Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Media Art & Design
Interface Design / Prof. Dr. Jens Geelhaar

IFD:Designing For Action/Bastian, Martin


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Our goal is to create a bookmarks system that doesn't require the user to think about how he needs to organize his bookmarks. We want a straigt forward solution where the user only needs one klick to bookmark a page and everything else will be done by the browser. Trying to find a certain page the user will be presented with a "tag-cloud" like overview of his bookmarks. He will also be able to specify the output of the cloud via text-based search input.


Full interviews and Research evaluation here

users goals

  • keep interesting, rare, hard to find pages at the tip of their fingers
  • organize a simple structure to do so, without supplying any additional information
  • refind pages easily without having to big of a thinking-process

users main issues

  • users rather leave tabs open to "refind" pages because the bookmark system as of today requires a lot of user-based thought and action

Was stoert dich beim heutigen Bookmarks-Konzept? bookmarken ist zu aufwändig erst noch sortieren und speichern - eigentlich will man ja nur ein tab weniger haben.

  • bookmarks are too static, folder based (hierachical) sorting doesn't represent the way we think nowadays

Was stoert dich beim heutigen Bookmarks-Konzept? Einmal alles. bookmarks sind als statische ordner gespeichert nicht als datenbank einträge die von ordnern losgelöst sind. das bookmark sollte autonom behandelt werden und eher nacht tags oder meta angaben sortiert werden.

  • because the user is lazy most of the bookmarks are thrown into one folder, thus the whole idea of bookmarking becomes obsolete
  • user will more likly use text based search (history, google) to refind information, but the bookmarks system doesn't support this

our Goals

  • bookmark websites with a single click - minimize workload of the user
  • automatic tagging and clustering of bookmarks through text recognition - create a userfriendly overview of bookmarked pages
  • supply a dynamic text based search engine - refind pages in a familiar way
  • have a very minimal and sleek design - not distracting the user

our non-goals

  • user specified tags
  • static sorting of bookmarks
  • fancy graphics or even animations in the interface




Which problem did you identify?


Why are current systems unable to solve this problem?

They are unable to solve this problem because they...{your text here...}

What research findings led you to your first concept?

In my reseach I...{your text here...}

In 140 characters, what is the essence of your project/solution?

{your text here...} (If you really need more space, describe how you would present your concept to your mother while you ride an elevator to the top of the Fernsehturm in Berlin. although this is the tallest free-standing building in Europe, it also has Europe’s fastest elevator. You’ve got 40 seconds to make your case)


How did you ensure that a beginner can use your solution?

{your text here...}

What makes your solution more useful or efficient than current products?

{your text here...}

(Essential: Sketches and/or Video to illustrate the interaction)

User tests

How did you test your design?

{your text here...}

What new problems did you identify?

{your text here...}

What did you change following your user tests?

{your text here...}

Mentor Comments

James Kalbach

  • Good summary of your research. It really helps to see into what you did upfront. The interviews seem a little short, though. Also, you might have done better to have given people a real life scenario and observed them as they interacted with a website they wanted to recall later.
  • I like the fact that you have alternative sketches. A little more detail would have helped to get a better sense of your idea. It still seems quite high level at the moment.
  • Are tag clouds an efficient way to re-find information? They seem more like a trend that's now outdated than something really useful. I'd consider other ways to organize your tags, perhaps in addition to the cloud.
  • Have a look at Zemanta--a tool for automatic tagging.
  • Also check out Facetag (, a way to browse tags by different facets.
  • In the business world, the ability to communicate your design ideas is as important as having them. Managers and stakeholders may have different priorities with a given project or initiative, and you will have to persuade them to see your point of view. Unfortunately, you didn't complete the template for your project so we can't see how well you put your thoughts in writing.

Overall, you've done good research and have come to meaningful conclusions at the beginning. It's a shame you didn't follow through with more detailed designs and a complete description of your project.

Cennydd Bowles

Your understanding of the problem and the principles behind your design are good. Given the cognitive burden bookmarks currently place on users, it makes a lot of sense to push this complexity to the browser instead and give users as little work to do as possible. However, generally there isn't enough detail here, particularly around information architecture. How will the browser generate the tags? Are there certain words it would have to eliminate?

Your sketches look reasonable although again it would be useful to have more detail around the interactions. How does the search work? Is there a type-ahead to help guide people toward tags the system holds (since they didn't choose the tags themselves). What happens for international users who spell words differently (eg UK1. Universitätskommunikation – a service of the university taking care of public relations 2. United Kingdom "colour" vs US "color")? Also, think of unintended behaviour. Is it likely that users would look for ways to get around the fact they can't add their own tags?

Eric Reiss

You've really nailed half of the problem behind bookmarking: organizing the information. The other half is that bookmarks go out of date - although that is beside the point with respect to this project. You've also understood that even with the best tool, compliance is an issue - most people are too lazy to fill in the metadata needed to organize and re-find the information they've saved.

Cennydd pegged some of the major problems with tagging. In fact, over the past couple of years, most experts agree that tagging just doesn't work very well in a multi-contributor environment. On a personal blog, where the writer always uses the same words and spell the same way, tagging can be moderately successful. But elsewhere it is often problematical. See Gene Smith's book on tagging for a very good review of the possibilities and problems.

The details of your proposal are confusing at best. I can see where you're going from the sketches, but not the details. As Mies van der Rohe said, "God is in the details". I need to get a little religion here :)

This questionnaire is still not fully populated, which is a shame. Perhaps I would have had fewer questions if it had been completed as we mentors had intended...