jibbajabba's blog

Mapping Web sites: digital media design

The corporate library where I work just acquired Mapping Web sites: digital media design, so I've been perusing it. This is the best book I've seen that publishes some of the core deliverables of our practice -- site plans/diagrams/maps and wireframes. I think this one's a must have to put alongside your Tufte books. Here's the description, archived from the InfoD list: AUTHORS: Paul Kahn and Krzysztof Lenk SUMMARY: This is a sourcebook for vital and hard to find multimedia information. In its broadest sense, this manual is about visualizing collections of electronic information through graphics. Web site mapping begins with the planning process, then moves to the understanding and navigation of visitors, and finally to the management of the site by the producer - all of which this comprehensive guide covers. CONTENTS: 1 Introduction 2 What is a map? 3 Mapping hypertext 4 Web site planning diagrams case study 1: McGraw-Hill AccessScience case study 2: Kasparov versus Deep Blue 5 What is a site map? 6 Data-driven site maps 7 Conclusions - mapping practice and experience

Understanding the Art and Science of Web Design

John Rhodes interviews Jeffrey Veen, author of The Art and Science of Web Design.

Microsoft caves to criticism and drops Smart Tags

According to InfoWorld, Microsfoft has decided to drop the controversial Smart Tags feature from its forthcoming Windows XP release. The feature will not appear in the final version of the operating system, scheduled for release Oct. 25, or in the new Web browser Internet Explorer 6.0, the company said Thursday. The feature was eliminated "based on feedback we got in general from both partners and users," said Milo Schaap, a Microsoft product manager in the Netherlands. "That's a good example of why we, like any vendor of software, have a beta program."

Poorly designed US Census form blamed for bad count of Hispanic communities in NYC

The NY Daily News ran an article about miscounting in the 2000 US Census of New York City because of a poorly redesigned form. The city Planning Department and Hispanic leaders think that a change in the Census Bureau questionnaire caused more than 200,000 of Dominicans, Colombians and Ecuadorans to be miscounted as "Other Hispanic" during the 2000 census. Census questionnaires in 2000 and 1990 contained check boxes for Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans. Other Latinos were asked to write a group name in another box. But the 1990 form included examples for the write-in groups including Argentinian, Colombian and Dominican whereas the 2000 questionnaire made no suggestions. "We're leaning toward an interpretation that the lack of examples in the question may have prompted people to answer with a generic response," said Joseph Salvo, director of the city Planning Department's population division. "People were confused with the form," said Moises Perez, director of Alianza Dominicana, an advocacy group that worked to increase the response rate in Washington Heights. "The Census Bureau did very little to ensure that this process was clear to people."

New issue of Digital Web Magazine (simplicity issue)

A new issue of Digital Web Magazine is out and it focuses on simplicity. The feature is about KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid), the tutorial is about web site planning and there is an interview with two of the 37signals crew.p.s. the KISS design article was logged on 6/21 but this entry (logged by anonymous) is for the entire issue.

Triumph of the Weblogs

from Good Experience edventure gives props to the bloggers in Kevin Werbach's Triumph of the Weblogs. In the beginning, there were the voices: people expressing themselves, communicating with one another, offering their perspectives on the world and sharing their passions. By lowering the barriers to publishing, the Web can make those voices, whether representing individuals or their organizations, more powerful than ever before. But that requires the right tools, metaphors and platforms. Through a gradual process of evolution and technology development, the voices have finally found a native online form through which to express themselves: a new kind of Website called the Weblog.

Steve Krug interview

True Simplicity: Krug-o-rama! John Rhodes interviews "Don't make me think" author Steve Krug on webword.

Mapping how people use a website

Mappa Mundi article on visualizing web usage: A major challenge in designing and operating a large website is understanding how people use your site. Obviously, server logs for the site provide a potentially rich vein of information, as they record all user requests for pages. But how to make sense of this data so that the dynamic interactions of visitors and the Web page structure can be understood? Some form of mapping of these interactions to make them visible could well prove useful in turning the raw data in the logs into useful information. However, techniques and tools to visualize dynamic processes like Web usage are poorly developed. In this issue of Map of the Month we look at the work of one of the leading researchers trying to overcome this weakness, through the use of the concept of organic information design. His name is Ben Fry and he works in the MIT Media Lab, where he is busy creating innovative adaptive visualizations of how people use websites.

10 ways to meet journalists' needs online

Amy Gahran of Contentious tells us how to design for the needs of journalists and points out who's getting it right or wrong. Journalists are always in a big hurry, today more so than ever before. They need to be able to find you online, find out the news, and find out who to contact by phone or e-mail for more info virtually immediately. Here are 10 ways to help journalists find out more about your organization.

Current attitudes on the subscription model

Interesting observations on current attitudes toward subscription based services in the HBS Working Knowledge article, What's the Future of the Subscription Model?. The subscription model has served as a wonderful revenue generator through the years for many companies in the media and communications industries. Organizations have built hard-to-beat revenue streams around it, enabling them to make long-range plans and even enjoy substantial "float" from advance payment for subscriptions. ... Has the subscription model's time come and gone?

IBM ramps up speech technology products and research

IBM focuses its speech recognition initiatives under the new term Conversational Services. The InfoWorld article also introduces an interesting new visual recognition technology they are developing to work with speech recognition. From the article: The company will roll out products that will include speech translation, multimodal interfaces, middleware, natural-language understanding (NLU), text-to-speech, and biometrics. IBM will soon introduce one of the first products to use visual cues -- such as the movements of the lips and mouth -- to understand the spoken word for speech interpretation, according to Dr. David Nahamoo, senior manager, Human Language Technologies Department at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Even longer range, the visual recognition system can be an assist in fixed place environments where gestures can add value. In customer relationship management applications, for example, call center personnel will understand the unspoken mood of a customer by interpreting body language./i>

Have-It-Your-Way Web Sites Start To Catch On

from Tomalak's Realm InteractiveWeek talks about customizable product offerings on the Web. On the Internet, nobody knows you eat mango Cheerios. Except General Mills, which is happy to sell it over the Web for $12 per box. From breakfast kibble to makeup to cars, big companies such as Ford Motor, General Mills and Procter & Gamble have launched Web sites to give customers the ultimate buying experience: the ability to acquire self-designed products for a premium.

Big adds will not save advertising according to Forrester

New Forrester report on the big and popup ad annoyance. New, large Web ad units, called "big ads", are not silver bullets for online advertising. Big ads significantly outperform banners today, but response rates will fall as their novelty wears off. Marketers need a more comprehensive strategy to deliver new ad types based on users' concentration levels.

Usability analysis of useit.com

A recent drop.org article pointed me to an interesting evaluation of Jacob Nielsen's UseIt.com:The site scored well on compliance with basic standards, legibility and issues pertaining to users with disabilities. However, the site scored very poorly on organization and architecture. Information was difficult to identify and find, navigational support was flawed and minimal, and pages tended to be overly long, dense and lacking in internal hypertext navigation. UseIt.com rated only a "C" grade (75%) in an evaluation of 40 usability points identified by Nielsen himself.

Error message guidelines

Nielsen suggests guidelines for error messages.. Established wisdom holds that good error messages are polite, precise, and constructive. The Web brings a few new guidelines: Make error messages clearly visible, reduce the work required to fix the problem, and educate users along the way.

Microsoft's Smart Tags Threaten the User Experience

Mark Hurst talks about Microsoft's Smart Tags on Good Experience: Microsoft's upcoming release of Windows XP contains a feature that attempts to suck all meaningful experience out of every page on the Web. The feature, called Smart Tags, has brought about a loud discussion on many websites -- Web developers everywhere screaming for Microsoft to stop, and Microsoft arrogantly defending itself. Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg describes Smart Tags: Smart Tags allow Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser -- included in Windows XP -- to turn any word on any Web site into a link to Microsoft's own Web sites and services, or to any other sites Microsoft favors. In effect, Microsoft will be able, through the browser, to re-edit anybody's site, without the owner's knowledge or permission, in a way that tempts users to leave and go to a Microsoft-chosen site -- whether or not that site offers better information.

Mid-Tokyo Maps

Mid-Tokyo Maps is a must see for info. designers, and cartography fans. (If you want to skip the initial flash screen, go to the html index) This site shows how Flash can be used to effectively present quantitative content without boring your audience. The maps show different sets of quantitative data for Mid-Tokyo and compare that data with Manhattan (New York City).

Defining IA

Christina posted this in a comment and I didn't want it to get lost.I'm collecting definitions of IA for the reason AD stated in ASIST Bulletin; we need to move on feel free to bop over and add your own, perhaps we can finally come up with one we can all live with.

Lou Rosenfeld's webloug

via webword Lou Rosenfeld started a Bloug (i.e. B*lou*g).

The Conversion Rate

New article on Usability InfoCentre discussing conversion rates. The success of most e-business ventures comes down to one figure - the percentage of visitors who go on to become customers. ... Simply put, conversion rate represents the percentage of unique visitors who go on to interact with the site in a pre-defined way. Usually this means make a purchase, but depending on the site in question it could mean registering for more information, placing a bet or opening an account.

XML feed