All posts from
November 2006

Why am I so angry?

“Despite no longer calling myself an information architect (I’ve been happy with entrepreneur for some time) and despite a deep affection for the community I’ve been part of for so long, the lists have been making me crazy. I’d been off them for a while, and had gotten back on for a number of reasons, from promoting the new Boxes and Arrows features to seeing if new trends were emerging in my (former?) profession. And I was shocked at the blatant stupidity I thought I was seeing. Only it wasn’t stupidity; I had radically changed my point of view. It was as if I had been enjoying the company of swans for some time, went to sleep and woke up a duck– and thought the swans looked silly, all long necked and white and show.” (C. Wodtke – Elegant Hack)

Idea 2006: Provocation and revelation

“In a room full of designers, software developers, architects, museum design professionals, and even a solitary (but charming and Canadian) archaeologist, here was a profound statement of principles about the relationship between designer, information, and audience. So much of the activity around the profession of information architecture and user-centred design in my experience is based on tasks, goals, functions, and flows. It’s about attempting to control the user’s experience to such a degree that some claim to be able to actually design an experience. And here was a set of principles, first articulated 50 years ago that seemed as relevant and as fresh as anything we’d seen or talked about at the conference.” (Gordon Ross – Disseminate) – courtesy of heyblog

Making Life Easy

“As more examples are posted to this website we’ll be encouraging visitors to cast their votes for what they think are worthy inductees to the Usability Hall of Shame and the Usability Hall of Fame. On 14 November, World Usability Day, we’ll be announcing the first ever inductees!” (About MLE) – courtesy of bloug

User Experience Research

“Creating a ‘killer user experience’ owes a lot to understanding subtle aspects such as User Interface Friction, and that is why I believe it is a very important notion. In many ways, creating an excellent user interface has become the digital equivalent of first-class manufacturing: we need it as users, and we need to understand what contributes to it if we are developing technology.” (Andreas Pfeiffer – ACM Ubiquity)

Creating a Universal Usability Agenda

“How do you keep usability, accessibility, and user experience requirements on track while developing standards? It is part of the very nature of standards to focus on details—and in the process, to sometimes lose sight of the real goals. This is especially true when a standards-making process goes on for a long time, a situation is highly political, or most people are focused on technology issues. For over two years, I’ve worked in just such a situation as part of the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) creating federal standards for voting systems in the United States.” (Whitney QuesenberyUXmatters)

User Research: Subjectivity and Objectivity in Practice

“There has been an interesting dialogue on the IxD Discussion mailing list in recent months, in which some participants have questioned the need for and benefits of doing user research rather than relying on the experience and intuition of designers. These comments led others to voice concerns about the actual quality of the user research companies are undertaking and the validity of any conclusions they have drawn from the resulting data.” (Steve BatyUXmatters)

Book Review: Designing Interfaces

“I must admit that I am not a fan of pattern books in general – especially in the field of design. I’ve always felt they are excellent sources of inspiration if you’re crafting a quilt or stenciling a wainscot for your living room, but for more involved design activities, I’ve concluded they are too simplistic—perhaps even limiting. I suspect this opinion was informed by my architecture professor’s intensely negative reaction to Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language and A Timeless Way of Building when they were first published. Years later, when I learned that software engineers were enamored of Alexander’s books, and the emergence of software patterns had its basis in Alexander’s notion of design patterns, I was bemused and skeptical.” (Leo FrishbergUXmatters)

Web Science

“Since its inception, the World Wide Web has changed the ways scientists communicate, collaborate, and educate. There is, however, a growing realization among many researchers that a clear research agenda aimed at understanding the current, evolving, and potential Web is needed. If we want to model the Web; if we want to understand the architectural principles that have provided for its growth; and if we want to be sure that it supports the basic social values of trustworthiness, privacy, and respect for social boundaries, then we must chart out a research agenda that targets the Web as a primary focus of attention.” (Tim Berners-Lee et al.)

Weblog-mediated relationship: A co-constructed narrative

Draft chapter – “Although weblogs are perceived as low-threshold tools to publish on-line, empowering individual expression in public, there is growing evidence of social structures evolving around weblogs and their influence on norms and practices of blogging. This evidence ranges from voices of bloggers themselves speaking about the social effects of blogging, to studies on specific weblog communities with distinct cultures (e.g. knitting community described by Wei, 2004, or Goth community described by Hodkinson, 2004), to mathematical analysis of links between weblogs indicating that community formation in the blogosphere is not a random process, but an indication of shared interests binding bloggers together (Kumar, Novak, Raghaven & Tomkins, 2003).” (Lilia Efimova & Andrea Ben Lassoued – Mathemagenic)

Personas: the podcasts

“Too busy to decide if you want to buy the book? Try the podcasts, which take you on a whirlwind tour of the book’s content. The audio comes from a Molecular webinar I did a while back. For the industrious, you can also download the PowerPoint slides used in the webinar (warning: 23MB) for the full audio/visual experience.” (Steve Mulder – Practical Personas)