Interactionary at CHI 2001

Scott Berkun recaps Interactionary at CHI 2001, where Teams of usability engineers and designers from IBM, Cooper Design, and Trilogy solved design problems live on stage in front of an audience.

Business-speak generator

This business speak generator is a gem. In the spirit of the dilbert mission statement generator,'s Web Economy Bullshit Generator produces gems like:

  • transform visionary infomediaries
  • monetize clicks-and-mortar communities
  • grow magnetic paradigms
Invaluable. Try it on your superiors and see if they latch on! And speaking of Dilbert, here is great one for IAs

CSS2: Designing for aural devices

XML, and Style Sheets are realizing the concept of write once publish everywhere and engineering the user experience for multiple devices is becoming more and more a concern for IA's. With that in mind, webreview has a brief introduction to the concept of using the aural features of CSS2 and of course the CSS2 recommendation can be found at the w3c. ...should you find yourself in a position to discuss this issue with colleagues or clients.

The Myth of 800x600

[another picked up from elegant hack] In Webreview today, James Kalbach (an IA from Razorfish with an IS background) itemizes the different types of layout behaviors fixed, liquid, and hybrid discusses the challenges of designing interfaces. He doesn't suggest in this article that there is one solution that is appropriate to every use, but points out the advantages/disadvantages of each approach.

Debunking the myths of UI design

[picked up by HannaHodge] A lot of great stuff in HannaHodge's brainbox. Paul Smith of IBM developerWorks has a great article on the culture of software developers and looks at the myths related to the design of user interfaces.

Library User Interface Issues

Not much there yet, but an Electronic Resources Librarian at Sweet Briar college is developing Library User Interface Issues (LUII) to discuss Libraries and Usability issues.

Visual Architecture: The Rule of Three

[picked this gem up from eleganthack] Digital Web Magazine's feature, Visual Architecture, discusses the relation of image, word, and composition to suggest how to effectively communicate messages visually. The interaction of objects in a pyramidal composition carries a concept often used in painting over to design. The pyramid is used to convey stability while directing the eye around the corners of the composition. A classic example of this is Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks in the Louvre. Carole Guevin does a nice job of showing how to use triangular composition, dynamic placement, and color to achieve similar effects.

The anti user interface

The NYTimes Arts section is running this article about the art site which gives the public access to it's computer. What you really see is a directory listing of a *NIX machine, and when you follow a few links you are bombarded with pages that take you to different parts of this machine in fashion. Sites like these are about art not information provision, but they do challenge the idea of user experience on the web more boldly than just moving the home page link to the right side of the page.

MarchFirst latest casualty: Declares bankruptcy

[from The Standard] After months of speculation, failed Internet consulting firm MarchFirst last Thursday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A week earlier, the Chicago-based company sold its most valuable assets.

Looking for Metadata in All the Wrong Places

Ed Lehman discusses controlled vocabularies in this Webreference article. He makes the appropriate statement in saying that there is no off the shelf solution to satisfy everyone's needs. Knowledge representation for information retrieval is difficult work that ususally requires the work of humans. He does suggest strategies that are sound, one of which is to grow your controlled vocabulary over time.

CHI 2001: The state of Computer Usability

Computerworld covered the annual Computer/Human Interface (CHI) conference and reported back with this article, Experts: Computers slouching toward usability. The message from the conference was, software and hardware aren't nearly as usable as they should be. And more bluntly put, The devices we're forced to endure are crappy," said Donald Norman, president of in Deerfield, Ill., and author of The Design of Everyday Things (Doubleday, 1988). "Most human error is caused by design error." Well said. But will the word of Usability folks ensure careers for IAs?

2CE CubicEye

A colleague pointed me in the direction of the Cubic Eye, another new tool that attempts to render the web space in 3 dimensions. The search interface lets you view 5 URLs (as panels of an exploded cube) simultaneously. It appears that as you do a Web search in the center panel on a site like Google, the first sites would appear in the 4 adjacent panels.

Personalizing news content: Effects on society

The NYTimes interviewed law professor Cass Sunstein to talk about news filtering and effects on society. The discussion suggests some interesting ideas about democratization and the Internet, and Cass discusses the effects of getting personalized news -- which Nicholas Negroponte refers to as the "Daily Me".

TED review

New York Magazine's Michael Wolff reviews some recent conferences including Wurman's TED, since most of us are not C*O's or aren't wealthy enough to attend. If you are in this elite class. Good for you, don't tell anyone.

Cooper quickie

Caught this little blurb on Alan Cooper in Interactive Week.

Information design sighting: How the stud finder works

Came across these nice communication graphics in NYTimes' Circuits. When you get to the article, click on the picture with the caption, "Finding what lies beneath".

Figlet = ascii coolness

OK. I'm having one of those punchy early mornings. I had to post a link to figlet which I picked up from antenna.

The demise of "Clippy", the MS Paperclip

C|Net's ran this article confirming that Miscrosoft's Clippy has been handed its pink slip. MS has put up a mock site with Clippy's resume since it will be looking for a job. How cute, Microsoft [insert finger in mouth, follow with wretching sounds]. So why would MS axe the AI helper? Here's a quote: The campaign and a companion Web site trumpet Microsoft's forthcoming Office XP software as so easy to use that Clippy is out of a job. Hrmmmm. Or maybe, so many people were annoyed by Clippy that he was voted out like Survivor style. We'll be the judge of how easy to use Office XP turns out to be.

5k Award 2001: Voting time

5k Award time again. Submissions are in and it's time to take a look and vote. [Note: seems to be having some server problems as a result of the slashdot effect, so don't be surprised if their servers seem slow. Ironic isn't it?]

Call for papers: WebdevShare conference

The annual WebdevShare conference is the premier conference on the development and delivery of effective Web-based systems, geared specifically for professionals in higher education. The Fall 2001 conference will mark the sixth consecutive year of the conference on the Indiana University Bloomington campus. Call for participation information.

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