blogs

Scents and sensibility

The Economist is running an interesting article about the scent of information on the Web as Ed Chi and Stuart Card of Xerox PARC sense it. The article talks about a program called "Bloodhound", that anticipates user paths based on the similarity of documents. To find out about the original "scent" paper, see the Web Visualization project at Xerox Parc.

EULER evaluation: a study in search engine usability

Students of Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Department of Library and Information Studies have published their usability studies for search engines documentation.

Japanese Products Map the Mobile Road Ahead

Nielsen takes a loot at some "highly usable" gadgets that are currently hot in Japan -- DoCoMo phones like the P503i imode phone and small digital photography gadgets like the Camessepetit and Eggy. Most interesting for IA's may be the concept of 2-dimensional movement in the P503i phone, which uses a joystick instead of a roller or scroller.

Searchers vs Browsers

There's some new work investigating search vs browse: Katz, M. A., & Byrne, M. D. (2000). To search or not to search on E-commerce sites: How do users decide? Manuscript submitted for publication. Katz, M. A., & Byrne, M. D. (2000). Search versus Browse Frequency and Efficiency on E-commerce sites. Manuscript submitted for publication. Download the PDFs: http://chil.rice.edu/publications/index.html

Gesture based navigation

Slashdot announced that Opera is adding "gesture based navigation" as a standard feature. According to Hemos, You can perform a bunch of common actions with simple gestures, such as holding down the right mouse button moving left and releasing to go back, or moving up then down while holding the button to reload the current page. A list of the various implemented commands can be found on their site.

How to fail at business without really trying

This article on kuro5hin is for all the freelancers and people out on their own. If you are struggling, take heart. You're not alone.

Visual thinking

[from xblog] Visual thinking, from the Department of Art and Design, Iowa State University, looks at the skills involved in the practice of thinking with images.

Edward Tufte site

[from elegant hack] Edward Tufte: Where to buy the books and view the schedule for the courses.

College programs and studying the social impact of the Internet

[from Tomalak's realm] MSNBC is running a story on colleges that are beginning to consider the social impact of the Internet through Internet studies programs.

sitecritique.net

[from elegant hack] http://www.sitecritique.net/: SiteCritique.net was designed to help the design community better their work, with the help of fellow designers and developers. Our goal is to evolve as a community and provide a better product to our companies and our clients!

Engineers Won't Design Next-Gen Systems

[from Tomalak's Realm] TechWeb reports that Don Norman spoke about the design of next generation systems at the Embedded Processors Forum and suggested to the Engineers in the audience that they will not be the ones to do the design. Instead, future systems will be designed "by psychologists and social scientists working in combination with engineers and technologists". Norman pointed to the success of the Palm platform to support his thesis that ease of use drives acceptance in the consumer market.

Denim: Rapid prototyping tool

[from a Usability list] Was pointed in the direction of the Denim and Silk applications developed at the Group for User Interface Research at UC Berkeley for rapid prototyping of Web user interfaces. The application supports the way IA's work in 2 key areas: site mapping and page level wireframing. It allows you to sketch the content topology, sketch wireframes for pages, and connect them within the tool. It then builds the click-through of the sketches in HTML. There is a nice realvideo video demonstrating the tool on the bottom of the page. Check it out. It looks like an excellent start.

Form design

[from SIG-IA] Carolyn Jarrett's Effortmark and Forms that work.

UPA 2001, Las Vegas NV: Program now available

Program and registration for the Usability Professional Association's 2001 conference are now available.

Microsoft engineers get help from real people

Usability in the popular press again. A writer for the Dallas News observes Usability testing for Microsoft's MSN in this article.

Argus white paper: Analyzing analysts Web sites

Argus Associates posted a report analyzing the Information Architectures of 6 of the top business analyst's Web sites. "As a whole, we were disappointed in the sophistication of the information architecture of the analyst sites. Considering that large corporations look to these companies for leading-edge e-business strategy, we expected them to understand the importance of a strong information architecture strategy and set the example towards which other companies look for guidance." (p.4)

Writers Unite: Stand Up to Jakob

Nick Usborne is sick of Jakob Nielsen. In Writers Unite: Stand Up to Usability Experts", he takes issue with Nielsen's Usability guidelines for writing copy.

How not to make your site accessible

IBM Developer takes a humorous look at how you can make your site inaccessible. In this article, I explore ways in which a designer, flush with the newfound power of authoring tools with capital letters in the middle of their names, can keep the heathens at bay, and ensure that only the chosen view his work.

NIH Usability Checklist

Government Computer News discusses the National Institutes of Health usability/accessibility checklist. "Make it big, bold and simple" is their mantra; the NIH constituency is a fast growing Web audience of people 60 and older. The NIH has an enormous library of NIH internal documents, presentations, etc. on usability available at their site.

Ecommerce and Usability quickie

Developer had this short article suggesting that Internet shopping is a process and the most important thing to offer in the ecommerce experience is the guidance and information that you provide to help the shopper feel confident enough to buy. To design a site for buyers, you must understand that a purchase decision is a process and not a single action. ... [W]e've simplified the purchase process to three basic approaches: browsing, evaluating, and transacting.

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