All posts from
February 2004

Assessing Mobile Devices more Effectively

“Most user studies in the past have focused on the use of static devices. What are the new challenges to us, as designers and evaluators, on how to approach the design and evaluation of multimodal mobile devices and applications? In other words, function, value and meaning are relational and not absolute, as the applications and services reside on the network and not on the device. From the point of view of design and evaluation this presents new challenges. But why should we be interested?”

Ease of Use

“As information technology devices and applications grow in number and importance, the significance of ease of use in their design grows apace. In this issue, twelve papers focus on aspects of design for ease of use as applied to the entire design process, from understanding user requirements to conceptual design, prototyping, field testing, and redesigning. The history and future of User-Centered Design (UCD) and User Engineering (UE) are discussed, and case studies illustrating the role of UCD and UE in many fields are presented. Topics include the design of wireless devices, on-screen documentation, and database management and data visualization systems.” (IBM Systems Journal)

The knowledge management puzzle: Human and social factors in knowledge management

“Knowledge management is often seen as a problem of capturing, organizing, and retrieving information, evoking notions of data mining, text clustering, databases, and documents. We believe that this view is too simple. Knowledge is inextricably bound up with human cognition, and the management of knowledge occurs within an intricately structured social context. We argue that it is essential for those designing knowledge management systems to consider the human and social factors at play in the production and use of knowledge.” (J. C. Thomas, W. A. Kellogg, and T. Erickson – IBM Research)

Tracking user navigation methods by logging where users click on web pages

“What this gives me is some justification, I think, for getting content owners to focus on labelling in order to give links in the body of the page excellent scent, and it allows me to feel more comfortable exploring ways to modify the local navigation and even remove it in some cases. It definitely helps to have this kind of data when exploring UI modifications with your team. I expect to track this data in the coming months to see how changes in the navigation scheme impact use.” (Michael Angeles)

Six Steps to Better Interviews and Simplified Task Analysis

“I spend a lot of time helping clients conduct task analysis to form mental-model diagrams. When teams first start analyzing the interview transcripts they’ve collected, they often run into a confidence issue. ‘How will we know if we get the task groups right?’ This question usually arises because the team doesn’t have the kind of details it needs to identify clear tasks. The problem isn’t in sorting; it’s in the data-gathering stage. If interviews don’t provide details, task sorting becomes much more complex. Fortunately, there are six simple things you can do to improve the quality of your interviews, and clarify task analysis.” (Indi YoungAdaptive Path)

Computer Lib/Dream Machines Retrospective

“This astonishingly prescient book originally written and published by by Theodor H. Nelson in 1974 in a glorious oversized format is one of the ‘tap roots’ of the soon to be born microcomputer and “cyber” cultures. The following pages provide a retrospecitve of this work and Ted’s current projects and vision. We will present excerpts from the 1975 (second?) edition, kindly provided to us by Dan Croghan.” (DigiBarn Computer Museum) – courtesy of anne galloway

Genre and Multimodality: A computer model of genre in document layout

“Layout and graphics are not random: they are used creatively to express meaning, just as language is. The GeM project analyses expert knowledge of page design and layout to see how visual resources are used in the creation of documents, both printed and electronic. The genre of a page (…) plays a central role in determining what graphical devices are chosen and how they are employed.” (GeM Project Team)

Content Delivery in the ‘Blogosphere’

“Blogs can be incorporated into any type of class for all reading- and writing-aged students. They can be used as a knowledge-management tool where teachers and students communicate with each other through the course of the semester, or as a tool to bring reflections or outside material into the class for everyone’s benefit. Following are a number of practical suggestions that provide a good environment for successful blog integration.” (R.E. Ferdig et al. – T.H.E. Journal Online) – courtesy of dave winer

From Brick to Click – Bridging the Divide 5/7: Providing Immediate Gratification

“(…) there are some scenarios, products and situations that eCommerce providers realistically will not be able to match traditional stores on. But in many cases, by re-framing the problem and innovating solutions that are thoughtfully engineered for the needs and desires of our customers, we can not only make our personal eBusinesses prosperous, but completely re-define categories and change what people are buying, and how.” (Dirk Knemeyer – Thread, Inc.)

Education for IA: Talking Heads and That D-Word Again!

“If you consider the subject only to be concerned with organizing websites, then it is pretty clear that a master’s degree in the topic may be overkill, and a course or two within a more general program will probably suffice to get you on the path. But if, like me, you think of IA as a more encompassing effort aimed at understanding how information can be organized and presented for human and organizational use, both within and beyond websites, and addressing issues of performance effectiveness and efficiency, user satisfaction, sustainability and indeed aesthetic response to a resource, then a degree program looks to be more like a minimum requirement to get started.” (Andrew Dillon – ASIS&T Bulletin Feb. 2004)

Don Norman on Emotion Design (IT Conversation)

“Don Norman used to be known as a critic of unusable things but now, he says, he has changed. He has transformed himself into an advocate for pleasurable, enjoyable products. Beauty is good, says Norman. Successful products should a pleasure to use, and convey a positive sense of self, of accomplishment, and pride of ownership. In this keynote address, Norman shares work from his latest book, Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things.” (IT Conversations) – courtesy of ben hyde