All posts from
February 2004

Wizards and Guides: Principles of Task Flow for Web Applications 2/2

“Although wizards are a common feature of the interface landscape, their rigidity clearly runs counter to one of the basic tenets of user-centered design: providing the user with appropriate control over the interaction. Therefore, like the pointy-hat mystics for whom they’re named, wizards should generally be treated with suspicion and skepticism, and ideally avoided whenever possible.” (Bob BaxleyBoxes and Arrows)

User-Centered Information Retrieval

“To find information, a reader uses either a search engine or the reader browses through metadata. The main difference between search engines and metadata lies in the quality of the links. A search engine offers you a lot of results, yet quite a few of the results refer to unusable information. Metadata cover only a small part of the available information yet the links refer to very useful information.” (Marcel van Mackelenbergh)

The Vision of George Rorick

“Architect of six different news services for print and broadcast graphics, George has spent his career fine-tuning the craft of visual reporting, discovering talented people and starting business from scratch. Oh … and he invented the USA Today weather map. Find out what makes him tick and what he’s done for the field of visual journalism.” (Poynter online) – courtesy of interactive narratives

Access to a Unified Web from Any Device in Any Context by Anyone

“A few years ago, virtually the only way to access the Web was through a personal computer or workstation. True, there were variations between the facilities offered by various browsers, some being capable of use on text-based terminals. However, almost invariably, Web access, for individuals without specific accessability needs, involved using a machine with a reasonably large, color display with full graphic capabilities. While this is still primarily true, since the middle of 2000, the number of different kinds of device that can access the Web has grown from a small number with essentially the same core capabilities to many hundreds with a wide variety of different capabilities. At the time of writing, mobile phones, smart phones, personal digital assistants, interactive television systems, voice response systems, kiosks and even certain domestic appliances can all access the Web.” (W3C)

Influence of Training and Exposure on the Usage of Breadcrumb Navigation

“Recent studies have shown that while the use of breadcrumb trails to navigate a website can be helpful, few users choose to utilize this method of navigation. This study investigates the effects of ‘mere exposure’ and training on breadcrumb usage. Findings indicate that brief training on the benefits of breadcrumb usage resulted in more efficient search behavior.” (Spring S. Hull – SURL 6.1) – courtesy of lucdesk

Interactivity and MultiMedia Interfaces

“Multimedia technology offers instructional designers an unprecedented opportunity to create richly interactive learning environments. With greater design freedom comes complexity. The standard answer to the problems of too much choice, disorientation, and complex navigation is thought to lie in the way we design the interactivity in a system.” (David Kirsh)