Cambridge University Design / UX group

Prof Patrick Jordan, July 7th

It has been confirmed that Patrick will make another official visit to the University of Cambridge on 7 July. Times and location are yet to be sorted out, but I will post the details as soon as they are arranged.

He will meet with researchers with the intention of future cooperation in the area of inclusive design and give a lecture to the Cambridge University Design and User Experience Group. That’s us!  🙂

Patrick said, “Cambridge University are world leaders in the area of designing for people with disabilities. The aim is to bring together my commercial experience with their academic excellence in order to help to continue to move this very important field forward.”

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Write-up: Caroline Jarrett – “Label placement in forms”

Caroline Jarrett, usable form guru, gave a 45-minute talk on “Label placement in forms (and other time-consuming controversies)“, over at Microsoft Research. She was introduced by Carl Myhill, who helps to coordinate the Cambridge branch of the Usability Professionals Association (UPA). There was time at the end for a few questions, and Caroline was joined by Steve Krug, who had popped up from London, where he is holding a workshop this week.

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Conference: “Accessibility in Technical Communication and the Workplace” June 13/14, Cambridge

The Society for Technical Communication (STC) are holding their 2009 UK Conference at Churchill College, Cambridge, in the middle of June. There are still places available, and full details are available on the event web page.

The blurb for the conference reads:

Are you reaching all your customers?

Are your documents ignoring an important market sector?

How do we make our communications usable by people with hearing and sight difficulties?

How do we work with colleagues and customers who have hearing and sight difficulties?

Book at http://accessibilitytechcomms.eventbrite.com/

So this may be a useful and affordable conference for those of us who are particularly interested in accessibility.

Among the speakers is Leonie Watson, from website accessibility experts, Nomensa, and Richard Hodgkinson, who will talk about upcoming “assessibility” [sic] standards in Europe and the USA. Probably, that will be about accessibility, too.  🙂

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Events coming soon

I’ve been busy with work, so I haven’t had time to post anything for a couple of weeks now, but here are a couple of tips/reminders for upcoming events:

Talk: Caroline Jarrett, “Label Placement in Forms”, Cambridge, May 19th

I have blogged about this talk already, and some of you may remember that Helen Sargan mentioned it again at the University Web Liaison meeting on May 6th.

Caroline Jarrett is the leading expert in good design of forms on webpages. They are a ubiquitous feature of websites, but it is hard to get them right, and make them usable and intuitive. Come along to find out what you need to know.

Venue: Needham Building, Microsoft Research, JJ Thompson Ave, Cambridge


Workshop: Steve Krug and Lou Rosenfeld, London, May 21st/22nd

If you can get someone to pay for you to go, there are still tickets available for these two day-long workshops, being held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.

On May 20th, Lou Rosenfeld looks at interpreting and using site search analytics, but the one that I think would really appeal to you, dear reader, is Steve Krug’s one-day “Don’t Make Me Think” workshop, on Thursday, May 22nd, where he will explain discount usability testing. It looks great, and I wish I could go… but no money.

If people know of more events, please do let me know, and I will post details here for all to see.

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More good talks

Here we go – two more upcoming talks in Cambridge, and a video of a great talk Jeffrey Veen gave recently.
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Computational Information Design write-up

Ben Fry – Computational Information Design

Making sense of huge datasets! (Microsoft Research, Cambridge, 23.04.2009)

Well, that was a pretty impressive talk. Visualising the information contained within massive sets of data is a big challenege, and something that researchers in a range of fields face every day. Designers can help to bridge the gap between aesthetics and functionality, and help make information usable.

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Ben Fry – “Exploring the role of visualisation in research”

A bit last minute, but Ben Fry is giving a talk over at Microsoft Research (on JJ Thompson Ave, just off Madingley Rd… you can take the Uni 4 bus there) this Thursday, at 11am. The large lecture theatre there has 126 seats, so lots of space – no need to register, I am assured: just turn up.

I think this talk is part of the Joined-Up Ecology seminar, which is running this week. From the abstract, this talk looks really interesting, and although it doesn’t mention ecology, it does mention data visualisation, design, and bringing together disparate approaches…
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Onwards and upwards

I had a good little meeting with Barney Brown (Digital Communications) and Helen Sargan (University webmaster), both of whom had wanted to come along to the first meeting we had on March 19th, but couldn’t make it in the end.

We got straight into discussing how the Design/UX group could play a useful role across the University. Obviously, there are other groups and departments who are involved in similar [web] design work, so it makes sense to aim to coordinate and unify activity.

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First meeting write-up

Meeting: 14h30, March 19, 2009
Location: Dept of Earth Sciences

Thanks to everyone who came along. We had 10 attendees, from across the University, and with a wide range of experience and expertise amongst them.

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“Information Visualization for Knowledge Discovery”

Professor Ben Schneiderman speaking at Microsoft Research Cambridge, March 5th, 2009.

Here’s a bit of background: http://www.ukupa.org.uk/cambridge/archives/000627.html

The audience at Ben Schneiderman's talk

The audience at Ben Schneiderman's talk (photo {cc} from Tim Regan's photostream, Flickr)

I was lucky to have been quick-off-the-mark, and get my name down to go to this talk, since it sold out very quickly, apparently. I say sold out, but by some miracle of sponsorship or goodwill, it was entirely free! Lucky us. I found it very engaging, and it gave me lots to think about. And I spell visualisation with an “s”, OK? It just doesn’t seem right with a “z”!

I was able to scribble down a few notes and interesting quotes, and if anything, they might be enough to encourage you to go off and read more about the subject. How it all applies to your web site / app / interface / whatever… well, that’s up to you to think about!  🙂

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