the InfoCloud is really just a visual “map” of volumes & types of information.

It shows how much and what types of information lie before you.

It allows you to view the engagements by topic area.

Click on a keyword : You go to the Showcase where you can view the relevant engagements.

The challenge is to make information easily accessible and browse-able.

That was Then

The InfoCloud was initially implemented as a popup. It appeared in a separate “window” onto the website. It was intended to be a conventient way to navigate a large library of content by topic without the endless “back & forth” pogo-clicking to and from a listpage of search results.

Initially, the topic cloud was a way to navigate my portfolio of ~100 professional engagements by domain experience. The cloud gives you an immediat picture of where and how I’ve been working. Clicking on a keyword gets you to the most relevant information quickly.

The InfoCloud tool itself was available everywhere on the site. But was that appropriate? This video describes the concept and shows how it used to work:

Topic tags provide meaning to data – and shortcuts to navigation.

This is Now

With the emergence – and now the dominance – of mobile/handheld platforms, the ‘popup window’ is less viable as a UI feature. We just don’t have the screen real estate for it – and users expect a simpler interface. We also expect the underlying engine to perform the work of making the connection for us.

On the one hand, that ‘automation’ can be helpful. On the other hand, it may be invasive and manipulative.

I’ve now implemented the domain experience topic cloud as a consistent on-screen element that appears only in the Portfolio section – since that’s where it’s likeliest to be used. No more popup: When you click on a keyword, you are taken directly to a Showcase.

The current interactive UI is engineered for ‘swiping’.

There is a fundamental trade-off between ‘ease of use‘ and agency.

 

© The Communication Studio LLC

 

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