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Practical Persona Creation

Keith Robinson has an interesting article on Evolt about Practical Persona Creation. If you've used personas before, there's not a lot new, but it's a good introduction for colleagues or others not familiar with the technique. He's also followed it up with a couple example personas.

multimedia is not dead, it's just asleep

Some people believe that User Experience is something that can be designed, and dating back to the theme park ride sensorama where one sat on a motorcycle seat that vibrated and bumped along while displaying a movie of the motorcycle experience and even wafting some gasoline fumes the amusement seeker's way...there have been arenas where the imagineering was truly a designed User Experinnce art

fast forward from the days of the new york world's fair and coney island fortune telling machines to lucas/disney's star tours and universal's back to the future rides and we begin to see the true potential of a designed user experience. it's definately not about sitting on the couch watching a super bowl ad with a can of duff's in hand; & it's probably not about sending a global wire transfer via c2it.com either

it might be about feeling the vibe of an interactive branding presentation, especially if it's presented in letterbox format with some deafening sound effects

see what i mean at studiocom's groovy interactive agency website

the content is prety rightous, but why can't they keep the browser window to a proper size matching their letterbox media windows?

I'm not entirely sure the user experience itself can be designed into crt images and text entry fields [and i'm not convinced that any website is more engaging than eating a bag of munchies or party mix].

Objections to objections to user-centered design

In the final issue of New Architect JJG's article All Those Opposed refutes common objections to a user-centered design approach.

Selling Information Architecture The Right Way

In A User-Centered Approach to Selling Information Architecture, over at Digital-Web, Jeff Lash gives a great article on not only the selling of IA, but in effect putting the goals and needs of the client first.

IA around the world.

AIFIA is starting an initiative, managed by Peter Van Dijck, to try and promote, educate and generally talk about IA in an international context. If you would like to get involved with the discussion, point your browser to the Aifia-translation -- international information architecture discussion list.

Practical RDF Book & Site

This site was recommended by a fellow engineer at work. It's basically the support/info site for the O'Reilly Book Practical RDF by Shelley Powers et al. They have chapter samples online and it's an interesting practical perspective in applying RDF. Many other resources are mentioned that supplement the book's offerings.

Patterns for Personal Websites

Mark Irons has a great collection of patterns for personal web sites. Not only useful for folks building personal sites, but a good reminder that patterns are contextual - that creating universal interaction design patterns only provides a starting point. Broad patterns are a good starting point, but specific types of sites or applications also require specific additional patterns suited to their context. (and of course, good sites go beyond patterns to really fit the goals of sponsors and stakeholders)

A Simplified Model for Facet Analysis

AIfIA has republished Dr. Louise Spiteri's article "A Simplified Model for Facet Analysis".

disinfojournal

disinformation, “the first international e-journal of disinformation on the net,” has launched, and the first issue is available online. From their home page

There is obviously a huge lack of quality information on behavior, amount and usage regarding disinformation on the internet. As information has been increasingly invested with value, people have tried to manipulate, destroy, or acquire it in any way possible. Circumstances and instances cover a broad range of disinformation on the net or IP-based networks. The disinfojournal deals with topics in all areas of disinformation. This includes, but is not limited to library and information science, information technology, electronic publishing, database management, data mining, knowledge production, knowledge dissemination and of course malinformation and disinformation approached from sociological, psychological, philosophical, theoretical, technical, and applied perspectives.

The first issue includes About 5 percent of your intranet information is malicious or wrong and The usage of forms and false data: a field study, among others.

Unfortunately, the only way to get the full text is via email (?); HTML and PDF abstracts are available online.

AIfIA Volunteers to Operate IA Slash

After two years of operating this site, I am stepping down from daily blogging and moderating because of personal commitments. I have donated the site to AIfIA and will be migrating from my host to the AIfIA servers in the coming weeks.

I hope that the IA community will continue to find interesting sites and literature on iaslash as a few very generous AIfIA volunteers take on the role of blogging and moderating. Thanks for watching this site for the past couple of years. I hope iaslash users will continue to contribute to it.

-Michael (jibbajabba)

Here is the AIfIA press release:

Michael Angeles, creator of the information architecture community news site IA Slash, is donating the site to the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture (AIfIA). AIfIA members will moderate and administer IA Slash. IA Slash will continue to operate as an open community for information architects.

"After 2 years of running IA Slash, I have decided to step down from daily blogging to focus on commitments in my personal life," said Michael. "I initially planned to retire the site, but instead offered it to AIfIA."

"IA Slash is a tremendous resource for our community and it would have been a great loss if Michael had retired the site," said Christina Wodtke, AIfIA President. "AIfIA and its members can continue and hopefully expand on Michael's excellent work."

"We also plan to operate IA Slash in the spirit it was created--as an open community for all information architects," said Wodtke. "AIfIA members will provide the moderation, administration and technical support for IA Slash. However, anyone with an interest in IA will be able to post and comment."

The transfer of IA Slash to AIfIA begins immediately and will take several weeks. Costs of the transfer are expected to be minimal. Updates on the transfer will be posted at IA Slash (www.iaslash.org).

For more information, contact AIfIA's media coordinator Jeff Lash.

Visualizing your traffic flow

My sysadmin and I have been playing with graphviz today. I was playing with it on Mac OS X and he used Randal Schwartz's perl script in Web Techniques Column 58 (Feb 2001). He was able to quickly produce a diagram that shows user flow based on Apache referrer logs. The script feeds your log files to graphiviz's dot program and outputs a gif file.

We were both surprised that we didn't find more people writing about using graphviz to analyze of patterns of information-use. Graphviz seems so easy. I know James has been doing a lot of work on generating diagrams from referrer logs using OmniGraffle and Applescript.

Reversible

Reversible.org is a site that automatically links back to anyone who links to it. There are some implications for this on the Reversible about page.

It has elements of a blog, a directory, a wiki, and more. Definitely an interesting effort in bottom-up categorization, for one thing. And I'm not sure how I can link to a page that I'm interested in, without also being included in that page...this is an issue, since pages act sort of like nodes in a hierarchy, and and so linking to a page implies that my linking page is a member of that node.

That means that appropriate places to link would be reversible.org/blogs, reversible.org/blogs/IA, reversible.org/design/IA, and reversible.org/design/userexperience

We'll see what kind of emergent patterns reveal themselves in a week or two.

Diagramming software

I've been reminded of AT&T Labs' GraphViz again, most recently by a Drupal developer who's writing code to draw diagrams from Drupal's database. Lately, my organization has been pushing to get reports of user data. The reports we get generated from our sysadmin are mostly raw dumps of data that have some columnar formatting. What we're looking at right now is using log files to auto-generate diagrams that show usage data. Should be fun. If you've done this sort of thing with GraphViz before I'd love to hear about your experience. I've downloaded the Mac OS X package and am learning the languages now.

Other semi-automated diagramming packages (gleaned from the Tulip site).

Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture v-2 interview

Adam interviews Karl Fast, John Zapolski and Jeff Lash to address some unanswered questions about the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture and to discuss what it has accomplished thus far and where it's going.

iaslash turns terrible 2

iaslash turns 2 today! The terrible part is that I haven't been blogging much lately, but at least the signal to noise ratio has been good. :) In the coming weeks/months some changes that will help keep this community blog relevant are expected. More on that as it happens.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

The latest Alertbox states that only 39% of the screen elements for the web sites studied were devoted to navigation and content. But that's 39% of everything that appears on the screen, and Nielsen admits that site owners have no control over OS and browser overhead. If we look instead at elements that are controllable by site owners, the "average" site's navigation and content take up almost 49% of this "controllable" space.

That seems to be a more relevant statistic (although it doesn't make for good sound bites).

Ten Commandments of Content Management

From Progressive Information Technolgies (tagline: “Information Architects for Publishing”) comes the Ten Commandments of Content Management:

  1. Content must be stored only once.
  2. Content must be separate from tagging.
  3. Granularity of content must be available at any level.
  4. Use metadata to enhance content management capability.
  5. Loading, editing, and extracting must be independent operations.
  6. Objects must have power.
  7. Think enterprise solution, not just specific content.
  8. Content views must support the user needs.
  9. Your current DTD is the start, not the end, of your content management.
  10. Your content management system must promote re-usability and extensibility.

These will probably be no-brainers for anyone who has worked with content management or CMSs, but there are some useful tips and helpful “Points to look for” for those trying to get their head around the whole idea.

The Critique of Everyday Things

Adam takes a scenario inspired look at a new Krazy-Glue as Band-Aid product - an interesting application of daily IA tools to an everyday thing.

The Problems with CMS

There's plenty of criticism of content management systems (CMS). Discovering what bothers us most can help us start to address these problems constructively. We conducted a survey to identify the biggest obstacles to effective content management systems. View the results.

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