Week 4 was the week that my subjects finally overlapped. If you’ve been reading these weekly wrap ups, you should know by now that in Designing for the Web we’ve been talking about the usability of websites, and for Managing Digital Information we discuss databases and categorisation. However this week the topics switched.
In Designing for the web this week we talked about categorising information. We mostly discussed how it was done, pretty much what we have been discussing in MDI, however there was more of a focus on how good categorisation makes things a lot easier and better for the user. In the lecture, we kept on going back to the example of Online Shopping. This was really good because it’s steeped in real life, and it uses all of the same principles that I have been learning in Managing Digital Information. Our lecturer outlined the importance of having a consistent categorisation system in order to help the user. If you look at the image below, of the Forever 21 categorisation system. We noted that because the categories are obvious, and easy to find (or intuitive if you like the ‘proper language’), it makes the user experience so much better, which creates customer loyalty, and increases sales.
Our lecture referenced a lot of the vocabulary that I have learnt already in Managing Digital Information, which was in my opinion really good because it reinforced my understanding on the terms, and for the rest of my peers that haven’t done MDI yet it exposed them to terms that they are going to learn next year. We also mentioned one of my favourite things- boundary objects, and gave the example of animals. We did it slightly differently (because it’s not as in-depth as MDI), and talked about how we are categorising something, rather than who is trying to find it, as we do in MDI.
During the tutorial we did more categorisation (in between the multiple fire alarms that is!). With this though, we did something a little bit different. Instead of something abstract or on the screen, we were given magic the gathering cards, and then told to categorise them. Because of my experience with MDI I already knew how to do this pretty easily, so my group did it very quickly. It was much easier than the categorising that we had to do for MDI, so I was very happy with the final categorisation.
In Managing Digital Information we had a guest lecturer, Sharon Wise, who was discussing her thesis, which was about how they categorise ecocultural data from the Murry Darling Basin. There was a lot of refreshing of information that have been given to use in regards to controlled vocabulary, but something that I found very useful was the emphasis Wise put on data visualisation. Data Visualisation allows for users of the information to understand what is given to them. It is essentially how to improve the user experience of data, where the user is someone that wants to use that data. It’s much easier to understand something when it has been visualised for you as opposed to just being given a long list of numbers and words.
In the tutorial we looked more at controlled vocabularies and how they relate to KOS’. We were shown a variety of different KOS systems (Such as Dublin Core or CDWA) which is used to create a standard of how things are categorised. We were given a variety of objects, and then had to categories them based on these systems. It was very interesting to see how different something is categorised based on what system you use, and how much easier it is to understand the data when there is a standard in place.
Overall I am very happy with this week, it finally joined my two subjects together, and really made me feel like what I am doing now makes sense, because they all relate to each other, regardless of what I want to pursue as a career.