13 Feb

information experience design: improving library customers’ experiences of information

Today, my colleague Ellie Abdi and I are running a workshop on Information Experience Design at Information Online 2017. This post contains all the resources, slides and references related to the workshop.


Image references for session 1 slides

Image references for session 3 slides

  • Bateman, K. (2013). Roger’s story. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  • Wireframe Sketcher. (n.d.) YouTube wireframe. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  • Other images used in the slides are pulled from readings in the reading and reference lists below.

Essential readings

These are the readings we would have liked to share in the workshop, but alas, copyright… We’ve deliberately kept this list really brief and we highly recommend you take some time to track these items down and read them. We’ve made it as easy as possible, linking to open access versions of the titles where possible.

Information experience

Hughes, H. (2014) Researching information experience: methodological approaches. In Bruce, C., Davis, K., Hughes, H., Partridge, H., & Stoodley, I. (Eds.) Information Experience: Approaches to Theory and Practice. Emerald Group Publishing, Bingley, pp. 33-50. If you can’t get your hands on the book, you can access the chapter via QUT ePrints.

Bruce, C., Davis, K., Hughes, H., Partridge, H., & Stoodley, I. (2014) Information experience: new perspectives and research directions. In Bruce, Christine, Davis, Kate, Hughes, Hilary, Partridge, Helen, & Stoodley, Ian (Eds.) Information Experience: Approaches to Theory and Practice. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, UK, pp. 315-320. If you can’t get your hands on the book, you can access the chapter via QUT ePrints.


When it comes to qualitative interviewing, you can’t go past the following book. It’s the only item on the essential list that we can’t give you an OA option for, but this book is worth heading to the library for.

Kvale, S. and Brinkmann, S. (2007). InterViews: learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. 2nd Ed. London, UK : Sage Publications

Thematic analysis

Braun, V. & Clarke, C. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3:2, 77-101. Don’t have access to the journal? Access an author copy.

Additional useful readings

Selected IX studies

In the workshop, we noted a number of IX studies. Here are references to publications about those studies.

Haidn, I., Partridge, H., & Yates, C. (2014). Informed democracy: information experiences during the 2012 Queensland election. In Du, Jia Tina, Zhu, Qinghua, & Koronios, Andy (Eds.) Library and Information Science Research in Asia-Oceania : Theory and Practice. Hershey, PA: IGI Global Publishing, pp. 8-23.

Bunce, S., Partridge, H., & Davis, K. (2012). Exploring information experience using social media during the 2011 Queensland floods: a pilot study. Australian Library Journal, 61(1), pp. 34-45.

Yates, C. & Partridge, H. (2015). Citizens and social media in times of natural disaster: Exploring information experience. Information Research, 20(1), paper 659.

Alternative methodologies for exploring information experience

Expanded critical incident approach (ECIA) is a great methodology for exploring human experience. We recommend the following reading to get you across ECIA:

Hughes, H. (2012). An expanded critical incident approach for exploring information use and learning. Library and Information Research, 36(112), p. 72-95. Access the full text.


We really like this tip sheet on qualitative interviewing [PDF] from Duke Initiative on Survey Methodology.


Ayres, L. Thematic coding and Analysis, in Given, L. M. (2008). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods. Sage. Available via Sage Research Methods Online.

Julien, H. Content Analysis, in Given, L. M. (2008). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods. Sage. Available via Sage Research Methods Online.


Llama, E. (2015, June 9). Creating personas. UX Booth. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

O’Connor, K. (2011, March 25). Personas: the foundation of a great user experience. UX Magazine. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

Journey maps

Design Kit. (n.d.) Journey map. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

How to create a customer journey map .

Human-centered design / user experience design

These resources are treasure troves of information on design methods.

Design Kit. (n.d.) Methods. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

Turner, N. (2014, September 1). How to create great UX documents. UX for the masses. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

Turner, N. (n.d.). Example UX docs and deliverables. UX for the masses. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

Videos we played in the workshop

And the all important reference list!

We cited all of the above resources in one way or another during the workshop. Here are the things we cited or quoted that didn’t make our essential or recommended extra readings lists. But they’re still good stuff and great sources if you’re interested in exploring any of the topics further.

CDC. (n.d.) Selecting data collection methods [PDF]. Retrieved April 12, 2016.

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: a practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage Publications. (Note there’s now a second edition, which has some useful additions, but this is the version cited in the slides.)

Churucca, S. (2013, June 28). DIY user personas. UX Lady. Retrieved February 7, 2017.

Clifford, S. (n.d.) Tipsheet – Qualitative interviewing [PDF]. Duke Initiative on Survey Methodology. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

Delaney, C. and Sterry, T. (2014). Enhancing proto-personas with characterization. [Slide deck for LeanUX NYC 2014]. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

Design Kit. (n.d.) An introduction to human-centered design [PDF]. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

Design Kit. (n.d.) Brainstorm rules. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

Flick, U. (2014).Chapter 1 Mapping the field. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis. Sage. Available via Sage Research Methods Online.

Marshall, C. and Rossman, G. (2014).Chapter 4 Data collection methods. Designing Qualitative Research. Sage. pp. 97-150. Available via Sage Research Methods Online.

Newman, D. (2010). The squiggle of design. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

NHMRC (2014). Chapter 3.1: Qualitative methods. In NHMRC (2015). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. Retrieved April 12, 2016 from

NSF. (2002). Data collection methods: some tips and comparisons. In NSF. (2002). The 2002 User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation. Retrieved April 12, 2016.

University of Surrey (n.d.). Introduction to research. Retrieved September 4, 2016.

02 Dec

reprise of ‘visualising the evidence’

Earlier this year, I ran a workshop on infographics at the Eighth International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference (aka EBLIP8). I’ve recently been asked by a few libraries to rerun this workshop for their staff. In the last couple of weeks I’ve run the workshop for QUT Library and UQ Library.

There’s a ginormous blog post to accompany my original workshop materials on the EBLIP8 blog post. This includes lots of info about infographics and a bunch of links to tools and resources.

But, I used an updated slidedeck for both workshops (and a slightly different one for each), and I’ve also made some changes to my Pinterest set up for fonts, design inspo and more.

Let’s go!


DIY Infographics at QUT Library

Visualising the evidence at UQ Library

Please note all icons used in this presentation are from The Noun Project and used without citation because I’m a premium subscriber (just so you know I’m not being dodgy).

Presentation resources

The following links were used in the presentation:

My Pinterest boards

  • Fancy fonts: I pin fonts I see around the place to this board so that I’ve got a cache to pull from when I’m looking for fonts.
  • Design principles: infographics and resources about good design (work in progress).
  • Working with fonts: principles for how to use and combine fonts (work in progress).
  • Fave fonts: fonts I’ve used that I really like (work in progress). I always forget the names of fonts I’ve used and liked, so this board is about helping me remember what I’ve used and have installed on my computer.
06 Jul

visualising the evidence at eblip8

Today I ran a workshop on infographics at the Eighth International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference (aka EBLIP8). I promised to make my presentation and a bunch of materials available online, so here they are!


Please note all icons used in this presentation are from The Noun Project and used without citation because I’m a premium subscriber (just so you know I’m not being dodgy).

Presentation resources

The following links were used in the presentation:

Tools and resources for making infographics

I’m focusing here on tools and resources that are either free, have free versions, or that you probably already have on your computer.

Infographic creation tools

These tools are designed specifically to help you make good looking infographics without having to know the ins and outs of design applications.

DIY from scratch

Want to bake your cake from scratch instead of out of a box? You’ll need a tool in which to make the infographic, a tool to make graphs or charts, some fab fonts and a bunch of icons.

Software to make your infographic

If you want to get creative or you want more flexibility than you get from infographic creation tools, you can make your own infographics with nothing more than PowerPoint (or Keynote). And they won’t look like you used PowerPoint. For realz.

Here are some resources to help you with using PowerPoint to make infographics:

If you want to step it up just slightly, you might find image editing apps useful. You can get Adobe Photoshop CS2 for free (instructions!). It’s old, but it’s all you need to do basic things like change the colour of an icon.

Software to make charts

I just make my charts in PowerPoint by inserting a chart and then inputting the data into the linked spreadsheet that PowerPoint automagically creates. Play with colours and fonts to make it look fancy or just fit in with your theme.

There are also a number of online tools you can use, but PowerPoint will definitely do the job with minimum fuss.

Icon sources

  • The Noun Project: icons (including vector versions) for absolutely everything and pretty much my favourite tool of all time. Use the icons for free under a CC-BY license (although some are even public domain), buy individual icons for $1.99, or sign up for a premium subscription for about USD$100 a year and save yourself the extra work of citing the icons. PLUS you support the artists and you support this fantastic resource.

The End.

Actually, there are other sources and I should mention, even though all you really need is The Noun Project. Here are some other options:

  • Iconfinder: vector icons – many free and not requiring attribution
  • iconmonstr: another source for free vector icons, many not requiring attribution
  • customizr: free, custom icons – I mostly use this generator to create social media icons that are a specific shape and colour
The Unspoken Law of Infographics

You’re not allowed to use clip art.

Ok, so maybe I made that up, but it should be a law. Clip art is just ugly. Simple, classic icons will help your infographic age gracefully and it will just look more polished.


I’m a little bit of a typography nerd. If you need to put a presentation together fast, choose two contrasting fonts and two colours and carry them through the whole presentation. When you pick beautiful fonts and use them thoughtfully in combination with other beautiful fonts, you don’t need fancy images (or clip art).

Find fonts at:


Things like digital scrapbooking paper, digital washi tape, or high quality clip art (I’m talking designed-by-a-designer, costs-you-money, really-very-polished, belonging-in-the-21st-century clip art) can add something extra to your infographics.

Example: you’re making an infographic about the movie Frozen. You could buy yourself these clip art versions of the characters and fancy yourself up a pretty great infographic. Ok, so maybe you don’t want your infographics to look like an invitation to a six year old’s birthday party (which is what I actually used those clip art characters for), but my point is: you can buy high quality clip art really cheap from places like Etsy. And some of that clip art is really good clip art and it’s okay to use. Just try to avoid the stock stuff that comes with Office apps.

I’ve put together a list of examples of items I’ve bought on Etsy or bookmarked for later purchase to use in design projects, including on infographics.

There is also lots of free stuff out there, but I get a bit overwhelmed by the volume of free stuff. To manage that, I try to proactively save stuff to Pinterest boards for later use.

Recommended reading

For all the people who think they aren’t visual people

Firstly, this is not actually true. Our brains are geared to process images.

But if you really think you are visually challenged, I highly recommend this blog post called A basic visual design guide for the visually incompetent.

Just make sure you don’t take on the rhetoric of ‘I’m not a visual person’ and ‘I don’t have a creative bone in my body’, because your brain is perfectly equipped to take in visual info and nobody on the face of the planet has a creative bone because it’s actually a skill, rather than a bone. Creative does not equal artistic. Creativity needs to be nurtured and developed.

Data visualisation


Visual thinking

Information design

Visual perception

Visualisation in service design


  • Browse Image Quilts, a project of Edward Tufte and Adam Schwartz, and try out the Image Quilts Chrome extension

Spend a little for great gain

Some of you were intrigued by Fiverr, which I used to source an artist to create the avatars for participants in my PhD study. I recently wrote a blog post on things I outsource, and there’s info there on using Fiverr and Freelancer to get design and web work done.

Making the infographic is the easy part

After the workshop today, someone said to me, ‘It was finding the insights in the data that was the hardest part’. And that is totally true. At the heart of every good infographic is good data, good analysis, and a good story. So don’t let the making scare you. That part is actually really easy. Invest energy in finding good insights and you’ll be on the road to creating awesome infographics.

Share your tips and tools

Got favourite infographic making tools or tips? Please share them in the comments.

13 Jun

learn about infographics with me at eblip8!

QUT is hosting the Eighth International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice conference in July. And I’m excited to be running a workshop on infographics and visualisation.


Visualising the evidence

Think you’re not a visual person? Think again! Together, the human eye and brain are geared to effectively and efficiently process visual information. Images transcend divides that are created by language. In fact, images give us a common language. Data visualisation can help us to sense-make, communicate evidence, unravel complex issues, and clarify thinking. In this workshop, we’ll talk about data visualisation, infographics, visual thinking, and information design, and we’ll explore how these can help us to work with evidence. We’ll also look at some simple tools and resources you can use to help you visualise evidence.

Did you know you can register to attend a workshop only? For $95, you can come along to my workshop or one of the other five workshops scheduled for the first day of the conference.


This is one of my favourite conferences, for a bunch of reasons:

  • It’s truly international, pulling delegates from all around the world.
  • It’s small enough to be pretty intimate and not too scary on the networking front.
  • EBLIP3 in Brisbane in 2005 was (I think!) the very first conference I spoke at. Sort of. I was on a debate panel, debating against some serious EBLIP big wigs. And we won! So I didn’t present a paper, but I did get to ‘roast’ (in his own words!) the formidable Andrew Booth (he reminded me of this when I saw him at EBLIP6 in 2011 in Manchester).
  • EBLIP6 in Manchester was the first time I spoke at a conference outside Australia, presenting a paper I co-authored with Zaana Howard. We won both best paper prizes: delegates’ choice and program committee’s choice.

Full registration

Registrations are still open for the full conference and the program looks great. Student registrations are $255 or full registrations are $595.

You can also register for a workshop only for the bargain price of $95. Check out the workshop program. Or just sign up for mine, because it’s going to be a whole lotta fun!

#blogjune 14/30

27 Jun

repackaging information education: workshop at inaugural australian information education symposium

I ran a visioning workshop based on the Design the box activity outlined at Gamestorming and in their fantastic app (which all facilitators and teachers should buy!) at the Australian Information Education Symposium in Adelaide on 24 June. In this workshop, educators designed a box for one of two products: the perfect information studies course (at qualification level) or the perfect information studies graduate.

Getting a room full of academics playing with crepe paper, stickers, cardboard, glue, ribbons and scissors felt like a daunting task. But they all got into the spirit and came up with really fantastic boxes.

We finished up the session with a start, stop, continue activity, where each person noted one thing they would start doing, one thing they would stop doing, and one thing they would continue doing in their teaching practice as a result of what we’d discussed in the workshop and the morning sessions at the Symposium.

My slides and the photos of the finished boxes are embedded below.