Here’s a selection of what’s sparked our curiosity, piqued our interest and made us shudder (almost) with delight this week.
Una liked the way the Arrels Foundation have created a collection of typefaces based on the handwriting of homeless.
She also enjoyed this talk about the story of Airbnb and the growth of the sharing economy.
And finally from Una: a video of Tina RothEisenberg talking about side projects which turned into “labors of love”.
The Internet with a Human Face
I found much to chew over in this great talk by Maciej Cegłowski (of Pinboard) from Beyond Tellerrand in Düsseldorf, Germany. Here’s a few choice morsels:
a lot of what’s wrong with the Internet has to do with memory. The Internet somehow contrives to remember too much and too little at the same time, and it maps poorly on our concepts of how memory should work. […]
One reason there’s a backlash against Google glasses is that they try to bring the online rules into the offline world […] Google’s answer is, wake up, grandpa, this is the new normal. But all they’re doing is trying to port a bug in the Internet over to the real world, and calling it progress. You can dress up a bug and call it a feature. You can also put dog crap in the freezer and call it ice cream. But people can taste the difference. […]
These big collections of personal data are like radioactive waste. It’s easy to generate, easy to store in the short term, incredibly toxic, and almost impossible to dispose of. Just when you think you’ve buried it forever, it comes leaching out somewhere unexpected. […]
One of the worst aspects of surveillance is how it limits our ability to be creative with technology. It’s like a tax we all have to pay on innovation. We can’t have cool things, because they’re too potentially invasive.
Design and build desktop site first – consider this the “complete version”. Then consider a mobile site – slimmed down version of desktop version – either as separate site or using media queries – “responsive design”
Bad for users – Penalise them for visiting site on a smaller device when most people want full access.
Painful to maintain – No easy or coherent evolution of design
What if we turn it around?
Make the product:
Work well at many different screen sizes
Built for speed and performance on many devices / connection speeds
Work for touch screen and even “no-screen” (accessibility/APIs etc)
Promote content over navigation
Mobile first is a bit misleading
It’s really about starting to design from the content outwards.
Content, presentation, interface – Reduce to the minimum amount necessary
Forces you to focus and prioritize by embracing constraints
Ensures you don’t have to maintain separate sites
Serves your users in countries with poor connections by default
Different devices and poor connections are not after-thoughts: they are at the heart of the product.
Progressively enhance for particular devices only when evidence of demand exists.
Data structures and editorial / content decisions are the biggest issues. Technical and design issues are secondary.
If we think about the content first, working on any device, all other considerations slot into place.
Hierarchy of content needs
Some ways of prioritising and thinking about content in a device-agnostic project:
Ease of comprehension
Relevance – to the need, moment, interests, behaviour, and personal history
Everything else: Later access, ease of reference, etc</ul>
We’ve looked at lots of other websites in the field of international justice and a few beyond to find interesting and exciting stuff. Suggestions have come from the website survey, interviews, conversations and a blog post.
Lots of similar judicial sites follow the same IA format. Instead consider splitting the user journey more starkly with structured browse – situations/cases and the court – and having more flexible navigation. eg breadcrumb for situations/cases and a big footer. Use relatedness / relationships (tagging and metadata).
Good for reference. Informative. Useful. Almost like a sitemap at the bottom of every page.
An important tool to provide clarity, context and depth for the complex cases the ICC deals with, eg telling the story of the case.
Imagery / Video
Not just walls of text. Telling a human story. Educate and inspire. Show what’s happening inside the ICC and beyond. Look further than the default option (robed judges in court).
Presenting lots of text / pdfs
HTML needs to be the default publishing format with the exception of court filings. Effective use of typography. Plenty of white space. Readability on all devices is paramount. Clear indication of download, format, filesize before user clicks.
Search, filter, sort
Search tools – see latest filings, filter by case, topic, keyword, etc – are very important.
Email sign up / email alerts
Open up press list to anyone to sign up. Allow users to tailor subscription to specific areas, situations, cases. Offer alerts for new filings. These tools can be used in other sections, eg ASP.
Good to represent the scope of the court’s work and its backing (ASP), but lots of difficulties around nuance and politics.
Classroom resources and content for young people are important but difficult to do well. We need more information on audience and aims.
Feedback / transparency
Including report an error, ask a question, see an article’s history, ask for feedback. Helps to establish trust, signal openness and find out about things you might be unaware of.
Use of data / visualisations
To convey what the ICC has achieved judicially, politically and on the ground, eg trial chamber dealt with x decisions, x applications, x requests to give impression of complexity of the case.
Thanks! If you have any questions about this approach or the project in general, please feel free to leave a comment or contact Public Information and Documentation Section.