All posts from
June 2006

How values get embedded in technology

The vloggercon keynote by information architect and user experience consultant Peter Van Dijck – “The technology and the culture of videoblogging co-evolve. So the practices and believes that you have are shaped in part by the technology that’s available to you, and the technology that’s being created like crazy these days is shaped by the practices and believes you hold.” (Peter Van Dijckpoorbuthappy)

Minimalism: The Minimalist Model applied to documentation and training

“The Minimalist theory of J.M. Carroll is a framework for the design of instruction, especially training materials for computer users. The theory suggests that (1) all learning tasks should be meaningful and self-contained activities, (2) learners should be given realistic projects as quickly as possible, (3) instruction should permit self-directed reasoning and improvising by increasing the number of active learning activities, (4) training materials and activities should provide for error recognition and recovery and, (5) there should be a close linkage between the training and actual system.” (Martin Ryder)

Top Designer Says World Cup Design ‘Just Embarrassing’

“They are over-organized; there are too many messages; and nobody wants to take on responsibility. In fact, it is a perfect mirror of German society right now. It is very much akin to the governing grand coalition — two big parties that are basically canceling each other out because no one can make any decisions. Everyone is trying to be nice, everyone knows we have to do something, change society, change behavior, and economy, but no one wants to take the first step because we’re so comfortable. We’re still wrapped up in our nice security blanket. We know it’s cold outside, but we just stay inside and huddle. This sort of World Cup design is very much communal huddling — trying to please everyone but never even putting a finger outside of that security blanket.” (says Erik Spiekermann – Deutsche Welle) – courtesy of dirkknemeyer

The value of openness in an attention economy

FM10 ‘Openness: Code, Science, and Content’: Selected Papers from the First Monday Conference, 15–17 May 2006 – “A theory of how we pay attention to other humans suggests why receiving it is both desirable and difficult. Humans can absorb as much attention as can be obtained, which differentiates it from other sorts of scarce goods. The theory also suggests a typology of openness, permitting an analysis of the different forms addressed in this Conference, along with others, both existing and potential. In this context, it seems reasonable to speculate on how attention–economic activity manifested through openness may help lead to further dominance of this type of economy. Groupings based on and espousing openness eventually may come increasingly to replace profit–making firms and even non–profit institutions such as universities, while making the pursuit of money largely irrelevant.” (Michael GoldhaberFirst Monday 11.6)

Words Matter. Talk About People: Not Customers, Not Consumers, Not Users

“Words matter. Psychologists depersonalize the people they study by calling them ‘subjects’. We depersonalize the people we study by calling them ‘users’. Both terms are derogatory. They take us away from our primary mission: to help people. Power to the people, I say, to repurpose an old phrase. People. Human Beings. That’s what our discipline is really about.” (Donald Norman)

Partial Bibliography of Magic in User Experience Design

“Magic as an alternative UI metaphor has appeared a number of times in HCI writing in the last 20 years, talked-about by many of the greats in the field. Now we can actually implement some of it, I figured it may be useful to go back and see what has been written about it in the past. Here is a list of publications that have talked about magic or enchantment in HCI contexts.” (Mike Kuniavsky – Orange Cone) – courtesy of boingboing

Search Analytics for your Site

“Any organization that has a searchable web site or intranet is sitting on top of hugely valuable and usually under-exploited data: logs that capture what users searching for, how often each query was searched, and how many results each query retrieved. Search queries are gold: they are real data that show us exactly what users are searching for in their own words. This book shows you how to use search analytics to carry on a conversation with your customers: listen to and understand their needs, and improve your content, navigation and search performance to meet those needs.” (Rosenfeld Media)