Thursday, May 31, 2012

Building Mobile First

Yesterday at the NETC2012 lunch, the keynote speaker was Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) who gave a great talk on webpages and compelling reasons to consider developing first for mobile and second for desktop (from his book Mobile First).  Access from mobile devices is outpacing access from desktop, and many users have their first interactions with your web presence via a mobile device.  I knew this, but as usual, I didn't put that into action beyond "knowing" the statistics.  I am used to developing websites, and than opening my smartphone and logging on to see how it looks on mobile.  However, realistically, as Luke pointed out, most mobile users are going to be looking at your website for potentially different information than what they would if they were at the desktop.  Different in that on a mobile device, you may be looking for specific blasts of information and not the whole "story" of the agency/organization/site.  

I thought his point was important.  If sites are being accessed more through mobile than through a desktop, doesn't that change the design considerations for both?  Or at least compel one to think about designing first for mobile?  For me the answer is yes.  I look at the websites that I have some design control in and ask myself some of the things Luke suggested.  

  1. What would a mobile user be looking for?
  2. What is the value of a "mini" representation of my websites versus  time and consideration on a mobile version?
Venn it...sorry for the rotation!
 I have usually thought about site design in terms of visual pleasure and functionality.  Is it possible to achieve both on mobile?  And if so, how?  Luke gave some advice on using thinks like Venn  diagrams to distinguish what mobile users and desktop users might have in common and in contrast.  How does your mobile presentation support your users?  

Something to think about. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Scoop on Infographics for Science

The next few posts will be dedicated to learning more about Infographs (or Inforgraphics) for use with outreach.  You've probably seen hundreds of Infographs flowing across the web over the last year.  They are usually highly graphic with excellent visualization (or, too graphic with terrible visualization!).  If you want to take a whirl of some around, visit Visual.ly - an online depository dedicated to Infographics.  There is a gap in the number of science based Infographics out there, but we are seeing more. 

Next week, a group of us will be talking at the National Extension Technology Conference about utilizing this type of outreach for Cooperative Extension.  Cooperative Extension and researchers have a plethora of valuable information and research that work well with Infographs.  In a way, we've been producing for years but in the form of  "Posters" presentations.   What about thinking on how critical information can be consumed more visually or graphically?  Would some of the information we research be better represented if we asked for it in Infograph formats?  This is the question we'll be asking our audience and ourselves.  Sometimes its not the information we present, but how we represent it that might make it more consumable. 

Well be looking at the basic concepts that Infographs entail including design aspects, tools, and resources for exploring the use of Infographs for the sake of science.