jibbajabba's blog

Subject Analysis Resources

Candy Schwartz at Simmons's LIS school has a few lists of general resources on the web for information work including: subject analysis and metadata.

New feeds

A bunch of new sources have been added to the News Feeds because I simply don't have time to go out to each site every day.


If you're registered and you're surfing the headlines in the news feeds, you can click a link that reads "blog it" to promote that link to the home page. Pretty hot, yeah? Let me know if there are other valuable sources with XML/RSS headlines you think I should add to the feeds. Check the list of sources first.

IA visualization tool

Michael Kopcsak's prototype for a Flash driven Information Architecture visualization tool -- a project created for the Master of Professional Studies program at NYU Tisch.

The tool will function as an elegant and easy to use solution for the difficult task of mapping and documenting complex large-scale site architecture and functional specifications. Through the variable passing and expression building features of Flash 4.0, I will create a front-end experience that allows a user to build a customized interactive presentation without knowing anything about the Flash authoring environment. The prototype will be supported by documentation that will articulate the information architecture and functional specifications used in the development of the concept.

Site Map Usability

Useit Alertbox on Usable site maps.

Most site maps fail to convey multiple levels of the site's information architecture. In usability tests, users often overlook site maps or can't find them. Complexity is also a problem: a map should be a map, not a navigational challenge of its own.


[W]e strongly recommend having a clear link to the site map on every page. Call the link Site Map.

Keep them simple, and emphasize a compact overview of the information space.

Just Beyond Our Windows

Coverage of future computer interfaces including Galertner's Mirror World and Microsoft's 3D Data Mountain in this LA Times article. Apparently, the future interface is a three dimensional view of a chronological stream of data. This vision of the future interface, told by Daniel Robbins of Microsoft is curious.

"We would imagine that the system would, when you first encounter the computer of the future, somehow in an unobtrusive and hopefully fun way, assess your spatial abilities and the kinds of view you would want to live in," Robbins said.

"One person might have a metaphor that looks like a forest," he said. "Someone else might have a more abstract metaphor that would approximate living inside a Kandinsky painting with just abstract geometry that you personally have assigned meaning to. The space should really be tuned to the user."

Web Design Basics

More from Gerry McGovern on the topic of IA vs. Design.

Web design is primarily concerned with the organization and presentation of text-based content. This requires metadata, classification, navigation, search, layout and graphic design skills.

A previous column, Information architecture versus graphical design, not surprisingly, drew negative feedback from graphics designers. It was rightly pointed out that web design must embrace both disciplines.

However, I wanted to make a clear point: The role of web graphic design has been vastly over-hyped. It has a function in information architecture, but a minor one. Much more important are the skills of metadata, navigation and search design.


Eric Scheid on IAWiki with IA strategy thoughts/advice.

[S]ome notes on the topic of designing an IA with a mind to the future where that particular IA then becomes obsolete, to be replaced with whatever will come next. PeterMorville's article "The Speed of Information Architecture" reminded me of it, with it's cycle of destruction.

What the Hell is XML?

XML introduction on A List Apart.

XML (Extensible Markup Language) IS THE EURODOLLAR OF WEB DEVELOPMENT. Both XML and the Euro bring order to chaos; both offer undeniable, wide–ranging benefits; both are poised, in 2002, to change the way we do things. Frankly, both scare the crap out of people.

For web developers, 2002 is a time to conquer fears and take their first hands–on approach to XML. It’s time to examine XML and realize the practical benefits that it can provide to web projects today.

Specialize Your Site's Search

New Forrester report on designing Search (requires subscription).

Site managers struggle to bring the quality of search in line with rising expectations. Questing for all-in-one search doesn't help -- firms must optimize engines to help users locate products or get help or find documents.

Taking the Flash out of Flash

Craig Kroeger talks about using Flash to effectively communicate your message.

The application of style as a problem-solving tool is the ultimate gimmick. In order for your message to be received clearly, you need to diminish all possible distractions.

To summarize, less "flash", more Flash.

Craig's elegant and understated style, of which I am a big fan, can be peeped at Fourm and Miniml.

thanks lucdesk

Online retailers fumble on customer care

News.com coverage of Jupiter report concerning customer service with online and brick and mortar retailers.

While online retailers are tallying the results of a strong holiday shopping season, their customers may be enumerating their service failures, according to a report released Thursday. ... According to a Jupiter Media Metrix study which measured 250 Web sites, 70 percent of online retailers failed to resolve basic customer requests online within six hours. Customers that went with online-only operations endured the worst treatment, according to the study.

thanks Tomalak's Realm

Disposable Information Architecture

Lou Rosenfeld's candidate for meme of the moment is "Disposable Information Architecture" , or perhaps "Transitional Information Architecture". What is it? A temporary solution at providing access points to your content, waiting for serious structure when it becomes unscalable.

Modifications to iaslash functionalities

Thanks to Julian Bond (voidstar), iaslash has 2 new minor, but useful features.


  • HTML functions (Win/IE) -- When submitting news, or entering text into any form textarea on this site, you can click an icon to style text (bold, italic, underline), to format text blocks (lists, blockquotes) and to create links.
  • Remember me (All browsers) -- You can now select a "Remember me" checkbox that keeps your login active as long as your browser remains open (I think). Previously, we were using session variables, so your login would time out pretty quickly -- Drupal does this by default.

Hopefully these features will entice some of my friends out there to add a story or two if they find something worth reading. Thanks Julian for your great work. You rock.


Homepage Improvement

In Darwin, Ten resolutions that will wring more results from your website -- inspired by Nielsen/Tahir, Homepage Usability. Here's the nutshell version:

  1. Don't allow people to e-mail your company if their messages will neither be read nor answered.
  2. Allow customers to establish more direct contact when they need it.
  3. If you sell products directly from your site, look to eliminate as many unnecessary steps as you can.
  4. Find out how long it takes for your Web server to reboot after it crashes.
  5. Stop taxing your customers' patience.
  6. Don't prevent users from grabbing text from your site.
  7. Give people the straight scoop when you ask for their e-mail address.
  8. List actual job titles, salary ranges and descriptions on your "Careers" page.
  9. Make sure your homepage includes a list of the three (or five or 10) most-recently added documents or pages.
  10. Try a dozen searches on your site's search page.
Easy Topic Maps

Topic Maps wiki started by Peter Van Dijk.

Gerry McGovern's predictions for 2002

Prediction number 9:

Information architecture will become the crucial discipline in website design. This means a greater focus on getting your metadata, classification, navigation and search right.

The end user: A Troubling Trend

Article on IHT, observing that choices are narrowing as a few sites are coming to dominate the Internet.

The emergence of a few dominant sites may simply reflect the fact that there is less aimless surfing of the Web than there used to be. It is as if, having reveled in the endless array of hyperlinks and where they might lead, people are using the Web more practically these days, going to the site where they have something to do and then logging off. Less exploring is going on, less wandering.

As a result of this concentration into a few Web sites, fewer people make decisions about what a large number of people see on their screens.

Symbolizing Accessibility

After half a decade of attempts and a misapplication of the “classic” wheelchair icon, we finally have something that might work as a generic indicator of accessibility – from Apple, of all places.

Joe Clark talks about the need for a symbol for accesibility to replace the wheelchair silhouette commonly in place today. Wheelchairs have nothing to do with computers -- accessibility on computers has more to do with aural and visual difficulties.

thanks xblog.

List of all stories on iaslash

Created a page that shows a listing of all titles for stories logged on iaslash, arranged in reverse-chronological order. This is a rather longish list, so may take a few seconds to execute.

Pocket PC Amazon

WebWord was pointing to the slim version of amazon. Have a look.

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