Summertime in Scotland: Paula de Matos and I have just been notified that our interactive workshop session will be going ahead at this year’s UX Scotland conference.  The event is taking place on 19-20 June at the “Our Dynamic Earth” venue in Edinburgh.   Our tutorial session: A Survival Guide for UX in Complex Environments In our session, we aim to provide insights into how you can approach user experience design problems in complex fields with confidence.  The examples we draw on are based on…Continue Reading “Edinburgh here we come…”

10 simple rules

I’m very happy to say that PLoS Computational Biology Journal have just published our latest article: “Ten Simple Rules for Running Interactive Workshops”.  Our piece is this month’s featured paper too, which we are thrilled about! (Issue front page is here.)     What’s it about? Well, it’s kind of self-explanatory, but let me explain why we wrote it.  Colleagues at the EBI often ask me how to go about planning a workshop; for example, they may need to gather feedback from users, to brainstorm…Continue Reading “Paper: Ten Simple Rules for Running Interactive Workshops”

Attitudes towards sharing IFs

This past Friday on the Genome Campus, Dr Anna Middleton of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute gave an interesting seminar about the method and findings of a survey she had delivered about genome ethics. I was interested because I use surveys in my work to understand people’s attitudes towards and experience of websites, but also because I care about how genomics is perceived or experienced by people both within and outside of science. Creating an engaging survey experience A unique aspect of Anna’s survey was…Continue Reading “Survey talk: Attitudes towards sharing incidental findings from genome research”

I’ve just realised that I never blogged about the article on user experience that was featured in EMBL’s newsletter last year.  The piece was actually published in the October 2013 issue of EMBL&cetera, but it is still available online. Some more background info from me… The first explicit role in user experience at the EBI was the position I took up at the end of 2009.  Since then (without blowing our own trumpets too hard) I think that the work of Francis Rowland (who also…Continue Reading “Status of UX at the European Bioinformatics Institute”

DNA barcodes and biodiversity

On Friday, I attended an interesting seminar on DNA barcoding by Dr. Paul Hebert, Director of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, Canada. I had a basic idea about how you might go about “barcoding” life on earth, but I didn’t really understand why you would want to.  Paul’s talk illuminated me by explaining that having barcodes you can much more easily measure the biodiversity (i.e. the number of species) in any given sample, even if the individual species are not actually known/named.  To do this…Continue Reading “DNA Barcodes: measuring biodiversity on Earth”

Yesterday I attended a talk about clinical trial data, by Paul Houston of CDISC, Europe.  CDISC is the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium.  This organisation looks into ways to make it possible for open access and interchange of clinical data.  I sketchnoted Paul’s talk – which was about the latest developments in making clinical trial data open for all.  

At a recent talk by Elspeth Bruford entitled “Gene naming in the past, present and future“,  I learned about the process for naming genes. Elspeth works in the HUPO Gene Nomenclature Committe (HGNC) team, which is based at EMBL-EBI.  Check out the website where you can find out more about HGNC’s work.

  The Web Development Team where I work recently moved to a brand new office building: the EMBL-EBI South Building/ ELIXIR Technical Hub. It is a beautiful building, and will be a great place to work, but it smells a bit “new”.  I guess like new car smell, it’s inevitable when there is new stuff everywhere – glued, filled and fresh out of the plastic packaging. Following our retreat, we thought it would nice to improve the working environment for the team with some ‘air-cleaning’…Continue Reading “Something green to keep new office air clean”

  There’s nothing like a couple of away days to improve morale and working relationships in a team.  A couple of weeks ago, the web development team took a couple of days to explore “The Way We Work” – and to spend some time getting to know each other better. We went to King’s Lynn in Norfolk to experience an Extreeme Adventure.  This was a set of obstacles suspended between platforms in the tree tops. An interesting aspect of the experience was learning how to…Continue Reading “Treetop team building retreat”

  Giving people feedback on their designs/ideas can be a tricky business, requiring tact and clear communication.  I recently attended a professional development course on “Building Effective Working Relationships”, which was really helpful in reminding me that building rapport, and highlighting benefits are key, when forming and maintaining good relationships with your team.  In particular I like the ‘Feedback Matrix’ where you give your message, the evidence/example to back-up the message, the impact/benefits/challenges, and what you suggest to change. The course was run by 360…Continue Reading “Building effective working relationships: new sketchnote”