Mark Barratt is an information designer and co-founder of Text Matters, a long-established information design practice based in Reading, UK. Mark's background is variously in journalism, design, film-making and electronic publishing. For the last few years he has been interested in, and working on, mainly online systems which try to help people make documents collaboratively.
Tuesday 8 April: Theory to inform practice in information design
The big conversation: designing for open annotation
One of the major problems for designers of 'open' and 'social' media is that there are few useful interaction patterns for annotation and comments apart from the 'footnotes & references' used in print and the 'threaded discussion' employed in online bulletin board systems. Yet robust and easy annotation – for both writer and reader – are required for many kinds of collaborative document, and for good-in-theory ideas, such as open peer review.
This talk attempts to make sense of the overlapping and conflicting design requirements posed by semantics, technology, visual genre and user expectation. It shows examples of attempts to solve the annotation problem since the dawn of the computer and summarises current thinking and emerging standards.
With the help of a practical example, the talk shows what can be achieved – and the challenges facing information designers – in creating successful open annotation systems.