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Posts Tagged ‘Information seeking’

On Wednesday next week (14th July) I’ll be presenting a half day course called Search Usability, courtesy of CILIP and the UKeIG in particular. This course is new in two ways:

I did give some thought to the title. In particular, I’m aware that the term ‘usability’ has fallen out of favour in recent years, partly due to its connotations (in my view) as being a ‘nice to have’ feature or attribute. Instead, I prefer to frame UX in terms of ‘fitness for purpose’ or simply ‘good design’ – few would argue that those criteria are essential to any successful product or service. Moreover, they are central to the design of effective search experiences, and that’s what this course is all about.

I did also consider ‘Designing the Search Experience’, but I’ve rather beaten that title into submission in recent years, and besides, the course includes insights from UX research as well as UX design, so if you take it too literally you may incorrectly conclude that the course is aimed exclusively at designers (or individuals with such aspirations). Maybe I’m over-thinking this, but ‘Search Usability’, although it’s a bit 1990s, feels more inclusive.

Since this is only the second presentation of this particular course, its likely that we will need some flexibility in approach and content. For that reason I have included a few extra activities which I don’t expect to need on the day, but they are there just in case.

A final update: the previous presentation of this course sold out, so we said we’d do another one later in the year. As far as I’m aware, at the time of writing this there are still a few places available.

For further details and registration, see the UKeIG event page. In the meantime, I’ve appended further details below.

Hope to see you there!

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Software Development Lifecycle

Last week I was honored and privileged to present at the ISKO UK meetup on the topic of ‘Searching, fast and slow’. This talk was a slightly updated version of the one I gave at Search Solutions 2020, in which I presented the case for a transformation of the systematic searching paradigm from the attributes on the left (which perpetuate ‘slow thinking’) to the attributes on the right (which facilitate ‘fast thinking’):

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On Wednesday next week (17th Feb) I’ll be presenting a half day course called Search Usability, courtesy of CILIP and the UKeIG in particular. This course is new in two ways:

I did give some thought to the title. In particular, I’m aware that the term ‘usability’ has fallen out of favour in recent years, partly due to its connotations (in my view) as being a ‘nice to have’ feature or attribute. Instead, I prefer to frame UX in terms of ‘fitness for purpose’ or simply ‘good design’: few would argue that those criteria are essential to any successful product or service. Moreover, they are central to the design of effective search experiences, and that’s what this course is all about.

I did also consider ‘Designing the Search Experience’, but I’ve rather beaten that title into submission in recent years, and besides, the course includes insights from UX research as well as UX design, so if you take that title too literally you may incorrectly conclude that the course was aimed exclusively at designers (or individuals with such aspirations). Maybe I’m over-thinking this, but ‘Search Usability’, although it’s a bit 1990s IMHO, feels more inclusive.

Since this is the inaugural presentation of this course, its likely that we will need some flexibility in approach and content. For that reason I have included extra activities which I don’t expect to need on the day, but they are there just in case.

A final update: we just closed registrations for this presentation as we are now fully booked. But if there’s enough demand, we’ll do another presentation later in the year.

For further details and registration, see the UKeIG event page. In the meantime, I’ve appended further details below.

Hope to see you there!

(more…)

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In case you missed it last time (since it filled up pretty quickly), there’s another chance to catch my full-day designing search tutorial in London on April 25. I’ll be presenting a full day course called Search Usability: Filters and Facets, which focuses on faceted search and provides deeper coverage of the key topics along with a variety of practicals and group exercises.

For further details and registration, see the UKeIG event page. In the meantime, I’ve appended further details below.

Hope to see you there!

(more…)

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In case you missed it last time (since it filled up pretty quickly), there’s another chance to catch my full-day designing search tutorial in London on September 18. I’ll be presenting a full day course called Search Usability: Filters and Facets, which focuses on faceted search and provides deeper coverage of the key topics along with a variety of practicals and group exercises.

For further details and registration, see the UKeIG event page. In the meantime, I’ve appended further details below.

Hope to see you there!

(more…)

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[Image courtesy of pexels.com]

In our last two posts we’ve reviewed the use of models and metaphors in designing search, and explored one particular metaphor that was valuable for both its simplicity and utility. We’ve also reviewed the different ways in which navigational context may be propagated from one stage of the search journey to the next. In this post, we provide a generic framework for understanding how those transitions guide and shape the search experience with the aid of a simple but effective spreadsheet template.

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Image by PublicCo via Pixabay [CC0 Creative Commons]

In our last post, we looked at the role of metaphors and models in search, and explored one particular metaphor that was valuable for both its simplicity and utility: the chess metaphor. This simple notion helps us frame and structure the search experience in a way that allows us to better understand the stages involved, and how they combine to form a coherent information journey.  In this post, we take a closer look the principles that govern how to propagate the user’s navigational context from one phase to the next, and how those transitions shape the search experience.

At this point you may be thinking: ‘But what navigational context is there, apart from keywords?’ Of course, for many simple (aka web) search experiences that’s all there is: a handful of keywords in the opening game that are then echoed in the middle game. But many professional search applications (such as those used by lawyers, scientists, information professionals, etc.) make a virtue of offering a relatively complex opening game in which the user is invited to articulate the full extent of their information need in the form of a complex, pre-coordinated query. In these cases, the full detail of that navigational context needs to be propagated to the middle game in a manner that makes its presence transparent and its effects easily editable.

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By dbking (Chess Players in Dupont Circle) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s often said that search is a conversation: a dialog between two participants that can be every bit as rich as human conversation. On one side is the user, with an information need articulated in the form of a query, and on the other side is the system, with its response in the form of a set of search results. Like human conversation, the outcome relies on a shared understanding of intent and context. Together, these elements form a crucial part of the search experience, guiding and shaping the dialog in productive directions.

But the conversational metaphor can only take us so far. There are levels of nuance to the linguistic interaction between human beings that go beyond simple bidirectional exchanges, and likewise, there are patterns and sequences of human information seeking behavior that transcend the conversational metaphor. At this level, we need to take a more holistic approach, and view search from the perspective of stages in an information journey. In this post, we consider one such model of the information journey that is valuable for both its simplicity and utility.

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In case you missed it last time (since it filled up pretty quickly), there’s another chance to catch my full-day designing search tutorial in London on May 10. I’ll be presenting a full day course called Search Usability: Filters and Facets, which focuses on faceted search and provides deeper coverage of the key topics along with a variety of new practicals and group exercises.

For further details and registration, see the UKeIG website. In the meantime, I’ve appended further details below.

Hope to see you there!

(more…)

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In case you missed it last time (since it filled up pretty quickly), there’s another chance to catch my full-day designing search tutorial in London on October 12. I’ll be presenting a full day course called Search Usability: Filters and Facets, which focuses on faceted search and provides deeper coverage of the key topics along with a variety of new practicals and group exercises.

For further details and registration, see the UKeIG website. In the meantime, I’ve appended further details below.

Hope to see you there!

(more…)

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