I tried Googlism, thanks to Matt Jones.

Definitely no trolls found on iaslash, though maybe there should be? Is there a troll holiday. That would be a nice decoration to get in me in touch with troll lovers who read this blog.


I agree with Christina. MyWay's design rips off Yahoo! very closely. It looks like some strange Yahoo!/Google mutation. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to demo the hell out of it. Maybe I'll sign up for email there so i can spread around my Spam filled inboxes across different servers.

IA book bonanza

Well, I thought, why not just list all three of these great IA books. Christina and Jesse currently hold the spotlight. And as Jeff points out, the polar bear is still relatively new. Seeing these great recent publications in one place just underscores for me the growth of this craft.

Christina's book
[Buy it] [Read about it]

Jesse's book
[Buy it] [Read about it]

Peter's and Lou's
[Buy it] [Read about it]

P.S. My copy of Blueprints arrived today and I'm itching to start reading it. Looks excellent. I'm going to enjoy it thoroughly. :) Have a lookie at the persona collage in Christina's book. I'm the one above Madonnalisa with the glasses!

Knowledge work as craft work

I just got around to reading Jim McGee's article "Knowledge work as craft work" which is an excellent discussion of visibility in the knowledge management process. McGee gives a great example of how visibility of knowledge has gone away since the arrival of desktop computing. In the pre-PC age, paper documents and deliverables (and the knowledge embedded within them) were passed between many people within an organization in the iterative process of knowledge conception/production. With computers, often the traces of this process are lost -- note taking and modification, for example. Because KM is concerned with the dynamic processes of knowledge creation, communication/transfer, and storage, this visibility is essential. He argues that the use of blogs/klogs in this process helps bring back some of that visibility, but the focus he says has to remain with this dynamic process.

I don't doubt that this fundamental aspect of visibility is really lost in most enterprises. Version control and sophisticated KM solutions that capture annotations and recording of other ephemera support the capture of aspects of the knowledge management process, but I'll bet that technology becomes a barrier for most people when it comes to capturing ephemera. The issue of visibility is very interesting to me as an information professional and must have some implications in doing IA, although I haven't quite made the right connections yet. [Damn you, synapses. Fire already!] I'm going to have to read The Social Life of Paper again.

Important Works for Web Navigation

Chad and Tanya pointed to Important Works for Web Navigation, David Danielson's annotated bibliography of essential, foundational literature for the study of web navigation. Danielson has published some other HCI work related to web navigation behavior and design completed during his Masters program at Stanford.

Measuring the Return on Knowledge Management

Andrew brought to my attention the LLRX article by Kingsley Martin, Justifying knowledge management ROI in law firms. James says on Column Two, that it's a "comprehensive article on measuring the return on KM" and is "serves as a model for other industries".

I gotta start paying closer attention to what appears in the news feeds. Marking this one for later reading.

Story Telling

The CDS looks very interesting. The organization is concerned with using digital media to enable people to tell their stories. They provide some case studies for work they've done. Inspired by Victor's recent thoughts on story telling, I wonder if anyone has approached the CDS to discuss the intersection of digital story telling and IA? Seems like an opportunity for some knowledge sharing. I'm mainly interested in story telling at the moment becausing I'm working on personas.

Related to this topic is Richard Toscan's Visual vs. Verbal Storytelling, which compares the story telling approaches in Antonioni's film The Passenger with Ariel Dorfman's play Death and the Maiden. I am not familiar with either. Is interesting to see the breakdown of opening sequences for each of these stories described in terms of sensory media. I actually minored in cinema studies, but tended to shy away from analysis of story telling, especially with regard to textuality, but I've always been interested in how messages are communicated. I guess that last comment seems contradictory :). I wonder, are people who are into this story telling stuff also into Barthes and textuality? I recall the discomfort of actually having to read that literature.

[Thanks infodesign and xblog]

Jakob Nielsen made me do it

joyIs this autumnal image bringing you joy? Am I connecting with your life and physical environment? No, I didn't think so.

[Photo taken in Watermill, Long Island, Oct. 2002]

Norpath Elements

Norpath Elements Studio ships for Windows and Mac OS X. It's a platform for building interactive applications using a toolset and methodology that apparently maps closely to how many people do IA. I think it's a lot like drag-drop wireframing (?). Anyone demo this and have opinions?

    Norpath Elements Studio is a new generation, multipurpose authoring application ideal for creating a wide range of interactive solutions including learning applications, web, rich-media presentations, kiosks, and simulations.
Eye Tracking in Web Search Tasks: Design Implications

This is an interesting 9-page PDF from Stanford (and Oracle?) that gives the results of an small eye tracking study that was run. It's rather technical, but useful, and there's a good list of references at the bottom, so this might best filed in the “save this because it might be very useful later” file.

Information architecture: Five things information managers need

I just read Chris Farnum's article in Information Management Journal (not online I don't think), which describes IA for the benefit of traditional information managers. He did a very good summary of the typical IA role and methodology. Here's the abstract:

    Records and information management is a much more mature and established field than IA. However, both share a connection to the information sciences (e.g., -representation of information, thesaurus design, and information retrieval). Information architects and information management professionals share a passion for organizing information, creating effective content management strategies, and providing efficient access to that content for users.
The citation: Information Management Journal, v36n5, Sep/Oct 2002, p33-40.

Multilingual Dictionary of Knowledge Management

I'm sure the Multilingual Dictionary of Knowledge Management will be useful to me someday. Otto Vollnhals' dictionary translates KM terms in English-German-French-Spanish-Italian.

Nancy A. Van House

Tanya pointed to Nancy A. Van House, someone whom I haven't read. Van House is a professor at UC Berkeley SIMS. Here's how she describes her work:

    My area of expertise is work practice-based design of digital libraries and information systems. This consists of assessing user needs by first understanding users' work, the role of information and information tools, artifacts, and representations in their work, and finally their information actions and intentions. With this understanding, and with the participation of users, information systems and digital libraries can be designed to more effectively support people's information activity.
I haven't been looking at library literature as much in the past few years, but for various reasons have recently taken a new interest in digital libraries and KM.

Fire one!

Provoked, to say the least, by Jeff's new column in Digital Web.

"User-centered information architecture is a myth"; attention to user requirements has "overshadowed the fact that there are business needs that need to be addressed."

The article continues in a more conventional tone, but clearly, there's a lot here that I just flat out disagree with - especially in the context of this discussion.

What say you?

Judge: Disabilities Act doesn't cover Web

Mark , Christina and Adam are discussing this troubling US court ruling affecting accessibility of web sites. This article in covers the ruling.

    A federal judge ruled Friday that Southwest Airlines does not have to revamp its Web site to make it more accessible to the blind.

    In the first case of its kind, U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz said the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies only to physical spaces, such as restaurants and movie theaters, and not to the Internet.

Apparently the ADA laws only apply to meatspace. It's a shame, because the Internet should make mobility more possible for people with disabilities, but far too often the barriers of legacy web design and poorly executed information architectures keep people from using the web efficiently. You'd think a large airline would want to make it easier for this population to buy tickets online.

    Gumson, who said he had a screen reader with a voice synthesizer on his computer, asked the judge to order Southwest to provide text that could serve as an alternative to the graphics on its site and to redesign the site's navigation bar to make it easier for him to understand.
Sounds like the fixes could be minor and relatively inexpensive. Better labelling and standards compliant markup might help in this instance. More companies should just work with users on these fixable problems. In the end the benefit will outweigh the cost of bad publicity. All it really takes is getting the right people in the discussion. No doubt lawyers and PR people were the main players, but what do they know about accessible design?

Review: Elements of User Experience

Jeff Lash reviews Jesse James Garrett's new book, "The Elements of User Experience" in Boxes and Arrows. The book can be ordered from Amazon through Jesse's book site.

I decided to start reading posts in my SIGIA-L folder today. Unfortunately I was greeted with the discussion surrounding Suddenly I remembered why I let that folder grow to 3000+ messages so I could concentrate on work and personal projects.

The noise to signal on SIGIA can be astonishingly deafening and so many of the circular and sometimes damaging philosophical discussions reflect the immaturity of this field. As Whitney asks, " I wonder why we feel the need to be so angry at everyone we think is 'not us'", I start to wonder the same thing. I really don't care if what I do is called IA, LIS, ID or whatever to tell you the truth. I think Adam agrees. In truth, none of those labels defines what I do very well.

It gets easy to turn away from SIGIA when these discussions crop up. The navel gazing gets tiring. I'm in search of more interesting reading. I want to learn something new and valuable each week and have it inform the work I do. I want to see interesting stuff like Peter's xfml work or the interesting diagrams James creates.

Maybe I'm just having a bad day. It might help to change my SIGIA folder to threaded view, so I can make some wholesale deletions.

Happy Birthday

I just saw Victor's post on SIGIA-L wishing IA Wiki a happy birthday! Happy birthday to the wiki and thanks to Eric for creating this excellent resource and to everyone that keeps it rocking.

Consolidated Assessment

Seth Gordon combines scenario design, card sorting, and participatory design into one user-centered lovefest in his article for Boxes and Arrows.

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