Children’s Menu

Posted in content, Data, design, forms by solle on 20/09/2009

Great children’s menu from Ask restaurants. Interactive (paper based), colourful (add your own), pictures (what does the food look like, inviting. I don’t mind if more menus were like this for everyone.

ask menu
ask menu


Watching digital readers

Posted in content, Data, ideas, Online by solle on 02/06/2009

One of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish the digital from the real‘ William Gibson

Somewhere between Nicholas Carr’s ‘Is Google Making us Stupid?‘ and Clive Thompson on the Future of Reading in a Digital World there is the issue of how we are viewed when we read. It has become increasingly evident that depending on how you are reading, what you are reading and upon what you are reading you are viewed very differently.


It is said that it is more acceptable to read a newspaper at the breakfast table than a paperback novel. Why? Is it because the viewer can see something of what the reader is reading and approximately where they are in their reading but with a paperback novel it is hard to establish exactly what is being read and where the reader is? Books can seem private and cut off.

Is reading a newspaper or magazine or book at the breakfast table more acceptable than reading from a Kindle (or like), laptop or iPhone (or like)? Why? Is it because the viewer can see something of what the reader is reading and approximately where they are in their reading – be it the title, the cover, the cover story or at very least that it is a book or a newspaper etc – but when the reader is using a digital device they can’t even be sure they are actually reading and if they are reading you have no way (apart from maybe facial expressions) what they are reading? Viewer feels no sense of engagement.

Of course in some circumstances (ie dinner party) it is frowned upon to read anything but especially a newspaper or a paperback novel but you might just be able to squeeze in reading a short summary of a sporting event on your mobile phone without too much objection (or risk of never being invited again).

Likewise when attending a lecture, panel event or roundtable it is perfectly acceptable to multi task reading connected and non connected stuff from a mobile phone or laptop – the feeling is that the reader is still engaged with their surroundings, involved with the event, in the conversation – but reading a newspaper or book in this environment would give the impression of non interest, non engagement, being separate from their surroundings (even though they may be reading something directly relevant).

Like the William Gibson quote describes, in time these differentiations will become quaint references to a time when individuals discussed the digital and non-digital/’real’.

Please comment below with any other references on the subject.

Thanks newhousedesign for Ladybird picture

micro thoughts & quotes, discoveries

Posted in content, Data, ideas, links by solle on 22/05/2009

Media’s want to break free

Heady growth in online advertising encouraged countless start-ups and traditional media businesses to chase the same business model. But the belief that online advertising would grow fast enough to fulfil all the business plans riding on it was “almost a collective psychosis”, says Rob Grimshaw, managing director of FT.com.

London iA Google Custom Search

How to be better at digital, or interactive, or new media or whatever it’s called…
How to be better at digital, or interactive, or new media or whatever it’s called…
First they laugh at you. Then they hate you. And then you win.

…being obsessive about user experience and treating it like software

From Siri Hustvedt’s book Sorrows of an American

“If we run low on on empathy, we can always refuel on guilt”

Dieu seul sait quoi (God alone knows what this is) Doctor’s classification of injured First World War soldiers.

Designing site structures for intranets and websites

Creating site structures, especially for large intranets and websites, cannot be hurried. It needs to be designed with user needs and future change and scalability in mind. For this to happen there needs to be a plan and this plan needs to be created from sound principles. This article provides introductory material on how this can take shape.

User Experience = Management Development Visualisation (informationarchitects.jp)

Concept Maps

Including A Model of The Creative Process, A Model of Play and A Model of Innovation

Creating Inspiration

where I found Sky Catcher from Amsterdam

Persuasive web design (presentation from recent German IA conference)

Marrying Web Analytics and User Experience (Louis Rosenfeld presentation from recent German IA conference)

Flickr machine tag browser

Huffduffer machine tags

UXCampLondon is all go

The ultimate ways to test your site (Cennydd Bowles)

Structured Procrastination

Flairbuilder user interface prototypes and wireframes

Axure for Mac – coming soon (about time considering everyone I know who uses the existing version runs it on Windows on a Mac.

Lego Architecture Frank Lloyd Wright LEGO Sets (launched in conjunction with present Show at the Guggenheim)

Fused Network – seems like good hosting

We made this – natty design blog

this week’s inspiration

Posted in content, Data, links by solle on 05/05/2009

has to start with Milton Glaser’s 10 Things I Have Learned (from 2001) with gems from John Cage, Fritz Perls, Iris Murdoch and of course Milton himself. Good advice never ages.

MIT publish all course work free and without registration.

New York Stories – narrative audio and photo profiles of New Yorkers

(also from New York) New Sonic Youth album, The Eternal

Google Sites

London IA Google Custom Search

All the books you could possibly desire on Typography

Nice layout – globeandmail.com

euroia – Europe’s Fifth Information Architecture Summit

The Future of Wireframes

McMoon – Behind the counter of an abandoned McDonalds lie 48,000 lbs of 70mm tape… the only copy of extremely high-resolution images of the moon.

Eucalyptus. The library to go on iPhone

All our yesterdays

Wooden bicycle

Designing for Faceted Search

Inside Dylan’s mind

Complex inferiority: user experience in the UK


“1 in 1,300 purchasers writes a review. With a standard 2% conversion rate, you need 3 million visitors/day to get useful reviews.” (hat tip @iA)

Information Architects site redesign (iteration image on Flickr)

next stage of Online Form Innovation Awards

and of course the London IA group

Tagged with: , , ,

This week’s tabs/links/bookmarks

Posted in content, Data, ideas, links by solle on 26/04/2009

Multivariate testing

Posted in Audience Development, Business, content, Data, Online, SEO by solle on 31/03/2009

Time to revisit econsultancy’s list of multivariate testing tools written by Ashley Friedlein in 2007.

Checking over Ashley’s list to see who’s still in business with a relevant offering (and who’s been snapped up by a competitor):

Specific multivariate / multivariable / split testing tools and services:

Adlucent – a variety of testing tools including landing page optimisation

Google Website Optimizer – Google has kindly released a 26 page Techie Guide to Google Website Optimizer which everyone has no excuse not to take a look at to get you started

Memetrics – is now part of Accenture’s Digital Optimization Marketing Sciences

Offermatica – is now Omniture’s Test & Target

Optimost – is now Interwoven Optimost offering a wide range of testing services

SiteSpect – a variety of testing tools

SplitAnalyzer – $129, online demo available, immediate download

TaguchiNow – free webinar available

Vertster – free demo available

Site conversion optimisation solutions (typically continuous learning approach):

[x+1] – with its Predictive Optimization Engine

Kefta – recently purchased by Acxiom

Maxymiser – selection of products

Touch Clarity (Omniture)

ATG Campaign Optimizer

Wunderloop – international offering

And from the article’s comments:

Amadesa – range of tools including form and cart optimisation

Clickdensity – more of a usability toolkit including heatmaps (see my data visualisation round up)

Sokel Choicepoints (site itself looks like it needs ‘optimising’)

Mixpanel – a range of tools

Plenty there to choose from. Obviously anyone new to this who wants to get their hands dirty should start off with Google’s Optimiser tool.

naming and shaming

Posted in Business, content, Data, forms, Online by solle on 16/03/2009

here begins the naming and shaming of organisations that after you enter extensive personal details etc on their website they immediately email back to you the password you have just entered (and confirmed) unencrypted for anyone to see.


Passwords look pretty damn scary in plain text.

First up (and many more to follow):

1. StepStone Solutions with responsibility for Channel 4’s recruitment are the first guilty party (appalling, they even sent a reminder with the naked password repeated a week later)

2. Lastminute

3. Be

4. EventBrite

5. Live Nation

6. Grazr

7. Sky News

8. AddThis

9. The Daily Express

10. Harringey Library (in regard to wi-fi)

11. British Library (in regard to wi-fi)

12. Daily Star

13. Serph

14. Newscred

15. Days Out Guide

16. Fused Network

17. Wired.com

Online Form Innovation Awards

Posted in Business, content, Data, ideas, information architecture, Online by solle on 23/01/2009

Last year I was moved to create the Online Form Innovation Awards after the experience of too many bad experiences and grave disappointments with online forms (the tip over the edge was an appallingly laid out Microsoft Word document masquerading as a form for another online innovation awards).

The fact is that this isn’t a rare occurrence – we come up against bad online (and offline) forms pretty much every day – a day doesn’t seem to go by without me noticing someone in my network Twittering a moan/frustration about a form. It’s shocking that so many of them are quite as bad as they are (irrespective of the efforts of form gurus like Luke Wroblewski and Caroline Jarrett).

Most websites, whether they be transactional, service or community contain some type of form that requires filling in either to receive a service, join up to the site or buy something. And time and time again users are confronted with difficult and complex forms that often give them no idea about their progress, feedback if something has gone wrong or even a little ‘form furniture’ to offer helpful links. These forms test resolve, infuriate and often have a significant and long-lasting detrimental effect on the associated brand or website.

So. Rather than be negative and create some celebration of the bad I thought it would be much better to invite a list of respected practitioners to judge and celebrate the best examples of the online form with the intention of creating a valuable resource centre for the many aspects, requirements, examples, best practices, and professional guidance for the online form.

The Online Form Innovation Awards have two purposes:

A to yearly hold an ‘Online Form Innovation Awards’ to highlight current innovation, style, usability, accessibility and strong conversion in online forms such as signup, application, or purchase.

B to build a reference library and forum of best practice for anyone online looking to understand, learn, discover, and share knowledge regarding the many variations of the online form.

The idea is to invite anyone to put forward or nominate any online form on their or any other website that they think deserves reference (ie signup, application, purchase) before a selection of judges with the intention of highlighting present innovation, style, usability, accessibility and strong conversion.

The judges in 2009 are a varied selection of web professionals, media consultants, online entrepreneurs and writers working in design, technology, theory, interaction, usability and accessibility:

Nico Macdonald writer, researcher and consultant working in media, technology and society. Spy

Lisa Halabi head of usability at Webcredible, one of the leading usability and accessibility consultancies in London. She’s a founding member of the UK Usability Professionals Association and an advocate for all things user-centered. She’s appeared on BBC Radio and ZD Net and contributes regularly to magazines like Marketing Week, Internet World, Computer Weekly, NMA and Travolution.

Richard Sedley Director of the cScape Customer Engagement Unit (CEU), a collective of online specialists drawn from multiple companies and offering clients a single source for the best in online marketing. Richard is also a columnist for Customer Magazine and Course Director in Social Media for the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In February 2008 he co-authored the book Winners and Losers in a Troubled Economy which looks at how companies can engage customers online to gain competitive advantage during a recession.

Luke Wroblewski Principal/Founder, LukeW Ideation & Design

Sid Yadav is a web entrepreneur based out of Queenstown, New Zealand. He is currently the co-founder and CEO of Nincha, a stealth startup, and creator of Memiary, an easy-to-use online pocket diary. Previously, Sid founded and edited Rev2.org, a blog covering web apps and services.

Oliver Reichenstein is a Swiss interaction designer living in Tokyo. iA

Caroline Jarratt is a usability consultant who specialises in forms, surveys, and tuning content of government and non-profit web sites. She is co-author of Forms that work: designing web forms for usability (foreword by Steve Krug). Effortmark

Joshua Kaufman is an interaction designer and user experience consultant living in San Francisco. He can be found at unraveled.

The first awards are open for entry now and will close on the 31 March 2009. The winners will be selected and notified on 24 April 2009. Rosenfeld Media have kindly supplied three copies of Luke Wroblewski’s book Filling in the Blanks to be given to three selected winners.

Please visit the site and make a suggestion. Feel free to make suggestions of further resources, links and relevant websites. If you would like to write something or offer up any research paper it would be gratefully received.

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Visualising data – a catalogue of resources

Posted in content, Data by solle on 10/12/2008


There’s a continuing stream of tools and resources for visualising all kinds of data. After coming across quite a few sources myself and from other sources (including Journadism’s excellent list,  the extensive article – Data Visualisation: Modern Approaches from Smashing Magazine and a recent presentation by Max Gadney of the BBC for the Information Design Association) I thought it would be useful for anyone who reads this post (and myself) to make another list. Please feel free to add to it:

Online tools

Doodlebuzz – create typographic maps of news stories

Wordle – popular tool for generating word clouds

Wordcount – tracking the use of words and language across the web

IBM’s Many Eyes – data visualisation tools

New York Times Visualisation Labs – tools for visualisation of New York Times data (powered by IBM’s Many Eyes)

retrievr – search Flickr by sketching

Xtimeline – Explore and create timelines

Visualising Delicious.com

RSS Voyage: Visualise your RSS feeds (beautiful & graceful)

Quintura: visual search engine by way of clouds and explanations

Twitter visualisation with screensaver: Twistori

Google Visualisation API

Pachube – monitor and share real-time environmental data from sensors that are connected to the internet

Visual Thesaurus: Interactive dictionary and thesaurus (costs but free trial available)

Swivel: making data useful. Upload, share, explore

TreeViz – fast interactive visualization of large data structures organized in a tree

Dabble DB – create and manage online databases

FeedVis – an interactive tag cloud tool for RSS feeds

Gapminder – tools for viewing a fact-based world

Revealicious – graphic visualisations of your Delicious account

Offline tools

Touchgraph – work with Excel data or visualise Google search results

The R Project for Statistical Computing – statistical computing and graphics

Prefuse – download the software toolkit to create complex data visualisations

Processing – open source programming language to produce images, animation and interaction

Inspiration: People

Information Architect’s Web Trend’s map – seminal ‘map of web movers and shakers’ updating every year

Shan Carter’s work at the New York Times

Feltron – creator of the Feltron Annual Reports and for Penguin, We Tell Stories: Hard Times

Chris Jordan – His photography project over the last few year’s Running the Numbers

Ben Fry – author of Visualising Data for O’Reilly and creator of an excellent portfolio (associated with Processing above)

Karl Hartig: Data Visualisation – charts, diagrams, information graphics

Mandelbrot on Twitpic – finance-related visualisations

Well Formed Data (Elastic Lists) – Moritz Stefaner’s work

Munterbund – graphical visualisations of text

Concept Maps from Dubberly Design Office. Including visualisation maps of the creative process, a model of play and a model of innovation.

Inspiration: Websites

Silobreaker – news aggregator

Maptube – a free resource for viewing, sharing, mixing and mashing maps online

Daylife Labs – news aggregator

GPS Drawing – Drawing with Global Position System technology

Digg Labs – various ways of visualising high level of activity on Digg

World Mapper – a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest

Getty Images’ Moodstream – images still and moving tuned to your mood (based on what you select)

Newsmap – visualisation of world news by country (similar in layout to Oursignal)

Oursignal – visualisation of data from Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Hackernews, Yahoo Buzz

Stamen Design’s Travel Time Maps for MySociety

Financial Times Global Micromaps Track global market indices and global currencies on an interactive world map.

Threat Meter on Newsweek (powered by Daylife) is an intelligent content services platform, is a brilliant interactive tool that allows you to assess and rate the ‘heat’ of a list of issues.

Facebook Visualisation

Breathing Earth – real-time simulation of CO2 emissions, birth & death rates by country

Twitter Venn – the relationship between words on Twitter

Indianapolis Museum of Art Dashboard

Helsinki live bus monitor – check where the bus is, what time it’s going to arrive (hopefully coming to a city near you soon)

Online news and resources

Information Aesthetics

Flowing Data – data visualisation and statistics

Infographics News


Visual Complexity – “intends to be a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks”.

Periodic Table of Visualisation Methods

Info Design Patterns

10 Best Free Chart APIs


Smashing Magazine Diagrams: Tools and Tutorials – a list of tools for drawing diagrams, charts and chart-flows

(thanks to Cameron Chapman) Web traffic visualisation – Click Density, Click Tale, Click Heat, Crazy Egg

Read Sarah Perez’s article from ReadWriteWeb last year for a great list of ways to visualise your social network data including Amazon, Last.fm, Flickr, music, search engines, web traffic: The Best Tools for Visualisation

Here’s a couple of examples:

Last.forward – An open source software for analyzing and visualizing social networks (good with Last.fm).

Fidg’t Visualise: Play around with data from your network whether that be Flickr or Last.fm tags.

Excellent article from Semantic FoundryDynamic Visualisation: Introduction & Theory

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