jibbajabba's blog

User Advocate Or Enemy Of Creativity?

[from elegant hack] He whose name must not be spoken (the prolific usability one) defines the boundaries of art and functionality in designing site in VAR Business and the rift between designers and Nielsen seems to widen. According to the author, "Nielsen predicts 10 more years of pain before the Web is made user-friendly." The article observes that people in the creative disciplines are most turned off by Nielsen's rigidity and I believe his inability to allow much innovation in the creative process.

InfoSense: Turning Information into Knowledge

Web Usage Logging Toolkit

A Cold Fusion suite of a client side tracking code with logging to a database has been released. A parallel developing version logs to the exit url. The system, called Lucidity, logs image load time, page render time, scroll depth, MouseMiles, start and end xy, total time on page (in focus), and screen size. More info at Lucidity.sourceforge

Salary Survey: User Experience Professionals Earn Good Money

A survey of 1,078 user experience professionals finds that usability specialists make more money than designers and writers in the same field. In all three areas, salaries are highest in the U.S., lower in Canada and Asia, and much lower in Europe and Australia. Usability is a well-paying profession these days: A usability specialist in California with five years' experience has an estimated cash compensation of $90,118 a year, not counting stock options or other benefits.

Web Site Searching and the User Experience

[from infodesign] This search presentation by Avi Rappoport, Search Tools Consulting was delivered at BayCHI, January 1999. The slides list the salient issues for effective search design.

Intranet Usability

A well-implemented corporate intranet can change the way a company works. And ease-of-use should be the central criterion by which all intranets are judged.

ACIA interviews Vivian Bliss

Lou Rosenfeld of Argus talks with Vivian Bliss about Intranet IA at Microsoft. In the interview, Bliss talks about users, content, and context and their importance in making their approach work. She also discusses the strategy used to tie together multiple disparate information systems in a varied political environment. It should come as no surprise that the magic words here are taxonomies and XML.

Argus survey: Learning About And Keeping Up With IA

Argus is surveying IAs on the topic of Learning About And Keeping Up With IA. Take their Zoomerang survey and contribute to your field.

NYTimes "How it works" graphic

This new information graphic from the NY Times shows a camera technique used in films like "The Matrix" to freeze the actors while the action continues to roll. The technique is similar to the concept used by Edweard Muybridge, except it is used here to capture a still or brief moment from a lot of angles.

Affordances, conventions and design

[from xblog] I just came across this excellent article by Don Norman via xplane's blog. In it, Norman talks about the concept and misconception of [perceived] affordance. The article was orginally published as Norman, D. A. (1999). Affordance, conventions, and design. Interactions 6, 3 (May. 1999), Pages 38 - 43.

Best practices for successful intranets

[from xblog] Intranet Journal offers some advise for building intranets, starting with some familiar up front questions in the planning phase. "Thinking big in the first phase of intranet planning is the nature of e-business, but then it's time to start asking the tough questions. One needs to figure out where the business goals and the user goals need to meet in order to create an intranet that offers the most value. "

Microsoft Research: Adaptive Systems & Interaction

This find from Microsoft Research was sighted by Tomalak's Realm. Adaptive Systems & Interaction is the group at MS interested in automated reasoning, adaptive systems and HCI. The group also focusses on information retrieval research. White papers publicly available.

The joys of prototyping

At the heart of any good user-centred design process is the practice of prototyping. By creating and testing interfaces in rough format, designers are able to feed through improvements and feedback from users quickly and easily. Read on at the Frontend Usability Infocentre.

Nielsen distilled in Rough Notes

John Ashenhurst's article in RoughNotes magazine, Designing successful websites distills Nielsen's book into bullet points under 3 sections: page design, content design, site design.

Wireless video is about to arrive-so what do you do with it?

Business 2.0 is running a story about the coming of video for wireless devices. At present, video quality is pokey at best because of wireless trasmission rates of 9.6Kbps to 14.4Kbps. But for some people, that may be enough for some simple applications like Nanny and traffic cams. Cliff Raskind, director of global wireless practice at industry research firm Strategy Analytics believes that even with advanced compression techniques, "more compelling uses won't fly at low speeds. So, until planned network upgrades kick in, demand for wireless video will be low and concentrated in a few specialized areas. "We're not going to have wide-scale adoption [at low speed],"." As with the Web, I expect some vector type format for motion graphics will make it to wireless devices first. I'm wondering what kind of devices will be dreamed up to deliver this kind of media while keeping the small form factor? As with WAP, it seems that companies are still guessing at what the killer app for this technology will be.

Speech to speech translation by a machine

StarTrek's concept of the universal communicator may not be so far away. According to Business2.0, the US military is apparently going to field test a speech to speech translation device worn in the ear. ViA, the company manufacturing the device plans to release commercial versions for $5,000 to $10,000. The special device, called Diplomat, is being developed with Carnegie Mellon. Jaime Carbonnell, director of Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute, believes that, "In specific, simple situations today's wearable translators may prove helpful, but fluent, free-ranging translation similar to what humans can provide each other will still take an additional 10 to 20 years to develop. "We have come very far, but unfortunately the general use of speech-to-speech [portable] translators is not there yet."

On-site search helps users find their way

[Citation only, no URL] On-site search helps users find their way. B to B,  v86n9,  Apr 30, 2001,  p17,19. Abstract: When your customers visit your Web site, can they find what they are looking for? Their success in doing so largely depends on your site's local search engine. A local search function must be easily found and navigated. The engine should be flexible, allowing various types of searches, and comprehensive in the content it covers, including current announcements, product brochures, graphics files and information from a corporate database. There are 2 separate but related issues in local search: the under-the-hood technology used to aggregate information into a searchable form, and the usability factor of how this content is presented on your site. Keys to presenting results in "context" are presented.

ACM Symposium on Document Engineering: Final call for papers

Final call for papers for the ACM Symposium on Document Engineering, November 9-10, 2001, Doubletree Hotel, Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. In cooperation with ACM SIGCHI and ACM SIGWEB. June 4, 2001 Paper and panel proposal submissions due. August 6, 2001 Authors notified. September 3, 2001 Revised camera-ready papers due.

ACM CIKM 2001, Tenth International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management: Deadline for abstract submissions

ACM CIKM, Tenth International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management. Nov. 5-10, 2001, Altanta, GA, USA. The deadline for ABSTRACT submissions is extended to May 28. The deadline for full paper submissions is extended to June 4.

When Kids Use the Web

[from SIG-IA] Someone brought up this article, which reports on adolescent children and Web usability. Here's the abstract: This paper reports the results of scavenger-hunt usability tests conducted with 16 adolescent children (8 males and 8 females) in two age groups (12 years old and 16 years old), using two general-interest topical Web sites. The tests yield comparison data regarding both search performance and self-reported subjective preferences. The sole independent variable affecting search performance was the age of the subject, from which the authors conclude that children's domain knowledge may be a key component of their ability to retrieve information successfully from Web-based systems. Subjective preferences of children are systematically compared to previously reported preference data for adults who tested the same topical Web sites. Based on these data, as well as on insights based on subjects' verbal protocols, conclusions regarding both commonalities and differences in Web usability requirements between adults and children are suggested.

XML feed