idpf 2012 Digital book conference

idpf have just released all of the session recordings and slides.

At IDPF Digital Book 2012 you’ll hear about the latest business and technical developments in the rapidly evolving digital publishing industry.

Of particular interest was the recording of Liza Daly’s ‘streaming ebooks‘ session which is well worth a listen.

The research behaviour of Generation Y doctoral students

JISC have released the results of a 3 year study into my generation (Y) research studying behaviour.

Our research findings reveal:

  • Doctoral students are increasingly reliant on secondary research resources (eg journal articles, books), moving away from primary materials (eg primary archival material and large datasets).
  • Access to relevant resources is a major constraint for doctoral students’ progress. Authentication access and licence limitations to subscription-based resources, such as e-journals, are particularly problematic.
  • Open access and copyright appear to be a source of confusion for Generation Y doctoral students, rather than encouraging innovation and collaborative research.
  • This generation of doctoral students operate in an environment where their research behaviour does not use the full potential of innovative technology.
  • Doctoral students are insufficiently trained or informed to be able to fully embrace the latest opportunities in the digital information environment.

These findings raise important questions about research development, training and support within research led organisations and the openness and sharing of research.

I say WHY are things the way they are.

Read the study.

Directory of ebook resources in education

My search for articles, presentations, recordings, books etc on the all topics around ebooks and digital publishing has been frustrating. To help me collate my findings and hopefully support others I have created a Google Document listing all found items. The document can be viewed and edited by anybody so please do help me build this into something of value:

Ebooks and digital publishing in Education and research, Google Document


Design Jam Bristol: gallery UX challenges

On Saturday 16th June myself and around 20 other strangers rocked up to Spike Island* in Bristol for a user experience (UX) Day called Design Jam Bristol.

As with the typical wonder of discover I found out about the event from a RT on twitter from a London UX pro.

Ever since I started to create ‘things’ for other people I have been interested in how those things are discovered, used, misused or neglected. The summary of the day grabbed my attention:

Design Jam is a one-day design session, during which people will team up to tackle engaging User Experience (UX) challenges. Similar to developer ‘hackdays’ the aim is to get UX professionals, designers, developers (and more) together to learn and collaborate with each other while working on actual design problems. The sessions champion open-source thinking & sharing and are non-profit, run by local volunteers.

After a tour of the building (they do a lot!) we got chunked into random groups (me, Keir, Robin and Tom) and cracked on with the task which was to explore how to encourage everyday folk to visit art space and galleries like Spike that were compelling and rewarding. The following are some of my own thoughts as well as the group around making art spaces a Celebration:

  • We ARE the user – most of us had never been to Spike island before
  • discovery ain’t easy – even when you are near the building you’d have no idea. We thought of ‘maplines’ to offer various guides around the stuff on offer
  • Art spaces can be intimidating
  • The experience starts from the very first interaction with the words/building and should be considered part of the staff/artists remit. Three states: pre, during and post-visit
  • What should anybody care about these spaces?
  • Let us talk, take photos, videos and make our our interpretations
  • How can digital be used to help the artist and visitor make connections e.g. put communication methods with the work
  • ‘speak to the curb’ attract passing traffic – from the outside what does the building communicate?
  • Consider ‘the wall’ which mixes physical communication and captures online
  • Destroy and rebuild what these spaces are for – this non typical event dragged my carcass to spike
  • View the PDF (12mb) of some of our thoughts used for our presentation

I like free stuff, used to paint a bunch, made digital pieces and like to support local events… yet rarely do I dip into the art spaces available across the uk. For me personally it is partly due to being completely unaware of what is happening. I now mostly discover things from my networks such as twitter so it is essentially art spaces not only have a presence here but realise that it is likely a link removed from the organisation itself that will get me through the door. Make it easy for us to point to you, ask you questions and reflect on our points of interaction. Come to us, help us and we’ll reward you with visits and actively spread the word.

I would like to thank the organisers, other teams and my own team for a thought provoking and entertaining day.

* This was my first visit to Spike island…..

MotoGP 2012: Silvestone

Cal Crutchlow

My first visit to motoGP race and Cal Crutchlow #35 was superhuman. Riding from last with a fractured ankle he came 6th and earned applause every time he came around. The photo above is at Stowe corner on the way to Vale.

I will continue to wear his #35 polo with pride!

Introducing the new MediaCore

It’s a whole new way for your organization to learn with video.

I first came across MediaCore at an event in London last year that I was speaking at on the subject of digital media. Naturally this video platform caught my attention and Stuart Bowness, co-founder was in attendance to explain in detail. Fast forward several months and we kicked the tyres of the platform for EdMediaShare.

Stuart and co asked for our thoughts on the version we had and we mostly loved it, the stuff we didn’t? they added to a list for either investigation or for their customer wall of shame haha!

A hot topic on every institution’s lips is that of managing video: Creation, storage, branding, attribution etc. MediaCore quite rightly is going into this space. Quite frankly I hope they can help solve our problems.

It is nice to see the platform improve and grow. I wish the team much success.

Watch the video explaining the platform.

Clap for ’em

Me the user vs sizing guide

After being entertained watching Cal Crutchlow today in the MotoGP race I thought i’d show my support and buy one of his polo shirts from the official seller Clinton Enterprises.

I very quickly hit a snag.

The problem

Screengrab of shopping page

On the one hand, the folks at Clinton sell clothing in more than one size (yeeeah) but then on the other they FAIL to reference what those sizes are other than the usual “small through large”. This makes buying near impossible for the buyer and a likely large pile of clothing rotting in a warehouse under the end of season sale.

Zoomed in view of shopping page

The clothes item page. Missing the point by failing to let the buyer know what size is small etc. Clothing purchases revolve around the buyer who  a) chooses the clothes I want for a price I am willing to pay and b) chooses the correct size. Generally I am a “Medium” sized kind of guy. But not always. At this point you just lost another customer.

The small solution to a large problem

I would hazard a guess that adding a simple and clear “sizing guide” would reduce lost sales from folks like me, which would see an increase in (lost) sales and reduce support emails or telephone calls. I emailed them yesterday but with a long weekend due to two bank holidays I expect I’ll be lucky to hear back within 5 days…

Go and see that Howies has a great sizing guide table that also rather cleverly shows you exactly where the measurement should be taken.

screengrab of the navigation link to the sizing guide

Which leads to:
Howies sizing guide

The result of which is that I am now a regular howies online customer as the sizing guide allows me to buy with confidence.

Oh and please don’t make it a PDF, mainly because it is annoying but also you’ll be able to measure traffic to the “sizing guide”. If you want to go even further than Howies, put a link to the sizing guide right up near the sizing list – it may be lost in the footer.

** UPDATE 12th June 2012 **
#1 In the second graphic I questioned why it was labelled a 2011 polo shirt… turns out that this week (racing at his home circuit Silverstone) they have released the 2012 shirt just after my 2011 arrived at home…. why the 2012 shirt has only become available 1/4 through a season I have no clue – not happy to have missed this newer shirt!

#2 They emailed me back and it turns out that I am a ‘small’ size.  Great quality shirt.. even if it is a year old!

What is “Me the user VS?”

Whenever I come a cropper using a service I will document the experience. I hope this will be useful to those concerned but also to keep a record of my user experience, as sometimes it will be “it’s me not you”.