Category: User Experience


A firsthand experience with Denmark’s eGovernment strategy

Lost in the blue water between Norway, Sweden and Germany, you’ll find a cluster of islands and a peninsula known as Denmark, but don’t be fooled, this country is anything but off the map. With over 5 million citizens, Denmark is currently ranked as the happiest country in the world by the UN in their World Happiness Report, where Canada is sixth on the list. Denmark seems to have a good understanding of how to please their citizens, so what can be contributing to this overwhelming happiness of citizens? I wondered if it could relate their public services, sustainability, or bicycle culture? read more

How to: turn data into visualizations that inform decisions

This is the second blog in a series on data visualization. Read the first blog in the series for an introduction on the subject.

What I’ve found particularly interesting while working with clients to produce data visualizations is the lack of clarity around which information needs to be presented. Many clients have embraced data collection and are making use of the charts feature in Excel to create data visualizations. PowerPoint presentations are ballooning as visualizations are inserted to showcase all of the data being collected and the various explorations of data relationships. Having accessible and reliable data is certainly a necessity, and no small accomplishment, but it doesn’t resolve the issue that at the end of the presentation the viewers are left with unanswered questions. How are we doing? Where should we focus next?

This is an interesting dichotomy. We have a data overload and an information drought. You could say that the expression “data-informed decision” is a misnomer. read more

Web renewal is about you too, not just your content

As a content strategist working on Canada.ca, I work with government departments who want to understand how the new site will support their content. They want to know for example which template to use, the best practices for writing page titles, or how to format lists.

Aside from these practical concerns, there’s an equally fundamental issue to consider as departments prepare for the move to a single federal government website. read more

An intro to data visualization

This is the first in an occasional series on data visualization.

Do you remember learning how to communicate effectively in writing? First you learned the alphabet, next words, then their categories (noun, adjective, etc.) and sentence structure followed. Once you graduated to essays, you learned to develop a thesis, separate thoughts into paragraphs, form conclusions… You get the picture. By contrast, what was your training in visual communication?

read more

6 things I learned from CanUX 2015

Last month, Systemscope was a proud sponsor of the CanUX conference – an “amazing showcase of modern experience design trends” held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.
As an attendee of the sold-out event – here are my key takeaways:

  1. Design is a big deal
  2. Belting out O’ Canada in public should be rewarded with beer
  3. Consider the Context– (I have a feeling this is going to get really important)
  4. Thinking like a user is NOT user research
  5. UX toolset needs to expand to measure the whole experience, not just the usability aspect
  6. UX matters, really, it does

read more

Three ways to convince web content owners to adopt plain language

“Don’t dumb down my content.”

“Legal said so.”

“My manager will change it back.”

These are some of the responses I’ve heard in client meetings when we try to promote plain language writing for Web content. This type of writing conveys information easily and unambiguously by:

  • using straightforward vocabulary and sentence structures
  • organizing and presenting material clearly and logically with the most important facts at the beginning and the less important details toward the end of the content
  • avoiding jargon and idioms

So to commemorate International Plain Language Day on October 13, I offer three techniques for countering the anti-plain language arguments and making your existing or future content awesome for Web users.

read more

Prototyping product review: Justinmind

Prototyping can be the most exciting – and the most challenging – part of being an information architect. The prototype enables assumptions testing; allows clients to visualize their project; and pushes many aspects of the project forward, from design to copy writing, and from curating assets to technical development. read more