Infocamp Notes – Day 1

Orientation Notes

  • Infocamp: Power to the people.  Enable the user to use technology (but what’s technology?)
  • Disciplines represented: IA, Libraries, HCI, usability, user centered design, technical communication.
  • 2 days, 45 minute presentations – we can react to stuff happening NOW (WaMu)

Keynote – Jacob Wobbrock

  • Degree in HCI
  • dub: University of Washington HCI/design group, stands for “design, use, build” – combines computer sciences, info school, technical communications, school of arts
  • Disability: contrast w/ ability.  Contrast standard parking handicapped sign with other graphics
  • Accessibility: not just for people in wheelchairs, curb cuts: bikers and strollers assist as well.  Curb cuts if built from the beginning save money.  Anticipating accessibility saves money in the long run.
  • Person pushing cart through sliding doors: situationally impaired
  • accessible design: talking about everyone, in different circumstances (situational components)
  • accessibility is usability for all.  It’s not about disability, it’s about what you can do.
  • We have a standard interface for computing that presents challenges to someone with non-standard abilities – we usually adapt the user to the technology, creating specialized technologies.  The assistive technology is a mediator.  But why?  Why not design smarter or adapt existing everyday input devices?
  • EdgeWrite: creates a limited input area to assist with drawing letters
  • Can leverage the properties of edges for more than just text entry – playing with using different input methods along edges of mobile devices, trying to aim for a specific spot in a screen
  • Isn’t the stylus dead due to multitouch?  Weellllll….
  • Reading screen with finger is much different than actually using a screen reader
  • “Why can’t my computer just do the right thing when I type?” – person with peripheral neuropathy
  • Demo TrueKeys: live spell checking as typing occurs.  Challenge: How do you allow someone to not have to verify that a corrected word was done properly?  Is there a way that you can always correct a miscorrected word without feeling pressured?
  • Let’s burden the machine: SUPPLE++ – can we automatically generate UI customized to a person’s individual abilities?  Yup.  Issue low-level tasks, model it, then generate an interface that minimize cost and user errors.
  • Forgotten input device: the microphone!  It can be used in creative ways.  Person painted with his voice using Dragon NaturallySpeaking and MS Paint!
  • Vocal Joystick – voice/vowel map so that vowel sounds force cursor to move in a specific direction.  Can map pitch or loudness.
  • Angular deviation for cursors: create larger or smaller targets for clicking as people use the computer.
  • Why don’t we see targets that expand as we approach them, gravity wells, “slippery slope” guidance to common targets?
  • “The world is a button” – Jake Wobbrock
  • “What if the world was a switch?”  Buttons we need to acquire a confined area – switches, not so much – we can overshoot a switch, it doesn’t change the interaction so long as the interaction crosses the plane of the switch.  The world we’ve created is all totally fake when it comes to technology.
  • Can we get rid of pointing and use something called “goal crossing”?
  • Why do we have to assume desktops are x/y grids?  What about polar coordinates or reels?
  • Start from center, when crossing an icon, bring up specific interactions
  • “Flipping the burden”/ability-based design – allow software to adapt to people’s ability.  Think about accessibility as a potentially better design for everyone.
  • Challenge: it takes a company with developers and infrastructure to really push stuff out!

Session 1: Help Me Turn Data into a New Design (Kristen) – Room 106

  • Wanted to learn what problems people were trying to solve using library web site and tried to figure out how to find that out
  • Used chat with a librarian feature transcript to get feedback on current layout
  • Generated lists of tasks performed and problems people encountered (tasks: locate something vs. searching for something, access a specific database, search for specific piece of information, etc.; problems: people can’t find information, people don’t know what they want, did not understand a policy or service, library doesn’t own resource, etc.)
  • Possibilities: tweak search results and training curricula for searching databases, federated search, map out “task paths” for the most common ways of doing certain tasks, overview of resources available, come up with vocabulary based on chat transcripts, make the main page more visual – MORE WHITESPACE!  If people are stuck, give them an “out” – a way to get help.  Create profiles of users so that professors can “target” content to users that they want to see used.

Session 2: Knowledge Management (Room 102)


  • Research (gleaning new ideas)
  • tacit KM – preserving knowledge in the workplace
  • expertise location
  • knowledge sharing
  • knowledge boundaries
  • information verification and security
  • capture verification
  • value page
  • Jeff Smith: How track experts and make findable, not just a tool?  How expose what you don’t know that you wish you knew?
  • defining wwdk
  • data visualization
  • personalization – tailoring how people receive or record knowledge


  • some of the items in the list above could be treated as inputs into the knowledge management process – information verification, security
  • what is a knowledge management system?  It may not be a system at all…
  • What is a knowledge management system, really? It may not even be a “system” per se – it may be an interaction between elements.
  • In fact, knowledge management isn’t systematic – capturing it is, but knowledge management is CULTURAL.
  • KMS are now just generic systems trying to model particular things.
  • explicit knowledge: universal, tacit knowledge: something that’s inside, can’t be vocalized/translated
  • sometimes we need to be able to push knowledge into the background, but it still needs to be accessible and actionable
  • KMS: what these systems try to achieve can be done much more efficiently by changing the culture to allow a daily interchange of information
  • Knowledge needs context
  • “Modern Society is Document Decadent”
  • knowledge management talked about in the context of organizational goals
  • Knowledge Management Maturity Model:
  • what is the difference between information and knowledge, or do we actually even care?

Session 3: Flat File vs. CMS (Room 106)

  • wants something simple and easy to maintain
  • plone – cms, has problems with web host providing it
  • task: figure out whether to stay with flat files or to move into cms
  • what’s the difference between the two methods?
  • theory: a lot of people want to be able to create and maintain content – what to do with volunteers?
  • “flat”: one HTML page per site
  • CMS: more refined management structure
  • 10-12 pages
  • sections of site may be more dynamic
  • 2-3 days reasonable turnaround time on changes
  • 3-4 people updating
  • consider using templates

Another simplified CMS/Flat file:

  • time consuming to maintain and update
  • 12 pages not dynamic
  • 3-4 people updating
  • jobs – HTML templates
  • knowledge of HTML
  • Seamonkey – HTML Mozilla editor
  • richer experience = more admin time
  • social media
  • users are STC, other orgs
  • share resources
  • timely info and info update problem – users news and events and jobs
  • updates w/o CMS


  • WYSIWYG editor
  • easy to change
  • anyone can do updates
  • events: time/place fields
  • content control and security control
  • set permissions correctly
  • CMS outlive person or person outlive CMS?
  • Instructional overhead/longer learning curve
  • CMS doesn’t necessarily imply web 2.0
  • content and system lives on
  • organizational commitment
  • institutional memory/institutional history of docs
  • distributed users***
  • resource limitations: time, $

Cross-boundary considerations:

  • Google Analytics
  • Culture of content sharing
  • Overall vision
  • users have certain expectations
  • Free stuff? Open source?
  • Do I need this NOW or forever?

Session 4: Structured vs. Unstructured Data (Room 102)

  • Goal of product: search through metadata, find metadata in certain systems and create different views of the information out of the system
  • Created series of products that allows metadata findability, but doesn’t work for unstructured information
  • Structured v. unstructured information definition: structured: database has fields and tables and schemas, the Sematic Web, etc.; unstructured: info that you don’t have access to or that isn’t ordered – photos, video, etc.
  • Types of unstructured data: photographs (inc. print), sound files, text, user input, files, logs, video, animation
  • Structure has to have meaning to someone; something can be very well structured, but if you can’t make sense of it, it’s useless.  You need to be able to UNDERSTAND information.
  • Context makes a big difference on how information ends up being structured.
  • Transforming physical unstructured data: requires physical interaction with objects to add structure on top of the physical data
  • virtually all user input is unstructured unless you can limit inputs

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