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Affordance Theory: A Framework for Graduate Students' Information Behavior   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This study seeks to apply ecological psychology's concept of "affordance" to graduate students' information behavior in the academic library, and to explore the extent to which the affordances experienced by graduate students differed from the affordances librarians were attempting to provide.

Sadler, Elizabeth 'Bess' and Lisa M. Given. Journal of Documentation (2007). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design


Brint.com: Why More is Not Better

Information architect Lou Rosenfeld never thought he'd criticize a website for being over-architected. Then he saw Brint.com and its 16 navigational systems.

Rosenfeld, Louis. CIO Magazine (2000). Articles>Web Design>Information Design>User Centered Design


Card Sorting

This is a simple technique that enables one person or a group of people to create a categorisation of objects so that it is understood which objects belong with which other objects. Objects can be anything: menu items, blocks of content, proposed web pages, URLs. This method can be used by practically anybody after a few minutes practice.

European MultiMedia Usability Services (1999). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Card Sorting


Card Sorting

Card Sorting is a technique for exploring how people group items, so that you can develop structures that maximize the probability of users being able to find items.

Gaffney, Gerry. Information and Design (2006). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Card Sorting


Card Sorting, Part 1

Card sorting is a user testing method for organising data into structure. There’s a lot of information about on what they are, how to conduct them. Problem is, they’re all over the place and mostly they’re written by scientists so tend to be a little difficult to grasp and bogged down in analysis (which can take over your life if you let it!) I’ve decided to document my understanding of how to plan, conduct and analyse a card sort, from a practitioners point of view.

Boulton, Mark. Mark Boulton (2007). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Card Sorting


Card Sorting, Part 2: Facilitation

You should now have everything ready to conduct your card sorts - cards, users, observers and most importantly a clear objective of what you want to achieve.

Boulton, Mark. Mark Boulton (2007). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Card Sorting


Cognitive Psychology and Information Architecture: From Theory to Practice

What do cognitive psychology and information architecture have in common? Actually there is a good deal of common ground between the two disciplines. Certainly, having a background in cognitive psychology supports the practice of information architecture, and it is precisely those interconnections and support that will be explored.

Withrow, Jason and Mark Geljon. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Cognitive Psychology


Contingency Design: Maximizing Online Profitability By Helping People When Things Go Wrong

Contingency design is design for when things go wrong. It's the error messaging, graphic design, instructive text, information architecture, backend system, and customer service that helps visitors get back on track after a problem occurs.

37Signals (2007). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design


Cues, The Golden Retriever

Jamie Owen explores how we can best utilize cues in our work by understanding how memory, cognitive psychology, and multimedia research affect how information is encoded and retrieved.

Owen, Jamie. Boxes and Arrows (2008). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Cognitive Psychology


Did You See It Coming? Effects of the Specificity and Efficiency of Goal Pursuit on the Accuracy and Onset of Goal Detection in Social Interaction   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

To test aspects of a theoretical framework on goal detection in social interaction, an experiment examined dyadic initial interactions wherein one participant pursued a goal unbeknownst to another participant. The level of specificity and efficiency at which a pursuer sought a goal interacted to affect the accuracy of the detector's inference as well as the time of onset for that inference. Consistent with hypotheses, efficiency was unrelated to accuracy and negatively correlated with onset latency when pursuers had an abstract information-seeking goal, whereas efficiency was positively correlated with accuracy and onset latency when detecting a concrete (i.e., specific) information-seeking goal. Unexpectedly, efficiency was unrelated to accuracy and onset latency for a midlevel information-seeking goal. Other results focused on the role of individual differences (i.e., perspective-taking and suspicion in others' motives) and perceived communication competence in the goal detection process. A more controlled, second experiment that employed confederates generally replicated results.

Palomares, Nicholas A. Communication Research (2009). Articles>User Centered Design>Information Design>Audience Analysis


Envisioning the Whole Digital Person

As a human society, we're quite possibly looking at the largest surge of recorded information that has ever taken place, and at this point, we have only the most rudimentary tools for managing all this information--in part because we cannot predict what standards will be in place in 10, 50, or 100 years.

Follett, Jonathan. UXmatters (2007). Articles>User Centered Design>Information Design>Databases


Expanding the Approaches to User Experience

Jesse James Garrett’s 'The Elements of User Experience' diagram has become rightly famous as a clear and simple model for the sorts of things that user experience professionals do. But as a model of user experience it presents an incomplete picture with some serious omissions—omissions I’ll try address with a more holistic model.

Olsen, George. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Articles>Information Design>User Experience>User Centered Design


Faut-il Supprimer la Barre de Navigation?

Comment navigue un internaute? Qu'est ce qui le motive dans son parcours? Des études comportementales permettent de dégager des principes de base. Les façons d'agir ou de réagir des internautes sont désormais étudiées et testées. La navigation qui faisait la part belle à la structure technique du site se déplace vers une approche plus contextuelle. La barre de navigation va-t-elle donc disparaître?

Eminet, Bernard-Paul. Usabilis (2004). (French) Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design


Filtering and Withdrawing: Strategies for Coping with Information Overload in Everyday Contexts   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The study investigates the ways in which people experience information overload in the context of monitoring everyday events through media such as newspapers and the internet. The findings are based on interviews with 20 environmental activists in Finland in 2005. The perceptions of the seriousness of problems caused by information overload varied among the participants. On the one hand, information overload was experienced as a real problem particularly in the networked information environments. On the other hand, information overload was perceived as an imagined problem with some mythical features. Two major strategies for coping with information overload were identified. The filtering strategy is based on the determined weeding out of material deemed useless. This strategy is favoured in networked information environments. The withdrawal strategy is more affectively oriented, emphasizing the need to protect oneself from excessive information supply by keeping the number of information sources to a minimum.

Savolainen, Reijo. Journal of Information Science (2007). Articles>Information Design>Audience Analysis>User Centered Design


Focus on the Student: How to Use Learning Objectives to Improve Learning

As information architects we all know how important it is to keep the user in mind. The same is true in teaching IA: we must keep the learner in mind. Learning objectives are one tool to help keep your classes focused on the student. They will also help you develop the syllabus, lesson plans, and assessment methods.

Cown, Wendy. Boxes and Arrows (2004). Articles>Information Design>Instructional Design>User Centered Design


Four Modes of Seeking Information and How to Design for Them

Information-seeking behavior varies from situation to situation. Donna Mauer explores different ways in which users look for information and offers tactics for accommodating them.

Maurer, Donna. Boxes and Arrows (2006). Articles>User Centered Design>Information Design


How Much Information? 2009 Report on American Consumers   (PDF)

In 2008, Americans consumed information for about 1.3 trillion hours, an average of almost 12 hours per day. Consumption totaled 3.6 zettabytes and 10,845 trillion words, corresponding to 100,500 words and 34 gigabytes for an average person on an average day. A zettabyte is 10 to the 21st power bytes, a million million gigabytes. These estimates are from an analysis of more than 20 different sources of information, from very old (newspapers and books) to very new (portable computer games, satellite radio, and Internet video). Information at work is not included.

Bohn, Roger E. and James E. Short. University of California San Diego (2009). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design


Information Creation and the Notion of Membership   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article aims to examine a particular sub-set of human information behavior that has been largely overlooked in the library and information science (LIS) literature; how people are socialized to create and use information.

Trace, Ciaran B. Journal of Documentation (2007). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design


Information Engineering for the 21st Century   (PDF)

Bowie urges technical communicators to spend less time creating documentation and more time designing products that people can use intuitively.

Bowie, John S. Intercom (2003). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Usability


Information Overload

Almost 2 million book titles were published in the US alone, compared to more than the 1.3 million books published in the preceding 100 years. This change in the amount of information available for consumption is starting to change the way people read. How do we address the problem of information overload? Through good writing, and good information architecture.

Self, Tony. HyperWrite (2001). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Publishing


The Information User: Past, Present and Future   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The emergence of research on various aspects of `information behaviour' is explored and its growth as a subject of academic research is documented. The origin of the field as a potential aid to the development of library and information services is noted, as is the transition from this status to that of a subject for research at PhD level and beyond. The development of the field has thus led to a division between the needs of academia for theoretically grounded work, and the needs of the field of practice for guidance for service development. There is, today, a disconnection between research and practice, to a significant extent: early research was undertaken by practitioners but today academic research dominates the scene. Suggestions are made as to how this disconnection can be repaired.

Wilson, Tom. Journal of Information Science (2008). Articles>User Centered Design>Information Design>Search


The Inmates are Running the Asylum

The classic rules of business management are rooted in the manufacturing traditions of the industrial age. Unfortunately, they have yet to address the new realities of the information age, in which products are no longer made from atoms but are mostly software, made only from the arrangements of bits.

Cooper, Alan. Cooper Interaction Design (2004). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design


Judgments During Information Seeking: A Naturalistic Approach to Understanding the Assessment of Enough Information   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In this article, theories of human judgement and decision making are reviewed and their use by library and information science researchers examined. A different perspective on judgement and decision making is offered by the field of naturalistic decision making (NDM) and the implications of this approach are considered for an expanded understanding of how judgements and decisions are made during information seeking. This discussion is illustrated by a case from a recent empirical investigation into how judgements of enough information are made in the workplace. The article concludes with a critical evaluation of the NDM approach. It is argued that NDM, a recent development in decision theory, offers a new perspective from which to investigate judgements and decisions during information seeking.

Berryman, Jennifer M. Journal of Information Science (2008). Articles>Information Design>Search>User Centered Design


Learning Information Intent via Observation   (PDF)

Workers in organizations frequently request help from assistants by sending request messages that express information intent: an intention to update data in an information system. Human assistants spend a significant amount of time and effort processing these requests. For example, human-resource assistants process requests to update personnel records, and executive assistants process requests to schedule conference rooms or to make travel reservations. To process the intent of a request, an assistant reads the request and then locates, completes, and submits a form that corresponds to the expressed intent. Automatically or semi-automatically processing the intent expressed in a request on behalf of an assistant would ease the mundane and repetitive nature of this kind of work.

Tomasic, Anthony, Isaac Simmons and John Zimmerman. WWW 2007 (2007). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design


Measuring the Success Of a Classification System

When working with government and large private organizations on complex information systems, project managers and business representatives often demand early-stage validation that the proposed classification system provides the user-friendly solution they are charged with delivering. They also require this validation in a format that will be engaging for senior business stakeholders.

Barker, Iain. Boxes and Arrows (2007). Articles>Information Design>Taxonomy>User Centered Design



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