jibbajabba's blog

Another bloug diagram of IA attributes

New (and huge!)version of Jess McMullin's diagram depicting Lou Rosenfeld's July 19th discussion of the skills and qualities an IA should have, where he said: I see information architecture as the intersection of three areas (imagine yet another three-circled Venn diagram):

  • users: (who they are, what their information-seeking behaviors and needs are)
  • content: (volume, formats, metadata, structure, organization) context: (business model, business value, politics, culture, resources and resource constraints)

Hey, Hey, IA!

Hey, Hey, IA! -- "a resource-hub for Information Architects".

Style vs. Design

This is a particularly true and necessary read. Zeldman on style as a fetish -- graphic design versus communication design -- and where style for style's sake might hurt commercial projects. Here's a true and salient quote: The Web used to look like a phone book. Now much of it looks like a design portfolio. In fact, it looks like the design portfolio of 20 well-known designers, whose style gets copied again and again by young designers who consider themselves disciples. Distinctions between graphic design and communications design are lost on these designers. As is the distinction between true style, which evolves from the nature of the project, and derivative pastiche, which is grafted onto many projects like a third arm. When Style is a fetish, sites confuse visitors, hurting users and the companies that paid for the sites. thanks Lawrence Lee

Web Design and Information Architecture

The paper by O'Brien and Polovina of the School of Computing, Information Systems and Mathematics South Bank University, London, UK, discusses principles that IAs should consider in the design process. Web designers as Information Architects share responsibility for creating an infrastructure which allows effective access to all users. We present some preliminary information architecture principles for accessible Web design, and reveal that there is little evidence to support the optimism that there is a near-time technical solution that will solve Web access problems for people with print disabilities. Education is needed to ensure that scarce public resources are not squandered on electronic Follies. thanks infodesign

Making the Most of Interactivity Online

If you have access to Technical Communication, this article may interest you. (By the way, there is also an piece on GUI bloopers in the current issue.) Here is the abstract for the interactivity article. Technical communicators need to create effective online interactions to help users understand the scope, purpose, and limits of their online documents. Ideally, a well-designed online document provides an integrated data environment. It functions as the interface between the user and a system, allowing for the retrieval and assimilation of information needed to perform a task.

Registration Revamp

, you can produce a leaner system without inconveniencing your engineers or frustrating your marketers. Janice Crotty Fraser of Adaptive Path shows how she did it for Netscape in September's WebTechniques.

ASIST Annual Meeting Information

Information and registration forms are available for the ASIS 2001 Annual Meeting, "Information in a Networked World: Harnessing the Flow", November 3-8, 2001 in Washington DC.

Problems With Submitting an HTML Form Using the Enter Key

When a user fills out an HTML form, they have the ability to hit the keyboard Enter key, to activate the form submission. However, this feature doesn't work in certain instances. Ganemanrussel shows how to correct this problem.

IFLA's metadata resources index

There is a lengthy list of Metadata Resources on The International Federation of Library Associations and Institution site. See also the Cataloguing and Indexing of Electronic Resources.

Card sorting using software?

There's currently a discussion around card-sorting using software on SIG-IA and people mentioned IBM's EZSort and a java applet called WebCAT. I'm currently doing information organization on a large digital library so was interested to see if any of these tools would help the task. So I installed WebCAT on our OSX development server and was disappointed. I agree with Christina's comment that the task is best suited to the traditional method of index cards on a large table. WebCAT seemed buggy and because EZSort was in beta I had trouble even starting a card sort. This experience is starting to remind me of the Denim prototyping tool -- Denim worked pretty well comparatively. It's promising to see that applications are being developed. For now, however, I'm sticking with 3x5 cards, pencil, graph and trace paper, Visio, Illustrator and Excel (ugh) for my IA tasks.

IA surfing

Hey, do you surf HCI Index, WebWord, Xblog, Slashdot? Have you ever looked at the Surf/News filter page on iaslash? Much of the IA freshness culled from the day's news I get by reading the headlines snarfed from these sites. In the left column of the page are static links to the frequently surfed sites and the right column shows linked headlines grabbed daily from some of the biggies. Surfiliciousness.

Designing for Usability on a Shoestring

Webreview offers some advice for user-centered design and discount Usability testing. thanks infodesign

User Interface Design for Programmers

Webreference review Joel Spolsky's User Interface Design for Programmers. These are usability guidelines from a programmer that seems to care about application use by guess who ... end-users! Half of the book is available on Spolsky's site, by the way. Here's what webereference says about the book. Joel Spolsky's cardinal axiom of all user interface design is to match your program model to the user model. In other words, your program should behave exactly as the user expects. If you can do that, and apply the other corollaries he provides, your program will be usable.

What games can teach us about human-computer interaction

That video game entry reminded me of something I read on Kuro5hin earlier this year about HCI and gaming. k5 user Puchitao asks, what can designers of "productivity" software interfaces learn from the game industry? In this article, I'll look at three genres of games and suggest ways that their interface designs might inform the designs of "real-world" projects like shells, programming environments, and desktop environments.

Art imitates video games imitating life

Pixelated people have been popping up in strange places lately -- most notably in museums. NYTimes says, "A global assortment of media artists, hackers, gamers and social activists have been using the video game medium for years to engage a younger, hipper audience, and museums have begun to take notice. ". An impressive example is John Haddock's Isometric Screenshots, described as A series of drawings from an isometric perspective, in the style of a computer game. The subject of each drawing is the image, or images, that created a popular cultural event. Historical events (like the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel) are used interchangeably with fictionalized events (like the picnic scene from The Sound of Music). So my question now is when will the weblogs as a form of literary and socio-economic-political discourse get noticed by big institutions like museums and universities? Probably a long time from now. Will there be an English 201: The weblog as a form of discourse?

Download Speeds And Usability

New on Usability Infocentre. Download speeds still matter - no matter who tells you they don't. We provide some advice for developers wondering how fast is 'fast enough'.

Managing taxonomies strategically

This article on taxonomy creation and management was forwarded to me from someone at the Montague Institute. It offers a high level view of taxonomies and some suggestions for building your business taxonomy.

Toby Braun

I revisited tbid.com after Christina gleaned its ID samples. I was just at TBID about a month ago when I logged a story on bottom-of-page sitemaps because TBID was one of the first places I saw this concept used (circa 1999, around the time that he did the HAL 2000 thing that was all over the Babble list). For some time, however, he got rid of the navigation tool in favor of a simpler, but less navigable toolbar that showed only top level navigation and had linear navigation within each section. It appeared then to be more of a brochure-ware site than it had been previously. It seems that TB has returned to the more usable bottom of page navigation that lets users drill down to second level pages. I think it's better, although less sexy than the previous design. By the way, you can see an example of TBID's early navigation in Jakob Nielsen's bood, Designing Web Usability.

Net ads: Size does matter

It's about time. This article appeared on C|net about an industry reaction to tame the wild wild west of Web advertising by creating guidelines for producers. The Interactive Advertising Bureau on Monday defined new guidelines for rich media advertising, a move that could push flashy, interactive ads even further onto the landscape of Web publishing. The guidelines, set by the IABís Rich Media Task Force, are meant to help encourage and streamline the creation of "rich media" units--advertisements that typically include animation, audio or video.

Beyond Usability

Christina's presentation from Web Design World 2001 in Seattle talks about the strategy and process of user-centered design. (PPT available)

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