Reflections on Legible London talk

The overarching aim of Legible London is to provide practical, usable and uniform signage for London’s pedestrians to enable them to navigate the city easily. This can be applied to my role in general –

  • when I write a resources page, like Obama’s first year, I am pooling sources, filtering and organising information so that journalists (and readers in this instance) can easily navigate the paper’s coverage and the key events;
  • when I write a factbox for the paper I am making a topic easily understandable for readers;
  • when I compile a useful sources page I am picking the best sites and data so that journalists can find what they want easily and efficiently;
  • when I do an article search for a journalist I am filtering the available information to select the key pieces that will tell the journalist what they want to know quickly

The Legible London talk also highlighted the need to undertake thorough research before you implement any project – in this case, the signs – and to keep redesigning until you get it right. At work, this could mean –

  • an intranet redesign
  • changing or subscribing to a resource – Factiva/Nexis, Dods, Europa…
  • new blog
  • On This Day – we went through several ways of working before getting it right

The talk also showed that you really need to know your users, and need to consult with them (and keep consulting) rather than second-guessing how you think they will act:

  • intranet/department survey
  • checking intranet redesigns with users before launching
  • QA testing digital archive with dept
  • asking a journalist what they expect when they put in a request

You could also apply the idea of wayfinding (making getting around easy and efficient) to department resources like the intranet – it must be designed so that journalists can find their way around the information easily. Getting “a balance between information overload and information scarcity” is key to our role.


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