Author Archives: donturn

About donturn

Don Turnbull, Ph.D. is a consultant specializing in software research and development focusing on search systems, information analytics, user experience design, semantic and knowledge management technologies as well as intellectual property analysis.

Get ready for the 2008 Information Architecture Summit

On another IA note (can you tell I’m working through my inbox?) it’s time again to start thinking about the 2008 Information Architecture Summit in Miami, Florida on April 10-14 2008.

The Information Architecture Summit is the premier gathering place for those interested in information architecture. The 2007 IA Summit attracted over 570 attendees, including beginners, experienced IAs, and people from a range of related fields.

The 2008 theme of “Experiencing Information” shifts the focus back to users. A user experience exists only to allow people to “do things” (in the broadest sense … buying books, sharing photos with friends, looking something up on wikipedia, etc).

Call for Proposals

The summit is a great opportunity to share your experience and thoughts on a topic you feel passionate about – and for the first time – presenters will receive complimentary registration! (to keep costs manageable one complimentary registration will be given to each regular session slot and panel moderator/organizer).

Proposals for the following are due October 31, 2007:

  • Presentations
  • Panels
  • Posters
  • Management Track
  • Pre-conference workshops

Submissions of peer-reviewed Research Papers are due November 30, 2007.

(Note that I’m a member of the IAI Advisory Board and will be a reviewer for Proposal and Research Papers. If you have any questions about the proposal process, the IA Summit or the Information Architecture Institute just ask.)

Information Architecture Institute Progress Grants

I’m pleased to announce (or remind) that the Information Architecture Institute is accepting applications for the Information Architecture 2007 Progress Grants

The Information Architecture Institute (IAI) will award two USD $1,000 Progress Grants for 2007. The purpose of the program is twofold:

  • to encourage researchers and practitioners to investigate IA-specific issues
  • to publicize useful work that furthers the information architecture body of knowledge

Applications should propose work that will forward the theory and practice of information architecture. This can include original research, a synthesis of important existing research, or the development of an innovative new technique.

The IAI Progress Grant Committee will review the proposals and select those with the highest potential to benefit the information architecture field. Half of the grant amount will be awarded when the grant recipients are announced and half when the work is completed. Progress grants will only be awarded to proposals of sufficient quality, clarity, and originality.

Work supported through this program will be published on the website, but it should have relevance beyond the Tools and Library collections. For instance, the work could inform future IAI workshop curricula, tie in with potential Institute publishing projects, be responsive to issues raised by members in the email discussion list, or support other Institute activities, such as Local Groups and International initiatives.

The application deadline for applying is October 15, 2007

Applications should be 2,000 words or fewer and must contain:

  • Description of the problem or hypothesis
  • Methodology to be used
  • Explanation of how the resulting work will forward the theory or practice of IA
  • Conditions under which others can use the results (e.g. Creative Commons license)

(Note that I’m on the Awards Jury Committee for this grant.)

Learn more about the Information Architecture 2007 Progress Grants now.

Creating Interactive Prototypes with PowerPoint

Maureen Kelly over at Boxes and Arrows has a nice article about building Interactive Prototypes with PowerPoint.

PowerPoint prototypes are a great way to show someone how the flow of an interaction might work and even better, you can send them the .ppt file to view before or after your demo, not to mention ensuring that almost everyone you work with could (if you want them to) contribute to the PowerPoint deck since the application is nearly ubiquitous.

As an aside, I’m always a bit impressed with the ingenuity of people who live in one application for everything, and PP certainly can let you do that. I’ve known many people that use PP for note taking, article reviewing (guilty!) and of course outlining (it’s better than Microsoft Word). However, this is nothing compared to the people who used to live in Lotus 123 including writing memos and even formatting floppies. (Ah, floppy disks.)

True TV Show Titles

  • From Junky to Funky (“Sanford & Son” remake with J-Lo?)
  • Runway Moms (far less interesting than when I read it wrong and though it was “Runaway Moms”)
  • Medical Incredible (the crowdsourcing of diagnosing? who needs med school?)
  • Asia Squawk Box (probably a lot funnier when we were worried about Bird Flu)
  • Grow it & Mow it (is this a haircut show, gardening, or sponsored by HighTimes magazine?)
  • Nightly Business Report (not so funny, but I like that’s it airs at 5:30pm CST)
  • Look What I Did! (Oh, the horror.)
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • Buy Me (well, at least it’s honest)
  • Get Ripped in 90 Days (the “Grow it and Mow it” sequel?)
  • Bigfoot Presents: Meteor and the Mighty Monster (even Bigfoot has his own show?)
  • Dr. Phil (same thing as Bigfoot?)
  • Doppler Weather (probably the only reality show I’d watch)

Rating, Voting & Ranking: Designing for Collaboration & Consensus at CHI 2007

I’m in San Jose, California presenting a Works-in-Progress paper at the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Computer-Human Interface (CHI) 2007 conference. I’m showing off some of the interface design issues related to encouraging valid, fluid participation for a community-based internet content filter we’re developing at the University of Texas at Austin called OpenChoice.

Here’s the abstract for the paper:

The OpenChoice system, currently in development, is an open source, open access community rating and filtering service that would improve upon the utility of currently available Web content filters. The goal of OpenChoice is to encourage community involvement in making filtering classification more accurate and to increase awareness in the current approaches to content filtering. The design challenge for OpenChoice is to find the best interfaces for encouraging easy participation amongst a community of users, be it for voting, rating or discussing Web page content. This work in progress reviews some initial designs while reviewing best practices and designs from popular Web portals and community sites.

I’m also making it available to download: Turnbull, Don (2007) Rating, Voting & Ranking: Designing for Collaboration & Consensus. Works-in-Progress Paper presented at the ACM SIGCHI Conference. San Jose, CA. May 2, 2007.

Listening Post exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Art

Yesterday I saw an interesting exhibit called Listening Post at the San Jose Museum of Art about understanding, or maybe just observing, internet-based communications.

Here’s the blurb from the project’s Web page:

“What would 100,000 people chatting on the Internet sound and look like?”… Listening Post analyzes all the text—typed just moments ago—by tens of thousands of people in Internet chat rooms around the world. It presents them as six different “movements,” combining musical tones, sound effects, synthesized voice, and scrolling text. For example, in the first movement, Listening Post monitors and displays a randomly typed text beginning with “I am.” It then searches the Internet for related phrases, creating a simultaneously funny, sad, nonsensical, pathetic, yearning, quotidian, and ultimately mesmerizing tonal poem of identity in the Internet age.

For centuries, the soaring buttresses, vaulted ceilings, and luminous stained glass of cathedrals, along with hymns and chants, have transmitted that which is beyond expression. Using algorithms, software, and data mining, Listening Post generates a similar experience around what sometimes seems beyond comprehension.

It’s quite an experience with seven “movements” that range from ideas like Wave Cycle, Topic Cluster and I Am (I Like/I Love) where text from the messages floats, drifts or cycles across the many small LED screens in sync with some Philip Glass-like music.

Listening Post

The exhibit runs Saturday, June 3, 2006 through Sunday, May 20, 2007, so hurry up and take a look while it’s still there.

Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town

By now you’ve heard the saying “Keep Austin Weird”. What you might not have known is who coined the phrase and how it just might actually relate to Austin, Texas.

All those questions (and more) can now be (mostly) answered by the man himself, Red Wassenich, who did in fact come up with the saying as an offhand remark when he called in to a local radio station.

Now Red has a book chock full of Austin and Weirdness: Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town, by Schiffer Publishing.

Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town

Some friends had a signing party for Red’s book and I got to attend. Here’s a picture of Red in action:

Red Wassenrich signing his book