jibbajabba's blog

IA Summit 2002 Recap

A collection of summaries and thoughts, post IA Summit. Please add yours in the comments and I'll append.

The myth of interactivity on the Internet

Gerry McGovern thinks that the Web is very often the antithesis of interactivity and community.

    Interactivity has become an almost sacred tenet of the Internet. Again and again, we are told that interactivity is what makes the Internet really different. However, interactivity on the Internet is often vastly over-hyped.
Web users suffer from the fall

The web is bad and it's getting worse, says Jack Schofield in the Guardian. In his usual incendiary fashion, Jack Schofield lambasts designers/site developers for creating unusable sites. He goes so far as to say, "If View|Text Size| Larger has no noticeable effect on your site, fire the designer." Ouch.

How much ass does Google kick? All of it.

Cory Doctorow (the metacrap guy) on how Google bridges the divide between human-generated indexes and machine-generated analysis to create the killer app for the web.

Unite and Conquer -- a CMS rundown

InternetWorld profiles some players in the CMS space. Seems that new CMSes pop-up every few months. Some of the vendors mentioned are new to me since InternetWorld this past winter.

Ask Alice for Accesibility

AskAlice, a free service co-branded with Adobe, analyzes Web sites, identifies accessibility problems, and shows the ROI for solving them. Read the SSB Technologies press release.

    Hello - I'm Alice the Accessibility Advocate™! My goal is to be your resource for learning about how to make your information accessible to blind and disabled persons.
Summit musings

The summit was great. It was good to put some names to faces. I regret that I didn't meet more people. If you missed me, I was the guy carrying around the kid in the buffet bowling alley. I was very pleased to finally meet some people I've been reading and emailing with over the past year: Lou, Christina, Matt, Victor, Jim, Peterme, good Peter, JJG, Andrew, Jeff, Todd, Thomas, George, Madonna Lisa... who'd I forget?

Overall, the sessions were great. I was especially interested in the LISey sessions including Amy Warner's Metadata Schema pres, and Louise Gruenberg's Facet Analysis session. I only regret that I wasn't able to also attend the parallel sessions. Will post links to available session materials as I learn of them.

I hope the trickle of thoughts that come to mind post-summit will make their way onto this site in the coming weeks. -m

Protecting the User's Mailbox

Jakob's Alertbox offers some advice about when to send or blast email, how to do it non-intrusively, and with respect to user privacy.

    Email is a powerful way to reach customers, but overdoing it is risky. Let users know up front that you'll respect their mailboxes. Otherwise, they won't give their email addresses, and you'll lose a unique channel for marketing and customer service.
Open Source IR Systems

A nice collection of links to Open Source Information Retrieval Systems including harvesters and indexing tools at the British Computer Society's CEPIS site.

Silly IA optimism

Lou remains optimistic that need for IA's, will grow, not diminish, even as the economy continues to slag. IA work will get more challenging as collections of content continue to grow and information access problems persist. One question remains, however. When will corporations again make room on the ledger for IA?

Boxes and Arrows

The first issue of B&A has been released! A bunch of excellent articles. Congratulations everyone, and thank you.

    Boxes and Arrows is a peer-written journal dedicated to discussing, improving and promoting the work of this community, through the sharing of exemplary technique, innovation and informed opinion.
Kiosks 21: A new role for information kiosks?

Slack, Frances; Rowley, Jennifer. International Journal of Information Management, v22n1, Feb 2002, p67-83.

    This paper discusses and analyzes the latest generation of information kiosks, Kiosks 21, which feature information provision/promotion, interaction, transaction, and relationships. In contrast to their task based predecessors, theses kiosks focus on customer service delivery to customers in context. Five studies of such kiosks located in an airport, railway station, car rental base, hotel lobby, and shopping mall are analyzed to demonstrate the way which the kiosks are implemented to meet the differing requirements of customers in different contexts. They are analyzed in terms of kiosk design and location, user profile, information architecture, interface design, communication, and commerce. A range of areas for R&D are proposed.

Electronic full text can be obtained through Elsevier Science.

Cool Design Won't Save a Dud Product

Interesting article in Business 2.0 about industrial design. Discusses the flagrant use of design, post-iMac, to pretty up products that lack well-conceived design or to sell designy products that are inappropriate for a brand.

    No amount of fancy design work can save a product that has too many buttons, has a crummy interface, or is awkward to hold. ... To help avoid such costly flameouts, designers should be involved with projects from the outset, giving engineers input on product usability and interface issues.

Thanks, OtherBlog

Easy Does It

Scott W. Ambler talks about simple tools like index cards and white boards for software development -- when they are valuable, when not, and how to combine with formal tools. Appears in Software Development Magazine.

    Simple tools are inclusive—with them, even your project stakeholders can actively participate in your project. Simple tools also provide tactile feedback and can be easily manipulated. Simple tools are flexible—you can easily write on an index card, move it around, and, when you no longer need it, simply rip it up. The same thing can be said of sticky notes, napkins and sheets of paper. Simple tools are nonthreatening to users—even if someone's afraid of losing a job to a computer, nobody's nervous about a stack of cards. Simple tools are also well-suited to both iterative and incremental development, in which problems are tackled a small portion at a time.

Thanks, WebWord

Search has been updated

Search has finally been updated. Terms entered in the search form are implicitly ORed (finds any of the words), unless modified with plus signs (+), which performs boolean AND (finds all of the words).

For detailed information about the new search feature, see the search help.

Thanks, as usual, to the great Drupal development team for responding to user feedback.

Immersed in Structure: The Meaning and Function of Taxonomies

Katherine C. Adams' article in Internetworking 3.2 (Aug. 2000) discusses taxonomies and their efficacy in supporting known-item searching and finding new information.

    Organizational structures within Web sites encourage emotional, fortuitous information-seeking behavior. Directories are value-laden tools of information organization that articulate a specific world-view. Because taxonomies lay out synonymous, associative and hierarchical relationships, they function like guides to information. They support the dynamic process of finding information and facilitate associative thought.

thanks, noise between stations

Business intelligence software: Putting the brain on autopilot

I found this article on the topic of text mining software to be intriguing. SAS Institute Inc. will be releasing software that will be able to analyze word and grammer patterns in collections of data in order to analyze and intuit problems, write reports and suggest business decisions. The software will be used for purposes such as analyzing consumer feedback and medical ailments. I could imagine some good uses in analyzing search engine queries.

    The products try to mimic the brain's ability to tread unfamiliar turf -- learning, finding patterns, then sorting and analyzing what's important and why.

    So-called neural networks are good at making sense out of chaos, tolerating gaps in information and making many small decisions before coming to a conclusion.

Color Vision

iamcal's tool changes colors on a palette to show how different kinds of color blind users will see them.

    1 in 12 people have some sort of color deficiency. When you're designing for the web, this means that 1 in 12 people might not be able to see your site. That's alot of people. This tool helps you simulate the appearance of our site's colors for people with different color visions. Select text and background colors from the palette below, then choose a color vision mode.

thanks, interconnected

Browsing and Berrypicking Techniques

Lou Rosenfeld points out that Marcia Bates' seminal information science article, "The Design of Browsing and Berrypicking Techniques for the Online Search Interface" is finally available on the Web. To quote Lou, "Every information architect and anyone who is interested in how people navigate through information should read this paper".

thanks, Lou Rosenfeld

Building taxonomies

Chapter 6 of Susan Conway's and Char Sligar's book Unlocking Knowledge Assets is available on Microsoft Press' site. The chapter entitled "Building Taxonomies" defines what taxonomies are, how they play a role in content management and how to build and maintain them.

thanks, Lou Rosenfeld

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