Next generation tag clouds

Joe Laman­tia recent­ly pub­lished a two-part essay on tag clouds. He’s man­aged to cre­ate a nice primer on tag­ging from an IA’s point of view. His tone of voice is a bit aca­d­e­m­ic, which may turn you off, but his pre­dic­tions of future direc­tions for tag­ging and tag clouds are spot on quite inter­est­ing.

A while ago I tried to come to grips with the tag­ging phe­nom­e­non in a series of posts on (in Dutch). The last one was on facetted tag­ging. Laman­tia briefly men­tions this as a new direc­tion, but doesn’t real­ly describe how he imag­ines this would work. 

I’m in the plan­ning phase of a facetted tag­ging demo, and still not sure how to approach it: should con­tent edi­tors spec­i­fy the facets with­in which con­tent users can tag, or should the facets be tags as well. In oth­er words – how far should we go in relin­quish­ing con­trol over metadata?

Amsterdam IA Cocktail Hour 15 feb 2006

IJ Kantine

A few shots tak­en at last night’s Ams­ter­dam IA Cock­tail Hour are up at Flickr. We had a nice “Bat­tle of the Inter­faces” — Sco­pus and Aquabrows­er fac­ing off to see what’s best — search or browse? The results were… incon­clu­sive. But good fun was had by all. 

Far more bet­ter look­ing shots are over at Guido’s.

Yahoo! opens up some more

Some great new resources are now avail­able, cour­tesy of every­one’s favorite web 2.0 com­pa­ny: Yahoo!

The Design Pat­tern Library con­tains a whole bunch of pat­ters for user inter­face design­ers to use and abuse. Mar­ti­jn van Welie final­ly has some competition.

Of more inter­est to devel­op­ers is the UI Library, con­tain­ing “a set of util­i­ties and con­trols, writ­ten in JavaScript, for build­ing rich­ly inter­ac­tive web appli­ca­tions”. These code exam­ples are fre­quent­ly linked to from the pat­tern library.

I must say, these look like some excel­lent addi­tions to the cur­rent body of knowl­edge avail­able to design­ers and devel­op­ers. Thanks a bunch Yahoo!

How­ev­er, my para­noid mind can’t help but think: what’s the catch?

Via Jere­my Zawod­ny.

Euro IA Summit 2005 report

While my notes are col­lect­ing dust on my hard dri­ve, some­one else final­ly got around to writ­ing up a report of last year’s Euro­pean IA Sum­mit. As James Kalbach writes in his arti­cle on Box­es and Arrows: 

We should be intense­ly inter­est­ed in doc­u­ment­ing these sum­mits… Does IA real­ly want to deliv­er a wheel­bar­row of Pow­er­Point slides in ten years as the body of its work?” 
A good overview of a mem­o­rable event then. I’m already look­ing for­ward to the next one.

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Landing Pages: Merging Differences

Our poster pre­sen­ta­tion at the Euro IA Sum­mit was a lot of fun. We had some good spir­it­ed dis­cus­sion on our con­cept of Land­ing Pages. If you’re inter­est­ed, have a look at the poster here (A4 PDF, 420 KB), or have a look at the shot on Flickr…

Merging Differences

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Keynote Speech – Andrew Dillon — Euro IA Summit 2005

Here’s my notes from Andrew Dil­lon’s keynote at the Euro IA Summit:

Big IA has a future; lit­tle IA does not. Geen IA vs. UX – niet jezelf definiëren aan de hand van wat je niet bent. Data is stored, infor­ma­tion is expe­ri­enced. Design to lever­age nat­ur­al ten­den­cies. Din­gen hoeven niet direct bruik­baar te zijn. Web 2.0: van iets wat gemaakt is, naar iets wat je zelf maakt… User: from recip­i­ent to par­tic­i­pant, co-own­er and co-design­er. User Human. UX design – niet: this is how I like it. Weg bewe­gen van craft-based werk, geen con­sis­tente kwaliteit, geen sys­tem­atiek in werk, weinig vooruit­gang, bedreigd door snelle veran­derin­gen in omgev­ing. Ambi­gu­i­ty has it’s mer­its. You don’t have to strict­ly define it (IA). No more heroes, some peo­ple may even think Jakob Nielsen’s a lia­bil­i­ty… Organ­i­sa­tion, cura­tion and inter­ac­tion of infor­ma­tion. Cura­tion is a prob­lem. The archi­tec­tures are our the­o­ries. Find­abil­i­ty is the new usabil­i­ty – but where’s the archi­tec­ture in that? Beyond nav­i­ga­tion: pat­tern­ing, wrap­ping, anchor­ing, emer­gent struc­ture. ‘Virus of the mind’; infor­ma­tion breeds. Cohill, 1991, infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture & the design project – IA as a new kind of project man­ag­er. Real design: respect expe­ri­ence – aug­ment life. Usabil­i­ty is a design val­ue, like accessibility.

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Off to Euro IA Summit

Today, I’m off to Brus­sels for the first Euro­pean IA Sum­mit. The pro­gram looks inter­est­ing, and there’s plen­ty of Dutch IA’s going, so it should be fun. I’m also pre­sent­ing a poster and am very curi­ous about how peo­ple will react to it!

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This year the first Euro­pean Infor­ma­tion Archi­tec­ture Sum­mit will be held in Brus­sels, Bel­gium on Octo­ber 15–16. I’ll be there to present a poster togeth­er with Almar van der Krogt on an inter­est­ing nav­i­ga­tion con­cept we devel­oped for a large mar­ket­ing web­site. If you’re an IA, or are involved in the struc­tur­ing of infor­ma­tion for online media, then this is def­i­nite­ly the event for you!

Update: added the tag ‘Euro IA Sum­mit 2005’

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