All posts from
August 2003

The Myth of Discoverability

“Discoverability is often defined as the ability for a user of a design to locate something that they need, in order to complete a certain task. Itís common to hear programmers and designers utter the phrase ‘that wonít be discoverable’, while pointing to a specific command or link they believe users will fail to find. The trap, and the myth, of discoverability is that in any design, not everything can be discoverable.” (Scott – courtesy of matt jones

Lou Rosenfeld uses Entreprise to employ the Best of Librarianship

“Returning to the challenges of managing data, he singles out two problems common to many IA situations: a failure to keep up with information explosion (…); and the other side of the coin, stuff that is good at present but won’t be within six months. ‘We now use a term a client gave us: rot ñ redundant, outdated and trivial ñ and if you leave content alone it turns to rot. Itís a great acronym.'” (Ann Light – Usability News)

(Not) Defining The Damn Thing

“Labels and definitions inevitably vary from context to context. But is it unethical to consciously provide different answers to the same questions? No, but it is a bit two-faced and can sometimes make one feel a bit uncomfortable. Just remember: we’re always speaking different languages in different contexts. Itís simply a requirement for effective communication.” (Louis RosenfeldBoxes and Arrows)

Automating the Design of Visual Instructions

“Visual instructions are a common part of our daily lives. Maps, training manuals, textbooks, architectural plans, scientific papers, and street signs all use visual diagrams to communicate instructions. Yet, even the simplest visualizations typically take hours or days to design by hand, and therefore it is not currently possible to adapt and personalize instructions to the task, person, and situation for which they are eventually used. In contrast, while current computer-generated visualizations can be generated very quickly, these systems disregard many of the cognitive design principles that guide human designers. As a result current computer-generated visualizations can be very difficult to use.” (Maneesh Agrawala) – courtesy of yuri engelhardt

Usability Professionals Must Disappear

“(…) a good user experience practitioner is a facilitator – someone who quietly (having disappeared) guides the process, allowing knowledge to emerge, from users and the company alike. Instead of coming in with the answers, or the framework, or (my personal favorite) ‘the 200 rules of user experience design’, they should come in with their auditory organs turned up to eleven.” (Mark HurstGood Experience)

Review: A Pattern Language for Web Usability

“The notion of ‘patterns’, and of a ‘pattern language’, comes from the work of Christopher Alexander, a contemporary architect who proposed the use of collections of architectural patterns to address deficiencies in modern building design. In later works, Alexander expanded the scope of his rather fascinating concept of patterns to a broader design context. In the early 90s, computer scientists began to apply Alexander’s work to software development. The Web usability pattern language described in this book resulted from the collaborative efforts of attendees at a workshop hosted by the author in 1994.” (Carl Bedingfield – ACM Ubiquity)

Business Is About People

“It is really pretty simple: you must understand people to design and brand a successful product. You must understand people to create a healthy organization that inspires loyalty and productivity. In order to create revenue you must understand people. In order to operate an effective organization with low costs you must understand people. People are the common denominator.” (Dirk Knemeyer – Thread)