The focus of Bentley College's information design programs is the user, addressing universal behaviors (human factors) and task-related behaviors (goal-driven needs). All too often in the past, professional communicators have rushed to design external information products (books, illustrations, online help systems, and the like) to support the information requirements of a system. Increasingly, however, solutions are found much deeper in the system design, a concept we call knowledge-infused design.
This article describes the authors' work as formative evaluators of a mixed-reality science museum installation, Journey with Sea Creatures. Looking beyond the focal point of the screen to the spatial and temporal surroundings of the exhibit, the authors employed a technique they call retrospective narrative mapping in conjunction with sustained on-site observations, follow-up interviews with museum visitors, and the development of personas to better understand the user experience in multimodal informal learning environments.
What is the world (wide web) coming to when even us blue-haired English teachers have something to say about the Net? After all, we're supposed to be consumed with the past--a time long before the binary code when writers still used quills, and men, unfortunately, wore tights. (Sorry for the visual.) Well, in defense of red-pen-wielders everywhere, I have to say that just ain't so. Technology, particularly that which furthers education, is our concern. And the Internet (yes, I just started a sentence with the world 'and') is a source of great conflict. On the one hand, it is a storehouse from which vast amounts of knowledge may be retrieved--it provides information that may otherwise be inaccessible. On the other hand, because of its nature as an abyss, it's an illimitable source for the plagiarist. So, ironically, something that should catalyze learning is actually, in a way, simply making it easier for students not to learn.
Information design has traditionally focused on usability as measured by functionality and efficiency in the execution of user tasks. Newer approaches to experience design and new communication technologies such as the so-called Web 2.0 platform and its Ajax engine emphasize total user engagement with the technology and richer collaborations among users. These developments complicate traditional notions of agency by highlighting the role of technology as mediator between and among users. A project in Tech-Mediated Communication at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, funded by the Society for Technical Communication, illustrates how these developments impact the development of novel and creative information resources, with several experiments in cross-cultural, community-oriented, and educational systems design. This work also emphasizes the need to develop research agendas and programmatic initiatives that support interdisciplinary collaborative design activities and thus help technical communicators to meet their collective responsibility to influence and shape the mediating technologies of the future by creating more engaging and more collaborative total user experiences.
The good news is that the job market for information architects is exploding. Searches on sites like Monster.com regularly turn up 200 to 300 postings for "information architects." From consulting firms like Argus and Scient to e-businesses like LookSmart to Fortune 500's like Cisco, everyone is desperately seeking information architects. The bad news is that there's no established educational degree program geared specifically to meet the needs of aspiring information architects.
As this issue of the journal goes to press, the Europe-wide professional bodies representing the Schools of Librarianship and Information Studies (EUCLID -- The European Association for Library and Information Education and Research) and the Library Associations (EBLIDA -- the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations) will be meeting together for the rst time since they were both founded some 15 years ago. The meeting is intended to focus on the effects of profound social changes related to digitization, multiculturalism and the growth of the knowledge economy.
Ivy-covered halls are filling up again with eager students of the user experience fields ready to change the world (or at least to study out the recession). But are these programs really teaching them what they need to know?
To serve students in an interdisciplinary minor in Interactive Media as well as our own concentrators in business and technical writing within the department, we developed a course in designing online information.
Storyboarding and sketching out ideas are indeed extremely useful techniques during iterative development processes. My favorite tool for designing eLearning storyboards and more recently, mLearning mockups is PowerPoint. So, I was thrilled to bits when RJ Jacquez pointed to me that there was a very interesting tool that I would definitely enjoy trying. Power Mockup is an application that leverages the design capabilities and the easy use of PowerPoint and allows designers to create software and websites wireframes.
CMS is revolutionizing the way higher education handle online content. So why are most universities still managing their course catalogs by hand? Join David Cummings for an in-depth look at how XML can improve a university beyond its website.
Technical writing classes can be excellent launch pads for students to begin the journey of discovering what IA is and how it works. Following instructional design principles, educators must first determine what students know about IA and guide learners to what they need to know. This journey can begin by defining IA using the rich resources that exist in print and on the web. Following this, students are introduced to IA authorities, many of whom have tutorials posted on the web. The learning culminates in case histories that ask students to learn IA principles and apply them as part of a written critical analysis of web sites that is also part of an oral presentation.