Byström, Pharo & Resmini - Editorial
This is a special issue in many different ways.
First, it is actually with this issue that we have fully started to employ our peer-review procedures (...)
Second, this was supposed to be the first in a series of IAI members-only issues, to be opened up to the general public only after the next issue was released. Instead it is, as the first issue was, a completely open, readily-available issue to anyone interested in IA: practitioners, scholars and students. ”
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Card Sorting, Category Validity, and Contextual Navigation
One of the main goals of information architecture is to organize an informational domain into a usable taxonomy. This is, however, a difficult task: final users can classify the same domain differently from experts, differences can arise between different groups of users, and the same users can create different taxonomies for different goals (goal derived taxonomies).
Even using a participatory design - employing the card sorting technique - the resulting classification would be a sort of compromise, with some categories and items having a good consensus among users, and others being more problematic.
The aim of this paper is twofold. The first purpose is to propose some measure of the fitness of a taxonomy as a both whole and as individual items. Three measures will be presented: a) the consensus analysis; b) an index adapted from Tullis and Wood (2004), here called auto-correlation and c) a new measure, called category validity, conceptually similar to the cue validity introduced by Rosch and Mervis (1975). All of these measures can be calculated from the results of the card sorting.
The second goal is to present a contextual navigation that could ameliorate the findability of those items whose classification has been proven to be problematic, and to increase the information scent of the whole domain.
An example will illustrate the use of the category validity and the implementation of the contextual navigation.
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From Prediction to Emergence
This paper aims to discuss the position of the traditional usability model in the context of current technical interaction, and in particular in internet interaction. The traditional usability model was developed in the context of software development. Yet it is relevant to IA for two reasons: firstly, on the internet information design and retrieval (IR) benefits from its application just as much as software development did, due its vast user base. Secondly, large parts of the internet are application or software driven by now. At the same time, the interplay of information and applications on the internet has produced new ways of interaction, and new demands towards the quality of interaction.
Consequently, the traditional usability model needs to be expanded beyond an entirely functional focus, to accommodate the richer notion of the user experience. This article then inquires how an expanded understanding of emotions can support such an enriched usability model.
Therefore, this article brings together theories of learning, cognitive psychology, information science and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to investigate the role of emotions in implicit (unstructured and early forms of) learning during Internet interaction. This re-positions the current role HCI allocates to emotions, which is to create engaging, pleasurable and fun user-experiences in Internet interaction. Connecting emotions and human learning in this research, therefore, extends the current role of emotions and touches on another usability dimension: learnability or ease of learning.
This is a crucial dimension on which to focus, considering the rapid pace of evolving Internet-based services, products and other innovative interactions. The emotions that are particularly interesting in this context derive from curiosity, i.e. experimentation and exploration and their relation to creativity.
At the same time the emergence and effects of such emotions is highly context sensitive. Context here denotes a complex matrix between task type (structured - open), time frame (constraint - relaxed) and content (high choice - low choice (e.g. news)).
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David Walczyk & Cedomir Kovacev
Mediation as Message
Recent formal and informal discourse within information architecture (IA) and interaction design (IxD) suggests that the fundamentals may not be working as well as they used to. We interpret these concerns as opportunities and, by engaging with the principles and practices of media ecology, have perceived them for some time.
We propose that the problems projected onto IA / IxD fundamentals may not be with the fundamentals per se, but rather with the perceptual model that we used to create them. Fundamental methods are, after all, the consequence of dominant perceptions. We further propose that our current perceptual model is based on the perceptual biases inherent in print culture and that, as we evolve from a culture dominated by print to one inclusive of it, a new perceptual model for informing IA / IxD fundamentals is needed.
We suggest that media ecology provides a perceptual framework that can be used to correct the perceptual inadequacies of current IA / IxD design models (the fundamentals). Media ecology provides a flexible, contemporarily attuned, and human-centered perceptual framework for understanding and designing for emerging new media, new forms of mediation, and new forms of interaction regardless of the space (physical, augmented, virtual) where they occur.
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