Drupal CMS development (Lullabot) but the majority of features are tech-agnostic; instead focusing on content management strategy.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Boag on digital business

Paul Boag's got a new book coming out in March and to promote it the latest series of his podcast is also focusing on the same theme - digital adaption.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

User experience & customer experience - is there a difference?

In an excellent discussion piece for, Jon Innes considers user experience and customer experience. Is it the same thing, or are there differences? The article prompted me to think again about my university's current student experience enhancement project.

Responsive design is a content management issue

Responsive design - a single design that changes to suit the size of the screen - is an increasingly adopted approach. Karen McGrane explains why this is a content issue first and foremost, and shares a few anecdotes.

Improve your usability test scenarios

Jeff Sauro talks us through seven key considerations when writing scenarios for tasks in usability testing studies.

Navigational challenges of large sites

Paul Boag, writing in Smashing Magazine, talks about the challenges of implementing navigation on really big sites. He considers a range of solutions, drawing on examples including university websites.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Higher education personas

I've been using personas on website and CMS development projects for about 5 years now. It's still a fledgeling technique at the University of Edinburgh, so I thought I'd try and find out if personas were being used by other UK universities.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Ginny Reddish on content strategy

Ginny Reddish, author of the book on web writing - Letting Go of the Words - presented at a content strategy conference in London earlier this year. Her slides are available via her website.

Inline links - challenging to the reader and the writer

We don't advocate inline links on our University website. In fact, the corporate content management system won't allow them. There's a fair bit of debate on the topic of links appearing within the flow of a paragraph but no writing I've seen seems to focus on the web editor.

Monday, 4 November 2013

World usability day event at User Vision Edinburgh 14 Nov

World Usability Day is fast approaching and once again, those generous people at User Vision are running a free event to celebrate.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Simple & Usable - a 5 year old's view

I've been reading a great book: 'Simple and Usable' by Giles Colborne. I'd put it up there with Steve Krug's 'Don't Make Me Think'. It really is that good. What follows is a conversation with my 5 year old son about the book.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Simple and usable - snippets from the book

I've recently finished and really enjoyed a book by Giles Colborne - Simple and Usable. So much so, I'd probably recommend this as a good read for anyone, right up there with Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think. A few snippets I jotted down when reading to help me keep in mind...

People - the biggest challenge in content management

I had a flick through a slide deck by content strategist and author Sara Wachter-Boettcher the other day. A couple of quotes really stood out for me and set me reflecting on the major CMS project we're working on right now.

Putting service design ahead of the politics

The "fiasco" around the US public health service website and President Obama's announcement about it has prompted quite a lot of articles and opinions. In among the doom and gloom and politics, there were some good nuggets for those of us involved in public sector web development.

Complexity impedes website performance

Too many organisations lose sight of the fact that their website should be a self service enabler (or maybe they never got it in the first place). Adding more services and more content just provides more opportunities for the visitor to take a wrong turn.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Red Routes - David Travis explains what's really important on your website

David Travis of talks about what really matters on your website. He likens these customer journeys to the major arteries of London - the red routes.