All posts from
December 2008

Jeffrey Zeldman: Understanding Web Design

“Author and Happy Cog founder Jeffrey Zeldman answers the question: what does a web designer need most? Skills and knowledge of software, of course, but empathy – the ability to think about and empathize with your user – is by far the most important. Good useful education is hard to find, and within companies there is often no departmental standardization. Good graphic design is not the same as good user experience design, he explains. In fact, ‘good web design is invisible’ – it feels simple and authentic because it’s about the character of the content, not the character of the designer.” (AIGA Gain 2008)

Web Analytics and Information Architecture

“Web analytics offer quantitative insight into user behaviour. They can be used to benchmark site performance and report to management. But, because web analytics data tells what people do on a web site, analytics data should be used to inform and direct more qualitative user research methods such as focus groups or usability tests that tell us why they do what they do. More importantly, you can use the natural interest people have in web metrics to introduce the more qualitative measures into the business overall.” (Hallie Wilfert – FUMSI) – courtesy of thehotstrudel

Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore…

“Meredith Davis’s presentation addresses the rapidly growing gap between where we should be going in the practice of design and longstanding assumptions about design education. It is about the disorienting relationship between what and how we teach design in colleges and universities and the circumstances of twenty-first century life and work; about the worldview against which we construct the content and pedagogy of professional design education.” (Meredith Davis – Massaging Media 2)

What makes a ‘User Experience Expert’?

“The reason I think this is important is that I’m seeing too many people buy into User Experience methodologies that are half-baked, if baked at all. User Experience, for most people, boils down to making pretty interfaces. Good color palettes, Flash for everything, and anything that sort of looks like a Mac interface are often presented as the whole of good User Experience. I’m not saying these things aren’t good and very, very important; they’re just one small piece of the much larger User Experience field.” (RJ Owen – InsideRIA) – courtesy of thehotstrudel

Sharism: A Mind Revolution

“Sharism is the Spirit of the Age of Web 2.0. (…) With the People of the World Wide Web communicating more fully and freely in Social Media while rallying a Web 2.0 content boom, the inner dynamics of such a creative explosion must be studied more closely. What motivates those who join this movement and what future will they create? A key fact is that a superabundance of community respect and social capital are being accumulated by those who share. The key motivator of Social Media and the core spirit of Web 2.0 is a mind switch called Sharism. Sharism suggests a re-orientation of personal values. We see it in User Generated Content. It is the pledge of Creative Commons. It is in the plans of future-oriented cultural initiatives. Sharism is also a mental practice that anyone can try, a social-psychological attitude to transform a wide and isolated world into a super-smart Social Brain.” (Isaac Mao –

The Discipline of Content Strategy

“We, the people who make websites, have been talking for fifteen years about user experience, information architecture, content management systems, coding, metadata, visual design, user research, and all the other disciplines that facilitate our users’ abilities to find and consume content. Weirdly, though, we haven’t been talking about the meat of the matter. We haven’t been talking about the content itself.” (Kristina HalvorsonA List Apart)

Economizer: A Cooper service concept

“People are looking for ways to economize in these uncertain times. We can all see the evidence of environmental crisis brewing alongside the economic downturn, and it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of such global forces. With politicians and businesses seeking avenues to a sustainable future, Cooper wondered how design might help individuals cut costs while also encouraging behavior that was environmentally responsible.” (Cooper Journal of Design)

The Information Search Process Revisited: Is the model still useful?

“Kuhlthau’s model of the Information Search Process was developed in the 1980s and refined in the 1990s. Since its conceptualization and development, the model has been used as a framework and diagnostic tool for understanding the information search experience of people in a variety of library and information settings. These information environments and services have not remained static, particularly with rapid advances in and impacts of information technology. Therefore, questions arise regarding the current usefulness of the model in light of the developments in the information environment to date. This paper seeks to explore whether the model still is a useful, insightful explanation of information seeking behaviour. This question is examined through a literature review of recent work applying the model and presents findings from a research study that explored the model within a school context.” (Carol C. Kuhlthau et al. – ISIC08 via Information Research 13.4)

The User Experience of Enterprise Software Matters

“Over the past twenty years, the field of user experience has been fortunate. Software and hardware product organizations increasingly have adopted user-centered design methods such as contextual user research, usability testing, and iterative interaction design. In large part, this has occurred because the market has demanded it. More than ever, good interaction design and high usability are part of the price of entry to markets.” (Paul J. ShermanUXmatters)

Communicating Customer and Business Value with a Value Matrix

“So, you’ve wrapped up your customer research, completed your personas, and have even written a few scenarios that show how users would want to interact with your brand new product. What’s next? What happens to the personas and scenarios once you’re ready to start requirements definition and design. Are you sure you’ve adequately communicated the type of system your users need to the Business Analyst and Interaction Designer on your team?” (Richard F. CecilUXmatters)

Information architecture for digital libraries

“This paper surveys information architecture in the context of digital libraries. Key concepts are defined as well as common attributes of information architectures in general. Communications standards (…) are explored, as well as the history of information architecture and related models. A number of digital library projects are analyzed with a focus on their distinct architectures. The key role of information architecture in the design and development of the twenty–first century digital library is detailed throughout.” (Scott J. Simon – FirstMonday 13.12)

User Experience Design Is About Creating Good Theatre

“Creating exceptional experiences online, and developing efficient interactive marketing, is much about storytelling. We develop stories that excite and motivate people, and platforms where people can come create and edit their own stories. Interactive storytelling is in many ways more complex than traditional movies or theatre, but IAs can still learn a lot from scriptwriting techniques.” (Karri Ojanen – Threeminds)

Figuring out Service Design

“I’m sensing that designing for services is the Next Big Thing for UI designers. (…) Service design is principally about the choreography of situated moments of customer & business activity as a structured sequence (process) across multiple physical and digital ‘touchpoints’ (ex: signage, logo, store rep, phone call experience, customer service, packaging, instruction manual, website, etc.) which constitute a ‘service string’ or ‘customer journey’. The key term here is ‘choreography’ which implies a dramatic or theatrical quality of enactments of people over time.” (Uday GajendarGhost in the Pixel)

Conclusion of Boost Chats

“The problem lies partly in how individuals define their role: if they insist on their right to behave individualistic, there is a problem because this means they see merely to their own wellbeing. If they on the contrary perform their individualism, they contribute with their individuality (competence, inclination, ability etc.) to a general wellbeing where nature is included. Individualistic behaviour leaves little room for empathy and lacks realisation that the resulting choices affect wellbeing negatively as this always is part of a greater whole: contextual.” (Designboost: Sharing Design Knowledge)