My 2009 work-highlight was the opportunity to work with the great people at the Toronto Public Library on their new faceted search interface. We tested the interface with over a dozen users, and then made recommendations based on the findings. Almost all of my work has surfaced into the current public beta which is shaping up to be one of the better library websites in North America! Seriously, look around.
As a search-obsessed UX designer, the best part of the project was not the size of the collection, but the richness of their metadata. Most items are described with media type, language, age level, owning branch, subject, author, and more.
TPL Web Team Manager Dara Renton and I recently gave a presentation at UX Show & Tell so we thought we’d post the presentation for people to see the thinking that went behind the current design. We couldn’t get permission from our volunteers to post their Silverback sessions online, but their participation proved invaluable in helping us prioritize the interface.
Best viewed full screen!
Last week I printed out the timetable of a TTC bus stop near me and was disappointed with the results. It took three pages and, shudder, was overloaded with white space. Here’s what it looks like:
Ideally the TTC can move to a vastly more efficient printed layout, but in the meantime a little CSS hack will do. Today I spent a few minutes looking at Greenwood Station – 31 Greenwood and have coded some CSS that can be appended to their print stylesheet.
- Removed the route diagram from the printed version. It consumes vertical space and is not readable as a thumbnail.
- Removed the “Next 3 scheduled buses” block. The full timetable is below, and once printed it’s obsolete.
- Removed inactive tabs (e.g. Saturday, Sunday, Monday) to avoid confusion.
- Set width of time containers to automatic to prevent wrapping
Here’s what it looks like:
And here’s the CSS code (please comment improvements!):
What kinds of questions are our fellow humans asking Google? From the Google homepage, start typing a question (who, what, when, where, why, how, etc.) to see what’s being asked.
To see what teenagers are curious about, start with “can u”. Endless fun. My favourite: “can women get prostate cancer?”
UPDATE: If you are using jQuery or Prototype.js, follow these examples which only affects links. Otherwise use this original version, which affects all double-clicks.
Feel free to propagate in your HTML to end the senseless double-clicking of web links forever!