All posts from
July 2004

Future Visions of Common-Use Hypertext: Introduction to a special issue

“This special issue arises out of a panel held during the ACM Hypertext ’03 conference at the University of Nottingham. Panellists were invited to sell their vision as ‘the next big thing’ in hypertext, either to supplement, augment or supplant ‘modern day’ systems, which, let’s face it, is the Web.” (Helen Ashman and Adam Moore – Journal of Digital Information 5.1)

Information Design Methods and Productivity

“In many ways this is a model project: it provides empirical evidence of successful problem-solving methods in information design with clear evidence from before and after the introduction of the new designs. It stands on its own as a case study of successful information design, and much of this paper is concerned with the detailed methods that were used and the resulting performance of the designs.” (Phil Fisher and David Sless – CRIA)

Gummy World: Thoughts on the Graphical User Interface

“The world can be divided into two basic categories: people who like chocolate, and people who like gummies. Chocolate is serious, sexy, and secretive. Gummies are fruity, cheerful, and transparent. Whereas chocolates are often shaped as simple cubes, bars, and domes, gummies masquerade as worms, sharks, strawberries, coke bottles, teddy bears, cartoon characters, and more. Gummies promise a bright world of postmodern illusion, while chocolates imply a dark modernist sublime. It looks like the gummy people were behind the visual design of Apple’s OS X.” (Ellen Lupton – Voice: AIGA Journal of Design)

AIfIA: Annual Report 2003-2004

“As the second year of the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture comes to a close, we can look back to see an organization that has grown beyond our early expectations. Building on the accomplishments of our first year, our membership has grown 37% in the past year, to over 560 people from over 40 countries. We also continued to build more services and events to promote information architecture (IA) and educate practitioners.” (Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture)

The mentality of Homo interneticus: Some Ongian postulates

“Because typical experiences will differ, the mentality of the typical Internet user, or Homo interneticus, is likely to be significantly different from that of the typical reader of printed works or of writing or of the typical member of purely oral cultures. These differences include deep assumptions about time and space, authority, property, gender, causality and community.” (Michael H. GoldhaberFirst Monday 9.6)

A Framework for Representing Knowledge

“Here is the essence of the theory: When one encounters a new situation (or makes a substantial change in one’s view of the present problem) one selects from memory a structure called a Frame. This is a remembered framework to be adapted to fit reality by changing details as necessary. A frame is a data-structure for representing a stereotyped situation, like being in a certain kind of living room, or going to a child’s birthday party. Attached to each frame are several kinds of information. Some of this information is about how to use the frame. Some is about what one can expect to happen next. Some is about what to do if these expectations are not confirmed.” (Marvin Minksy – MIT CSAI Lab)

The Effects of Contrast and Density on Visual Web Search

“This study evaluated the effects of white space on visual search time. Participants were required to search for a target word on a web page with different levels of white space, measured by level of text density. Screens were formatted with one of four types of graphical manipulation, including: no graphics, contrast, borders and contrast with borders under two levels of overall density and three levels of local density. Results show that search times were longer with increased overall density but significant differences were not found between levels of local density. Only the use of contrast was found to be significant, resulting in an increase in search time.” (Software Usability Research Lab Usability News 6.2)

Reading Online Text: A Comparison of Four White Space Layouts

“In this study, reading performance with four white space layouts was compared. Margins surrounding the text and leading (space between lines) were manipulated to generate the four white space conditions. Results show that the use of margins affected both reading speed and comprehension in that participants read the Margin text slower, but comprehended more than the No Margin text. Participants were also generally more satisfied with the text with margins. Leading was not shown to impact reading performance but did influence overall user preference.” (Software Usability Research Lab Usability News 6.2)

Brand Experience and the Web

“There is far more to the Web than ‘just’ being the Web. Indeed, the Web is only one component of a ubiquitous network of communication, interaction and information. While each of us are tacitly aware of the bigger picture, we often do not truly recognize and understand how it all fits together, or just what the Web means to business. This is particularly important for those of us who are involved in Web design and development. While we might seem to be hotshots in the work we do on the Web, we will ultimately be doing a disservice to our employers or clients if we are not working fluidly as part of the larger operating dynamics.” (Dirk KnemeyerDigital Web Magazine)

Looking for the Killer Use Case

“How are user-centred methods going to play a role in developing the mobile communications products and services of the future? This panel debate, a special invitation to CHI 2004, brought together the most qualified people in the industry to show delegates what they have in store.” (Gerred Blyth – Usability News)

Are Useful Requirements Just A Fairy Tale? (and why an IA should care)

“But why should an information architect care about requirements when it’s not his or her job to collect or create them? It comes down to simple math: it’s been my experience that a blurry definition of what a project needs to accomplish leads to a lot of extra work for the IA. So much extra work, in fact, that revisions end up taking much more effort than helping the team nail down useful requirements earlier in the process.” (Dan WillisBoxes and Arrows)

The Information Architecture of Email

“The paradigm shift, however, will be the least of Google’s problems. With its search engine advertising practices under constant scrutiny, Google faces myriad new issues by attaching targeted advertisements to emails, potentially a gross invasion of privacy. At the same time, the advertisements for mandolin dealers and instructors that come attached to posts to the mandolin mailing list are almost as valuable as the posts themselves.” (Dan BrownBoxes and Arrows)