jibbajabba's blog

Conceptual Metaphor Home Page

MeFi pointed to George Lakoff's Conceptual Metaphor Home Page, which is mentioned on Matt Webb's Interconnected and Adam Greenfield's v-2 Here's what Matt had to say:

Superb. This is proper deep-level stuff, how we live and relate to the universe and each other. Playing with how a counterfactual metaphor could come to be would be an interesting exercise. Although at the moment I'm more interested in coherency, the idea that disparate metaphors align. You can see this in our industrial world, individuals living their lives coherent with the concept that they're a self-contained step, that they should follow the letter of their explicit instructions and let everything else go because someone higher up must be looking after that.

Taxonomy & Content Classification

Mike Lee points to and discusses the Delphi white paper, "Taxonomy & Content Classification" 1.3mb PDF, which is apparently licensed to every vendor mentioned in the paper -- my office mate Dave (the taxonomy guy) has seen three differently branded versions of the paper. It's apparently a good summary of why you should employ a taxonomy in your CMS. Mike says, "sheds some light on the misconceptions on the definition of a taxonomy, describes the benefits of systematic content classifcation, and surveys the currently available technology tools". They apparently also give some kind of seminar, "Proving Ground for Taxonomy & Information Architecture", but when I looked at the

Macromedia CMS

Web Graphics pointed to Macromedia Contribute, Macromedia's new entry in the Content Management space. The application that provides publishing and workflow, templating, versioning, security and permissioning capabilities. Some basic application of keyword metatags is allowed, but there's no mention of support for taxonomies. Windows only for now, but OS X version coming.

OWL Guide 1.0

Web Ontology Language (OWL) Guide Version 1.0, W3C Working Draft 4 November 2002.

Patterns For Personal Websites and Design of Sites book

A few design pattern resources gleaned from WebWord. The first is a site by Mark L. Irons that collects patterns for creating personal Web sites. The second is the book, "The Design of Sites: Patterns, principles and processes for crafting a customer-centered web experience", by D. Van Duyne, J. Landay and J. Hong, which utilizes design patterns in order to recommend principles and best practices.

Spanking Jakob

John S. Rhodes reviews Jakob's latest Alertbox, Intranet Usability: The Trillion-Dollar Question", where he says, "The average mid-sized company could gain $5 million per year in employee productivity by improving its intranet design to the top quartile level of a cross-company intranet usability study. The return on investment? One thousand percent or more.". The Alertbox shows some good recommendations based on usability tests done by NN/g. Rhodes is taking issue with his ROI figures, which make the claim that usability results in millions in savings per year. Rhodes says, "Jakob Nielsen is selling us a dream," that usability is the magic pill to cure all intranet ills.

INUSE 6.2: Handbook of user-centred design

From the Nectar Project: This handbook on user-centred design is intended for those responsible for commissioning or carrying out usability work during the development of interactive systems. It consists of 5 chapters which are summarised below.

  1. A user-centred approach to design and assessment
  2. Introduction to usability methods
  3. Individual method descriptions
  4. Selecting an appropriate method
  5. Standards and guidelines in user-centred design
Thanks, Column Two: KM/CM blog

Top reasons ease of use doesn't happen†on engineering projects

Scott Berkun gives us his top 14 reasons and some possible solutions.

    In reviewing all the email I've received at this website, and the experiences I've had teaching and consulting, Iíve tried to catalog the different reasons why projects didnít result in easy to use designs. Below Iíve compiled the top ten reasons into a short list, with some brief suggestions on how to approach fixing the problem.
When Good Interfaces Go Crufty

Making a note to read Matthew Thomas' blog entry,
When Good Interfaces Go Crufty.

Thanks, InfoDesign (Peter J. Bogaards)

What's Info Got to Do With It?

David Weinberg is wondering what information has to do with the web. His essay in Darwin says,

    The information that shows up on the Web is part of the Web's world. But you could never get to the world of the Web if you started only with information.
In short, I guess he's saying that it has everything and nothing to do with the web. He ponders the definition of information and offers some answers. Not sure I agree with his contention that you don't get information when you view search results. Even when you are viewing meta-information in a pointer (e.g. search result descriptions, abstracts of articles) you are still using information in my opinion. I think of the roots of the term inform, which means to me, "revealing the shape within". Surrogates that stand in for an object are information for me because they they reveal something of the nature of the thing I am interested in. For example, if I look at a picture of a painting in a text book, or a description of a painting in an index, I may be sufficiently informed or some information need I had may be fulfilled by just viewing that surrogate without having to come close to the real object. By this definition, almost every bit of data with some context becomes information for me.

What I do begin to agree with is the notion that the Internet does not only have to do with information. There is experience. He says at one point that "it's more about connection than the transfer of facts," and that it's about doing things using different kinds of media. I think he's on the mark there.

i heart ia

I feel so creatively unchallenged at times that I am compelled to go create something, even if it's really damned cheesy.

i heart iaSo I give you this bit of cheese for a Friday afternoon. Maybe it would make an interesting t-shirt?

The radial diagram was made with James' OmniGraffle script.

Court: Disability law doesn't apply to Web

Anitra Pavka pointed to the follow up article in ComputerWorld on the SouthWest Airlines web site accessiblity case. This is the case that tries to argue that web sites should fall under the aegis of ADA laws. Courts rejected the suit and the plaintiffs plan to appeal. The usual quotes from PR spinners and experts are interesting.

The statement below is most likely true, companies have not focussed on accesiblity. Planning for accessiblity is just cost-effective.

    [B]uilding in accessibility during a Web site's design costs only a quarter of the amount needed to retrofit a site later, said Jennifer Vollmer, a research analyst at Meta Group Inc. Accessibility ... has not just been a priority for companies."
Anitra weighs in on Gerry Santoro's contention that,

    "In general, programmers write for themselves" and are interested in only designing a system that works. "The same is true of Web designers; they tend to design for themselves".
Election UI

webgraphics is discussing the touchscreen interface used in the Georgia elections this week. The UI is simulated on the Georgia site for your clicking pleasure (or pain). James found a related on article on Wired, High-Tech Voting Gets Thumbs Up.

Music Information Retrieval

Anyone interested in music information retrieval? If yes, here's a relevant conference proceeding:

    The proceedings (a book of 327 pages) and tutorial handouts of the ISMIR 2002 3rd International conference on Music Information Retrieval, which was organized by the IRCAM Multimedia Library, can now be ordered online (PDF)
Information Architecture: From Craft to Profession

An excerpt from the first chapter of Earl Morrogh's text book Information Architecture: An Emerging 21st Century Profession appears on B&A in the article, Information Architecture: From Craft to Profession.

I liked his succint definition of IA.

    Information architecture is primarily about the design of information environments and the management of an information environment design process.
Morrogh is a professor at Florida State, Information Studies. The book he has writtin presents IA in an historical context and uses the history of architecture to illustrate the growth of our profession. He discusses the appropriateness of the architecture analogy and how the tradition of craftsmanship may be fitting at some level. However, he adds, our movement away from narrow specialization and towards profession reflects a greater need for a broader scope of knowledge. Based on the table of contents, this looks like an excellent read. Most of the book focusses on the development of information and communication technology innovations, with the final part devoted to the development of our profession. It's nice to see a few books that consider how IA fits into the grand scheme of things.

I've been neglecting the main sources for IA info lately. Thanks, Lou, for reminding me to look. :)

Ontology Building: A Survey of Editing Tools

This article on ontology tools appeared on XML.com.

    Ontologies, structured depictions or models of known facts, are being built today to make a number of applications more capable of handling complex and disparate information. Michael Denny surveys the tools available for creating and editing ontologies...
A few NYC IA's I know are very interested in ontologies and the semantic web. I've personally kept my reading to a minimum, waiting to be on the middle end of the curve, when applications hit critical mass. It's interesting, because the brother of a friend of mine works with T. Berners Lee on this stuff so I've been hearing a lot about the developer discussions. People involved with these discussions apparently spend a lot of time on philosophical issues and poring over minutiae, which has made development slow, apparently. I guess when you propose something as big as this, you can't expect it to happen overnight. :)

Slablets and hiptops

Adam pointed to this page showing a bunch of photos of the slablet. The tablet, now a hybrid tablet/laptop thing looks a little bit on the bulky side.

On the slightly less bulky side of the new hardware offerings this season is the hiptop, which I got to check out when I met with Mike Lee yesterday. The thing has me drooling with gearlust. It looks like a nicely designed mobile device. Nice form factor. A few simple buttons and a nice jog wheel. The web surfing and IM experience seems to be done right. When a color version is available, I may seriously consider getting one. There is a good review of the hiptop on kuro5hin.

The iceberg diagram

Peter Morville's iceberg diagram -- a model for IA -- on Peterme.

Right column is going away

Some changes.

I have been a little annoyed with how long it takes for the right column to build -- it requires a hit to the DB each time. I surfaced the pings and news feeds in that column because I look at them a lot and wanted people to be able to find them. But, now since you know where they are -- they're aptly labeled Pings and News Feeds in global nav -- you can always find them up there. You can get those blocks (news feeds, pings, subjects) back on the front page in the left if you change your customization options.

B&N browser: Browsing book facets

I blogged the newish B&N book browser earlier today. Can't remember what I said about it. Mainly that it reminds me of Flamenco and FacetMap, I think. Perhaps I said something about facet classification being surfaced on the UIs of big ecommerce sites or some stuff.

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