January 27, 2011

Information Architecture Readings

First, a note. It seems that I missed the part about only reading Wurman. So I read them all.


Designers need to be involved in more aspects of the creations they are designing for. In the commercial word examples he uses, it seems like the big issue is that there is no interaction between the different people involved in the creation of a product, who brings it to the user, and the user themselves. There is potential for a gap in the interest of the user and in the understanding of the user. There needs to be more clarity.

Organize by:
  • Location
  • Alphabet
  • Time
  • Category
  • Hierarchy
This article talks about the importance of readability in typography, and that we perhaps put too much emphasis on designers past accomplishments. Unreadable text isn't something that should be glorified and should not be considered the end-all of typography. How can someone understand a language that has been made to be illegible?

Don't Make Me Think

Chapter 3

-with users browsing content quickly, it's important to make sure they see as much as possible, by using several tactics:

1. Create a clear visual hierarchy
  • make sure the appearance portrays the relationships between things on the page.
  • larger, bolder, in a distinctive color, more white space, nearer to the top, etc.
  • things that are related logically are also related visually, via grouping below a heading, similar style, or putting them in one area.
  • nest things that are part of other things.
2. Take advantage of conventions
  • conventions are what allow us to scan through information faster, because we know the significance of each portion of the page (ie. a headline, a caption, an image)
  • conventions seem pretty universal, with only slight variations
  • they're conventions because they work well, saves effort on the designer and the user side of things.
  • suck it up and utilize them, don't be pretentious. OR
  • make something that is clear and self-explanatory, or so incredibly useful that it is worth adding a bit of a learning curve (and hopefully eventually making it into a new convention)
3. Break up into clearly defined areas
  • divide the page into areas so that users can quickly choose what to focus on, and which to ignore.
  • once a section is ignored though, people almost never use it.
4. Make it obvious what's clickable
  • let this be mindless, it's not something users want to waste time looking around for
  • distinguish buttons as buttons, links as links
  • look to conventions again, to help clarify this
5. Minimize noise
  • everything is visual noise, so try to get rid of what you can
  • busy-ness is when everything is competing for attention
  • and background noise is all the small things that add up

Chapter 4
  • number of clicks that a user has to make to get to any given page can be costly to their attention/patience
  • there are obvious clicks and ones you have to search for. people will click more, if the clicks are very obvious.
  • mindless is good, don't confuse the poor people

Chapter 6
  • give all levels of the site the same amount of thought and planning, don't just assume that the user will understand then navigation after 2 clicks
  • have all levels worked out before even thinking about the finer details

On Web Typography

A new CSS function has allowed us to use any font we want (technically speaking, not legally) on webpages. This brings up an issue, however, because many fonts were not made to be used on the web at all, and do not function well as such. So legibility is still key to designing on the web.
It might be a good method to start with the body text, as that is what the audience will be spending the most time looking at. Fonts that are readable at a small level is best. Personality is ok, but not a lot of it. Consider bumping up the x-height and the space between characters, this is something common in the web-based fonts.
One sans and one serif font is an easy way to pair. And fonts by the same designer tend to go well too. Play around with the weights and variations of the text too.

Web Design is 95% Typography and Reactions Articles

Text is a user interface
sometimes unornamental text on websites function very well
avoid overloading users, an consider shaping the text as a whole for the users convenience.

Things to think about:
  • The text lines (measure) are too long
  • 100% scalable is not a reader friendly solution: Don’t make me think, ok, but don’t make me resize my window either
  • Lack of whitespace
  • Lack of active whitespace
  • Linespacing is too narrow
  • The text blocks are not well aligned
  • Too many font sizes
  • Pictures are badly placed and disrupt the reading ease

  • Text-background color contrast
  • Lazy handling of titles and subtitles
  • Text sizes
  • Text blocks that are not split up into enough small, scannable, digestible parts
  • Indiscernible links. Visited and non visited links are not discerned
  • Text is not treated as an interface but as decoration
  • It’s not clear if the text is a navigational element, a link or plain text
  • Fancy navigations marking the center of attention (content is the center of attention, content deserves the most love from the designer)
Sites don't need to look the same on all platforms. There can be some variety, but emphasis in this world is that we try to make it functional on lots of different technological media.

1 comment:

  1. Upside of accidentally reading them all: you are now ahead :)