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

17 Dec

slides from my phd final seminar

Here are the slides from my final seminar presentation.

Image credits

Image 1: and they folded their wings to sleep by Daniel James available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license at

Image 2: Friend’s image used with permission – thanks lovely x

Image 3: Is there anybody in there? by Sami Taipale available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/staipale/2281431475

Image 4: Amberlin and Isla by Jessica W available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/chickeyfeather/3432233852

Image 5: Sharing by Ben Grey available under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_grey/4582294721

Image 6: Newborn skin to skin by James Theophane available under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/_theo_/10066988493

Image 7: the cry by areta ekarafi available under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/areta_e/13425013855

Image 8: “Where’s Daddy’s Visa?” by Chris Smith available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/cjsmithphotography/5511409574

Image 9: A gaggle of babies? by Bianca Nogrady available under a CC BY-NC 2.0 at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mistressb/3532337691

Image 10: Baby Faith by Cary and Kacey Jordan available under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kaceyjordan/6107408409

Image 12: Friend’s image used with permission – thanks lovely x

Image 14: Laughter by Anna Warren available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/gardenhoe/2765320815

Image 15: Baby and mom by Kaeru Sand available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kaeru_sand/5300389620

Image 16: iphone baby portrait by Eduardo Merille available under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/merille/3035066533

Images 11, 13 and 17: my images

Font credits

Free fonts used in this presentation:

Walkway Bold available at http://www.dafont.com/walkway.font

Mesmerize available at http://www.dafont.com/mesmerize.font

Fox in the snow available at http://www.dafont.com/fox-in-the-snow.font


boyd, d. (2010). Streams of content, limited attention: the flow of information through social media. EDUCAUSE Review, 45, pp. 26-36.

Hughes, H. (2014) Researching information experience: Methodological snapshots. In Bruce, C., Davis, K., Hughes, H., Partridge, H., and Stoodley, I. (eds.) Information experience: approaches to theory and practice. (Library and Information Science, Volume 9). Bingley, U.K.: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 33-50.

Špiranec, S., & Zorica, M. B. (2010). Information Literacy 2.0: hype or discourse refinement? Journal of Documentation, 66, pp. 140-153.

07 Dec

final seminar for my phd

My final seminar is scheduled for 15 December 2014. It will run simultaneously online and on campus. If you’d like to join us, here are all the details:

If you are a participant attending the online session, please note: Your and your child/ren’s names have been changed throughout my thesis to preserve your anonymity. I won’t be using your names in my presentation either. I suggest you consider using a pseudonym to log in to the online session, just to add an extra layer of privacy. I’ve set the session up so that you should be prompted to enter only a name (which you can make up) and no email address.

How the seminar works

The seminar itself will run for about an hour. I’ll speak about the project for about 40 minutes, and then there will be some question time for about 20 minutes. The seminar is the interesting part that you might want to be there for 😉

Attending online

  • If you’re having problems, check the quick start guide. It’s a pretty intuitive piece of software that generally just works, so really no need to spend time reading the guide unless you’re having difficulties.
  • I won’t have any technical support so if you experience any issues, I’m afraid I won’t be able to help. But the session will be recorded as a back up.
Other information
  • Note you won’t be able to turn on your microphone or camera until I join the room and enable this for you, so don’t worry if it doesn’t work straight away. Camera and mic use is optional (and probably not needed really).
  • You’ll be able to ask questions via chat or using your microphone, so don’t worry if you don’t have a microphone.
  • I’ll give you a tour of Connect at the beginning of the session, so don’t worry about trying to figure it out in the interim.
02 Feb

visualisation: vala 2014 l plate session

Today I’m presenting an L Plate session at VALA 2014 on visualisation.

This post provides links to content referenced in the session as well as further reading.

Here are my slides… (Apologies for graininess – high res slides coming soon!)

Presentation resources

The following links were used in the presentation:

Data visualisation


Visual thinking

Information design

DIY infographics with these web apps:

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
24 Oct

selected grounded theory readings

Yesterday I presented about my PhD research design and there were lots of questions that were essentially about grounded theory. I thought I would post a summary list of key sources about grounded theory. This isn’t a definitive list – it does need an update. Feel free to add other sources in the comments.

Overview of GT

For a general introduction to all types of GT, start with the following book. It provides an excellent, plain English overview of the different types of GT and shows you how different concepts are treated across the types.

Birks, M. and Mills, J. (2010). Grounded theory: a practical guide. London: SAGE Publications.

Weingand, D. E. (1993). Grounded Theory and Qualitative Methodology. IFLA Journal, 19, 17-26.

Pickard, A. (2007). Grounded theory: Method or analysis? Research methods in information (pp. 155-163). London: Facet.

Gibbs, G. (Producer). (2010) Grounded Theory – Core Elements. Part 1. retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SZDTp3_New&feature=related

Gibbs, G. (Producer). (2010) Grounded Theory – Core Elements. Part 2. retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbntk_xeLHA&feature=related

Charmaz, K., & Bryant, A. (2008). Grounded Theory, The Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods: Sage Publications.

Charmaz, K., & Henwood, K. (2008). Grounded theory. In C. Willig & W. Stainton-Rogers (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology (Online edition ed., pp. 240-259). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Seminal texts

Glaser, B. (1998). Doing grounded theory: issues & discussions. Mill Valley, California: Sociology Press.

Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (2006). The discovery of grounded theory : Strategies for qualitative research. New Brunswick: Aldine Transaction.

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing Grounded Theory: a practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage Publications.

Critique of the method

Clarke, A. E. (2001). Grounded Theory: Critiques, Debates, and Situational Analysis. In W. Outhwaite & S. P. Turner (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Social Science Methodology (pp. 423-442). London, UK: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Seldén, L. (2005). On Grounded Theory – with some malice. Journal of Documentation, 61, 114-129.

Tan, J. (2010). Grounded theory in practice: issues and discussion for new qualitative researchers. Journal of Documentation, 66, 93-112.

GT in library and information studies (LIS) research


Mansourian, Y. (2006). Adoption of grounded theory in LIS research. New Library World, 107, 386-402.

Application in specific projects (mostly Info Literacy / Information Behaviour / Information Seeking context)

Lipu, S., Williamson, K., & Lloyd, A. (2007). Understanding information literacy in the workplace: using a constructivist grounded theory approach Exploring methods in information literacy research (pp. 67-86). Wagga Wagga, New South Wales: Centre for Information Studies.

Lloyd, A. (2006). Information literacy landscapes: an emerging picture. Journal of Documentation, 62, 570-583.

Lloyd, A., & Somerville, M. (2006). Working information. Journal of Workplace Learning, 18, 186-198.

Mansourian, Y. (2008). Contextualization of web searching: a grounded theory approach. The Electronic Library, 26, 202-214.

McKnight, M. (2007). A grounded theory model of on-duty critical care nurses’ information behavior. Journal of Documentation, 63, 57-73.

Durrance, J. C., Souden, M., Walker, D., & Fisher, K. E. (2006). Community problem-solving framed as a distributed information use environment: bridging research and practice. Information Research, 11, 11-14.

Tilley, C. M., Hallam, G., Hills, A. P., & Bruce, C. S. (2005). A model for the development of virtual communities for people with long-term, severe physical disabilities. Information Research, 11, 3.

GT processes

Charmaz, K. (2003). Qualitative interviewing and grounded theory analysis. In J. A. Holstein & J. F. Gubrium (Eds.), Inside interviewing: New lenses, new concerns (pp. 311-330). London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Morse, J. M. (2007). Sampling in grounded theory. In K. Charmaz & A. Bryant (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Grounded Theory (Online edi ed.). London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Constructivist GT

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing Grounded Theory: a practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage Publications.

Mills, J., Bonner, A., & Francis, K. (2006). The development of constructivist grounded theory. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5(1), 1-9.

Charmaz, K. (2005). Grounded theory in the 21st century: applications for advancing social justice studies. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (pp. 207-236). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Charmaz, K. (2009). Shifting the grounds: constructivist grounded theory methods. In J. M. Morse, P. {Noeranger Stern}, J. Corbin, B. Bowers, K. Charmaz & A. E. Clarke (Eds.), Developing grounded theory : the second generation (pp. 127-193). Walnut Creek  Calif.: Left Coast Press.

23 Oct

a social media research case study

Today I’m speaking at a higher degree research student seminar on social media research. I’ll be talking about my PhD study as a case study of social media research. Here are my slides.

I mentioned that I set up a page on this site about my study to link to from social media content, as well as a page that acts as an online ‘recruitment flyer’, and a list of social media messages designed to make it easy for people to share info about the project.

I also showed my participant profile template (embedded below) and here’s a Word version in case it’s useful.

Participant template