jibbajabba's blog

Websitetips.com's index of IA and Usability sites

Found this sort of mixed bag of IA and Uasability articles and sites list on webdesigntips.com. I think this site could use an IA to organize its stuff.

Goal-Oriented Navigation Design

This article by Kevin Knabe from News & Views, Society for Technical Communication, Philadelphia Metro Chapter, April 2001 was gleaned in EH Gleanings. The role of an information architect often isn’t fully understood, even within software and web development organizations. At one company I was sometimes introduced to teams as "our navigation guy." I’m actually okay with "navigation guy" as an informal working title, provided it comes with the understanding that navigation isn't something that can just be slapped onto a system, but rather one aspect of a broader user-centered design approach.

The TAO of Topic Maps: finding the way in the age of infoglut

I usually focus on a few articles per day to give me the substance I need for intellectual nourishment. Today, it's this rather lengthy discussion of topic maps by Steve Pepper, presented at a Graphic Communications Association's XML Europe conference. Topic maps are a new ISO standard for describing knowledge structures and associating them with information resources. As such they constitute an enabling technology for knowledge management. Dubbed “the GPS of the information universe”, topic maps are also destined to provide powerful new ways of navigating large and interconnected corpora. While it is possible to represent immensely complex structures using topic maps, the basic concepts of the model – Topics, Associations, and Occurrences (TAO) – are easily grasped. This paper provides a non-technical introduction to these and other concepts (the IFS and BUTS of topic maps), relating them to things that are familiar to all of us from the realms of publishing and information management, and attempting to convey some idea of the uses to which topic maps will be put in the future. thanks xblog

Applying the Behavioral, Cognitive, and Social Sciences to Products

Christina Wodtke calls this Don Norman article, "the single most important article I've seen this year if you are an IA or usability wonk. It's actually easier to read than it appears at first blush.

From search to find

This Infoworld article discusses efforts to attempt to make finding more relevant and manipulable results using Web search engines. Here's the lofty claim. The Internet is a gigantic and unstructured collection of loose pages that defies static classification, which makes finding information difficult and unpredictable. The evolution of Web search technologies promises some discipline with tools that will automatically and accurately categorize dispersed and rapidly changing sources of knowledge, simplifying integration of that data with commercial applications.

Ten Mistakes in Site Planning

In Webreview, Steve Franklin suggests ten steps to include in your Web site planning process. There are many layers of design, from graphics to layout to information architecture to usability. But before you can start refining the details, it's best to make sure you've cleared your site of the ten most common flaws. Once you know your goals and agree on your audience, your energy should be focused into making good design decisions that meet your objectives. Hard and fast rules like "don't use frames" aren't going to apply to every site of course. But whenever you decide to go against convention, be sure you are doing it for the right reasons, and that your organization will benefit from the design decision.

Is that a category I see before me?

An article in the Australian Broadcasting News site (gleaned from CHIWEB) talks about research to measure brain activity to measure recognition of categories in humans while browsing visual images. A team led by Dr James Haxby of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports on the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brains of six subjects, in this week's issue of Science. The team claims they can tell what category of object a person is looking at by the pattern of brain activity it produces, although an Australian expert in the area is not convinced.

Designing Information Architecture for Search and Usability of Web Search

Bloug pointed to a lengthy tutorial on Search that you can sink your teeth into. Designing Information Architecture for Search is a tutorial given at ACM's SIGIR by Marti Hearst's of UC Berkeley. Covers search interfaces (Web search vs. site search, results presentation), methodology (IA and faceted metadata), and results of Usability studies on Search. Also of interest from this Berkeley site is Examining the Usability of Web Site Search (PDF), which presents preliminary results of Usability studies done at Berkeley which suggest that use of faceted metadata can be useful for the initial stages of highly constrained search and for intermediate stages of less constrained browsing tasks. Also finds that users state an interest in using different search interface types to support different search strategies.

10 websites that work

10 sites that know how to work the Web, according to InformationWeek. Certain sites have what it takes to succeed, even in this dot-bomb environment. What helps explain their winning ways? Take a look at our sampling of E-businesses that know how to meet or even beat their business goals, and see for yourself.

Information architecture of business-to-consumer e-commerce websites

This article in the Journal of Information Science (not available online) looks at information organization of B2C catalogues for retail video sellers and assesses their usefulness from an LIS perspective. Spiteri, Louise R. "Information architecture of business-to-consumer e-commerce websites. Part I: The online catalogue of selected video retailers". Journal of Information Science, v27n4, 2001, p239-248. Recent surveys of business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce websites indicate that these sites lack well-designed online catalogues necessary to enable consumers to locate easily what they want to find. This paper examines how online vendors organize their catalogues and how this organization could affect the consumers' ability to find the information necessary to make an informed purchase. The contents of the catalogues of 50 B2C video websites were evaluated against fifteen criteria derived from the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. Results indicate that, on average, the catalogues meet only 8.8 of the fifteen criteria and thus fail to provide consumers with sufficient information needed to make a fully informed and rational purchasing decision. The only elements of information the consumer can be assured of finding are the title and purchase price of the videos.

Tog on The Airport Experience

In AskTog, Bruce T. talks about ways to improve security on airplanes. The terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington made it clear that our current commercial airline security is inadequate. The question is how much further inconvenience must the flying public face before we are rid of the threat of further attack. Like most interface issues, it would appear at first glance that the users of the system must necessarily accept significant inconvenience. Like most interface issues, a deeper analysis shows little, if any, inconvenience is really necessary. ... The answer is to change the technology to fit the new circumstances.

Adobe has announced Extensible Metadata Platform

Found from Drop.org: XMP is RDF-based way to add metadata for binary media files. That extra information will included to files as binary packets. SDK to add and extract metadata from files will be open-source and free. Official XMP page is here.

How We Work to Make the Web Speak

Susie Christensen's article in Computers In Libraries Vol. 21, No. 9, discusses how librarians at the Webcenter at the Danish National Library for the Blind make their content accessible and offer simple suggestions for making your site accessible to the blind. In order to make Web sites accessible to most people, there are a few steps you have to take. But since many people don't even know, for instance, that a blind person can use the Internet, these simple steps are very rarely taken when Web sites are designed. Here in Denmark, we don't have any legislation to ensure that disabled people will have access to technology (like Section 508 in the U.S.). The government occasionally calls upon technology developers to think about the accessibility issues, but until recently, this has been considered a very expensive and complicated task. To alter this view on accessibility, the Danish National Library for the Blind opened the Webcenter in January 2000. At the Webcenter, our mission is to help organizations that create online information to make it all available to everyone. That is why we make an effort to teach the Webmasters, Web administrators, and other technology developers at the public libraries (and at other content providers) how to design solutions that are fancy, interesting, and accessible, all at the same time. We believe that when the competence to do so is in every public library, then the responsibility to ensure access will be there too.

Tech devices leave many befuddled

This Mercury News article says that tech manufacturers need to make usability a priority. Some experts warn that the high-tech revolution could stall unless the industry starts making products that consumers can use -- without their own in-home information-technology support team. "To take the market to its full potential, you need usability. Otherwise consumers won't buy the technology,'' says serial entrepreneur Judy Estrin, currently the CEO of Packet Design. Estrin is one of a small but growing chorus of high-tech's early pioneers who are urging technology makers to stop emphasizing complex features that many people don't use and make usability a top priority.

Graphical User Interface Gallery

HCI Index pointed to Nathan Toasty's gallery of GUI's, which shows screen shots of long forgotten GUIs like Microsoft Windows Version 1.x, The Apple II Desktop, and others like the Amiga, BeOS, Tandy Deskmate.

Why metadata is important

Gerry McGovern on metadeta. There is an ongoing reluctance among people who create content for the Web to add appropriate metadata to that content. This reluctance is leading to a situation where much of the Web is sinking in a morass of information overload. Instead of being a giant library, as hoped, increasing sections of the Web are looking like a giant dump.

Contentville.com Shutters Web Site

Brill Media Holdings LP has closed its Contentville Web site, the company's founder, Steve Brill said in a message posted on the site. Contentville was founded in July 2000 as an online seller of book and other media content, including term papers, speeches and more.

Portable PCs show where technology is headed

I have seen the future. It was hanging less than an inch in front of my right eye, and it'll be in front of your face soon. Jeff Raskin talks in Forbes about the tiny wearable display manufactured by MicroOptical and muses for a future where wearable computing gets mass market buy-in.

Deferred Hypertext - Virtues of Delayed Gratification

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox for September 30 is now online. Navigating a full browsing session to find information can be unpleasant and slow, particularly on mobile devices. Instead, issue a deferred request and have the information arrive later, as done by some SMS systems.

The Usability of Online Content

Content carries many usability issues, argues Pete Benedict. Here is his take as published in Content Wire. Usability specialists need to learn more about content, something rather vital that ‘the field has traditionally ignored’, was a point recently being discussed in ‘usability’ circles. thanks Interaction by Design

XML feed