All posts from
March 2008

Form Follows Function and Achieving Thereof

“Forms can be dreadfully tricky to style and structure properly. Several articles that are out there focus on best practises for building forms using HTML en CSS. This article focusses in a non technical fashion on the use of meaningful nomenclature and how form semantics relate to elements that current markup standards have to offer. It may help you recognise structural patterns and to compose forms properly.” (Cornelis Govert Adriaan

Placing Value on User Assistance

“User assistance writers are often the Rodney Dangerfields of the UX world, bemoaning the fact that we don’t get any respect. I think the real problem is that user assistance folks are not particularly good at communicating the ways in which we add value to an enterprise. This column explores two models that show how user assistance adds value and how we can communicate that value to those who pay our salaries—something I would like to encourage other user assistance writers to do.” (Mike HughesUXmatters)

The Role of Design in Business

Kate Rutter interviews Nathan Shedroff – “(…) I think Marketing was the big thing long before IT departments rose to the prominence they have. Most IT departments have a grip on senior management that is not healthy, simply because most senior managers don’t understand enough of the details of IT to disagree, haggle, and know when they’re being snowed. However, EVERYONE is a designer, so everyone thinks that they know enough to override design decisions, budgets, and processes. Organizations, however, are discovering that they aren’t managing the design development process well enough and are listening more and judging a little less.” (Adaptive Path)

Webstock Recordings

“Here are all the recordings from Webstock 08 and Webstock 06. These recordings will be permanently archived at the following links. Where there is no recording for a particular session, that was the decision of the speaker and we fully respect that. (…) We’d love to hear from you if you find these recordings useful. Please drop us a line and let us know, especially if you weren’t at Webstock and/or are from locations other than New Zealand. Enjoy!” (Webstock)

We Tried To Warn You: The Organizational Architecture of Failure

“There are many kinds of failure in large, complex organizations – breakdowns occur at every level of interaction, from interpersonal communication to enterprise finance. Some of these failures are everyday and even helpful, allowing us to safely and iteratively learn and improve communications and practices. Other failures – what I call large-scale – result from accumulated bad decisions, organizational defensiveness, and embedded organizational values that prevent people from confronting these issues in real time as they occur.” (Peter JonesBoxes and Arrows)

Cues, The Golden Retriever

How our natural responses to stimuli can inform the design process – “I’d like to frame a discussion of cues by touching on a mixture of topics including memory, a few theories from cognitive psychology, and multimedia research. It may get a little dry, but stick with me. The integration of these three areas not only affects how information is encoded and retrieved, it influences how and when cues might best be used.” (Jamie OwenBoxes and Arrows)


“E15 is a research project. Imagine an internet where you (not the site designer) were able to decide how to view and experience web content. Imagine an internet where web servers didn’t just give you a static chunk of html, css, and javascript, but exactly the content you asked for. Imagine navigating an internet where the content maintained a degree of spatial relevance. E15 is a platform that enables end users to experience this internet, an internet beyond the browser.” (MIT Media Lab)

Gregorian Date Input Diversity

“One of the most common interaction patterns one can find on forms is the date input group. They appear in all shapes and sizes in various applications and sign up forms on websites. Certain forms of appearance seem to be more popular in certain geographical areas than other. But other than that it is hard to find any pattern or rationale why one website has chosen for model X while the other has chosen model Y. The suspicion would rise that the date input method is often dictated by the way the backend would ‘like’ it. This is a situation which neither we, as interaction designers and consultants, nor the end user should settle for.” (Cornelis Govert Adriaan

Tap is the New Click: Designing Gestural Interfaces

“Even though the technology has been around for decades, only now are we starting to see mass production and adoption of touchscreen and gestural devices for the public. Jeff Han’s influential 2006 TED demonstration of his multitouch system, followed by the launches of Nintendo’s Wii, Apple’s iPhone, and Microsoft Surface, have announced a new era of interaction design, one where gestures in space and touches on a screen will be as prominent as pointing and clicking.” (Dan SafferO’Reilly ETech 2008)

Closing the Communication Loop

“When our online service channels fail to meet the needs of our customers, if we’re lucky, customers will resort to an alternative channel to get the assistance they need. In doing so, our customers offer us the potential of gaining rich insights into their needs and mental models. Feedback forms, complaints, call center logs—all of these tell us valuable information about customers’ failed interactions. It’s in the nature of user experience work that we really begin to understand the success of our designs only after a project goes live. We minimize the risk of a complete failure by using iterative design methods and carrying out usability testing at various stages of the implementation. Whether we follow user-centered design or activity-centered design or even agile development methods, there is a certain element of uncertainty about the quality of the finished result until it hits the production servers.” (Steve BatyUXmatters)

The Externalities of Search 2.0

“Web search engines have emerged as ubiquitous and vital tools for the successful navigation of the growing online informational sphere. As Google puts it, the goal is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” and to create the “perfect search engine” that provides only intuitive, personalized, and relevant results. Meanwhile, the so–called Web 2.0 phenomenon has blossomed based, largely, on the faith in the power of the networked masses to capture, process, and mashup one’s personal information flows in order to make them more useful, social, and meaningful. The (inevitable) combining of Google’s suite of information–seeking products with Web 2.0 infrastructures – what I call Search 2.0 – intends to capture the best of both technical systems for the touted benefit of users. By capturing the information flowing across Web 2.0, search engines can better predict users’ needs and wants, and deliver more relevant and meaningful results. While intended to enhance mobility in the online sphere, this paper argues that the drive for Search 2.0 necessarily requires the widespread monitoring and aggregation of a users’ online personal and intellectual activities, bringing with it particular externalities, such as threats to informational privacy while online.” (Michael ZimmerFirst Monday 13.3) – courtesy of petermorville