Tom Coates: Designing for a web of data
Designing for a web of data
- Y! brickhouse – yahoo internal startup environment
- “Interesting” new sites are basically data repositories / platforms.
- The web is turning from a web of pages connected by links, to a web of data connected by APIs and services
- Sites don’t need to own the data themselves; users can own it
- Web pages are being designed in an increasingly data-centric way
- Your site is not your product. c.f.
– twitter; the twitter.com site is only a very small proprortion (~10%) of twitter traffic.
– Flickr: widgets, badges, cards, phone updaters, desktop clients…
– Last.fm: many users almost never visit the site
- In the future; the network and compute devices become more pervasive and ubiquitous
- 3 kinds of things: data sources, data consumers, and data recombiners
- nabaztag, ambient orb, wattson – physical devices that consume and produce net data
- apple.tv – could interact in all sorts of interesting ways with online services
- Why open your data/services
– drive people to your service
– because people will pay for them
– as advertising, or as positioning
– to allow external developers to contribute and add value
- Network effects – every new service can build on top of other existing services
– Every service that’s added has the potential to make everything else more powerful
- FireEagle – knows your location, and uses this information to geotag information that you put on line
- You can never have too much data
- building a datasource
– open up a datasource you own
– build one with your users
– enhance one dataset with another
- Scale: flickr has 1.88 billion photos, growing by 500 million in the last 6 weeks
– how can you make a number like that comprehensible?
– use metadata:
+ data created during production
+ data derived or inferred from analysis of the thing concerned
+ data that you can crowd-source from user contributions
+ data you can capture from behavioural analysis
- Folksonomy vs. taxonomy. Don’t choose, expose both
- Hierarchies can’t take the weight
– Amazon top bar – went from 2 to 6 to 16 tabs, then finally back to 1 with a web-like search
- Top navigation is just a jumping-off point.
- From a visual design perspective; use visual hierarchies to suggest paths
- “Perception of quality is in the edge cases”
- A final word on design practice: Stop! collaborate and listen!
- Organisations have dominant job roles; other roles orient themselves around the dominant roles.