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Information Design

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Information design (also known as 'information architecture') is the study of the details of complex systems. Among these are websites, user interactions, databases, technical writing documentation, and human-computer interfaces.



Dashboard Design 101

The explosion of information that analysts and executives must consume, as well as the increasing variety of sources from which that information comes, has boosted the popularity of information dashboards. Modeled after the dashboard of a car or airplane—which informs its operator about the status and operation of the vehicle they’re controlling at a glance—dashboard user interfaces provide a great deal of useful information to users at a glance. Typically, the role of an information dashboard is to quickly inform users and, thus, enable them to take immediate action.

Hughes, Michael A. UXmatters (2010). Articles>User Interface>Information Design>Visual Rhetoric


Data Collection for Controlled Vocabulary Interoperability: Dublin Core Audience Element

This paper outlines the assumptions, process and results of a pilot study of issues of interoperability among a set of seven existing controlled vocabulary schemes that make statements about the audience of an educational resource.

Tennis, Joseph T. ASIST (2002). Articles>Information Design>Metadata>Controlled Vocabulary


Data Services Components And XML Tutorials

In this tutorial, we will look at data services components. Recall that data services components are used to exchange business information with business partners, integrate data from other systems, and store and retrieve business data. We'll examine two Microsoft technologies that can be used to build data services components that can perform these tasks.

BrainBell (2007). Articles>Information Design>XML


Database as a Symbolic Form

After the novel, and subsequently cinema privileged narrative as the key form of cultural expression of the modern age, the computer age introduces its correlate - database. Many new media objects do not tell stories; they don't have beginning or end; in fact, they don't have any development, thematically, formally or otherwise which would organize their elements into a sequence. Instead, they are collections of individual items, where every item has the same significance as any other.

Manovich, Lev. UCSB (2001). Articles>Writing>Databases>Information Design


Database Modelling in UML - Part 1

When it comes to providing reliable, flexible and efficient object persistence for software systems, today's designers and architects are faced with many choices. From the technological perspective, the choice is usually between pure Object-Oriented, Object-Relational hybrids, pure Relational and custom solutions based on open or proprietary file formats (eg. XML, OLE structured storage). From the vendor aspect Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, POET and others offer similar but often-incompatible solutions. This article is about only one of those choices, that is the layering of an object-oriented class model on top of a purely relational database. This is not to imply this is the only, best or simplest solution, but pragmatically it is one of the most common, and one that has the potential for the most misuse.

Sparks, Geoffrey. Methods and Tools. Articles>Information Design>Databases>UML


Database Templates with MySQL

Once you've built several MySQL databases, you'll learn some shortcuts to database design. Why stop there? Take this trick a step further and put together a generic database with a set of empty, standard tables. With a well-designed MySQL template, you can quickly assemble the basics of any database as needed. A template also allows you to focus on the more interesting aspects of a database project.

Dyer, Russell. O'Reilly and Associates (2004). Articles>Information Design>Databases>SQL


Databases: Step-by-Step Guides to Using Databases

This detailed, inclusive database tutorial is designed for beginners and those ready to dive in. Easy-to-understand definitions, real-world anecdotes, and concrete examples set this site apart from the others.

GeekGirl's. Design>Information Design>Databases>SQL


Datacloud: Expanding the Roles and Locations of Information   (PDF)

This presentation traces the locations and roles of computer documentation over the latter half of the 20th century in order to construct a model of information/knowledge space as it relates to different forms of work. The paper then provides suggestions about future forms of documentation and interface based on ethnographic research of workers in recently emerging forms of work, including nonlinear audio/video production and videogame playing. The final section of the paper provides concrete suggestions about forms of documentation and interface that will be required to support these new forms of work.

Johnson-Eilola, Johndan. Clarkson University (2001). Articles>Information Design>Hypertext


Datatypes and More in RELAX NG

Welcome to the third part of a three-part series on RELAX NG. In this part, we will discuss datatypes, the grammar element, and creating named patterns.

McCullough, Peyton. Dev Articles (2008). Articles>Web Design>Information Design>XML


A Day at the DITA CIDM Conference

I went to the Content Management Strategies/DITA North America 2008 conference (put on by CIDM), which took place in Santa Clara last week. While I went to support our co-founder's speech on DocBook versus DITA, I also used this opportunity to catch up with software vendors and single-source users. Here's my top #10 take-away list.

Talbot, Fabrice. LiveTechDocs (2008). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


A Day In The Life Of BBCi Search

Since BBCi launched in November 2001, its search offering has been collecting data on the way that BBC website users search both the BBC's website, and through its homepage Websearch , the whole wide web. Given such a mass of data, the easiest way to aggregate and make sense of it has been to measure the search terms that are most popular. Indeed, the BBCi homepage has a panel displaying the three most popular search terms of the moment, and an editorial and taxonomy team at the BBC constantly monitor the searches gaining high volume in order to match the correct content to them.

Currybet.net (2002). Design>Information Design>Metadata>XFML


de Lijst: Informatie Architectuur

de Lijst richt zich op het structureren van informatie en het vastleggen van kennis. de Lijst is in 1999 begonnen als een project van een student Informatiedienstverlening en -management (IDM) aan de Haagse Hogeschool.

de Lijst. (Dutch) Resources>Directories>Information Design


De–Unifying a Digital Library   (peer-reviewed)

The University of Tasmania decided to explore using a unified digital library for all its research output: journal articles, conference papers, higher degree theses, and other types. This decision is in advance of the state of the Australian national indexing systems. The digital library also uses OAI–PMH protocols for harvesting, which one of the national repositories does not as yet. The paper describes the context, reasons for the University’s decision, consequences and outcomes, and the development of software to talk to the Australian Digital Theses Program.

Sale, Arthur. First Monday (2005). Articles>Information Design>Case Studies


Decision Architecture: Helping Users Make Better Decisions

For the most part, we create Web sites to get users to do something—for example, to make a purchase, donate to a cause, or sign up for our service. It is our expectation that users will make decisions about how to proceed. But are we designing for optimal decision making by users?

Roller, Colleen. UXmatters (2010). Articles>User Experience>Information Design>Web Design


The Decline of the Homepage

More and more customers are going straight to specific pages on your website, rather than the homepage. Years ago people might have thought about getting to the homepage and then figuring out where to go on the site. Now they will use search or external links to get closer to the place they really want to get to.

Giraffe Forum (2010). Articles>Web Design>Information Design


Deep XML

At the recent XML conference, Norm Walsh hosted a nocturne on Practical RDF, the highlight of which was his tour through thenorman.walsh.name setup. From the outside you may think this is a mere blog, but it’s actually a side-effect of a frighteningly gnarly confluence of metadata streams which are shaken and stirred to produce a sprawling network of resources a small part of which you might want to peruse for Norm’s news & views. I have a picture that made the audience at the session gasp in disbelief.

Bray, Tim. Deep XML (2003). Articles>Information Design>Web Design>XML


Default Mapping for Annotated XML Schema

The IBM DB2 Viper release brings many new XML-related (and non-XML) features. One such feature is the annotated XML schema decomposition that allows you to decompose their XML documents into relational tables. The annotated XML schema supports various mapping constructs that allow you to map elements/attributes defined in the XML schema to table-column pairs in the relational schema. For large XML schemas consisting of many XML schema documents, manual annotation can be a cumbersome task. Get an introduction to the tool, DefaultAnnotater, that allows you to create default mapping and a default relational schema into which corresponding XML documents can be decomposed. This article provides a good starting platform for not only trying out the new function, but also further enhancing the mapping in a given XML schema.

Pradhan, Mayank. IBM (2006). Articles>Information Design>XML


Deferred Hypertext: The Virtues of Delayed Gratification

Navigating a full browsing session to find information can be unpleasant and slow, particularly on mobile devices. Instead, issue a deferred request and have the information arrive later, as done by some SMS systems.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2001). Design>Web Design>Information Design


Defining 'Value-Adding Work' of In-House Information Development Groups   (PDF)

Many in-house information development groups are redefining their role (or seeking to justify their existence) around the concept of 'value-adding work.' But which tasks are value-adding? Finding an answer to this question is critical for the survival of information development groups. Unfortunately, there is no easy, 'one size fits all' answer, because the response depends largely on your point of view. Thus, deciding what is and isn't value-adding may require technical communicators to do more project-by-project task, audience, and media analysis than ever before.

Collins, William L. STC Proceedings (1998). Careers>Content Management>Information Design>Content Strategy


Defining Data With DTD Schemas

In this tutorial, you'll learn: how XML allows you to create custom markup languages; the role of schemas in XML data modeling; the difference between the types of XML schemas; what constitutes valid and well-formed documents; how to declare elements and attributes in a DTD; and how to create and use a DTD for a custom markup language.

BrainBell (2007). Articles>Information Design>XML


Defining Information Architecture

What is information architecture? Is it a nascent field or a flash in the pan? What does an information architect do? Are you an information architect? Am I? Is that the right label for our discipline? Do labels and definitions matter?

Morville, Peter. Argus Center (2000). Articles>Information Design


Defining Information Architecture   (PDF)

Bad buildings and bad web sites share similar architectural roots. First, many architects don’t inhabit the structures they design. They don’t fully understand the needs of their customers, and they’re not around to suffer the long-term consequences of poor decisions. Second, creating structures to stand the test of time is really difficult.

Morville, Peter and Louis Rosenfeld. Information Architecture Institute (1998). Articles>Information Design


Defining Information Architecture Deliverables

One of the hottest topics these days in Information Architecture circles is documentation. This is probably partly because the IA's role is so ill defined. Our jobs sit perched between engineering and graphic design: go too far in one direction, we're doing the coding, go to far in the other and we are doing the design. Neither role maximizes the architect's key skills; defining the organizational structure and behavior of the web site or application. An IA is most effective when they leave implementation and final graphic design out of the mix. The documents they create to express this have to be crafted with equal skill and diplomacy.

Wodtke, Christina. SitePoint (2001). Articles>Information Design>Documentation


Defining The Control Level When Designing Hypermedia Training   (PDF)

Before coding any part of a hypermedia computer-based training (CBT) system, designers need to decide how much control their users should have over their individual paths through the system. Designers can choose from three different levels of control within a hypermedia CBT system: complete computer control, complete user control, and adaptive computer control. Each level of control is suited to different types of audiences and system goals. Current research provides some guidelines for designers—showing which types of audiences and system goals are suited to which methods of control.

Weise Moeller, Elizabeth A. STC Proceedings (1994). Presentations>Information Design>Hypertext


Defining Web Site Architecture

What is Web site architecture? It means laying out or grouping any similar areas of a Web site. In a re-design project for my former company, I realized the importance of site architecture and navigation when I contacted the Customer Service departments and discovered that an average of thirty-five calls a day were from the Internet users. Most of those calls were about confusing page layouts and navigation procedures (users did not understand the current navigational system). I determined that by redesigning the site architecture and navigational system, we could reduce the customer service calls by 50%, thus saving the company an estimated $30,000 per year.

Leonard-Wilkinson, Theresa A. W-edge Design (1999). Design>Web Design>Information Design



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