jibbajabba's blog

Chapter 2 of Don't Make Me Think

If you don't have Steve Krug's book, you can read chapter 2 on his site.

thanks, wiremine

GUI Olympics

Welcome to the first GUI Olympics!

    Many of the top GUI customization sites have banded together to create the first ever GUI Championship! User interface designers (skin authors) from around the world will begin competing starting on February 1 in over 15 different events to see who are the best in the world. The winning entries gain awards not just for skin author but for the websites they represent.

thanks, antenna

Da Vinci Usability's User Centered Design Methodology

Let me get my pedantic nitpicking out of the way first. Anyone who refers to Leonardo Da Vinci as Da Vinci rather than as Leonardo doesn't know their Italian or their art history. Leonardo Da Vinci translates to Leonardo of Vinci (a province in Italy). So when you say, "Da Vinci" you are saying "of Vinci".

That out of the way, Da Vinci Usability is a firm specialiazing in user centered design. They have a process/methodology statement that illustrates steps in doing user-centered design.

    The Da Vinci Usability User Centered Design methodology is a process for incorporating usability engineering into the systems and web site design process. Usability engineering, also known as usability, is the process of making systems easy to use, and ensuring that they meet the needs of their users.

thanks, LucDesk

AIGA 2001 Annual of Student Projects

18 interaction and interface design projects appear in the 2001 Annual of Student Projects appearing published in AIGA Loop.

thanks Challis Hodge

Whitney Quesenbery's Presentations and Publications

Whitney's presentations and publications on various usability topics are available via the Cognetics site in PDF format. Includes the following publications:

  • Building A Better Style Guide
  • Prototyping and Usability Testing with Visio
  • User Centered Concerns in Implementing a UCD Process
  • Storytelling
  • Storytelling, Profiles and Personas
Official Winter Olympics Site - Not Even Bronze

Jakob Nielsen discusses usability of Salt Lake site again on his Alertbox for February 17.

Concrete Aspects of Information Architecture

Presentation on IA tools and approaches given by Lisa Boleyn and Sabrina Jetton at CHIFOO.

    Two IAs describe the deliverables an Information Architect creates. They show how User Scenarios, Interaction Flows, Architecture Maps, and Storyboards lead to better products.

thanks, InfoDesign

Hot librarians as cars

I didn't know there was an automotive equivalent to a really hot librarian.

Ontological computing

Felipe Castel leads an engaging discussion about the concept of information and the role of computing in designing tasks and processes associated with information. Appears in Communications of the ACM, Volume 45, Number 2 (2002),

    A current issue within information design today is whether we should focus on designing information or designing interactions. In other words, should we design experiences or artifacts?


    Ontology is the way we carve up reality in order to understand and process it. Information, still a vague and generally misunderstood concept, is the product of that carving. It is the model we create of the world—in all its representational complexity. It is the model we ascribe to in computing; the structure we create in order to make sense of the world and communicate among ourselves. Information, we must realize, is functional (it has its purpose), artificial (man-made), and designed (created through specific choices).

    Why is this important? Why is it more than just academic, more than merely an interesting philosophical issue? The crux of the matter is we are moving away, rapidly and inexorably, from human computing. Computing is spilling out from the confines of user-centeredness from its human focus.


    The question is will information design in the end continue to help us come to grips with the nature of information—and by extension, with the nature of computing.

I have to start reading Communications more regularly.

Design criteria for children's Web portals: The users speak out

Andrew Large; Jamshid Beheshti; Tarjin Rahman. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology V53, 2, JAN 15, 2002, p79-94. Available online to ASIST members with electronic subscription.

    Four focus groups were held with young Web users (10 to 13 years of age) to explore design criteria for Web portals. The focus group participants commented upon four existing portals designed with young users in mind: Ask Jeeves for Kids, KidsClick, Lycos Zone, and Yahooligans! This article reports their first impressions on using these portals, their likes and dislikes, and their suggestions for improvements. Design criteria for children's Web portals are elaborated based upon these comments under four headings: portal goals, visual design, information architecture, and personalization. An ideal portal should cater for both educational and entertainment needs, use attractive screen designs based especially on effective use of color, graphics, and animation, provide both keyword search facilities and browsable subject categories, and allow individual user personalization in areas such as color and graphics.
The changing roles of the e-business architect

e-Business Advisor article (requires subscription) about the importance of information architecture and defining common steps in defining an information architecture.

    Creating the information architecture might account for a large percentage of the project, with actual coding and implementation sometimes accounting for less than half of the total time spent. If the architecture is laid out well, the coding and implementation goes faster than it would otherwise, fewer mistakes are made, and those involved in the actual implementation know exactly what's expected of them.
Getting an overview of recent comments, viewing the surf list

If you're registered and logged in, you've been able to see the recently added comments, arranged by thread, under you user menu. I've added a link in the global navigation labeled "Recent comments" so that unregistered readers can also view comments this way as well. The link will pop up a remote window that links back to the main window. Thanks for the suggestions, Eric. I think this does what you wanted.

I've also moved the list of sites to surf to the global nav link labeled "Surf", which also opens a remote window.

Developing Successful Navigations and User Experiences

In CommArts' Design Interact, Mary Brodie outlines the requirements for developing successful navigations and user experiences.

    Navigation should mirror, or enhance, the customer interaction that exists offline. The final design depends on the company’s strategy for distributing information to particular user groups or, rather, their strategy for customer experience.

thanks vanderwal

Forrester report about trust over security

Experience: The Key To Online Security Issues (requires subscription).

    Security concerns remain the biggest barrier to consumer shopping and banking online. While comfort with online security improves over time, this process of trust takes the average consumer four years to learn -- and there's no shortcut.

Their research shows that, lack of security holds consumers back from banking or shopping and only experience makes consumers feel secure.

Joel's Iceberg Secret -- 90% of the work is in the backend

Joel Spolsky's Iceberg Secret says that designing the UI is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Customers Don't Know What They Want. Stop Expecting Customers to Know What They Want. It's just never going to happen. Get over it.


    I promised to tell you a secret about translating between the language of the customers (or nontechnical managers) of your software and the language of programmers.

    You know how an iceberg is 90% underwater? Well, most software is like that too -- there's a pretty user interface that takes about 10% of the work, and then 90% of the programming work is under the covers. And if you take into account the fact that about half of your time is spent fixing bugs, the UI only takes 5% of the work. And if you limit yourself to the visual part of the UI, the pixels, what you would see in PowerPoint, now we're talking less than 1%.

    That's not the secret. The secret is that People Who Aren't Programmers Do Not Understand This.

New home page on Elegant Hack

Christina has done a beautiful new liquid CSS entry page on Elegant Hack that uses photos and text in a grid. If you don't get why we should try to leave tables behind in favor of CSS, this should learn you. Nice work.

Information Design using Card Sorting

Card sorting article in Intranet Journal.

    The difficulty in organising the content stems from a lack of knowledge about how real users make use of this information. Without this, any exercise in information design is a purely theoretical one.

    A card sorting session can go a long way towards resolving this problem.

thanks makovision

Information Specialists at the Intersection of IA and Usability

This is an interesting presentation on the overlap of issues that information architects and usability professionals deal with. The presentation was given by Alison J. Head at the Florida State University School of Library and Information Science. Head gives a brief history of IA and discusses at a high level the relationship of IA to Usability and vice versa in the user experience design process. She notes that bringing interface design competency to LIS is key when information professionals make the shift to working as IAs.

thanks WebWord

1 year old!

iaslash turns 1 today! Some current stats:

  • Registered users: 247
  • Blog entries: 1073
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