All posts from
January 2004

A longitudinal study of Web pages continued: A consideration of document persistence

“It is well established that Web documents are ephemeral in nature. The literature now suggests that some Web objects are more ephemeral than others. Some authors describe this in terms of a Web document half-life, others use terms like ‘linkrot’ or persistence. It may be that certain ‘classes’ of Web documents are more or less likely to persist than are others. This article is based upon an evaluation of the existing literature as well as a continuing study of a set of URLs first identified in late 1996. It finds that a static collection of general Web pages tends to ‘stabilize’ somewhat after it has ‘aged’. However ‘stable’ various collections may be, their instability nevertheless pose problems for various classes of users. Based on the literature, it also finds that the stability of more specialized Web document collections (legal, educational, scientific citations) vary according to specialization. This finding, in turn, may have implications both for those who employ Web citations and for those involved in Web document collection development.” (Wallace Koehler – Information Research 9.2)

Where our hypermedia really should go!

“There is something going on called XML. Which some say is HTML done right. I think that is a good description. A wrong thing done to absolute perfection. I have been on the mailing list of the XML linking committee. Which is endeavoring to create some kind of a specification or a standard for  hyper documents that will appropriately represent connected structure. My experience is reading convinces me further, as if I had not known already that I want nothing to do with it. What I am  doing continues in another direction.” (Ted NelsonEngelbart’s Colloquium: The Unfinished Revolution)

Metacognition, Distributed Cognition and Visual Design 

“Metacognition is associated with planning, monitoring, evaluating and repairing performance. Designers of elearning systems can improve the quality of their environments by explicitly structuring the visual and interactive display of learning contexts to facilitate metacognition. Typically page layout, navigational appearance, visual and interactivity design are not viewed as major factors in metacognition. This is because metacognition tends to be interpreted as a process in the head, rather than an interactive one. It is argued here, that cognition and metacognition are part of a continuum and that both are highly interactive.” (David Kirsh – Dept. of Cogsci, UCSD)

A Few Thoughts on Cognitive Overload

“Cognitive overload is a brute fact of modern life. It is not going to disappear. In almost every facet of our work life, and in more and more of our domestic life, the jobs we need to do and the activity spaces we have in which to perform those jobs are ecologies saturated with overload. As technology increases the omnipresence of information, both of the pushed and pulled sort, the consequence for the workplace, so far, is that we are more overwhelmed. There is little reason to suppose this trend to change.” (David Kirsh – Dept. of Cogsci, UCSD)

XForms Institute: Interactive XForms School

“Like XHTML, SVG, and RSS, XForms is an XML-based language written with tags that can be identified by surrounding angle brackets. (XML purists perfer to call these elements) Learning XForms is largely a matter of understanding what individual elements do, as well as how they interrelate. One difference is that XForms provides several more elements than form authors might be accustomed to. As a result, several tasks that would have otherwise required complicated scripting can be accomplished declaratively, just by putting the right elements in place.” (About XForms Institute)

The User Experience Cosmos

“Some time ago, as a result of my conversations with my friend and colleague, I came up with the idea of appliying the cartesian model to this User Experience world of us: what if we could use a north-south axis to represent the duality between the digital and the analog, and also use an east-west axis to articulate the the duality between the emotional and the rational? Once represented, we could place in this territory anything we could come up with: people, resources, disciplines, webs or products. The experiment became a document named ‘The User Experience Cosmos’. As in ancient maps, this is a rather subjective and personal representation of the territory. Therefore, next would be to invite anyone to create its own representation. Even thou this is an idea with a signature, anyone is free to use this model for his own purposes if the original version and his author are refered.” ((Javier Cañada –

Auditory Interfaces: The Use of Non-Speech Audio at the Interface

“The following is the manuscript of a ‘work stopped in progress’ in 1994.  That is, it is a book that we started, but never finished.  Nevertheless, we used the manuscript in its various forms for tutorials and courses that we taught, always with the expectation that we would finish. Well, the reality is, that is not going to happen. Nevertheless, despite its lack of completion, the manuscript represents a fair bit of work in an area that does not have much of a literature.” (William Buxton, William Gaver, and Sara Bly – Buxton Design)

Auditory Information Design

“The prospect of computer applications making ‘noises’ is disconcerting to some. Yet the soundscape of the real world does not usually bother us. Perhaps we only notice a nuisance? This thesis is an approach for designing sounds that are useful information rather than distracting ‘noise’.” (Stephen Barrass 1998 – The Australian National University)

Panther: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

“It may seem I’m damning Apple with faint praise, considering how much bad I have mentioned. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Apple is indeed back. OS X is a fully-usable powerhouse once more, with a free and open future. I’m giving Apple some free advice, from someone whose advice is normally screamingly expensive, on where to go from here. The way is open.” (Bruce ‘Tog’ TognazziniAskTog)