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InternetWorld's Design Survey 2000

IW's Design Survey 2000 is out. Prominent on the minds of many of the firms participating are alternative devices (mobile phones, pda, webtv) and ADA compliance.

XML Schema released as a W3C Recommendation

With over two years of development and testing through implementation, XML Schema provides an essential piece for XML to reach its full potential. "XML Schema makes good on the promises of extensibility and power at the heart of XML," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "In conjunction with XML Namespaces, XML Schema is the language for building XML applications." View the press release.

Sapient warns of wider losses

Sapient is still warning of losses. It's stock is now at $12.24. Makes me feel comforted that I left -- my strike price for options was like $58 or something.

Founders of Razorfish quit

Wow. Jeffrey Dachis and Craig Kanarick, the founders of Razorfish, resigned from the company. Article in NY Times.

New NY Times information graphics

Nice information graphic in NYTimes articles, "How It Works: Retinal Displays Adds a Second Data Layer" and "How It Works: Getting There With Help From Global Positioning". Click on the links in the box on the right titled "Multimedia".

Navigation from the cubist perspective

CUBISTS LAUNCH UNNAVIGABLE WEB SITE -- Conceptual Realism Dominates Site No One Will Be Able to Use Anyway.

Ecommerce Usability

eCommerceUsability.com -- A resource for people who build web sites that sell stuff. Notes from the CHI 2001 Special Interest Group entitled "E-Commerce: Beyond Traditional Usability," held in Seattle on April 5, 2001.

Innovative interfaces

Some interesting interfaces (mostly zooming) culled from messages on CHIWEB.

Social Darwinism and the Internet

Tognzanni talks about the shakeout in the Internet and New Economy in "Internet Perspective, May 2001". While the sky clearly appears to be falling and the days of free stuff are coming to an end, Tog believes that what will be left when the dust settles "...are a few solid, well-managed companies that will form the core of the Web and the Internetís future."

Clay Shirkey on wireless devices

[from Business2.0 Aug. 8, 2000 via tomalak] Clay Shirkey talks about wireless device usability in It's the Communication Stupid". He thinks the form factor for devices like Blackberry are on target. He posits, however, that the real secret to creating a killer app for wireless devices is simple communication (email, IM or whatever) not Web surfing. According to Shirkey, if manufacturers fail to see that, then their products are going to fail to capture their market. Gain the confidence of users by giving them what they want -- the ability to communicate -- and the rest will follow.

CNet on Flash Usability

Yet another article talking about Flash. The point, buried in there somewhere, is that the 99% bad stuff (unusable stuff) is bad because of bad design, not because of the technology.

Macromedia Flash Usability contest: Winners announced

Macromedia announced the winners in it's Design a Site for Usability Contest. The contestants had to design a prototype for a tshirt ecommerce site called "Snugware". In the advanced category, the honors went to Michael Stern. The novice category (designer using Flash for less than 60 days) the winner was James Straffon

Usability instruction in technical communication programs

If you want to read this one, you'll have to get to a university library I guess. Lee-Ann M Kastman Breuch; Mark Zachry; Clay Spinuzzi. "Usability instruction in technical communication programs: New directions in curriculum development." Journal of Business & Technical Communication(4/2001) . p. 223-240. Abstract: Although usability testing and research have become critical tasks for technical communicators in the workplace, little discussion in technical communication focuses on teaching usability in technical communication programs. This article asserts that technical communication programs are particularly well positioned to adopt usability testing and research in their curricula because of inherent connections between usability and technical communication, such as their mutual emphases on audience analysis, technology, and information design.

OCLC Usability

Was surfing OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) following a library list message and thought it was interesting they have a section devoted to describing their Usability process to customers. Would be interesting to see if other information services offer information about how they approach Usability. Haven't seen that from other content aggregators like Dow Jones Interactive, Dialog, etc. I don't even know if Dialog knows what Usability is, judging from the complexity of their search interfaces.

New Apple portable

Apple rolled out it's new iBook, which is aimed at recapturing the education market, but should also appeal to the less power hungry consumer laptop market. Borrowing the brushed metal Titanium G4 powerbook, the G3 iBook starts at ,299 and sports the same elegant industrial design of the Titanium. Sweetness.

New German IA site

[spotted by Evhead via Mersault*Thinking] InfoArchitektur is a new German IA weblog.

3D software and ecommerce applications

InternetWorld takes a look at the wide array of current 3D software offerings being used for ecommerce applications including VR for retail products.

Site Usability Must Enter ROI Calculus

InternetWeek considers the value of Usability, especially with respect to "time to task" aspects. Usability has spawned an army of experts and increasingly draws our undivided attention as companies wrap the Web around every process and point of contact, both inside the organization and out. While it can be hard to measure site usability in dollar terms, usability can and should be measured.

Is Usability Really Worth Anything?

Jakob Nielsen considers the correlation between usability and profitability in this article on InternetWorld. According to Nielsen, because users will shop on a usable site rather than an unusable one, he suggests that the usable sites can charge a little more. He says, "...ultimately, success on the Internet comes from serving users; that's what people will pay for." That's nice, Jakob. Don't give them any ideas.

Today, More Than Ever: The Lost Chapter of The Inmates Are Running the Asylum

Alan Cooper has released an unpublished chapter from his book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, in which he discusses how the replacement of nearly every business process with computer-intermediaries has changed the way we interact with businesses. The following quotes show how Cooper makes the case for Interaction Design/Information Architecture as a necessary part of re-humanizing these interactions.

The great promise of the information age is that computers help us to do everything. The great tragedy of the information age is that computers obstruct everything we do.

Interaction Design is the process that gives businesses the help they need to bring human values and scale back into business communications. Approaching the design problem from a human point-of-view, rather than from a technical one, softens the behavior of software, reducing the rudeness, complexity and inappropriate actions of software. ... Today, more than ever, Interaction Design is vital to the success of modern business.

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