Category: User Experience


You’re reading this: the case for content strategy

I’m going to share a secret from nearly twenty years of working on the web. Peel the lid back on a major website build, and you’d be forgiven for wondering whether the efforts going into planning, creating and managing the written word are commensurate with the effort going into technical or structural aspects of the project. Put another way: visitors to a site are there for the content. Those who build sites end up putting plenty of time into other aspects of the project first. So why aren’t we putting more effort where the impact is greatest?

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What’s Your Angle? The Many Benefits of Faceted Classification

Time and again, faceted classification has proven itself to be a flexible and accommodating way to find information. Countless e-commerce sites on the Internet, as well as mobile apps, have made faceted browsing the preferred means of navigating a domain of information, especially those with which one is not totally familiar. Government departments and agencies can benefit from this by leveraging user (civil servants, but also everyday citizens) familiarity in this type of information seeking behaviour (Amazon, eBay, etc.) in their daily lives. read more

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?

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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

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