All posts from
June 2008

One Dead Media

“It is hard to find an old technology that is not available in any form any where on earth. But today I may have found one. Alex Wright’s story in the New York Times about Paul Otlet, the little-known Belgian who worked out an early version of hypertext (…) prompted a reader to point out a system similar to Otlet’s that was once available commercially in the US.” (Kevin KellyThe Technium)

The Web Time Forgot

“On a fog-drizzled Monday afternoon, this fading medieval city feels like a forgotten place. Apart from the obligatory Gothic cathedral, there is not much to see here except for a tiny storefront museum called the Mundaneum, tucked down a narrow street in the northeast corner of town. It feels like a fittingly secluded home for the legacy of one of technology’s lost pioneers: Paul Otlet.” (Alex WrightThe New York Times)

Shades of Use: The Dynamics of Interaction Design for Sociable Use

“Computers are used in sociable situations, for example during customer meetings. This is seldom recognized in design, which means that computers often become a hindrance in the meeting. Based on empirical studies and socio-cultural theory, this thesis provides perspectives on sociable use and identifies appropriate units of analysis that serve as critical tools for understanding and solving interaction design problems.” (Mattias Arvola PhD thesis 2005)

International organisation and dissemination of knowledge : Selected essays of Paul Otlet

Translated and edited with an introduction by W. Boyd Rayword (1990) – “We must bring together a collection of machines which simultaneously or sequentially can perform the following operations: (1) The transformation of sound into writing; (2) The reproduction of this writing in as many copies as are useful; (3) The creation of documents in such a way that each item of information has its own identity and, in its relationships with those items comprising any collection, can be retrieved as necessary; (4) A Classification number assigned to each item of information; the perforation of documents correlated with these numbers; (5) Automatic classification and filing of documents; (6) Automatic retrieval of documents for consultation and presented either direct to the enquirer or via machine enabling written additions to be made to them; (7) Mechanical manipulation at will of all the listed items of information in order to obtain new combinations of facts, new relationships of ideas, and new operations carried out with the help of numbers. The technology fulfilling these seven requirements would indeed be a mechanical, collective brain.” (internet archive)

Europe’s Fourth Information Architecture Summit Programme

“EuroIA invites your participation to this premier European event on Information Architecture. Join us in Amsterdam, Netherlands September 26-27, 2008, for two incredible days of presentations, panels, and networking with information architects from across Europe and around the world. This year we will explore the theme of ‘Redrawing the Map’, both between countries and online – from forging new international alliances to adapting traditional deliverables to the needs of a Web 2.0 world.” (Euro IA 2008)

Key differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

“Web 2.0 is a buzzword introduced in 2003–04 which is commonly used to encompass various novel phenomena on the World Wide Web. Although largely a marketing term, some of the key attributes associated with Web 2.0 include the growth of social networks, bi–directional communication, various ‘glue’ technologies, and significant diversity in content types. We are not aware of a technical comparison between Web 1.0 and 2.0. While most of Web 2.0 runs on the same substrate as 1.0, there are some key differences. We capture those differences and their implications for technical work in this paper. Our goal is to identify the primary differences leading to the properties of interest in 2.0 to be characterized. We identify novel challenges due to the different structures of Web 2.0 sites, richer methods of user interaction, new technologies, and fundamentally different philosophy. Although a significant amount of past work can be reapplied, some critical thinking is needed for the networking community to analyze the challenges of this new and rapidly evolving environment.” (Graham Cormode and Balachander Krishnamurthy – First Monday 13.6)

International Address Fields in Web Forms

“As enablers of online conversations between businesses and customers, Web forms are often responsible for gathering critical information—email addresses for continued communications, mailing addresses for product shipments, and billing information for payment processing to name just a few. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that one of the most common questions I get asked about Web form design is: How do I deal with international addresses?” (Luke WroblewskiUXmatters)

Better Bills

“The bill is a cornerstone communication in the customer experience, especially when it comes to billing for services. Customers want to easily understand and pay their bills, and businesses want to get paid on time. One would think a business would value the bill enough to invest in a thoughtful design. Yet many bills are poorly designed, causing needless confusion and frustration for customers and businesses alike—not to mention expensive customer service and customer churn. To encourage forward progress in the design of bills, this column profiles three common types of bill readers, discusses nine tips for improving bills, and notes some common implementation challenges.” (Colleen JonesUXmatters)

User Experience Design: The Evolution of a Multi-Disciplinary Approach

“Recently, I have discovered a new emerging type of user experience specialist: the ‘persuasion architect’. This specialist has a marketing and sales background, and focuses on aspects of a Web site user experience design that contribute to ‘conversions’, that is, to the number or percentage of site visitors that ultimately contribute directly to the business goals of the site, such as buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, registering, using the site for support, etc. The design aspects that contribute to converting visitors into customers are quite different than aspects that contribute to making task completion easy and fast, making a site visually appealing, or architecting the site information or functionality in the most natural way.” (Deborah J. Mayhew – Journal of Usability Studies 3.3) – courtesy of markvanderbeeken