All posts from
February 2009

Reviewing User Interfaces

“Has your boss or a client ever asked you to review a user interface for a Web or desktop application? Perhaps the request went something like this: Can you just look over these new screens for us? Oh, and can you check the error messages, too? It won’t take long! And, by the way, we ship next month.” – (Rhonda BraceyUXmatters)

Usable Accessibility: Making Web Sites Work Well for People with Disabilities

“When people talk about both usability and accessibility, it is often to point out how they differ. Accessibility often gets pigeon-holed as simply making sure there are no barriers to access for screen readers or other assistive technology, without regard to usability, while usability usually targets everyone who uses a site or product, without considering people who have disabilities. In fact, the concept of usability often seems to exclude people with disabilities, as though just access is all they are entitled to. What about creating a good user experience for people with disabilities—going beyond making a Web site merely accessible to make it truly usable for them?” – (Whitney QuesenberyUXmatters)

Beyond prototype fidelity: environmental and social fidelity

“(…) environmental fidelity, social fidelity, and prototype fidelity need to be employed and manipulated throughout the design process to bring to our projects the generative ideas, validation, ability to see, play and iterate something that previously was only imagined, and the concrete conversation starters that let us talk and think with our teams and stakeholders.” – (Paula WellingsAdaptive Path blog)

Six ways to make Web 2.0 work

“Technologies known collectively as Web 2.0 have spread widely among consumers over the past five years. Social-networking Web sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, now attract more than 100 million visitors a month. As the popularity of Web 2.0 has grown, companies have noted the intense consumer engagement and creativity surrounding these technologies. Many organizations, keen to harness Web 2.0 internally, are experimenting with the tools or deploying them on a trial basis.” – (Michael Chui, Andy Miller, and Roger P. Roberts – The McKinsey Quaterly) – courtesy of shuggie

In Defense of Readers

“Despite the ubiquity of reading on the web, readers remain a neglected audience. Much of our talk about web design revolves around a sense of movement: users are thought to be finding, searching, skimming, looking. We measure how frequently they click but not how long they stay on the page. We concern ourselves with their travel and participation – how they move from page to page, who they talk to when they get there—but forget the needs of those whose purpose is to be still. Readers flourish when they have space – some distance from the hubbub of the crowds – and as web designers, there is yet much we can do to help them carve out that space.” – (Mandy BrownA List Apart)

Wordlings in a Web 2.0 World

“Public language has become impoverished by ‘managerialism’ which frequently reduces language to strings of ‘weasel’ words, a phenomenon blamed on the information society. This process is not as ubiquitous or as inevitable as often represented, however. Drawing on Burke’s notion of human beings as ‘wordlings’, I argue for the centrality of well–crafted words, especially on the Internet, and offer examples of language crafted with care and passion, leading to distilled and vivid expression. I use the term ‘word bytes’ for such language, as it can cut through the multiple items of information from many other media with which it is surrounded, and demand to be noticed and remembered. I conclude we do not have to accept the impoverished form of ‘managerial’ English, often produced by elites and used to justify the ‘financialization’ of the late capitalist world. We can begin to counter it by our own practices of using words with care and passion, and by disseminating our words. We can also stop and question ‘weasel’ language wherever we encounter it.” – (Carolyne Lee – First Monday 14.2)