Designing information architecture at the BBC, Dan Ramsden in Munich

When? Monday, October 12th, 2015, at 19:00
Where? Sapient GmbH, Arnuflstraße 60, 80335 München Germany Map
FREE event (but registration is required!)
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Designing information architecture at the BBC

The BBC faces some unique challenges. We serve 26.7 million household in the UK. Worldwide we reach 35 million browsers every day. We produce about 20,000 hours of content every year. And we’ve been online since 2007, creating content, products, services and experiences.

In a perfect world the web would be made of small pieces, loosely joined. But sometimes the world isn’t perfect. Sometimes it feels like we live in a world that tends towards entropy, rather than perfection.

This talk has three parts.

One: Reviews where we’ve come from. I discuss the debt that thinking hierarchically about web structures accrues. I talk about our history of domain modelling and building websites the right way. I’ll explore how we design by thinking about services or subject domains, not just products, hierarchies or pages.

Two: explains the limits of this approach. We haven’t got everything right. Sometimes we’ve solved specific problems gracefully, but designed for too perfect a world.

I’ll discuss the challenges of domain driven design. I’ll discuss how hierarchies give a sense of direction. Sometimes this direction is missing when your design was built on a flatter, graph-like model. I’ll defend the idea that sometimes being ‘generic’ is just as important as being ‘specific’.

Three: I’ll share a new technique we’re introducing to our IA practice. ‘Trajectories’ provide a way of imagining and designing pathways through content, experiences and time. These stories layer ‘experience architecture’ on top of information architecture and provide a way to think about how users will engage with your information architecture during and after their experiences. They’re also useful for thinking about ‘organisational trajectories’ and the mix of opportunities and dependencies which surround you as a designer.


About Dan

As Creative director for user experience architecture (UXA) at the BBC I lead a team of IA specialists. I’m responsible for defining the professional practice of UXA at the BBC and ensuring that we’re creating information architecture that delivers the best possible experiences to our audiences. I design labels, vocabularies, URLs, navigation, strategies and processes.

I want to create digital experiences that feel just as intuitive to explore and enjoy as the most delightful places in the real world. I work in Salford and London and I live just outside Sheffield with a wife, a child and a cat called Rosa.


We would like to thank Sapient for supporting the local IxD community! Drinks and snacks will be provided.

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