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Gain is dead, long live Gain

Gain used to be AIGA's "Experience Design" journal, with great things from smart smart cookies. Now the AIGA has transmorgified it to be a "business and design" journal. Not quite so k3wl, but maybe more valuable...IMNSHO reaching out to business decision makers is the single most needed thing for the user experience disciplines to make real impact.

Visio - the interaction designer's nail gun?

Christina pointed to Henrik Olsen's article on using Visio to rapid prototype. The article talks about the process of using background pages and links to create clickable prototypes. I tipped this technique in the discussion of Dan's Visio article on B&A.

I've been using Visio 5 for the last 3 years (the pre-MS version) and doing quick prototypes for applications that way -- sad to say I'm afraid to ask my company to cough up the dough for an upgrade. Visio is a very worthy tool, and because of the entrenched Microsoft environment I work in, it is the tool of choice. Lately, however, I've found that using the Omni tools (Graffle and Outline) I can produce nicer diagrams exported as PDF. I have also been looking at Inspiration for OS X, anything to be able to use my TiBook more and my ThinkPad less. But I'm not sure I can do it all yet with these Visio alternatives -- especially using background-pages to create global elements and exporting an entire project to create a click-through prototype. If I figure out how to do it, I'll write about it. If someone else can do it, tell me about it.

New Adaptive Path articles

Adaptive Path is cornerning the market on IA articles and mind share lately. Superstars write a lot.

Progress Paralysis: Eight steps to get your Web site moving again by Peter Merholz in New Architect.

The Culture of Usability: How to spend less and get more from your usability-testing program by Janice Fraser in New Architect.

Site Navigation: A Few Helpful Definitions by Indi Young in Adaptive Path Publications.

The THE

Jef Raskin's The Humane Evironment has been making the rounds. Works on OS X. I wonder if anyone has checked it out using CVS and installed. Haven't read anyone's observations yet.

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OS X Interface Hall of Shame

Nate pointed to OS X Interface Hall of Shame. He says,

    [D]espite this being a gallery of things that could/should be done better in the OS X interface, one still gets the feeling that other interfaces are only far worse... maybe I'm reading into it.
Thanks, webgraphics

GUP: Say it five times quickly

Graphical Presentation of User Profiles (PDF) is a technique for creating visual representations of system users. Just as storyboards are 'visual scenarios', GUP can serve as a 'visual persona'. As useful as personas are, they are primarily textual. GUP and variants offer a 'user at a glance' format that complements the rich story a persona and scenarios can communicate. The rest of the between project looks pretty cool too.

What people say, what people do, and what people say they do...

There's an interesting excerpt from a 1977 article called “Telling More Than We Know” talking about the original study that showed that what people say is not necessarily what they do. In this case, test subjects were given a problem to solve and denied getting the solution from a clue they were given, even giving credit to a useless clue while neglecting to mention the genuinely helpful one.

There's also original data from a 1977 study involving word pairs and brand recognition. I'm not good enough to sum it up here, and it's a pretty short description they've got, so you might as well just read it.

Just two more reminders that, in the words of Margaret Meade: “What people say, what people do, and what people say they do are entirely different things.”

WASPs invade Digital Web

DigitalWeb has 2 articles covering web standards.

In 99.9% of Websites Are Obsolete Jeffrey Zeldman has a terrific rant about the disease of convoluted front-end code and markup and how to heal your sites and make them forward compatible with proper attention to web standards. The points at the end of the article make great elevator pitches if you have to sell web standards to your organization.

Also in this issue, Meryl interviews Steven Champeon and Shirley Kaiser about the education focus of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) Phase II.

Inspiration 7, now OS X compatible

Inspiration 7 is available and now it' also supports OS X. A 30 day demo is available from their site.

I'm actually quite excited about this because I get lazier and lazier as I get older :) and Inspiration produces nice site maps very quickly using the rapidfire feature. I'm still loving the beautiful diagrams that OmniGraffle is producing though.

OmniGraffle wireframe palette: minor updates

I made some minor updates to my OmniGraffle wireframe palette to include a title box, some added box outlines, and note shapes.

Luke Wroblewski On The Pursuit of Simplicity

Luke Wroblewski, author of the book "Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability", offers some approaches when trying to design easy to use web sites unencumbered by complex features. Comes down to knowing your audience, understanding your medium (being aware of patterns and conventions), communicating concisely and well, reducing feature complexity.

Thanks, Erin

Ten Best Intranets of 2002

Jakob's article promotes their annual Intranet report, which is perhaps most interesting to people who want to benchmark their intranet against some best of class intranets out there. There appear to be some good general observations about how corporations approach intranet re-designs and buy in.

Spring Desktop

The Matts (Jones and Webb) pointed to the Spring desktop for Mac OS X, an alternative interface for navigating the stuff on/with your computer.

    More Human. Less Machine. The Spring Desktop is concept-centric, not file, folder, site, or brand-centric. It's designed for the way you naturally think.
BBC RSS feeds

Matt pointed to some RSS feeds available from the BBC.

Information architecture: learning how to classify

You won't really learn anything about how to classify content by reading this Gerry McGovern article. I will disagree with this point:

    2. Design classification like it will be 'written in stone.'
    You don't want to be changing your classification every
    six months. This will mean a lot of work and will create
    confusion.
You can attempt to do that, but when times change, terms will change. The term "Primitive art" was once accepted by the art community as a major rubric for referring to arts of Africa, Oceania, etc. Now that term is considered by some to be patently offensive. The Library of Congress Subject Headings are constantly becoming outdated as the English language changes and as new concepts arrive and older concepts evolve. The organization of knowledge also shifts with time. Change is inevitable. You just have to allow for it in terms of time and resources.

UPA Voice. Volume 4 Issue 3 (Sept 2002)

New issue of the UPA newsletter is out with these articles.

  • Common Principles: A Usable Interface Design Primer. By Rick Oppedisano
  • Using Usability Testing to Determine "Related Links" in An Online Brokerage Web Site. By Ioannis Vasmatzidis, Eliot Jablonka, and Hsin Eu
  • New Friends of Usability Certificates Promote Usability by Saying "Thank You": A new UPA Outreach program you can use… By Whitney Quesenbery
Labels on buildings

If you're into wayfinding, design, and labels then Public Lettering: a walk through central London is an charming tour through typography in public spaces.

cfp IA "Making Connections" Portland, OR: 2003 March 21-23

After last night's random chat, I looked up IA meetings in Portland, OR, and found

Information Architecture "Making Connections"
March 21-23 Portland, OR

The 2003 summit on Information Architecture will explore the many elements that go into creating excellent information architecture, both from within the discipline and without.

The Summit seeks proposals for Case Studies, Presentations that demonstrate innovative and effectiveinformation architecture practices and Posters.

We are open to contributions from people with solid and relevant ideas, including areas that may be considered ancillary or outside of Information Architecture. If selected, we simply ask that you put in the time required to create a solid and professional presentation for the conference attendees.

Case studies are requested to specify

type of site (e.g., entertainment, portal, intranet)

I guess people would be surprised if I submitted an architecturefor navigating a farmer's market [.mov file].

Official CFP at http://www.asis.org/Conferences/IA03/cfp.html .

ps, I need to find a more efficient way of formatting Drupal posts than manually HTML-ing tr td width etc. Maybe need to preview the teaser, too.

Ambient Findability

Peter muses on findabilty in the coming era of ambient interfaces/devices employing nanotechnology and wireless Internetworking.

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