jibbajabba's blog

Public Relations Site Usability

This isn't available on the Web, but may interest people who occassionaly design PR sites or PR sections of sites. Hallahan, Kirk. "Improving public relations web sites through usability research." Public Relations Review 27:2 (2001)

Human Markup Language

LIS News (via Slashdot) had this tidbit about a markup language for human characteristics. The full story is in the InternetNews article, Working on a Unified Code for 'LOL' or :). OASIS, the XML interoperability consortium, has founded a committee to develop methods for describing human characteristics through XML: The OASIS HumanMarkup Technical Committee (TC) will work to develop Human Markup Language (HumanML), a schema for embedding contextual human characteristics -- cultural, social, kinesic (body language), psychological and intentional features -- within information.

Image makeovers for librarians

A NY Times article discusses the ALA's effort to bring awareness to the kinds of people that are librarians in the article, Librarians Adjust Image in an Effort to Fill Jobs . I have to say that the NYTimes did a more convincing job of showing that you can be young or hip and be a librarian than ALA does in their @your library section, The Ultimate Search Engine is Your Librarian. What they fail to promote is the fact that a lot of different and interesting people go to school for library and information science degrees to also get cool jobs outside of libraries. Wait... Maybe that's the problem.

DONT'S -- Don't make voter registration info. public

Here's something you shouldn't do. The NY Times has an article about public records going online. Am I. . . Registered to Vote or Not? displays registered voters' Address and political party affiliation by just entering a last name and birthdate.

45% of consumers use retailer's sites to research products before buying it in the same retailer's store

There's more to e-commerce than online profits. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of retailers are wrongly judging the success of their Internet investments, according to Jupiter Media Metrix, because they're relying on top-line metrics such as online sales and profits. ... A Jupiter Consumer Survey found that 45 percent of consumers have used a retailer's Web sites to research a product before buying it in that same company's store. ... 89 percent of teens (ages 13 to 17) have never made an online purchase, but 29 percent research products on the Internet before buying them at stores.

Thoughts on "rightsizing" in the new economy

Why must American corporations speak in code? I haven't been axed yet, but my company -- once considered a great place to work -- started informing people today whether they had a job or not. They will announce today that by March of 2002, 17,000 people will have been removed from payroll. A lot of great people have been removed and others reassigned for the worse. I initially came to Bell Laboratories because it runs one of the most respected information organizations (nee libraries) in the world. As with all large organizations, however, the real talent and the hard workers (the doers) are held down and played with like pawns, and as a colleague of mine said today, "Their game IS the game.". Feeling powerless in the bureaucratic nightmare that plays with lives makes one start to wonder at what point one should throw in the towel and head for greener pastures -- if they do exist elsewhere. It's a shame. This place has really been an interesting place to work -- the place that invented UNIX, the laser, wireless communication, etc. Now it's just another casualty.

Future Directions for IA

Lou Rosenfeld considers the future of our field in his Bloug. Here are the areas that he proposes are within our domain:

  • Distinguishing users' information needs
  • Determining content granularity
  • Developing hybrid architectures
  • Presenting search results better
  • Understanding and using metadata
  • Rolling out enterprise-wide architectures
Text readability

This Web Marketing Today article discusses what they found be the the most readable fonts and sizes for HTML e-mail according to a survey of Doctor EBiz readers. thanks lgf

[insert name]'s Amazon Store

Victor's blog led me to Erin's (emdezine) observations about the latest personalization feature on Amazon, a page aggregating your wishlist and recommendations under one tab. Such clever little people those Amazonians. Here's an example:

Who Owns Your Intranet?

Fast Company surveys opinions about Intranet Ownership questions. As companies march ahead with efforts to link employees through internal Web sites, they are learning a key design principle: If you want your intranet to take off, then take a hands-off approach. The case for intranet democracy. ... In a world full of turf battles, it takes real courage to stand up and say, "Our intranet doesn't need an owner. It belongs to all of us -- and to none of us." Fortunately, that freewheeling approach is picking up surprising support from managers, consultants, and intranet users.

The Sun Sets on the Bohemian Workplace

Fast Company chronicles the loss of the workplace of the New Economy.Foosball. Khakis. Overcaffeination. They were familiar trappings of the near-extinct dotcom culture. Live-work loft space. Flexible work schedules. Open-plan offices. The notion that all work is personal and that you are what you do. ... The freewheeling culture of the dotcom workplace is rapidly disappearing, a victim of the harsh, new economic reality. Andrew Ross hopes to chronicle its glory days before it's gone.

Websphinx

Someone posted a link to Websphinx on SIGIA. An interesting Java applet that crawls a URL you enter and diagrams the documents linked from that URL as it crawls them. It's interesting watching the pages propagate -- it's like cellular mitosis. You can also view the documents in a hierarchical list.

Nielsen interview on Guardian

The Guardian asks Jakob Nielsen about the current state of the Web and his favorite sites. I like this quote about his favorite leisure sites (I guess sites he surfs for fun and leisure) The web is not really a leisure environment. It is more for getting things done. If you want to sit and enjoy yourself, watch television or read a book.

Companies Assist Agencies in Making Sites Disability-Friendly

An article on section 508 in Washtech.com notes that firms doing accessibility work for government agencies -- e.g. those helping retrofit Web sites -- have an abundance of work as a result federal act.

Advance for Design Summit #4 Summary

Erin Malone summarizes Advance for Design Summit 4.

use.it.or.lose.it

Making fun with Jakob.

SI's HistoryWired interface

Speaking of Smartmoney.com, on CHIWEB someone posted a link to the Smithsonian Institute's History Wired which uses the Smartmoney data visualization tool to navigate to selected objects from the vast collections of the National Museum of American History using a zooming interface.

Provide browsing using classification schemes

I'm presently reading an article on using classification schemes for Web domains published by Lund University's project DESIRE, Development of a European Service for Information on Research and Education. There's to be a lot of IR research available under the DESIRE site.

Scenario Design Depends On Personas

If you have access to Forrester, this Forrester Brief talks about personas. This is targetted at clients or in-house teams more than design agencies or consultancies. Many firms still lack the critical user information necessary for successful Scenario Design. Companies that create design personas have the necessary foundation for crafting a great user experience.

Did Poor Usability Kill E-Commerce?

Nielsen's Alertbox: User success rates on e-commerce sites are only 56%, and most sites comply with only a third of documented usability guidelines. Given this, improving a site's usability can substantially increase both sales and a site's odds of survival.

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