jibbajabba's blog

Gestalt theory and design

In Visual perception and design, Tanya points to some resources for Gestalt theory and design, including Luke Wrobleski's Visible Narratives: Understanding Visual Organization in Boxes and Arrows, which I didn't see last week. Don't know how I missed that one. Last week must have been busy.

HTML's Time is Over. Let's Move On.

By David Heller in Boxes and Arrows.

    As users and builders demand more and more richness from the Web, we need to re-evaluate the technology that 99% of it is built on. It seems no matter how sophisticated our back ends get, the front ends remain stagnant. What other options are there? What are the requirements that we as user experience designers face that newer technologies miss the boat on?
Practical Applications: Visio or HTML for Wireframes

By Jeff Gothelf in Boxes and Arrows.

    Design organizations inevitably run across the debate of Visio versus HTML wireframes. The decision for one over the other is never a clear-cut one since, as with all things IA-related, it depends. This article seeks to sort out the issues by describing the pros and cons of each and identifying situations where one may be more effective than the other.
Voice Interfaces: Assessing the Potential

Jakob Nielsen says, in Alertbox, that voice interfaces have the greatest potential in the immediate future when they can be applied to situations where the traditional keyboard-mouse-monitor combination are problematic, e.g. users with disabilities, phone systems, cars. He adds that "visual interfaces can communicate much more information than auditory interfaces whenever users have a monitor and are capable of looking at it. And that "voice interfaces hold their greatest promise as an additional component to a multi-modal dialogue, rather than as the only interface channel."

It's fun to note that Jakob uses a HipTop. He's got a good suggestion for how to make voice alerts usable, if you want to have your phone tell you, "Your mother is calling". Would you really want that, though?

Frames and global navigation patented

I didn't believe this when I read it on other blogs, but Prodigy is claiming that in 1996 they patented web site global or primary navigation. There's a story on this topic in the NY Times. Something really has to be done about how patents get awarded. Why on earth would anyone want to pursue royalties on an interface design element such as navigation menus? I'm sure someone can make the claim that the design of persistent menus can be traced back to non-web interfaces and argue that these types of menus are not a new thing. This would be a good time to use the Internet Archive's way back machine, in this case to find some pre-1996 example of global navigation.

More from the article:

    When British Telecom claimed in 2000 that it had patented the Web's ubiquitous hyperlink, the Internet erupted in a fit of protest that lasted until the company lost its test infringement case against Prodigy Communications last summer.

    But that has not stopped Prodigy's parent company, SBC Communications, from asserting a patent claim on a Web navigation technique nearly as widely used. According to letters SBC sent out last week, the company believes that any Web site that has a menu that remains on the screen while a user clicks through the site may owe it royalties.

Collaborative Knowledge Networks

Gunnar pointed me to Deloitte Consulting report, Collaborative Knowledge Networks: Driving Workforce Performance Through Web-enabled Communities, which I'm reading today. (Warning, lengthy regisration process to download the PDF). A lot of research reports available there for free if you register. This one is helping me with a KM article I'm writing presently.

Introduction to XFML

Peter published an article on XML.com that describes what XFML is and how to use it. Nice work, Peter.

IA in Italiano

Eric pointed some AIfIA folks to the InformationArchitecture.it site. Wow, I might get to use that 2 semesters of Italian I took.

Making Cents from Information Architecture

Article on the value of IA by Alan K'necht in Digital Web.

When it comes to Web development, everybody has taken short cuts over the years. This holds especially true when working on low budget projects. One of the most costly short cuts is skipping the development of a sound and highly functional information architecture (IA). While this short cut may take several forms, failure to devote enough resources and to document it properly will cost the owner of the Web site more than just a few cents.

Boxes and Arrows: Interaction and interface

What is a Web Application? by Bob Baxley

What distinguishes a web application from a traditional, content-based website and what are some of the unique design challenges associated with web applications? A reasonable launching point is the more fundamental question, ?What is an application?

Visible Narratives: Understanding Visual Organization by Luke Wroblewski

Visual designers working on the web need an understanding of the medium in which they work, so many have taken to code. Many have entered the usability lab. But what about the other side? Are developers and human factors professionals immersed in literature on gestalt and color theory?

ia/ gets small for the HipTop

Sorry to throw the layout out of wack again. Sseems like I do that every 6 months. I made the default theme show the login and custom block in the right side to make the page usable for handheld browsers (Hiptops and PDAs). If you want the old theme, you'll need to select the rokakuleft theme in your account preferences.

If you're going to be surfing on a handheld you can try the new handheld theme [view screenshot]. You can select the handheld theme in your account preferences.

ASIST IA Summit 2003, Portland Oregon

Going to the ASIST IA Summit 2003 in Portland Oregon? The conference web site is up.

Understanding Information Architecture

Christina pointed to this article in Online Journalism Review.

Most journalists who have made the jump to working online are familiar with the experience of being told by some black-clad San Francisco hipster that they're doing everything wrong. Jesse James Garrett lives in San Francisco, and admits to having a black-only wardrobe. What's more, he is an Information Architect, a member of a discipline that has a reputation for being a preserve of the hipper-than-thou. So it came as a bit of a shock when he told me that he thinks "journalism still has more to teach information architecture than information architecture has to teach journalism."

Questions Information Architects Ask (London, 11/02)

More questions IAs ask from Lou Rosenfeld's tour with NN/g. This set is from his London stop.

Future of Information Architecture

Results from a survey of IAs taken by the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture in January 2003.

The decisions we make today are influenced by our implicit assumptions about tomorrow. During these turbulent times, all of us can benefit by asking the difficult questions and sharing insights. This survey is part of an effort to identify important trends and possible futures for information architecture. Results will be analyzed during the upcoming Leadership Seminar.

Transmedia convergence

Interesting article in Technology Review about storytelling and the convergence of assets across media to deliver and sell content in multiple markets.

[W]e have entered an era of media convergence that makes the flow of content across multiple media channels almost inevitable.

...

While the technological infrastructure is ready, the economic prospects sweet, and the audience primed, the media industries haven't done a very good job of collaborating to produce compelling transmedia experiences. Even within the media conglomerates, units compete aggressively rather than collaborate.

Drawing

Drawing is a hot topic on AIGIA-ED. In a recent discussion Christina pointed to a wonderful resource in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain for those who want to learn.

Business apps get bad marks in usability

ZDNet reports on research conducted by Forrester that is part of a bigger report the firm is publishing that evaluates software companies that sell enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications.

Forrester has found that even commonplace tasks can take 'inordinate patience' to carry out - and that adds up to big expenses for companies.

Up my street

The Guardian has a good review of the UK site Upmystreet.com, which allows people to seek information/services within a neighborhood by entering a postal code. The site has gone a step further by connecting people in within that locale as well. The ability to mix information seeking and interpersonal interaction seems like an interesting idea. When you consider that mobile devices will can be used to access services like this, new possibilities as well as new concerns are inevitable. Apparently there are some issues of privacy and safety, such as concern over the safety of children using the service. Nevertheless, a cool new way of making connections via locale.

Managing Section 508 testing

William T. Kelly on Builder.com offers tips for managing Section 508 testing.

Project managers, developers, and quality assurance staff who embark on testing the first Section 508-compliant Web development project are often breaking new ground. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 mandates that U.S. government agencies provide people with disabilities access to electronic and information technology. These tips will help you find the right testing methodology to ensure that your Web development project is Section 508 compliant and also meets your client requirements.

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