All posts from
February 2010

Agencies at the Interface: Colloquium with Lucy Suchman

“This talk considers how capacities for action are currently figured at the human–machine interface, and how they might be imaginatively and materially reconfigured. Drawing on examples from recent scholarship in anthropology, science and technology studies, and media arts and design, Suchman argues for research aimed at tracing differences that matter within specific sociomaterial arrangements, without resorting to essentialist human-machine divides. This requires expanding our unit of analysis, while taking responsibility for the inevitable cuts or boundaries through which technological systems are made.” (MIT Media Lab)

User Experience Design Career Development – Part 1

“So what we did was to articulate four (well, technically five) levels of consultant. These levels are based on obvious things like skills & experience, but also things like thought leadership activity, strategic acumen, client management, professional recognition, and business development. We defined specific criteria for each of these levels so that consultants can identify where they meet the criteria for their desired level and where they need to put in more effort. Granted, some of the criteria are pretty specific to an agency/consultancy model. But my hope is that those of you who work internally at large corporations, tiny startups, and anywhere in between can still use elements of our UX design career path to help structure your own.” (Fred Beecher) – courtesy of jjursa

I Am Not A User!

“Well, first of all let’s get rid off the word user and let’s talk about people. Because user implies something totally internal: I’m a user, I want to use this machine, so let’s use it. This is a utilitarian/task cognitive approach to interaction design, a rather medieval kind of approach. If you talk about people, what they are and what they do in their daily lives, there are so many opportunities to discover… so users will not evolve, they will die out, but people will remain and I would like to talk about their lives and conquests.” (I’m not a user)

The Future of User Interfaces

“User interfaces – the way we interact with our technologies – have evolved a lot over the years. From the original punch cards and printouts to monitors, mouses, and keyboards, all the way to the track pad, voice recognition, and interfaces designed to make it easier for the disabled to use computers, interfaces have progressed rapidly within the last few decades. But there’s still a long way to go and there are many possible directions that future interface designs could take. We’re already seeing some start to crop up and its exciting to think about how they’ll change our lives. In this article are than a dozen potential future user interfaces that we’ll be seeing over the next few years (and some further into the future).” (Cameron Chapman – Six Revisions)

The UX Canon: Essential Reading for the User Experience Designer

“(…) besides slowly acquiring and reviewing more books, is to begin further classification of books. Until that can happen, this is my UX library. If I don’t own it or haven’t read it, it’s definitely not on this list. At the same time, there are books that I own that aren’t included because I thought they sucked for one reason or another. The third option is that I have it, have read it, liked it, but simply forgot to include it.” (Semantic Foundry)

Better User Experience With Storytelling (Part Two)

“In the first part of this series, we explored some of the basic structures and story patterns found in myths and religions. We saw how these patterns continued into modern stories such as The Matrix and Star Wars. We also explored some of the basics of bringing storytelling into the user experience process and some places to get started. Concluding this two-part article, we hear from creative professionals who are leading the way in this relatively new world of combining the craft of storytelling with user experience. We’ll also see how storytelling can be applied to more than just interactive experiences: we find it in everything from packaging to architecture.” (Francisco Inchauste – Smashing Magazine)

The Synaptic Web

“The purpose of this document is to present a straw man overview of emerging trends on the next generation web. We encourage participation and conversation about these proposals so that we, as participants in this ecosystem, can come to a communal understanding our current and emerging opportunities for the web.” (Khris Loux, Eric Blantz, and Chris Saad) – courtesy of ruurdpriester

Hierarchical Task Analysis

“As UX professionals, we have a great many analytical and descriptive tools available to us. In fact, there are so many that it can sometimes be difficult to decide which tool is most appropriate for a given task! Hierarchical task analysis (HTA) is an underused approach in user experience, but one you can easily apply when either modifying an existing design or creating a new design.” (Peter HornsbyUXmatters)

Browse Is The New Black

“Search, search, search. Everyone is talking about search these days. Bing, semantic search, site search. That’s all you hear. Don’t get me wrong: search is wildly important to our daily experiences on the web. I’ve written a bit on search on this blog. (…) But at the same time were seeing a lot of new products and interfaces that offer enhanced online browsing experiences. Browsing it totally underrated, I believe. What’s more, looking broadly across human information behavior, we see that browsing is more than an accident, impulsive activity–it’s not just aimless surfing.” (James KalbachExperiencing Information)

iPad Interesting Moments

“The use of real world style transitions (flipping bookcase over, flipping pages, spreading stacks, rotating orientation, collecting selected elements into stacks) work extremely well with a multi-touch interface. I am using my physical body not a mechanical mouse so the response should feel more real world. This is also what Apple mentions in their UX guidelines.” (Bill Scott – Looks Good works Well)

Live at Interaction’10

“The first day of Interaction 10 in the wonderful city of Savannah, Georgia, kicked off without a hitch. Though eventually everyone was plagued by spotty, windy rain storms, the general pulse of the conference was positive and uplifting. Attendees were still talking about some of the great workshops from the day before, and they carried that energy over into today’s sessions. If one thing had to describe the overall theme of the first day it would be the importance of providing meaning in the work that we do. Below are recaps of the opening and closing keynotes, as well as some of the sessions from the day. (…) After a night of some great parties, and even better conversation, the second day of Interaction 10 began with a preview of the new website redesign. The team doing the redesign covered all the great new features that are coming, and went into detail on how local groups will be able to leverage the new site for their own networks and events. The excitement from yesterday was easily carried over, and people were pumped to see what the presenters had in store for us today.” (Niklas Wolkert & Brad Nunnally – Johnny Holland Magazine)

Workshop on Search and Social Media

“It is my pleasure to report on the 3rd Annual Workshop on Search in Social Media, a gathering of information retrieval and social media researchers and practitioners in an area that has captured the interest of computer scientists, social scientists, and even the broader public.” (Daniel Tunkelang)

Attending to Performance

“As information architects, we have the opportunity to learn when our constituents are thwarted by information structure. If possible, we should observe actual performers doing actual work in actual work contexts. We should understand what performers need to know, what is better referenced and what is best supported. We should understand the pressures, activities, accountabilities, interruptions, relationships and consequences of good and flawed performance. And we should measure.” (Thom Haller – ASIS&T Bulletin February/March 2010)

Search Patterns

“Search is among the most disruptive innovations of our time. It influences what we buy and where we go. It shapes how we learn and what we believe. This provocative and inspiring book explores design patterns that apply across the categories of web, e-commerce, enterprise, desktop, mobile, social, and real time search and discovery. Using colorful illustrations and examples, the authors bring modern information retrieval to life, covering such diverse topics as relevance ranking, faceted navigation, multi-touch, and mixed reality. Search Patterns challenges us to invent the future of discovery while serving as a practical guide to help us make search applications better today.” (Peter Morville & Jeffery Callender)