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User-Centered Information Design for Improved Software Usability

The book User-Centered Information Design for Improved Software Usability, by Pradeep Henry, is reviewed in IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, v44n2, Jun 2001, p155-158.

Gray's Anatomy on Bartleby.com

from

How It Works: Online Maps for Here, There and Everywhere

With map-generating software, the shortest distance between any two points may run through your computer monitor. NYTimes Circuits illustrates how mapquest.com constructs maps.

Why It's Getting Easier to Get Your Teenager Off the Phone

An article on The Standard talks about teens and instant messaging. A new study shows that instant messaging and the Internet are changing the dynamics of teen communication. ... A new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project says teenagers have adopted the Internet – and instant messaging – so completely that it has even replaced face-to-face communication as the primary mode of interacting for some teens.

Government accessibility

The big day for Section 508 arrives. In InfoWorld, Government 'accessibility' effort goes into effect. A broad government initiative to drive the development of more IT products and services for people with disabilities kicks into full gear. All vendors selling to the federal government must now have equivalents for the products and services they offer that allow agencies to accommodate people with disabilities. ... Starting June 21, federal employees with disabilities are able to file complaints if not properly accommodated. Accessibility standards developed by government-chartered Access Board, however, will not take effect as regulations until Monday, June 25.

IAs in search of an identity?

Andrew Dillon talks about IA at the ACM SIGCHI conference in the June/July ASIST Bulletin. The prevailing message of the article is that while we try to define and differentiate IA concerns -- like information organization and labeling -- from other fields, a lot of other issues that what we concern ourselves with is no different from what HCI people have always been concerned with -- like user interface design, user interaction and usability. The biggest obstacle to IA becoming a distinct discipline remains its lack of unique methods and theories. It has few, if any, which are not drawn from or based on work in HCI, LIS or CS (if I left out your pet discipline it is only because I cannot remember its acronym). Attempts to position IA as a unique approach, distinct from these others, are unlikely to convince anyone and will certainly disenfranchise certain groups who feel that they perform similar work. Without engaging across disciplines we are going to run straight into them, forming panels at conferences to answer questions that everybody else has long since given up asking. Hair splitting divides produce splinter groups, not disciplines. IA, as a meta-discipline, should engage and share, not partition. After all, professionals in many camps tend to share the same goals: the design, development and implementation of more humanly acceptable information systems. As long as we are battling to get human-centered design taken seriously, such professionals are all on the same side. And maybe then, and only then, will we design e-books that offer something better than paper.

Keep it simple, stupid!

Digital Web Magazine's current feature focusses on design simplicity. The expressions "Keep it simple, stupid", "Kill your darlings" and "Less is more" all pinpoint the fact that simplicity is important. Simplicity lasts. Simplicity is necessary in order to properly convey any idea. ... I believe that content is king. It always will be. But—evidently—an excellently written text easily disappears if placed in an improperly designed environment, and excels when appearing in a well-designed context.

Voting and usability

The Usability Professionals Association and SIGCHI have resolved to work together to help find a better solution for designing usable and accessible ballots. Toward this goal, UPA is suggesting what individuals can do to help this effort. To be further involved, you can subscribe to the usablevote Yahoo! group.

Avoiding design snafus

from tomalak's realm which seems to still be going strong As much as 80 percent of the cost of taking a product to market can accrue during the design phase. InfoWorld has an article about collaborative design software which seem to benefit large teams working on projects such as software development and equipment manufacturing. Such software, which creates a virtual workspace bringing all the design participants together, has numerous advantages over traditional approaches in which many enterprises have used e-mail, phone, or fax to collaborate internally, while limiting communications with suppliers to price negotiations.

Designing Help Text

Usability Infocentre article on designing help text: In an ideal world help text would be unnecessary - users would never get stuck in an application or site. But some users will have difficulty no matter how effectively and throughtfully an interface is built. Given that help text might be required, how is it best implemented?

Blurb Gallery

noise between stations surveys the variety of ways we display introductions to longer articles in the blurb gallery. Interesting to see them all together. Valuable to me because of the point about my metadata (the section link and date) being hard to pass over because it's treated the same as text.

Team-Based Ethnography: An Integrated User-Centered Approach for Project Teams

from peterme via xblog Project success depends on the fit of a product or service with user goals and needs. Project manageability depends on a solid shared foundation for swift and effective decision-making. The Team-Based Ethnography offers a methodology to achieve both.

Data visualization moves to mainstream business applications

Statisticians and Tufte fans might enjoy Interactive Week's article discussing some current uses of information visualization in mainstream business applications. Data visualization has begun to move away from "fringe technology" to the mainstream of business intelligence. Where BI can aggregate data so it's easily recognized and usable in real-world applications, data visualization gives the aesthetic interface to that data, and provides a view that may draw attention to details that might otherwise be missed in text readouts.

Does the future of Mac OS X depend on Adobe?

Interactive Week talks about Adobe's plans for developing for OS X and what that means to Apple graphic design users. Adobe plans to offer native support for Photoshop and Illustrator with the next major release of each product.

Politics: The Hidden Stage of User Experience Projects

Mark Hurst of Good Experience reacts to a paper on Experiences in co-designing (Communication Research Institute of Australia (CRIA)). The paper talks about unaccounted for time in the design process that is spent on politics --that essential aspect of personal interplay that is often maligned and always unrecorded in the project plan. To create real change in the experience (online or otherwise) that a company creates for its customers, realize that politics is what the work is mostly about. ... Customer experience work gets "down and dirty," in the organization, to get the organization to empathize with the needs of people - customers - who happen to be outside the walls of the company.

FAQ design

from tomalak via antenna Jodi Bollaert's Mind your FAQs: Tips for creating an effective and informative resource provides some very helpful tips and resources for designing Frequently Asked Questions.

Airlines rushing to give you Internet access on flights

According to a NY Times article, the plane web access race is heating up. Here's an example of what you can look forward to. Tenzing [Communications], which had previously signed up three foreign airlines for its in-flight Internet service, aims to equip 50 planes for e-mail and limited Web access by the end of this year, and about 200 by the end of next year. ... Under Tenzing's service, customers would pay a flat fee of $4.95 to see e-mail headlines, and then pay 50 cents a page to read those e-mails. In addition, customers could access certain Web sites in flight for free. By contrast, Connexion's offering is expected to cost about $20 per hour. Both services are to be delivered via satellite, though Tenzing is starting out with slower speeds to get an early jump, while Connexion plans to launch with a speedier broadband connection.

ecommerce and interactive TV

NYTimes article on ecommerce and interactive TV. Prospects for revenues from shopping look more bullish than those from advertising on interactive TV, Internet research firm Jupiter Media Metrix said in a report released Thursday. ... In its report, Jupiter said shopping on interactive TV will account for 44 percent of total TV-based shopping in the United States by 2005 while advertising on interactive TV will account for only 7 percent of total U.S. television advertising.total $4.3 billion and advertising to garner $4.5 billion, fragmented across networks, carriers, and third-party response networks.

Information Design Journal 10:1 (2001)

IDJ 10:1 is out. CONTENTS (Volume 10, issue 1): Theme: Jacques Bertin's theories Introduction: Alan Davis - Jacques Bertin: Matrix theory of graphics - Myriam Daru: Jacques Bertin and the graphic essence of data - Alan MacEachren: An evolving cognitive-semiotic approach to geographic visualization and knowledge construction - Wolf Guenther Koch: Jaques Bertin's theory of graphics and its development and influence on multimedia cartography - Xavier Garnerin: Applied graphic semiology: the map of the Lyon public transport network

Altavista search software for your workstation

Altavista is releasing a single PC version of its search software, much like the Altavista Personal Search software that was sent several years ago (many ASIS members received a notice about it then). The concern noted in the NYTimes article linked above is that if the network search software were combined with the personal searching software, that individual privacy would be compromised.

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